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Finishing picks

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mrdeus

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Posts: 52

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:26 pm

Location: Sweden

Post Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:36 pm

Finishing picks

I keep reading about people finishing commercial picks. I guess this involves sandpaper, but what parts of the picks do you sand and how much?

I've only sanded one pick - a Sparrows worm. Mostly to get that bonding agent or whatever off, but I also rounded the edges on the "waves" a bit. My latest Sparrows picks have more rounded tips and they feel a lot smoother in the lock than my Petersons.

I guess the squared off edges could be rounded off a bit, but I suppose I should leave the flat area that contacts the pins on a standard hook alone, for example?

So my question is: how do you go about finishing new picks before they're just how you like them?
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rusirius

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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:41 pm

Location: Delaware

Post Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:03 am

Re: Finishing picks

For me, it's about getting the back spine smooth, I really don't touch the rest of it unless there's something really noticeable on it like a sharp edge.

Basically I just get the back spine smooth and make sure there are no sharp edges. The idea is, I don't want anything snagging in the lock. If I feel something catch the pick, I want to know that it's a pin for example, not something catching somewhere else.

You can't see inside the lock, your entire mental picture comes from the feedback you feel. So anything that smooths that out and makes sure any feedback is true feedback is a plus in my book!
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mrdeus

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Posts: 52

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:26 pm

Location: Sweden

Post Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:38 am

Re: Finishing picks

Thanks for the feedback (pun intended :)). Do you smooth out the spine on all picks regardless of thickness?
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rusirius

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Posts: 26

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:41 pm

Location: Delaware

Post Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:10 pm

Re: Finishing picks

mrdeus wrote:Thanks for the feedback (pun intended :)). Do you smooth out the spine on all picks regardless of thickness?


Generally speaking yes, unless I find that it just doesn't need it at all. With that said, thinner stuff (i.e. .015) usually needs very little. Just a touch. Thicker stuff usually needs a bit more work.

It's not that the thicker stuff isn't finished as nicely typically, I think it's just that the thicker stock needs to have more metal removed before it smooths out, whereas the thin stuff you can take off quite a bit of metal with just a quick pass.

I usually use 1000 grit, but if it's really rough it wouldn't be unheard of to start off with some 320 or 400.
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mrdeus

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Posts: 52

Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:26 pm

Location: Sweden

Post Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:17 am

Re: Finishing picks

Thanks for the tips!
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macavity

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Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:25 pm

Location: Denmark

Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:34 pm

Re: Finishing picks

Please observe that I am totally new to this, so I just followed Bosnian Bills (a youtube guy) suggestion.

I did the following to my Praxis kit, which did the trick, as those were really grabbing everything in the keyway:
1) Ran off the spine on both sides with grid 600 by placing the sanding paper on the corner of a book and running the pick over it with a good amount of pressure.
2) Cut some strips, also grid 600, and rounded off all the edges ever so slightly, and made sure the pick tips themselves weren't grabby at all.
3) Folded a sheet of grid 1200 and put it in the middle of said book, and yanked the picks back and forth in the sandwiched sanding paper until they had a nice matte shine.

I've never owned any other picks, so I can't give comparison to other products or finishing methods, but I know a bit about working with metal in general, and the result was very satisfactory. I suspect that it won't make a noticeable difference pickingwise if I go to grid 4000 and finish with a buff wheel, despite the visual appearance would be a mirror shine.
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Josephus

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Posts: 238

Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:30 pm

Location: Michigan

Post Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:34 pm

Re: Finishing picks

To save yourself some time, instead of using high-grit sandpaper you can use polish and a felt wheel. You could load up the usual stuff or just any polish that is abrasive. It should say something on the label about not being for brushed steel.

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