What is Polishing Compound & Why do I Need it?
Polishing compound is essential to polishing with mops and felt. Depending on the specific compound brand it is essentially a wax base with different grades of grit in. Just like the stages of working through wet & dry paper the polishing compounds create finer and finer scratches until the metal is bright and shiny!
In Jewellery polishing there are normally 2 stages Cutting and Polishing (Colouring).
The initial step in polishing is removing the scratches put in with needle files and wet & dry paper. It's best to prepare the metal and get the biggest scratches out to around an 800g finish.
Traditionally this is done with brown Tripoli which is most commonly used, but you can also get excellent results from Menzerna 456G.
The final stage is polishing with a high gloss compound. If there are any scratches visible at this stage you will need to go back to cutting.
Traditionally this was done with Rouge, it is still a popular option but is very messy. Increasingly there are cleaner compounds such as FF9 and menzerna which are coming to the fore.
Apollo Tripoli compound is our most popular cutting compound. This brown compound works brilliantly on all non ferrous metals and will leave a bright finish whilst removing scratches and flattening the metal.
How do I Match Compound to the Right Mop?
It is important to match your compound to the right mop to get the best results. For example a harder mop will maximize the cutting action of a coarse compound.
A loosefold G mop is a popular option offering good cut but more suitable for precious metals.
Mini Stitched mops are excellent for jewellery polishing and work well for both cutting and polishing. G is slightly harder than WDR.
Felt wheels come in various hardnesses, for more cut choose hard or hardened.
How do I load Compound onto my Mop?
A very frequent question we get asked is how do I get the compound onto my mop? The compound is hard!
It's very simple, because it is made of way it will be pretty solid but as soon as you spin a mop it creates heat which melts a little of the compound onto the surface of the mop.
It is the same principle for all mops, both used with a pendant motor (micromotor) or bench polisher with large mops. In that case the compound is brought to the mop, aiming at the lower half of the mop holding firmly. The video below demonstates adding compound to a cotton yarn mop.
Just a little is necessary, you should only see a thin layer on the mop. If you add too much you will soon notice as there will be thick black residue coating your work. A clean mop can be used to remove the residue from the piece and a mop rake (mop dresser) can help to remove the excess from the mop. It is normal to have black residue, it in fact shows that the compound is working and removing metal.
This high quality compound made in Europe is extremely popular. The finish they produce is excellent, whilst being easier to clean up than traditional compounds.
This would be our recommendation for the best compound for jewellery whether you are a hobbyist or a well versed professional jeweller.
We do both large and small bars to suit everybodies usage.
Dialux is a well known brand of compound and is often used in jewellery teaching.
The colour of rouge dictates what it is good for. The white dialux is particularly popular with very soft hair wheels, it is cleaner to use than the red dialux which is still a popular finishing bar for gold. Blue Dialux is meant to be particularly good for silver.
Green Dialux is notoriously used for stopping knife blades on leather. You could also polish jewellery tools in this manor to produce a sharp edge.
Very traditional, there is nothing wrong with this time tested polishing compound. The difference between the types is the firmness or oiliness of the bar. All jewellers have a preference for the consistency of the rouge.
It is particularly good for 'colouring' gold. it is believed to help create the beautiful lustrous golden glow on gold. Use with Chamois mops.
How do I Clean Up After Using Compound?
There is black residue on my jewellery, how do I get it off?
This is totally normal for polishing. The compound is waxy so will need to be cleaned off your work. Most simply you can clean your piece with warm soapy water (be careful around pearls and opals etc). A very soft tootchbrush can be used to clean detailed areas.
Alternatively when there are no sensitive stones you can pop the piece in an ultrasonic tank. This will shake the residues from holes and detailed areas.
It is good practise to clean between polishing stages too, this prevents cutting compound from contaminating the finer compounds preventing a good shine.
What Compounds do you use for Polishing Glass & Plastics?
Glass can be tricky to polish. If you have fine scratches a combination of pumice them cerium oxide can be used to polish them out.
Stones are often lapped with felt wheels and Cerium Oxide too.
1st Stage Coarse Cutting Compounds£2.36 – £7.20 incl VAT Select options
3rd Stage Mirror Finishing Compounds for metal£5.38 – £21.64 incl VAT Select options
Cerium Oxide Powder Compound – 1 Kilo£34.72 incl VAT Add to basket
Dialux Polishing Compounds£3.02 – £4.10 incl VAT Select options
Double Handle Mop Dresser£17.89 incl VAT Add to basket
Rouge Polishing Compound for Precious metals£1.61 – £9.49 incl VAT Select options
Small Metal Polishing Compound Bars 4×1″ – All Materials£1.61 incl VAT Select options
Vienna Lime£4.38 – £21.88 incl VAT Select options