Bill, What you describe seems to be a 2-step process -- sanding with
600g then polishing with red rouge. To get a true mirror-like high
shine requires several more steps than that. Here's what I do (in
order), for example:
Sanding (each grit gets sanded fully in one direction, then turned
and sanded fully at a 90-degree angle to the first sanding)
600 or crocus
At this point, your metal should be very smooth and free of any
pitting, unevenness, or scratches. If the metal was in really good
shape to start with, I might skip the 330 and 500 and go straight
from 220 --> 400 --> crocus. But if I had any pitting or rolling
mill imperfections, I would do the whole thing.
Buffing (each pass should be very thorough and as multi-directional
as you can make it)
Tripoli with a medium-hard buff
White diamond with a softer buff
Red Rouge with a very soft unstitched muslin buff or chamios
By skipping all of the coarse steps, you're never reducing the
imperfections in the metal that the more coarse abrasives or polishes
would remove. A 600g paper, for example, doesn't have the cutting
power necessary to remove pitting or deeper scratches. Likewise,
skipping straight to rouge (while I know that some people do that)
doesn't take advantage of the excellent cutting and polishing power
of tripoli and white diamond. To get a really good finish, don't
skimp on the steps.
It seems like a lot of work -- and it is -- but your finish will be
exactly as you want it, and your work will look truly professional.
It doesn't take as long as you might think, either, because you've
done most of the work using the coarser grits. By the time you get
to the crocus or the red rouge steps, it goes quite quickly.
Have fun! Karen Goeller @Karen_Goeller
P.S. - By the way, even if I'm going for a satin/matte finish, I
follow the same steps, but usually only go to white diamond in the
polishing stage. On occasion, I've gone to red rouge and then done a
satin finish, when I wanted the piece to be ultra-smooth.