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24. Caring For Your Matte Finished Ring
Sunday, 09 Nov 2014
Chris - 28 May, 2014
Hey Jeff,

I told you I'd give you an update on how the matte finish is doing. First, let me say I love the contrast of the two finishes. It really accents the "puzzle" aspect of the ring in my opinion.

The ring does have a few nicks and scratches from just everyday wearing it. Most of them are on the underneath side (the palm side) as you might expect and can't be seen. The small nicks on the matte bands look like they are the shiny silver underneath. So if I was to get any places like that on the front of the ring, they would be noticeable depending on how big they were.

My question to you: is there a way for me to make those scratches or nicks look like the matte finish again? I researched it on the web and most suggestions were to use a scotch brite or scratchy dish pad to scuff the surface of the shiny spots. Some went as far as to use steel wool or a Dremel tool to do the same.

However, I think they may have been using these techniques on "brushed" silver as opposed to sandblast. Does the sandblasting add an actual coating to the silver that is coming off when the silver is nicked or scratched? If so, then I would think the above suggestions would not achieve the same effect.

Anyway, let me know if you think there would be a way for me to handle any little places that may happen to the visible surface area. Of course, the best thing will be for me to be careful as much as I can.

Please don't let any of the above discussion make you think I'm unhappy with the ring. It is exactly what I asked for and I love wearing it.
Jeff - 2 Jun, 2014
Yeah, obviously the best solution to the problem of damage to the surface is to be careful, but if you take that approach to the extreme, you end up with a ring that does nothing except sit in its container of cotton wool.

The sandblasting was just that, I held the ring under a jet of air that contained sand (well, I think I was told it was glass), so no layer was added.

Using anything like Scotchbrite would affect the whole area where it was used, I'm sure, so you would just end up with a larger area that didn't match.

Perhaps a stiff wire brush that was forcefully brought down perpendicularly onto the surface of the ring might do the trick, but I guess the chances of recreating the same effect as the blasting would be small, in which case you would then need to treat the whole surface to achieve a uniform look.

I have come up with something for you to consider. Once you reach the point where the sandblasted finish looks too tatty for your taste, take to those bands with some coarse (or finer, it depends on how you want it to look) sandpaper. Naturally, the original look will be destroyed, but in its place will be a rough, relatively uniform look (I just tried it, the contrast is not as great, but might be acceptable). If it is acceptable, you have the perfect solution, since you would then be able to touch up your ring whenever you wanted to.

A few more thoughts.

Since you are obviously prepared to take steps to keep your ring looking in tip-top shape, there is another way to help.

One way to keep the polished bands looking good is to scrub them with a fine wire brush with soap or detergent. I've had in mind for quite some time to offer customers the wire-brush option, but couldn't find any brushes that were sufficiently fine, until recently.

Now I've got a bunch of them, and have cut them into smaller pieces ready to hand out.
Chris - 3 June, 2014
Thanks for the suggestions on keeping the matte finish.

I'm a little confused though. You said using the fine wire brush with soap or detergent would keep the "polished bands" looking good. If you're talking about the shiny non-matte bands - wouldn't a wire brush scuff them and take the shine off? I've always used a polishing cloth I got from a jewelry store that has some silver polish chemical on it.

Anyway, for now I'm just going to wear my rings and enjoy them. If at some point I feel like the matte bands need work, I'll try some of the scuffing methods we talked about.
Jeff - 5 June, 2014
I am indeed talking about the 'shiny non-matte bands'.

The secret is with the word 'fine'. If the wire is fine enough then the scratches it causes can't be seen and, when used with detergent, leaves a nice shine.

Personally, I'm not so keen on silver-cleaning chemicals.
(5 months later) . . .

Chris - 30 Oct, 2014
Hey, hope all is well with you. I have a question about my matte finish. We spoke about this briefly before. Because I wear it most every day, the matte bands have started to get the scratches and nicks you'd expect. What shows underneath looks like the shiny bands for the most part. You gave me some options before to "scuff" them back up so they still had that matte look.

My question is: is there a way I can polish them to get them to the original polished look like the other bands? I know it can be done but I wasn't sure if I can do it or would it take the professional tools that you have to change/remove the sandblast look?

Let me know if you have any suggestions. I love the matte look but I think the only way I could get it back the way it looked when you first sent it would be to send it back to you and have you do it. The postage and the time it would take make that option less attractive.

So if you have any suggestions I would appreciate it.
Jeff - 1 Nov, 2014
About a week ago I actually thought about asking you for an update on how well the matte bands were coping, and now here you are.

The only 'professional' tools you need are some sandpaper and the wire brush I mentioned before.

What I suggest is that you hit the matte bands with some coarse (240, perhaps even coarser) paper first, to see whether the result is an acceptable substitute for the matte effect. To maximize the uniformity of the result, you need to sand only in one direction, by hand.

Then if you want to proceed with returning the matte bands to the polished look, you would need to then use 600 grit paper, then the wire brush with water and soap. For this, you get a better result if you can use a bench-grinder.

Do you have access to one?

If so, I can make a short video showing you how to go about it. If not, results by hand are satisfactory.
Chris - 2 Nov, 2014
Good to hear from you. You mentioned in the past about sending me one of the fine wire brushes. Since it is so small can it be sent some way without incurring excessive postage? I'd certainly give it a try. I don't have access to a bench grinder (that I know of) so I guess it would be by hand.

You are the professional so I'll of course take your word for it but it seems odd to me that you could get such a beautiful polished shine by using a wire brush. I think you said it is because the brush is very very fine but it still kinda blows my mind. I assume the soap and water also has to do with the polishing effect?

Anyway, let me know about the wire brush. I will proceed with your suggestions and go from there.
Chris - 4 Nov, 2014
Another update. Since I sent you a reply about sending the fine brush, I decided to try the sandpaper. The results were very good! Of course, it's not the same exact look as the sandblast but it's still a very nice contrast between the polished and the brushed/sandpapered bands -- and it only took a few minutes to do. As you said before, I will be able to touch them up anytime I want with just a few rubs of the sandpaper.

So if you can send the fine brush I'd still consider trying that method to go back to all polished bands but for now the ring looks great.

Thanks once again for your help.
Jeff - 6 Nov, 2014
You are right, the look obtained by using sandpaper is not exactly the same, but there is still a nice contrast. Obviously, you can vary the matte effect by using more or less coarse grades of sandpaper.

I'll still send you the brush, since you can use that on just the plain bands, to make them look shinier.