Regarding the necklace from Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, the weekend was a little disappointing. But let’s start with the good things. Recently I anticipated the results of the grinding and polishing of the medallion. We should begin with that.
This is how we do it: The articles of this series are about how I created the first version of the locket. I already found things that I can improve in the second version. So when I finish this series, I will create an all-in-one-tutorial that allows you to build your Fate of Atlantis-medallion yourself without making my mistakes. Deal? 🙂
Sanding and Polishing Metal with reasonable Effort at Home
First of all: I am not a metal worker. But in the last few weeks, I have read a lot about it, I have learned from professionals, and with this project, I have gained some experience.
The methodology is simple. You need sandpaper (grain size 180 – 2000), polishing paste, a metal cleaning agent (e. g. WD 40), and a lot of patience. It’s a repetitive process. Depending on the scratches on the surface, you start with the roughest sandpaper. Step by step, you grind until you have removed all scratches from the previous step. Then clean the surface carefully, and move on to the finer sandpaper, again and again.
Then, at the very end, polish the metal – believe me, there is no shortcut. And if you are not careful enough on one step, you will see it at the end.
First, to try out my multi-tool, I polished the necklace without any further preparation.
Compared to what it looked like before it looks great. But in the last picture, you see the limitations. There are too many scratches.
The next pictures show what it looks like when you do the whole procedure, as described above. On the photograph of the backside, you see what it looks like if you don’t work carefully enough.
It looks already better, but you can’t see all the scratches that appear in direct light. Unfortunately, when I wanted to clean the locket with nail polish remover, it turned out to be a bad idea. Okay, the whole procedure once again… But at the end, the result was even better.
Remember, I said your laziness comes to light at the end? As you can see, the result still can’t stand the direct sunlight. You can also see that the edges have become rounder and rounder. That happened due to my lack of experience, but it’s okay’ ish. It shines- That’s what counts 🙂
So far so good. Let’s proceed to the next step.
Kintsugi and how it failed
Right from the start of this project, I faced a challenge caused by the parts glued together: There are gaps between them because I used too much glue.
Since I was aware of this problem from the beginning, I had a solution – or so I thought. It’s a technique called Kintsugi, which was invented in Japan. Its purpose is to keep broken dishes, bowls, etc. instead of throwing them away. The idea is to repair them by bonding the pieces together with a mixture of glue and metal powder. By the way: You can buy sets online and do this yourself. The effect is fantastic.
I used a slightly modified type of Kintsugi with epoxy resin and brass powder to hide the gaps. See my “set” below:
Pay attention to the mask and the protection glasses. We work with brass powder, which is EXTREMELY fine-grained. As soon as you open the bag, it’s everywhere. The powder shouldn’t get into your lungs. See the next picture, which shows my Kintsugi “workshop”:
Let’s call a spade a spade: It’s a mess. The brass was all over the balcony. But much worse was the result. That’s how it looks now…
Not exactly like I had imagined it. Why did this happen? There are multiple reasons.
- The resin was not thin enough
- My hands were too shaky for hose thin gaps
- The brush was too thick
- The resin cured very fast – within one or two minutes. Usually a precious quality, but not here 🙁
Maybe I should have stopped as soon as I saw that it won’t work out as expected but I thought I can fix it later. Wishful thinking…
Change of Plan to the Rescue
In the end, it doesn’t matter. Now, I have to deal with it, and so I decided to age this medallion instead of the next one as planned. I would have to do the whole grinding and polishing process again, but the epoxy resin is hardly sandable, and the edges are already rounded. I fear that the “industrial” style would be lost.
Even if things haven’t gone as expected, I am optimistic. I guess the next post will deal with aging brass 🙂 Thank you for reading this article, and stay tuned for the next one!