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Apprentice Guide

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Maille Making Tools Pliers School of Design apprentice guide to maille construction jewelry design Weaving Maille Maille Making Tools Pliers The Rocket Tool The Ring Tool Manipulating Rings Opening Rings Closing Rings Avoiding Marks Distortion Copyright 2003 10 Urban Maille Inc All Rights Reserved urbanmaille com Design Technical Skills vs Design Skills Technique Talent Aptitude Basic Elements of Design Chain Weight Feminine vs Masculine Type of Piece About Earrings Clasps Choosing Using Attaching Clasps Charms Metal Sensitivity Finishing The Blinding Shine The Mild Acid Bath A Soft Glow The Roman Finish Antiquing Chain Au Naturel There are three types of jewelers pliers appropriate for making chain flatnose chainnose and bent chainnose You ll need two pair of pliers two of any one type or one each of any combination of types Which pliers to use and in which hand to hold each pair is completely a matter of personal preference Whatever your preference to avoid marring your precious metal rings never use pliers with teeth These photos illustrate some of the best ways to position the various tips for opening and closing rings 1 chainnose and flatnose 2 3 bentnose and flatnose New pliers are likely to need a little smoothing before you use them so they don t scratch your shiny rings Run a fingertip over the inside jaws and if you feel anything scratchy even a little bit use a file to smooth it out If you don t have fine files meant for steel an old nail file will do the job Don t get so enthusiastic when filing that you round off the corners or make the tool faces uneven but don t be afraid to smooth the entire surface and gently round the edges Even smooth tool surfaces can mark precious metal rings if you grip them too hard but smooth tool surfaces make prettier and less obvious marks 4 New pliers might seep oil from the joint for a time so be careful of your clothes at first Just wipe off the oil when you notice it If your new pliers are stiff work the handles to distribute the oil throughout the joint Tension is provided by leaf springs between the handles and it can be adjusted by gently bending them Bend them toward the middle for more springiness press them more closely to the handles for less springiness The Lindstroms adjust differently with a three position durable plastic biospring 1 2 3 You can work neatly at a table or manage quite well with just a small work area in your lap while reclining comfortably as long as the lighting is good A lap tray is nice for working this way just put a bit of something nonslip on it like velvet suede or blanket fabric so your rings stay where you put them With one exception our kits do not include pliers The Set of 3 Beginning Weaves Kit includes two pair of pliers one flatnose and one chainnose in your choice of Eurotool Red or Blue with the option of choosing a credit instead in the event you already have pliers or are purchasing the Lindstroms 4 The Rocket Tool The Rocket Tool is an awl with the most perfect taper for chain making Use the pointy end for moving rings out of the way opening a little space to put another ring through etc Some weaves are almost impossible without a pointy stick and this is much nicer than a toothpick I have other awls some that aren t comfortable in the hand some with points that are too fat or too sharp but this one is just right The other end which is fan shaped can be used to remove and replace watch pins or as a blade for opening letters packages etc It s a handy little tool 5 Flower Chain 3 in 3 Byzantine bracelets made from the Set of 3 Beginning Weaves Kit Apprentice Guide 01 10 pg 1 6 A Rocket Tool is included with all Intermediate Weave Kits 5

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7 8 The Ring Tool Some people prefer to use one pair of pliers and a ring tool especially for opening rings The ring tool is generally worn on the forefinger of the non dominant hand One side of a ring is fitted into the appropriate sized slot in the ring tool while the other side of the ring is grasped with a pair of pliers in the dominant hand and twisted open or closed Closing rings this way can be tricky especially in tight spots but many people find it to be a fast and convenient way to open rings 6 6 Each of our Beginning Weave Kits includes a ring tool ou t c hain y s r i e f g a r p u o ead this e a vin g y r w e t v r u a t o y s to f u n e h When v g a u o H n e know and is the result of rearranging the molecules in the metal by bending it Hardening the rings The beauty and strength of every handmade as you work them makes the finished jewelry chain from the simplest to the most ornate stronger so it s good to a point If you work depends absolutely on the chain maker s ability it too long the metal will become brittle and to close the rings perfectly with joins so neatly the ring will eventually break in half If this butted they disappear so smoothly aligned that happens the metal was severely overworked a fingertip can hardly feel the edge of the closure Gently hardening the metal without destroying its resilience is the goal Opening Rings Manipulating Rings 9 1 06 Apprentice Guide 01 10 pg 2 6 Copyright 2003 10 Urban Maille Inc All Rights Reserved urbanmaille com 1181 To keep the rings round twist them open never Avoiding Marks Distortion pull them apart Once pulled out of true the ring will never lay perfectly round and flat again When taking a ring in your pliers try to grasp as much of each half of the ring between the With the cut ends of the ring in the 12 o clock tool tips as possible 7 Spreading the grip position grasp the ring on either side at 3 of the pliers over more of the ring s surface o clock and 9 o clock Pull one end of the ring allows the ring to be held securely with less toward you and push one end away Again the force thereby reducing slips and the number rings must always be twisted open like this and severity of tool marks left on the rings This also helps eliminate a common problem never pulled apart 7 8 known as pringling in which closed rings show a characteristic potato chip shape due to Closing Rings an uneven application of force when closing the When closing a ring your goal is to create ring tension in the metal that will push the two ends of the ring firmly together when they re lined Make an effort to close each ring as perfectly up ensuring the tightest possible join as possible as you go along Going back later to neaten up closures is far more difficult than To do this press slightly inward with your simply doing it well the first time because you pliers as you twist the ring closed passing the won t have nearly as much room to maneuver point at which the ends would meet then pull within a completed chain as you do at the them very gently apart only as far as needed to working end of a chain in progress bring the ends back together You ll hear and feel the ends rub against each other as they slide Tip into place 9 10 11 In order to weave most efficiently try to keep The tension you create in the metal by pushing your pliers always in your hands while using the ends past one another will keep them pressed your fingertips to manipulate your chain as tightly together when you ve lined them up to needed It might feel a bit awkward at first but meet evenly If the ends do not line up perfectly if you learn from the beginning to manipulate the first time simply repeat the procedure in the chain without putting your pliers down smaller increments until they do more than absolutely necessary you ll weave You ll notice that the metal becomes stiffer as chain much more quickly once the pattern is you work with it This is called work hardening familiar

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Technical Skills vs Design Skills I answer a lot of questions from people planning a piece of jewelry for someone special Sometimes it s a gift sometimes it s that first unexpected sale Where did you get that Really Can you make one for me Either way it s usually a nervous time for a fledgling jewelry designer because that s when you find out just how much you don t know Whether you re making jewelry for gifts or profit you want the intended recipient to love the way or he or she looks and feels wearing it Most of making that happen is in the design If you think of structural engineering and technical precision as the left brain aspects of making chainmaille jewelry then design is the right brain s contribution You need both though you wouldn t necessarily guess that based on what you see for sale A piece of jewelry that looks amazing until you get up close is all design and no precision all right brain no left When you see a perfectly executed weave that does absolutely nothing for you that s all left brain and no right all precision no design Your jewelry will be much better if you cultivate both sets of skills and use them together Give yourself a chance to ripen into your talents by spending that time developing your palette of techniques Focus on learning instead of designing for a time Learn a new weave use it to make simple chains in different sizes by simple I mean a chain and a clasp and keep them or give them away if you can Sell them only if it s necessary in order to continue working 1 Then learn another weave and repeat Learn some good embellishment techniques and practice them until the results are beautiful and easy to repeat Then start embellishing those simple chains in simple ways with a bead link a drop some charms Use this time to refine your workspace and make it more conducive to design More on that in my book excerpt on our website When you feel ready to push your design envelope give yourself something inspiring to play with and a good stretch of time to play with it Amazing things happen at the intersection of preparation and inspiration Basic Elements of Design One gift you might have is an eye for design To me that means that a person has an innate knowing a feel for when something is right and when it isn t Allowing your work to be guided completely by that knowing following wherever it takes you and learning whatever it calls for is I believe the best way to reach your true potential But when you re first learning to make jewelry you aren t free to follow that muse because no matter how many designs pop into your mind you never seem to know the right techniques You might be a never ending fountain of inspired design but you can t do much with it yet because you don t have a repertoire of techniques at your disposal with which to bring those designs into being At this stage design is exciting and wild with possibility but ultimately more frustrating than fun How can you know if you even have an eye for design much less develop it if you can t make any of the things you re dreaming up Apprentice Guide 01 10 pg 3 6 so I know of what I speak A wide and or heavy weight chain makes a woman s wrist look amazingly delicate by comparison and that is very flattering This might not be the kind of thing you want to mention in conversation but draping a heavy chain over a bigger girl s wrist so she can see that effect for herself is all the speaking you re likely to need to do on that subject Double Spiral in 12g 14g 14g 16g 18g 20g 22g sterling 3 in 3 in 12g 14g 16g 18g 20g 22g sterling Feminine vs Masculine The smaller and more delicate the chain the more feminine it looks The heavier and chunkier the chain the more masculine it looks The impression that a chain makes as more masculine or feminine isn t just about size though it s in the balance of all aspects of the chain Take ring shape for example Multistrand rings look feminine round rings look neutral and square rings look masculine Then there s the weave ornate looking weaves like Byzantine or Double Spiral tend to seem more feminine while plain We make round square diamond twisted half round multistrand rings Copyright 2003 10 Urban Maille Inc All Rights Reserved urbanmaille com In order to soar you must first learn to fly so the rest of this document is devoted to basic and practical elements of design all of which come down to pleasing the customer If you Technique Talent Aptitude can t please a customer you ll be the only one As I see it we re each born with a little gift wearing your jewelry and that s no fun These basket of talents and aptitudes Each potential are not hard and fast rules they re simply things gift comes in a wide variety of sizes and each to consider as you begin designing for others assortment is unique Some people have one huge thing and become stars in that field but most of us Chain Weight have a lot of little ones and some not so little ones and what suits us best isn t so obvious because it It s logical to assume that heavy chains are for comes from a combination of those gifts rather men and delicate chains are for women but than just one The more of your gifts you bring there are some notable exceptions Delicate to bear on your work the more satisfaction you ll chains always look good on small women but find in it and the more uniquely your own that they can make a larger woman appear larger work becomes There s the recipe for creating your still by contrast and women do not want to own niche But how do you get from here to there look larger I m 6 tall and no delicate flower Because it s much better for the reputation of your business if you don t start selling until your workmanship is consistently professional and that takes some practice On the other hand you won t have a reputation to worry about if you can t buy the supplies you need to progress so if you must sell your early work be particular about your ring closures and stick to my recommended ring sizes for all your weaves And get a tumbler If you choose unisex clasps you ll double your potential market because men love simple chains as much as women do Also if you re considering jewelry as a business then business is an inextricable component of your design so you might want to read the Zen Business section of our News 1

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Bracelet made from our Half Persian 4 in 1 Kit 14g round sterling copper Half Persian 14g square sterling rings Half Persian 14g round multistrand sterling rings Bracelet made from our Jens Pind s Kit 12g round sterling rings Apprentice Guide 01 10 pg 4 6 Copyright 2003 10 Urban Maille Inc All Rights Reserved urbanmaille com Bracelet made from our Box Chain Kit rings are 18g round sterling and snaky looking weaves like 3 in 3 Box Chain choosing a clasp and Half Persian tend to seem more masculine Type Decide which types of clasps best suit the So how to balance all that Well Half Persian look and functional requirements of the design made with heavy gauge square rings looks View the Components page of our website so masculine that I ve never met a man who to see a variety of clasp types For example didn t want it on sight It s masculine in all a wide chain looks better with a multistrand three aspects Whereas Half Persian made with clasp a heavy bracelet should have a safety so heavy gauge round and multistrand rings looks a spontaneous wave of the arm doesn t take like heavy lace and is therefore quite feminine out a co worker toggles are only secure if looking even though it s a substantial chain the piece has some weight and no one enjoys This makes it perfect for the aforementioned fiddling with tiny difficult clasps but they can bigger girl Byzantine looks ornate and therefore be completely unworkable for people with any feminine but if you make it with heavy or square form of joint stiffness 2 rings a lot of men will wear it though not all men For that one I use the pink shirt test If Style In short this means that if the necklace your guy wouldn t be caught dead in a pink has a modern industrial look about it you might shirt he s probably not going to wear Byzantine want to think twice before giving it a Victorian either But he d probably like Box Chain even clasp With experience you ll likely settle into made with 18g rings because the weave is just a style of your own and your clasp choices will reflect that but in the meantime and generally that masculine looking speaking simply styled clasps are easier to use Again these are not rules they re observations because they suit a range of jewelry styles The from many years of teaching answering exception to this is when a piece is designed questions making recommendations and hearing around a clasp as the focal in that case go as how it went Some men are metrosexuals and fancy as you like some are lumberjacks Some women are girly girls and some are tomboys at heart If your girl Material The clasp should match the other favors jeans and white shirts she might favor the metal used in the jewelry If there is more than clean lines of one of the more masculine chains one type of metal in the piece those metals as well But if she s a real girly girl she s likely are your choices for the clasp Since there are vastly more clasp choices to be had in sterling to prefer her chains ornate and embellished than any other metal anytime you have the option of designing an other than sterling piece Type of Piece in such a way that a sterling clasp can be used Jewelry calls attention to the area where it s you will avoid limiting your options and making worn Young women with very smooth skin life difficult for yourself A sterling clasp works look good in anything of course but that s the with any silver alloy sterling Argentium only time in life that most women feel chokers palladium sterling platinum sterling etc but are truly flattering A choker is a necklace worn what about copper and 18K gold When making high on the column of the throat as opposed other than sterling pieces if you add sterling to at the base of the throat or lower Longer accents or a sterling focal point then you can necklaces that draw the eye lower are generally also use a sterling clasp Copper and sterling look preferred by women whose necks aren t as gorgeous together are easy to clean together smooth as they once were Again there are and the sterling bits add to the value of a copper always exceptions and these broad generalities piece If you need to make a pure copper piece are only meant to help you avoid some of the though keep in mind that there are a lot more potential awkwardness of inexperience copper plated components available for sale than solid copper ones and search accordingly About Earrings Mixing sterling especially platinum or palladium sterling with 18K gold really brings When making earrings weight is always a major up the value of the piece and sterling is much consideration Heavy earrings drag painfully on much whiter than white gold so the contrast is the earlobe and can cause the piercing to stretch more dramatic and very beautiful into a line Earrings that cover the piercing are popular for this reason especially with older Weight When choosing a clasp you must women How heavy is too heavy depends on consider the visual weight as well as the actual the woman just as does how long is too long weight Visual weight refers to how heavy the Keeping in mind that people tend to have clasp looks relative to how heavy the rest of specific preferences on those issues match what the piece looks A weighty substantial looking you give or show a person to what she wears for chain looks wrong with a delicate airy clasp the best chance of suiting her tastes just as a delicate airy chain looks wrong with a big ol rodeo buckle of a clasp Clasps Choosing and Using Then there s actual weight Let s say you make There are several important considerations to

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assures you ll have the perfect ring for whatever you re doing If you also acquire an accurate set of calipers you can measure any ring you like for the purpose of ordering more of the same If you don t yet have calipers use our ring card for matching It s the next best thing to measuring and we include one with every order Attaching Clasps Adding Charms Since there s no way to know exactly what size ring will be the most perfect for attaching a particular clasp to a particular chain until you ve tested it I suggest purchasing an assortment pack of rings in whichever metals you use Assortments are available by metal shape and weight so you might order for example 1 troy ounce of round sterling assortment Assortments are mixes of all the rings we make in the chosen shape and metal ranging from 22g 1 5mm to 12g 12 0mm This pretty much Metal allergies are most likely to show up when metal passes through the skin so earwires especially can t be made of just anything and copper earwires generally aren t a good idea for this reason Nickel is the metal most likely to cause an allergic reaction so it s best to avoid it in general but especially in earwires Most base metals contain nickel as does surprisingly most white gold Nickel is the alloy usually used to make gold white We use palladium white gold rather than nickel white gold for that reason Palladium is a member of the platinum family None of our metals contain any nickel Finishing Chain stripped all the way down to pristine copper pink give your chain The Mild Acid Bath first Copyright 2003 10 Urban Maille Inc All Rights Reserved urbanmaille com You can effortlessly polish your chains to an astonishingly brilliant shine using a clean rock tumbler with mixed stainless steel shot as the tumbling media along with water and a plain grease cutting dishwashing liquid Tumble polishing your chains burnishes the metal removing surface marks hardening it slightly making your chains even stronger as it polishes Tumble polish for thirty minutes to overnight according to your preference and your chains will shine as brightly as our loose rings We tumble polish every last one of them for 2 3 hours before sending them out in the world to make something of themselves Tumble polishing is explained in detail on our website A tumbler will clean and polish even heavily tarnished copper but if you want the color Apprentice Guide 01 10 pg 5 6 Metal Sensitivity Round Sterling Assortment 1 2 troy ounce ozt The Blinding Shine Say you want to make a charm bracelet You can make a bit of chain find the perfect ring for attaching the charms to it within your assortment pack then measure that ring and place an order so they ll arrive before you need them If you also make strung jewelry you ll be so glad to have the assortment pack for attaching clasps to those pieces as well Our rings are much nicer and stronger than the usual bead store jump rings I guarantee that once you ve used them you ll never want to go back 2 Strand Box Clasp Bali sterling When you ve finished weaving your chain you might notice that the rings aren t as bright and shiny as they were when you started This is because working the metal rearranges its molecules ruffling them up a bit But no worries you ll soon have them shining again 5 Strand Pinch Clasp sterling a chain bracelet and you put a clasp on it The clasp is 1 long When the clasp is engaged you have a circle of chain with a 1 gap in it and the clasp sits within that gap If the weight of that clasp is less than the weight of 1 of that chain the clasp will tend to rest on top of the wrist when worn That s desirable if the clasp is the intended focal point of the bracelet but otherwise not so much If the weight is equal to the same length of chain the bracelet will tend to move freely around the wrist and the clasp might be anywhere That s absolutely charming when intended not so charming if you meant the clasp to hang beneath the wrist If the clasp is intended to hang down it needs to be heavier than the amount of chain it s displacing By the same principle necklace clasps will tend to stay at the back of the neck if they weigh less than the chain they re displacing and to migrate toward the front if they weigh more The Mild Acid Bath To remove all the tarnish from copper mix any mild acid white vinegar lemon juice lime juice etc with a little salt a ratio of one cup liquid to one teaspoon salt works well but the ratio is quite flexible so no need to measure and swish your chain around in the mixture until the copper is pink and clean It just takes a minute Immediately rinse with water then neutralize the acid by coating the chain in a thin paste of baking soda and water Rub it in then rinse thoroughly It s very important to neutralize the acid otherwise it will minutely pit the metal creating greater surface area that will tarnish faster and deeper each time If you use the vinegar and salt solution you can store and use it many times over Lemon or lime juice can be refrigerated for reuse but will spoil if left at room temperature These mild acid baths don t do much for sterling but they don t hurt it so they can be used for mixed pieces The effect on copper though is rapid and amazing Copper emerges perfectly pink and clean but with a dull finish meaning you ll still need to polish it At Magnetic clasps can be a wonderful solution but they have limitations They re fabulous for necklaces but not so good for bracelets The problem is they stick to things like shopping carts in the grocery store and jewelry gets lost And although they re a joy for necklaces especially for arthritic fingers magnets are used as the on off mechanism for some types of pacemakers So although it s extremely unlikely that 1 a pacemaker might be affected by the type of relatively weak magnet used for jewelry and 2 that a magnet clasping a necklace might come into the exact type of contact required to activate a pacemaker but that situation isn t impossible so it must be mentioned 2

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The Soft Glow The Roman Finish Our Apprentice Guide teaches beginning maille and design for people new to making chainmaille jewelry This and other guides are available for free download in pdf format with live links and in Notebook Project format at urbanmaille com Now that you have the basics we recommend the Beginning Weave Kits for learning your first weaves and the Apprentice Project Kits for deepening your understanding of what to do with those weaves Then consider downloading two other guides the Journeyman Guide to Design and the Guide to Embellishing Maille Chain about the time you begin learning the Intermediate Weaves And remember if it isn t fun you re not doing it right n Ais ly Apprentice Guide 01 10 pg 6 6 Copyright 2003 10 Urban Maille Inc All Rights Reserved urbanmaille com This polishing massage will neutralize the acid Note It s best to tumble polish the chain first so you can skip that step as long as you polish so it s all smooth and pristine and then antique immediately after the acid bath it Once it s antiqued you probably don t want to put it in your tumbler again unless you strip The Roman Finish off the antiquing first because the black will First the story of why a little pampering can contaminate your shot There are instructions be good for your business At the end of a long for cleaning your shot on our website should hard slog building our database I was wearily you need them but it s best not to make that soaking in a steamy bubble bath with my hair up mess if you can avoid it You ll find instructions in a twist and my face slathered with a French for stripping off antiquing or cleaning off heavy green clay mask It was the middle of the day and natural tarnish on the same page the sun was shining in the windows making my bubbles wink with rainbow colors like tiny Au Naturel prisms A glop of the clay paste had fallen on Another option especially for jewelry you my tarnished copper and sterling Jens Pind s want to wear constantly is to let nature take bracelet and didn t rinse off when I dipped it its beautiful course Some jewelry especially in the water I rubbed absently at the spot with delicate pieces made with pearls or soft or my thumb paying more attention to the prism brittle stones might not be hardy enough for bubbles than to what I was doing to the chain constant wear but a sturdy well made chain is When I finally did look at it I was amazed to a delightful exception to this rule see colors in the copper hints of red and pink blue purple green and gold all softly glowing If you wear a chain all the time make a point in the sunlight The clay didn t make the colors of washing it with water and soap that doesn t they were already there in the tarnish copper leave a residue when you re in the shower to does that when you wear it all the time But that remove the daily accumulation of skin oils super fine silky clay polished the metal without lotions perfume and environmental dirt The stripping the colors and made the chain look like combination of regular simple cleaning and a piece of old Roman jewelry French green clay constant contact with your skin and clothing is available in health and beauty stores It s a will polish the chain and keep it gleaming bright very soft fine gray green clay powder Mix it on the surface and darker in the crevices The with water and rub your heavily tarnished chain result is a beautifully soft glow that results only in your hands until you like what you see then from constant wear rinse well The effect isn t long lasting on a chain that s worn constantly but it s easy fast There are lots of manual ways to clean and and fun to recreate And if you re a multitasker polish silver but non toxic ways are best A you might want to have a facial at the same time polishing cloth made for the purpose like our When I sell a chain finished this way I include a Sunshine Polishing Cloths are simple to use jar of the clay and instructions for renewing the and can be included with jewelry as a gift We seriously discourage the use of harsh chemical finish as needed cleaners We ve heard of so many problems with them from tarnish redeveloping faster after Antiquing Chain each use to tumbler shot becoming seriously A beautiful antiqued look results from contaminated by tumbling jewelry previously tarnishing the chain thoroughly then polishing cleaned with chemicals that it just doesn t seem the tarnish from the high spots leaving it dark worth whatever convenience they provide in the crevices Sulphur is a powerful tarnishing especially given their toxicity agent available as a chemical Liver of Sulphur The Blinding Shine this point you can throw it in the tumbler and in the water of natural sulphur springs and in have a blinding shine in under an hour eggs To use an egg hard boil it and cut it up or mash it while it s still hot Seal it in a plastic bag or dish with your bracelet but arrange A Soft Glow them so they aren t touching to avoid spotting If you prefer a warm gleam to brittle brilliance the silver Leave it overnight or until it s as you might want to try a hand rubbed baking dark as you like in the crevices When it s dark soda finish Make a paste of baking soda and enough wash and dry it thoroughly then polish water and massage it into the chain The longer the high spots lightly with the finest steel wool you rub it the more deeply the metal will glow 0000 ultra fine or 000 super fine to remove the You can make it a little easier on yourself by tarnish then wash and dry it again Give the using an electric toothbrush Disposable battery chain a final all over polish with a polishing cloth powered toothbrushes that work well for this until the high spots shine and the crevices gleam purpose are available in grocery and drugstores darkly Work with it until it looks just right The baking soda paste massage will remove a lot Tarnish wears off over time where it brushes of tarnish but again if you want your copper against clothing and skin but you can re tarnish pristine pink give it The Mild Acid Bath first and re polish as often as you like