Rio Rondo Enterprises
PO Box 111
Copeland, KS 67837

There are two steps to finishing Rio Rondo castings:

1. Cleaning up flash and seams

2. Polishing the part to a brilliant shine

It really doesn't matter which order you finish and polish your parts in. You can choose to finish your parts by hand, or by using a motorized tool such as a Dremel. If you plan on finishing large quantities of parts, a moto-tool is recommended since it will speed up the work quite a bit.

For either method, I suggest the following items to have on hand:

  1. Pair of small cutters–to remove any large burs or metal from the piece

  2. X-Acto knife and blades–(no. 11 blade recommended)--for removing excess flash from the insides of holes or other areas impossible to reach with a moto-tool or by other means.


1. Always wear goggles when working with metal parts as small chips can injure your eyes

2. Keep hair contained, and avoid wearing loose clothing or hanging jewelry, particularly when using a moto-tool

3. Use fabric-type band-aids to protect your fingers from cuts or accidentally polishing yourself as you work. Use them on your thumb and forefinger.


Supplies Needed:


Using a moto-tool for finishing parts can cause two primary problems:


Supplies Needed:

Depending upon the part, it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes to finish and polish a part by hand.

Cast Conchos & More . . .

Many cast pewter parts come with mounting pegs on the reverse side. You can poke a hole through your leather with a push pin or awl, then thread the pegs thru the holes. Bend the pegs over and gently "squish" them down on the back side of the item for a secure fit. The pegs can also be snipped off and sanded down, and the parts glued on instead.


For some items, (most notably halters and bridles), the pegs will be too bulky. There are several ways around this.

  1. Remove the pegs with a pair of cutters, nail clippers etc. (after finishing/polishing.) Sand or grind down any remaining "stub" at the surface and super-glue the plate in place instead.

  2. If you use a "00" size hole punch on larger items (such as breastcollars and saddle skirts), the holes will be a little larger than you actually need. This will allow the part to have some "play" in it--and possibly make it easier to get the plate perfectly aligned. Place a little super-glue to the back side of the plate to secure it, once it has been properly positioned. Again, bend the pegs over and gently smush them into place.

  3. On some items the pegs may be a bit heavy. You can use a grinding wheel or needle file to whisk off some extra metal on two opposing sides of a peg to make it flat and narrow, and less bulky.

  4. If the pegs do not want to bend over where you wish them to, file a small notch at the base on the side you want the pegs to bend and they should bend over at that point easily.

An Unusual Part:

One of our buckles, FB57, comes with an extra bit of metal on the bottom so that you CAN indeed hold the part with a good pair of needle-nose pliers to hang onto it while you sand or grind on it. When you get the part polished and finished as desired, simply use your cutters to remove the extra metal there. You may find with the slip-type buckles, that threading a length of scrap leather lace onto the center bar of the buckle will provide a handle for you when using the moto-tool method.


The following recommendations are for working with our etched parts.

  1. Separate parts from the sheet or each other by cutting with a pair of cutters, or nail clippers. Do not twist or bend the parts to remove them as they may warp or break.

  2. To begin separating items from a sheet, it usually works well to remove part of the outside "frame" with a cutters, and then remove a strip or section at a time, then separate the parts from the strip or section.

  3. To remove extra "nubs" remaining on the parts, a rubberized grinding wheel, or a fine-grit grinding stone on the dremel (as noted for finishing castings) will whisk the extra material off quickly. Be careful to use VERY light pressure when doing this, to avoid bending or ruining the parts.

  4. Extra "nubs" can also be removed using a fine-grit sandpaper (320 wet or dry works well) or a small needle file. If using sandpaper, lay a small square on your table or workspace and rub the area to be removed over that. This sometimes works better than taking the sandpaper to the part.

  5. Wherever a part was connected to a sheet, the bare metal (brass or copper) is going to be exposed in that area and could be subject to future tarnishing. In many cases, such spots are going to be located where they will be covered by leather and never seen. However, in areas where they might be visible, if you wish, once the area has been smoothed up, you can apply a tiny dot of clear nail polish to the area to seal it from tarnishing. This, of course, is optional.
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