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Novice polishing and buffing

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by txgho1911, Jan 1, 2005.

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  1. txgho1911

    txgho1911 Member

    Mar 21, 2004
    So far I understand I can take a whole lot of metal off a part if I used a power tool. That said I don't plan to use one.
    Spent some timerubbung the ramp with 0000 steel wool and since found an explanation why I should not. It would leave steel particles and fragments inside the gun to rust. This is a SS 5" 1911. So I am cleaning it completely inside and out from any left over.
    I have read numerouse recomends for 400 grit sandpaper for polishing the ramp and other parts. I started this tonight abd I see all the toolmarks clear and sharp. Knowing this is not going to cause failures and polishing will reduce friction and produce a smoother action. What steps are the gurus taking to ensure they don't make mistakes?
    Do's and don'ts please list them here.
    Rubbing compounds to use and not to use.
    Other material you use that some novice may have and with proper instruction may usefully improve a factory gun.
    I have read thru numerous threads produced from searching "polish abrasive". I am sure there are many different word combinations to search for. If this is already present under different terminology please point the way.
  2. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Less is more - meaning going slow and checking often . Better to take more time and less metal, than too fast, too much metal and can't put back.

    File what is touching only Applicable to polishing as well. Meaning - no need to remove what does not need adjusting, only which needs and only to the point where needed.

    Final polish. A pc of Chamois wrapped around a wooden dowel , paint stick...or whatever shape or size needed. Red, green ( prefer green) Jlrs rouge is good- as is Happich Semichrome.

    It is NOT cheating to practice on old brass, copper tubing or scrap metal to learn a techique, to learn a tool ( file , emery...) before working on the real deal.

    Bring the work to you - meaning don't get all "scrunched" up and contorted , less muscle control and fatigue hits faster. Use a padded vice, Universal Gravers Ball....whatever and use / brace your arms and wrists. Try to make as ergo to you.

    Oh and have fun. There is enough time for tedious and serious. Take frequent breaks - especailly if getting tired, frustrated, ...rest your hands and eyes....then go back it.
  3. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    The key thing to remember is when people talk about "polishing" gun parts, we DON'T mean "like a mirror".

    The object is, to smooth out machine marks that might cause the bullet nose to hang up, WITHOUT changing any surfaces, or without removing any measurable amount of metal.

    You see mirror-bright feed ramps because if the gunsmith doesn't put a mirror shine on, the customer thinks he got ripped off by the 'smith.

    Probably a better term than "polishing" might be "smoothing", or "honing".

    Putting on a mirror finish adds NOTHING, and may in fact ruin the part if too much metal is removed or the surface contour is altered.
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    Steel wool will take a thousand years to remove tool marks. A light touch with a stone, a very fine file also with a light touch or a rotary tool with a cloth wheel and jeweller's rouge. Jewller's rouge can be had in most hardware stores.
  5. oldgrandpainMI

    oldgrandpainMI Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    AMEN to Sunray

    Sunray has the right idea. Yeah, I am going to extreams on my rifle. I am polishing, to a bright shine, many of the external parts of my rifle. I have had very good luck using only what is in the "Metal Polishing Kit" in a Craftsmen Rotory tool kit, but it is a slow process if you want it done right the first time. The only other tool I use is a Jewlers file to remove some nicks that need to be leveled. But I must stress, as others did: PRACTICE FIRST!!!!!!! A rotory tool is round in nature. The surfaces you will be working on are round or flat so the techneque has to be mastered before you go to an item you want done right the first time. I am 99% satisified with it. The only rule I made for myself is not to do the bore, reciever (inside), and the bolt. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!

    Old Grand Pa In MI :)
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