Mirror polish

Discussion in 'Razor Restoration' started by Reformation Student, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    What would be good to use as a polishing material to get a mirror polish on straights razors and pocket knives without having the use of a motorized buffing wheel other than a Dremmel?

    Is it even possible to do by hand?
  2. PanChango

    PanChango Not Cute

    I would send a PM to MYCarver and ask him that question. I have seen some of the straights he has restored and they are amazing. Besides being a very good wood carver, he also is well versed in tool making.

    I would hesitate to use a dremel to polish anything. I polished a pair of S&W revolvers by handing using Mother's Mag Polish. They were pretty close to a mirror finish and could have gotten there if I spent more time. You will see about a 90% improvement with 10% work. The last 10% will take 90% of the effort.
  3. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    I'm leary about using a Dremel too. It's how I chipped my Wapienica razor. If I can do it by hand, all the better.

    Thanks for the suggestion!
  4. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    When I first started restoring I used 220-2500 Wet-r-Dry sandpaper, lubricated with WD-40 at the higher grits...This alone gets you very, very, close too mirror if done correctly... Hand polishing with compounds while watching tv after would get a nice Mirror (not perfect) finish...

    It takes HOURS, and you have a very hard time pulling pits out evenly, but if if are restoring for only yourself it is very rewarding to bring them back....

    You have to be a bit more selective in the razor you buy but yes it can be done...

    These are all done by hand


    otto 1.jpg


    otto 2.jpg


    imp before.jpg


    imp after.jpg
  5. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member


    Thanks for the information. Let me ask a couple of questions to clarify since I tend to be a very dense person.

    1. Where do you get the higher grit sandpaper. The highest I've ever seen was 2k at an automotive supply chain.

    2. Would you suggest just sandpaper and WD-40 or that and polishing compounds. Which tv show should I watch while doing it :D

    3. Is it possible to sand the hollow grind of either side of the razor too much and distort the razor's shape? I had a particular razor that I stopped with because some of the pits were a bit too deep and I thought if I kept going, I would sand through the blade completely.

    And, yes, I would only be doing this for myself as a hobby. Something for enjoyment.
  6. hoglahoo

    hoglahoo Yesterday's News

    stay away from suspense flicks while hand sanding razors :)
    neiasden likes this.
  7. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    Good idea. Perhaps a little Poirot wouldn't be too bad. Maybe I should just rent Sweeney Todd :happy102
  8. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    Higher grits can be found online "Of Course" :happy102:happy102

    2k is fine though, you don't have to get nuts

    Micromesh goes up to 12000 but I personally have never used it on steel..

    I would see how you do with the Sandpaper and WD-40 and maybe some Blue Magic or Turtle Wax polishing compound (available at Walmart)

    Myself I very rarely take a personal shaver to mirror finish my OCD doesn't handle the first scratch very well :eek: give me a nice satin glow and I am happy...

    The sanding to much question?????

    Yes you can, HOWEVER I doubt you are going to get there by hand ;) Watch when you start "chasing pits" you can't always get all the pitting out on Hollows....

    Edit: Tv shows LMAO I recommend anything you don't wanna really "watch" :D fingers bleed :(
    neiasden likes this.
  9. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    well, "of course" I can order just about anything online. I still love going into real stores though :D

    I won't chase too many pits, I promise.

    The only thing I've ever heard micromesh used for is fountain pen nib restorations or the fine-tuning of the nib but that's soft steel as I understand it. I will stick with the sandpaper and turtles.

    Thanks for the advice. Always appreciated.
  10. hoglahoo

    hoglahoo Yesterday's News

    Be prepared to spend between at least an hour and maybe as many as two or three hours per grit (if you want to do it right and completely erase the scratches from the previous grit) :p I hate handsanding
  11. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    That's OK. It's only for me and in my spare time so if the razor takes months to finish, no problem. And for now, hand sanding/finishing is the only method I have access to so I don't mind. Perhaps I'll get a machine someday but I can't justify the expense for just myself.
    neiasden likes this.
  12. hoglahoo

    hoglahoo Yesterday's News

    I believe you approach it with the necessary mindset to enjoy it :) good luck!
  13. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

  14. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor

    I concur ;)

    I think it can be a ton of fun and a great sense of accomplishment when you do them by hand... The other unseen advantage until much later, is you learn quite a bit about razors this way, taking it slow and step by step...
  15. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    One other question if I can pick a nit. You mentioned using WD-40 at the higher grits. Where's the line approximately or does it depend on when I think I'm ready to polish as opposed to remove metal?
  16. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    I used to start at the 400 level myself, I considered anything below that, cleaning, and anything above, polishing :cool:
  17. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    Good to know. Thanks again.
  18. 8thsinner

    8thsinner New Member

    I have mirror polished both steel and titanium, for the titanium I used a 1200 grit wet and dry followed by vigorous activity with a strop and lamp black, it took about an hour literally see sawing the handle shape.
    I have used a type of jewellers rouge for steel, applying the block directly and then polishing with cloth again after 1200 wet and dry.

    It takes a while but is easy whilst watching tv, but be careful doing it with straights, Clamp it down some how and use a strip of leather to conform to the shape and make sure finger tips are well out of the way.

    As for grinding through the blade...haha, your removing molecules not grains of sand, to polish through a blade would take days. even as thin as a straight usually is. You have no worries there I think.

    Toothpastes can also be used as polishing compounds, and even chocolate but they can be quite slow.

    I have never used WD40 as a lubricant with my hand style.

    Nagura stones finely sanded with the left over high grit sandpapers make pretty decent mediums. Depending on the nagura that is. some are a lot finer than others I think.
  19. hoglahoo

    hoglahoo Yesterday's News

    sure, at 1200 grit it will be much more difficult to sand through even a pitted, flimsy hollow ground blade than it will be at 220. Hand sanding with coarse grits can alter the blade's shape faster than you might think, so there are quite a few molecules being removed - maybe this stage is not called polishing, but regardless of that one needs to be careful when working a lot of steel out of a thin blade
  20. 8thsinner

    8thsinner New Member

    If your tackling it at 220 then yes probably more change could be expected, However

    I honestly think the better way to go would be to get the majority of pits out, a wire brush works wonders for this.

    Then patina the blade so the pit is protected, then continue up the grits to polish everything around it.

    I think pits actually add a nice look to vintage razors. But thats probably just me.

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