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Hand Polishing


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Hand polishing a marble is an art... Since a talented hand is required for hand polishing, the reputation of the polisher is an important factor. This method is great for saving the pontils of handmade marbles with average damage. Saving the pontils on a handpolished marble with very deep damage and will likely result in degrees of an egg shape...

Hand buffing is a simple polishing of the very surface of the glass, to remove light scratches, hazing or fogging of the glass. Since it requires less glass removal, it's not as difficult a process.

The biggest downside to hand polishing and buffing is the expense... Since the process is labor intensive, it is usually quite costly. This makes it a selective process, reserved for marbles that are reasonably restorable and worth the expense of the process in order to save the pontils.

The following are restorers who hand polish and buff...

(Please note that this is an open listing space... Members of this board do not necessarily know, or endorse the restorers listed... Please seek recommmendations or visit the "Feedback file" for individual reputations.)

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I polish marbles by hand with Swiflex diamond polishing pads. It takes some practice but you can restore badly damaged marbles very well and often even leave the pontils intact (and still keeping the marble round). And the best thing is, you never take off to much glass, because you're doing it by hand, you have total control. I only polish my own marbles, but I'd gladly explain how I do it, if someone is interested. Here are some examples of my polishing work:

before:

oniondamaged.jpg

after:

onionrepair.jpg

(1-3/8" single pontil cloud)

before:

unpol.jpg

after:

single_pontil_cloud2.jpg

(1-5/8" single pontil cloud)

before:

blizzardchipped-copy.jpg

after:

blizzard3klein.jpg

(2-1/8" onionskin with floating blizzard mica)

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YES!!! Thank you!! I meant to add something on these!!! I'm not really sure if they should be here, or in Alternatives.... Maybe both!!! (since I doubt either thread will become overwhelmingly long!! LOL)

Here is the order info for those Pads.

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  • 3 weeks later...
hi! I would like to know how to hand polish --- thanks for the willingness to teach! your marbles are great! chris

All you need are the pads and a bowl of water. ALWAYS keep the marble and the pads wet when polishing. Cut off most of the sponge back of the pads so you can bend them around the curves of the marble. Start with the first pad with the heaviest grit. This one is used to grind down the damage. Grind it till there are no chips left or faint scars (depending on how far you want to go). Don't touch the pontils with the pads when you want to keep them. Then work your way done to the finest pad and you have nice polished marble. It takes some practice but it works very well. Make sure you don't grind on the same part too long or the marble will go out of round.

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  • 1 month later...
I polish marbles by hand with Swiflex diamond polishing pads. It takes some practice but you can restore badly damaged marbles very well and often even leave the pontils intact (and still keeping the marble round). And the best thing is, you never take off to much glass, because you're doing it by hand, you have total control. I only polish my own marbles, but I'd gladly explain how I do it, if someone is interested. Here are some examples of my polishing work:

before:

oniondamaged.jpg

after:

onionrepair.jpg

(1-3/8" single pontil cloud)

before:

unpol.jpg

after:

single_pontil_cloud2.jpg

(1-5/8" single pontil cloud)

before:

blizzardchipped-copy.jpg

after:

blizzard3klein.jpg

(2-1/8" onionskin with floating blizzard mica)

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I polish marbles by hand with Swiflex diamond polishing pads. It takes some practice but you can restore badly damaged marbles very well and often even leave the pontils intact (and still keeping the marble round). And the best thing is, you never take off to much glass, because you're doing it by hand, you have total control. I only polish my own marbles, but I'd gladly explain how I do it, if someone is interested. Here are some examples of my polishing work:

before:

oniondamaged.jpg

after:

onionrepair.jpg

(1-3/8" single pontil cloud)

before:

unpol.jpg

after:

single_pontil_cloud2.jpg

(1-5/8" single pontil cloud)

before:

blizzardchipped-copy.jpg

after:

blizzard3klein.jpg

(2-1/8" onionskin with floating blizzard mica)

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I have a marble that is very dull but no pits. It is an emerald, mica , cloud with all mica in one spot. I would like to polish it. I went to the web site you mentioned for the diamond pads. I didn't know what to buy for this purpose. Would the purple, $8 one be OK? Or do I need several with different grits? I have never done this before; do you email or will it appear on the blog? Thanks for info, ANFYSH.

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You will need a couple different grits. I don't know which though. You would start coarse and work your way down to barely gritty. :) Hover your mouse over the "JVVmarbles" click the little arrow that appears and choose "send message" to send them a personal message. The board will tell them they have a message waiting.

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  • 2 years later...

I hand polish marbles, and am trying to gain a reputation.

I use the Glassworks Diamond pads,(8 Grits) and a final with Aluminum Oxide.

I do not add any coatings, or chemicals.

Just the natural glass,

If interested, P.M. or E-mail me

[email protected]

Thanks

Tim

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  • 2 years later...

When I was in high school art class, we polished silver jewelry using a cream grit-based polish that got progressively finer. We also used some kind of rotating polisher that had a wool head on it. I wonder if something like this could be used to hand polish marbles?? Jill

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  • 3 months later...

Everyone,

Ok, I am trying to restore my marbles by hand. I am using the diamond pads and have grinded the marble down to where I want it (see pic). The problem that I am having is getting rid of the milky frosting and get the bright glass look back into the marble. I have a pound of Cerium Oxide in powder form, mixed it with water to make a paste, and tried to hand buff with no luck. I then used a dremel tool with polishing pad and the marble was getting too hot and I was affraid it was going to crack, so I stopped. What is the secret ? or what am I doing wrong ? The diamond pad grit that I was using was a 1800 grit. Do I need one that is finer ? I would really appreciate any help on my restoration project. Regards, Grantpost-3180-0-74648500-1314885907_thumb.jp

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Everyone,

Ok, I am trying to restore my marbles by hand. I am using the diamond pads and have grinded the marble down to where I want it (see pic). The problem that I am having is getting rid of the milky frosting and get the bright glass look back into the marble. I have a pound of Cerium Oxide in powder form, mixed it with water to make a paste, and tried to hand buff with no luck. I then used a dremel tool with polishing pad and the marble was getting too hot and I was affraid it was going to crack, so I stopped. What is the secret ? or what am I doing wrong ? The diamond pad grit that I was using was a 1800 grit. Do I need one that is finer ? I would really appreciate any help on my restoration project. Regards, Grantpost-3180-0-74648500-1314885907_thumb.jp

Did you use all the steps with the pads? probably you did one of the steps too short so scratches remain. I've been working with the pads for years and it works very well.

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Everyone,

Ok, I am trying to restore my marbles by hand. I am using the diamond pads and have grinded the marble down to where I want it (see pic). The problem that I am having is getting rid of the milky frosting and get the bright glass look back into the marble. I have a pound of Cerium Oxide in powder form, mixed it with water to make a paste, and tried to hand buff with no luck. I then used a dremel tool with polishing pad and the marble was getting too hot and I was affraid it was going to crack, so I stopped. What is the secret ? or what am I doing wrong ? The diamond pad grit that I was using was a 1800 grit. Do I need one that is finer ? I would really appreciate any help on my restoration project. Regards, Grantpost-3180-0-74648500-1314885907_thumb.jp

The cerium oxide needs to be mixed with water to make a slurry - kind of like what oozes through your fingers when throwing a clay pot on a potters wheel. If it drys out too fast and heats up after only a couple of seconds, you're running the Dremel too fast. Using the small diameter, thick Dremel polish pads (about 1/2" in diameter and about 1/2" thick white, wool-like material for the threaded mandrel) are better than the thin polish pads because they can be soaked in water first and wont dry out so fast. You might want to add an old sewing machine electric foot pedal to your Dremel (the foot pedal plugs into the wall receptacle and the Dremel into the foot pedal) to have variable speed from zero rpm to whatever your tool's max is. Let me know how all this works since I haven't actually tried it out yet but I've laid it all out on a flow chart and I think I got it pretty well figured out.

That marble looks great. Do you have the 3500 grit pad? I forget who makes the ones I'm getting but they're made in Canada and there's 8 grits from 70 - 3500. There are also cerium oxide impregnated hand pads I considered but at the point where the abrasion is so low for polishing I don't think I want to make 500,000 - 1,000,000 revolutions by hand when I can use a Dremel.

I figured out the difference: 500,000 circles by hand @ 180* rpm = 46 minutes (brutal!) vs (approx) 35 seconds by Dremel at 20,000 rpm though I'm not sure if either is sufficient to polish to a wet finish. If it winds up taking 1,000,000 or more revolutions, its a no-brainer (like it wasn't already! lol)

* One could hand polish much faster than 180 rpm but for how long? I sorta did a medium speed test and came up with 3 rps which I multiplied out to the minute/hour.

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One more time, what is the source for the polishing pads. I see 3M on the web, but they have a selection of pads..which do I choose?

Idk I bought eight: 70, 120, 220, 400, 600, 800, 1,800 & 3,500 idk if there are more but those were an assorted pre-pack from somewhere - I think through Amazon.
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I just use the finest grit pad for about 2 hours and the surface becomes really shiny! but as I said earlier, follow the earlier steps precisely, when you use a step for too short a time, you won't get all the scratches out.

Oh man I missed this - well that's sounds exactly right - 2 hours! Yikes! After 2 hours you should need a welder's visor just to look at it without going blind and have forearms like PopEye!

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It is hard to diminish a marbles value if it really has none to start with, And most marbles with a badly damaged surface have no real value. One should never polish a marble that has any real value before polishing IMO. It can drastically reduce the value.

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Good point. So, if I have some marbles that could be worth a little that are only in "played with" condition, then it would be a good choice to polish it and get some value for it at least. Of course I would stipulate that very clearly when selling it. Is there much of a market for polished marbles?

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