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Polishing basics


Hello everyone! This is a very basic question: how do you polish? I
am mainly talking about after soldering…I use a dremel and a cloth
bit with green polishing compound, but I’m not sure if this is truly
the correct way- especially because it takes me a very, very long
time to make things look completely shiny. Am I doing something

Thank you!



Step one… a real polishing machine, 6" buffs and dust extraction
class of machine. Step two… Start with tripoly, bobbing, or any
other cutting compound. When it looks good, use care these guys DO
rermove metal quickly. Wash the hell out of it, and polish/ colour it
with a rouge. Green and black and blue are in my used collection, red
a bloody mess.

Demand Designs


Well this is the difference between using a hand tool as opposed to
a bench mounted tool.

A Dremel, whilst a good tool, requires you to use one hand on your
work, the other holding the tool. Basically two hands is a firmer
grip then one hand.

If you invest in a polishing lathe, or a bench grinder with tapered
spindles you will find polishing to be much faster, and you’ll be
able to get a better polish.

The main considerations for a bench mounted polishing tool are dust
extraction, eye protection, and attention. The bench lathe will have
a lot more power and revs per minute (depending on the brand) than a
Dremel, this means that if your work catches, 1) you may find your
work rocketed into the back of the lathe, 2) you may find you hand
being polished, or 3) if you are polishing chain, you may get a few
really nasty whacks (or worse). Like any tool you need to be careful
using it.

Initially when I was polishing 3 foot lengths of steel to a mirror
polish, I was using a drill, and this was fine in that I had to
secure the job in a vice and was able to use two hands on the tool. I
bought a bench grinder, some tapered spindles, and a series of
polishing mops. The job was much easier, and much faster.

Regards Charles A.

how do you polish? I am mainly talking about after soldering... 

Jane, can you give us more What metal(s) are you
soldering? Are you using soft or hard solders? Have you pickled the
metal(s) after soldering?

Anyhow, the good news is that tumble-polishing is a wonderful thing.
There are books and articles on this, including an affordable book
by Judy Hoch, who is on this Orchid list. Try the Orchid Archives for
this topic.

Have fun,
Judy Bjorkman


Don’t throw your dremel away, but put it aside for the first
stages.You want to buy some needle files, and or some course
abrasive sticks. Use these to completely remove any bumps left by
soldering, or dents caused by hammering. You will then need
progressively finer abrasive papers, and use them one by one until
the surface of the metal appears matte rather than scratched by the
papers.I personally recommend 3M’s micron-graded Microfinishing
papers - these are plastic-backed, available with a sticky backing if
required, and available in a range of sizes. They cost about 4x as
much as other papers, but they last for ever (they just get
progressively finer as you use them) and as they are flexible, I
often don’t bother mounting them on sticks).Anyway, once you’ve got
down to that matte finish, you can have a go with your dremel again.
I never bother with dremels or pendant drills for external polishing,
but use what you have. Once again, you may need progressively finer
polishing compounds for the dremel, finishing off with very soft
cotton mops.This isn’t something that you can do on the cheap, if you
want to do it right. If you’re doing this as more than a hobby,
invest in a polishing lathe and some compounds - in the long term,
that will probably be cheaper than buying boxes and boxes of dremel

Of course, your mileage may vary.

Jamie Hall