Polishing metal…the final step?

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Just got back from the hardware store when I posted the above.
Picked up 0000 steel wool and 600 and 1500 emery. The current project is brass but with all my Muskets being armory bright finishes it seems I’m always polishing a scratch out of something.
 
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With a cotton wheel and jewelers rouge you can comb your hair in the shine
 

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Ooo very nice. Got a friend who has the set up for that. But for now…
Let me rephrase my question focusing on what I have on hand: Which is smoother (less abrasive) on the metal? MY final step? 1500 emery or 0000 steel wool?
 

Vaino

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My tops as far as paper grits is 400 on some brass parts followed by 0000 steel wool and 220 grit on steel parts.
 
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I’d watch a video on knife blade polishing. They polishing in a single direction with emery paper, it sets a grain pattern. Only do a cross pattern to get rid of deep scratches.
 
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Hi John,
Do you want the gun to look authentic or just shiny? To look authentic, never use a buffing wheel. Use stones or sandpaper up to 600 or even 1000 grit. Use it wet dipped in water and always backed with something so the edges of holes are not dished out. Then buff with 0000 steel wool to burnish the finish. Again, do it wet with water. You can also burnish the metal with a steel burnisher dipped in paraffin oil, which is closest to the original way it was initially polished.

dave
 
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Hi John,
Do you want the gun to look authentic or just shiny? To look authentic, never use a buffing wheel. Use stones or sandpaper up to 600 or even 1000 grit. Use it wet dipped in water and always backed with something so the edges of holes are not dished out. Then buff with 0000 steel wool to burnish the finish. Again, do it wet with water. You can also burnish the metal with a steel burnisher dipped in paraffin oil, which is closest to the original way it was initially polished.

dave
Perfect! Many thanks for the info and yes I am going “authentic.”
I assumed originals didn’t have a mirror finish (for multiple reasons) but it’s certainly nice to have a clear historical end goal set out. 👍🏻
 
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