Polishing 1911 Slide Flats


March 21, 2003, 09:18 PM
A few weeks ago I asked for some info on polishing slide flats on my Kimber Stainless compact. Here's the before-

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March 21, 2003, 09:52 PM
And here's the 'after' -
I spent about 2 hrs with 400 grit, then 600, (Lapping on wet/dry paper stapled to a piece 0f 3/4" plywood). I wiped the slide down after each change in abrasives.

There's still some micro-pits to be dealt with, but overall, I'm thinking of stopping at 600, just becasue it looks good, and it's probably easy to touch up.

This gun is primarily a bedroom queen, it lives in a GunVault by the bed. I put some Buff n'Rub (gold leaf paste) in the logo 'cause it looks pretty nice (quite stunnig on a polished blue gun).

All in all, I'd say spend your time with the 400 ( it will take 3-4 sheets), get things really smooth there, and it will polish up pretty quickly with the finer grits.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the look. YMMV

Standing Wolf
March 21, 2003, 10:22 PM
Mighty pretty!

March 22, 2003, 05:20 AM
IMO Looking good , BTw how does that rub on gold stuff hold up? I was thinking on doing that to a para .

March 22, 2003, 12:26 PM
The Rub n'Buff holds up well in the small engravings, but will need to be renewed in the larger areas, such as the 'Kimber' logo. It's waxy paste, and once dry, it's fine for general handling. Cleaning solvents will remove it easily, so I usually have to renew it after each cleaning.

March 22, 2003, 12:46 PM
I like it... good work. Keep us posted on maintainability, etc.

4 eyed six shooter
March 22, 2003, 03:21 PM
One thing to add. When using the wet n dry paper, use kerosene on the paper and slide. It produces a finer finish, floats away the metal removed and makes the paper last longer. Just be sure to clean the slide between differant grits of paper. For the final sanding, I take 600 grit paper and rub two pieces togather to break down the grit and finish the slide with lots of kerosene. You can also go to 1200 grit if you have it.
Good Shooting, John K

March 22, 2003, 04:28 PM
Thanks for the tips, John. I quit at 600 grit because that's all the local hardware stores had. It gets you to a pretty nice finish, though I'd like to finish off with 800 (I'm a little 'mobilty-challenged' until the cast comes off my foot 4/1 :) ). I did use a little gun oil on the final rub-out and it did add a nice luster. I'm sure that 1200 would give you a truly mirror-like fininsh. It is important to clean the slide between grits so you don't contaminate the finer stuff with something coarser and undo your work. I'll try the kerosine with the 800, thx.:cool:

March 24, 2003, 04:54 PM
To get the real mirror finsish you have to follow the sanding with hand polish using polishing compounds of progressively finer grades (get them at pep Boys). The "clearcoat safe" stuff is the finest. As the final buff, I used the soft wheel on my dremel and the fine polish. Don't let the wheel get the metal hot when you do it. You can get the side flats so shiny you could shave with them. Looks great, but you will spend more time wiping off fingerprints than shooting.

March 30, 2003, 12:31 PM
Best I have used is good automotive wet/dry sandpaper. Doesnt scratch like the stuff meant for wood. Use god gun oil and from 600 to 2000 grit. So fine it will take the polishing swirls out of a mirror. Can get good SS to polish up like a mirror and feel like it is oily, even after it degreased.

March 30, 2003, 10:53 PM
For a really fine flat surface try using a chunk of plate glass instead of the plywood. The paper will stick to it easily after it has been wetted.


April 5, 2003, 08:22 PM
I've used a large arkansas oil stone for polishing slides sides with good results

April 5, 2003, 11:48 PM
This one. (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=93737)

And this one. (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=95155)

We had this conversation, you see. Hope you find this handy.

July 26, 2007, 10:54 PM
I started with 400 grit and ended with 1500grit then used polishing paste on mys&w 4516. I'm not finished and its starting to shine like chrome.
allso use a dremel polishing wheel but be careful not to hit it with the metal shank

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