Topics: Tools, Sandpapers, Polishing Papers

Could you discuss the uses of different grits of sandpaper? In particular, I want to remove a scratch on square sterling silver.
- Bee
To remove a scratch from a piece of either square sterling silver sheet or square wire, you need to sand down to the bottom of the scratch to be able to remove it. Use gentle but firm pressure with a coarse grade of paper and progress to a finer grade until the scratch is gone or hardly noticeable.

Sandpaper carries different names as it regards to metals. Emery wet/dry cloth and polishing papers are names given to those papers which remove metal from metal.

Different papers will have different grit grading systems. The term grits refers to graduated levels of coarseness. Generally the numbering goes from lower to highest grit, indicating a finer coarseness from the previous level as the number goes up. You want to start with the highest grit possible for getting the job done, so you don't remove more metal than you have to. With each level of grit used it is advisable to work in alternate directions so you can see the work being done and when you have removed enough material to then be able to move to the next finest level of grit. After the finest grit, typically the final step, you can polish with a buffing wheel attached to a rotary tool or simply use a polishing cloth imbedded with polishing compound.

- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Artist and Instructor

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