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In its simplest form, polishing glass is no more than manually rubbing an abrasive compound on the glass. Alternatively, a less time consuming, but still manual, approach involves the use of abrasive papers or hand pads to polish glass.

Abrasive and polishing surfaces are also available to fit many common mechanical devices. Pads and discs in various sizes and degrees of roughness are available for traditional stained glass grinders, Dremel-type tools, and variable speed drills. These pads are often diamond-coated, but can be made of cork or felt (usually synthetic cork and felt).

Moving up the scale in terms of sophistication (and expense), polishing glass can be done with belt sanders or more specialized tools such as reciprolaps. All of these approaches have in common that they require a steady stream of water and a polishing compound such as cerium oxide or pumice. The purpose of the water is to keep the glass from overheating and cracking, while the compound helps to abrade the glass and more quickly achieve a polished surface.

By using a series of finer and finer abrasive surfaces to wear away the surface of the glass, it is possible to achieve a high degree of polish. The artist generally starts with a coarser grit, abrades for a while, then switches to finer and finer grits until the surface of the glass is sufficiently polished. In essence, you just keep scratching the surface until the scratches get so small they can't be seen.

Click here for a more complete discussion of glass polishing techniques.

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Warm Glass

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Clemmons, NC  27012   USA



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