Positively Powerful Polishing Practices

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  • #49364
    maitai11
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    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Hey Fellas,

    I know Chris is kind of “Mr. Spitshine”, and being of an Air Force discipline (5 years, 5 months, out Nov 1993) I tend to like the shiny stuff, too. Also, recently, I was mortified to find the area surrounding the cannon pinion stud on one of my watches rusted after cleaning. I must not have dried it completely. I was able to take care of the rust using pegwood (for the chunks!), and then a small wire brush attachment from a Dremel kit I bought – without actually using the Dremel tool. I just used it by hand. It came out OK – basically surface rust that was relatively easy to remove, and then I re-cleaned it.

    So, back to polishing. I want to be able to make those screw heads shine! Any information, links, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. More to the point:

    – Should I get a bench wheel/grinder with maybe a cotton wheel attachment?
    – Is there any place in this kind of polishing for jeweler’s rouge? See the attached pic of a Dremel kit I picked up that has brushes, cotton attachments, and the rouge.
    – Anything I absolutely should NOT do? I’ve already kind of learned the hard way that overuse of a wire brush will affect the finish. I was able to tread lightly, mostly.

    OK Fellas, off to you. Thanks for any help you may be able to provide.

    Best,

    Tim :)

    #61028
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    There are a million ways to approach this,..but speed isn’t one of them.
    Using a lathe is one,..polishing by hand with rouge and other pastes ( Diamantine for one ) is another.
    Sometimes done on zinc plates ( black polishing ),..sometimes on hardwood with pastes /rouges, etc.etc.

    If they are blued,..you can end up reducing the bluing if not careful.

    You want to read up extensively on this….search this forum as well as Timezone and the NAWCC forum to see more info.

    #61029
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    Maitai:

    Reverse plating (AKA stripping) could be a possibility as well – only on a smaller scale. This removes ALL of the rust. You still have the pits though.

    Give it a look. You can also use rebar as an anode.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka6ArN_ehas

    I would recommend doing this outside. As my friend David Pierce said… “Remember the Hindenburg”. ;)

    Good luck!
    Tom

    #61030
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Thank you for that well thought out and thorough response, Randy, I’ll definitely take your advice. Also, I would NEVER try to polish a blued part. They look too cool to do that to them. I’m really talking about shining up the parts that shone originally ;)

    Tom, interesting you bring up the Hindenburg…Oh, and thanks so much for the link.

    My grandfather, a country doctor, tended to the wounded from the Hindenburg disaster. Also, as a registered nurse, my grandmother did as well. I think they met during that time. The family has had a piece of the wreckage for years, back when it was OK to crawl all over the scene, and take what you want. Truly, truly amazing stuff.

    Best,

    Tim :)

    #61031
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    If you do ever need to remove the bluing to get rid of rust you can always re-blue the item, the very tricky bit is getting the right shade of blue!
    Paul.

    #61032
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    I know, right? I haven’t ever done any bluing, but I hear of all these horror stories of just how much has to go right…Roger Smith states in one of his interviews that it is one of, if not the most difficult thing to achieve.

    Best,

    Tim :)

    #61033
    stevefitzwater
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 48
    • Total Posts: 385

    That is something that I will have to try out, I have blued shotgun barrels back when dirt was young and I was still a teenager, adding that to my “got to do list”, I know some of my Pocket watches in the “to-do-bin” are in need of this.

    #61034
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Chris? Mr. Spit-Shine? Would you be so kind as to grace us with your take on this question, please? I’d love to hear what a fellow kindred spirit of the chromed species would have to say… :)

    T

    #61035
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    All:

    I thought I’d give the electrolysis stripping process a go at an old piece of a pocket watch that I found with a metal detector over 20 years ago.

    Here are the before images:

    Here are the after images:

    Just FYI…
    Tom

    #61036
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    That turned out pretty nice Tom..

    Tim, sometimes you have no choice but to re-blues, especially if the screws/parts are worn, thar ain’t nuttin worse than one a them thar shiny newfangled gizmos with a bunch a dirty screws 😆

    The bluing also reflects the level of mirror shine you achieve, which is tricky with slot screws because you have to also get into the slot, if not, it looks crappy.

    As with bluing having different shades, so does mirror polish, you can have shiny, reflective, diamond sparkle, which I have not been able to achieve. Trust me, I’ve spent a long time trying to get the same shine as they did at the factory and i never quite get sparkle, and that’s with trying all the polishing equipment available..
    Mind you, when you see how they did it at Waltham, Illinois etc, they had lapping machines that could do 10k screws a day, they were lapped for and hour..

    I found a pic of a screw I reblued recently. I didn’t spend so much time on it but it is acceptable..
    Sorry about the quality and size as I’m doing this from a pad.. And I took these for my own reference..


    #61037
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    Wow Chris, you must be one of these kinds of people who think they can never be good enough…are you kidding me??? That bluing job is absolutely beautiful! That’s a first-rate job, and I’d just like to see what an original factory screw looked like…I’ll bet yours would beat it!

    But, more to the point, what about just polishing maybe a steel screw head and/or other metal part that used to shine? Do you use a wheel, a Dremel, jeweler’s rouge/paste, etc? I have a Dremel with a buffing kit…just wondering what your go-to techniques are. Thanks in advance :)

    Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Here’s to a fabulous 2015 for everyone!

    Best,

    Tim :)

    #61038
    maitai11
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 62
    • Total Posts: 428

    WOW TOM – Did it ever run???

    Best,

    Tim :)

    #61039
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    maitai11:

    Not since I dug it up 20+ years ago. It’s the worst one I had on which I could test the electrolysis rust removal method.

    Later,
    Tom

    #61040
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    Tim.
    Just my $.02.
    You can do whatever you want in the way of polishing…you’re in command.

    I will say however, that most folks in this business look at sharp edges as a sign of a good finish on many parts. Even Anglage ( beveling ) is judged this way, along with mirror finish, bluing or black polish ( which I’m now experimenting with ).
    You can use rouge, grades of diamond paste, diamantine powder mixed with oil. You can polish on a machine/lathe/by hand on glass/hardwood/zinc plate, etc..based on what compound you want to use.
    Lots on the web to read about this
    If you are going to round the edges,..then round them all evenly.
    If you like sharp edges,..go for that.
    I would always ask a customer what they want if you have to clean up screw heads, etc, on one of their timepieces.

    Don’t get overwhelmed by this..just have fun experimenting

    Best,
    Herr Randolf the lesser…

    #61042
    tmac1956
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 171
    • Total Posts: 1259

    All:

    Here’s a mainspring barrel that I polished up using a Dremel with felt buffing wheels and red rouge. It seems to work pretty well.

    Before:

    After:

    Later,
    Tom

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maitai11Positively Powerful Polishing Practices