Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Clean Really Dirty Greasy Grimy Hands

Jewelry makers have awful looking fingers. We take off skin with deburring wheels, have scars from where the gravers slipped, cracked fingertips from water, fingernails (what fingernails?) that have been smashed, cut, rippled, etc. I have to laugh when someone says they make jewelry and they have these soft hands with perfectly manicured nails.

However, the bane all metalsmiths have is polishing compound!

Polishing compound is in a grease base. There are usually at least 3 different compounds used per piece--bobbing, tripoli and rouge. Each compound has to be washed off before going to the next compound, to avoid cross-contamination. Sometimes we have to show up with presentable hands.

I've tried just about everything, and the result was cleaner. Clean happened after doing dishes, taking a shower and washing my hair. But one day I ran across my old Masters soap, and it was an "Aha!" moment.

Here's the best proof:

Before--just one compound for one pair of earrings

After--squeaky clean!

The Recipe:

1 bar The Master's soap, available online or from art supply store
1 soft nylong bristle brush (surgical scrub), available from Lee Valley Tools
Warm water
Just to forewarn you, the Master's soap is black colored, but has lots of emollients in it to keep your hands from getting dried out.

If you liked this tip and want to see other tricks of the trade, find the postings labeled "For the Metalheads!"

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