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Finishing Techniques at the Bench

Applying the right finish to the surface of metal is one of the most important aspects of creating a successful piece of jewelry. There are countless ways to finish jewelry, from the flawless mirror finish seen in commercial jewelry, to the matte brushed finish popular with many art jewelers. In this live, virtual workshop, students will learn industry level tips, tricks, and techniques while producing a number of these finishes from the comfort of their own bench. A rotary tool such as a flex shaft is required for this course.

Class will be held live via Zoom during the designated time frames. A link to the Zoom meeting will be sent via email.

Each session will be recorded and you will receive a password protected link to the recordings that will expire after 30 days. 

Please read the Materials & Tools tab! 

Meet the instructor

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William Vanaria is a Massachusetts based artist with a penchant for oddball materials. His work utilizes traditional metalsmithing techniques and a wide verity of non-traditional materials to produce jewelry which both questions and comments on notions of romanticism, value, fakery, and the hierarchy of materials present within modern day consumer culture. Through his work he pushes for a broader system of value which has been formulated though experience, consideration, and critical thinking.

William received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a concentration in "Jewelry & Metalsmithing" in 2012. Afterwards, he spent time working within the jewelry industry and volunteering as a teacher's assistant for various art institutions. He found that the latter was much more fulfilling, so he went on to further his education within the arts and to pursue a career in teaching. William received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts: Dartmouth in 2016; once again with a concentration in "Jewelry & Metalsmithing."

Materials & Tools

Students will need to have the following materials in preparation for this online workshop. If you do not already have them, a suggested item and/or a vendor from which you can purchase these items has been provided below. Click the vendor name (in red) to be redirected to a page where you can find or choose the item. The quantities you need for each item are listed first. Please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. Please order these materials as soon as possible due to longer than usual turn-around times. We recommend not opening the item packaging until the day of the workshop.

  • 1 x pack of miniature muslin buffs - 7/8" (Contenti - item # 140-401)
  • 1 x pack of polishing abrasives - 7/8" square edge, medium (Contenti - item # 442-617)
  • 6 x screw mandrels - 3/32" shank, 1/16" screw (Contenti - item # 214-303)
  • 1 x pack of miniature felt buffs - 5/8", hard (Contenti - item # 140-703)
  • 1 x container of pumice powder - fine (Contenti - item # 520-121)
  • 1 x brass hand brush (Contenti - item # 130-460)
  • 1 x tube of soluble Red Rouge polishing compound (Contenti - item # 524-308)
  • 1 x tube of Tripoli jeweler's polishing compound (Contenti - item # 524-306)
  • 1 x pack of 3M radial bristle discs - 400 grit, blue (Contenti - item # 131-425)
  • 1 x 3M miniature unitized wheel (Contenti - item # 145-040)
  • 1 x steel scriber (Contenti - item # 380-830)
  • 1 x pack of brass practice ring blanks (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x pack of mounted mini fiber wheel - extra fine (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x bench pin (Rio Grande)
  • 1 x soft toothbrush - any kind (Amazon)
  • 1 x knife sharpening stone - any cheap kind (Amazon)
  • 1 x pack of water resistant sandpaper - 360 grit (McMaster Carr)
  • 1 x pack of water resistant sandpaper - 500 grit (McMaster Carr)
  • 1 x pack of water resistant sandpaper - 800 grit (McMaster Carr)
  • 1 x pack of water resistant sandpaper - 1200 grit (McMaster Carr)
  • 4 x aluminum bars or wooden paint stirs - for sanding sticks (McMaster Carr)

A hand held rotary tool will be needed for this workshop. An economy brand has been listed below, but any brand that can fit a 3/32" shank will work.

  • 1 x hand held rotary tool - flex shaft, micro motor, etc. (Rio Grande)

During the course, the instructor will talk about and reference niche polishing applications for the following items. You are not required to have these for this workshop, but they will be covered.

  • 2mm silicone polishing pin kit (Rio Grande)
  • 3M sanding stick assortment (Rio Grande)
  • 3M radial bristle wheels - pumice, pink (Contenti - item # 131-426)
  • 10mm margin roller (Contenti - item # 150-321)
Students should bring

You will also want to have the following common studio items available: 

  • apron
  • safety glasses 
  • blue painters tape / masking tape
  • rags / towels
  • sink or bowls of water 
  • dish / hand soap

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