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How do polishers work?

Polishing can be complted by hand or by machine. However, in either case there are a few standard stages that are usually followed. You can achieve a variety of finishes on metal, including highly polished, matt and textured. The first step in finishing is filing to remove surface marks from the metal and get the desired shape. Files take away a lot of metal, so care must be taken. It is a good idea to try and keep the piece as unmarked as possible by this stage as no amount of final polishing will remove deep scratches. Then a variety of abrasives can be used to continue the filing stage. Sandpaper is available in varying grades to remove surface marks. It can also be used on sticks, taped down flat or on pendant drill mandrels, etc. This helps to ensure that all surfaces of the piece are reached. There are also various pendant drill attachments that can be used, e.g. rubber abrasives etc. Water of Ayr stones are lightly abrasive and are used with water. Care must be taken at all stages not to take away too much metal by overworking the piece. Textured and matt finishes can be achieved at any stage of this process, by using punches, heating methods, frosting wheels, pendant drill attachments etc. The best way to clean up a textured surface is using bristle brushes by hand or machine, polish is optional with these brushes. The various polishing compounds available come in two main types: Tripoli Lustre, or equivalent grade polishes, for general-purpose use, with a fairly high abrasive content. The best mops to use with Tripoli are the calico mops, which can be loaded with polish and cleaned with mop rakes. Rouge, coming in various grades/types for different metals and used with calico mops or for final polishing the softer reflex type mops. These polishes can be used by hand or on mops/brushes etc. for machine polishing. A variety of mops / brushes and felts can be used. However the most important rule is never to mix polishes on mops, always keep polishes and polishing tools separate and wash the metal being polished between stages. Always use eye, breathing and hand protection when using polishing machinery and make sure you have nothing that could catch in the machinery, e.g. hair, clothing, jewellery etc.