How To Polish Brass To A Mirror Finish?


Brass polishing to a mirror finish is not a simple thing but complex and attention-seeking. Brass usually discolors from time to time, and your pieces need to be refreshed and renewed. So in this article, we will discuss polishing the rough bits of brass for a spectacular finish. As we are using the rough piece, we will see the intensity of the work. If you follow the following detailed steps, then it will be effective:

How to polish brass to a mirror finish: Required Materials and Tools

For polishing brass following things are essential for working:

  • A Backing pad
  • A Soft clean piece of cloth
  • A Water bucket
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper 600 Grit
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper 1000 Grit
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper 1500 Grit
  • Wet/Dry Sandpaper 2000 Grit
  • An Alloy polish

Now, the following steps could be helpful for the brass polishing:

Preparation of Brass before Polishing

First of all, wash the piece of brass with any soap and water. This process helps in removing the contaminants that can cause problems and damage during the process of polishing. If there remains any contaminant, it will cause scratches on the surface of brass in case of using sandpaper polishing

Wet Sanding – Stage 1

The requirement of sandpaper depends upon the condition of the brass surface. Now we are using rough brass, so the first 600 grit of sandpaper will be useful. As we know, the rough surface, the lower grit gets used. The sandpaper needs to be pre-soaked before use because dry-wet compatible sandpaper is required. Any soap added to the water for lubrication helps in a high-end finish. 

Moreover, the lower grit sandpaper will help remove more material, and with more grit, more work is substantial for removing scratches. If you start with the lower grit, you can remove the imperfect surface. Rinse the surface with water for any remaining sanding material, and sandpaper should get lubricated.

Wet Sanding – Stage 2

Now the 1000 grit of sandpaper will get used. Wet sanding is preferred because the dust can be removable, and the finish is attainable. A black backing pad is used for applying pressure on the surface and minimizes the distortion. Moreover, if the surface is more irregular, a foam backer can be helpful for better pressure.

Wet Sanding – Stage 3

After sanding with 1000 grit sandpaper, you will notice the premium look, and grit is increasable fine1500. Rinse the surface with water for the removal of excess sanding material. For every step, make sure that the sandpaper is well lubricated. Brass is usually a little sticky for finger grits.

Wet Sanding – Stage 4

Now, the sandpaper 2000 grits can help surface with lubrication, and finer grits will be there for you to achieve a shiny mirror surface.

Abrasive Pads

For smoothing and rounding off the imperfections, abrasive pads should be in use. They are more like sandpaper and also vary in grits. They can be different from the pad color. For instance, the maroon one is 400, and the green one is 600 grits. Like the sandpaper, keep the surface well lubricated for it also, and after that, you can polish.

You can use any polish like automotive paint, rouge, or metal-specific polish. If you are new at it, then practice first at any extra surface before your piece. Start the polishing with the spiral cotton wheel and brown rouge. If the wheel is new, then apply the rouge. So, it turns slightly brown. If the wheel is already in use, it should get cleaned with lacquer thinner. In this case, there is no more sticking to the piece. Now in the buffing step, if the part is moving up, it is cut. However, if it is moving down, it’s polishing. At the start, move up, so the 2000 grit scratches cut off the surface. When all scratches get removed, the boundary starts looking like a mirror. At this, move down and start polishing. The rouge will have enough snow on the wheel for the deeper scratches. 

Now the wheel will be changed to less abrasive, which will be the loose cotton wheel. Always apply the rouge after every 2 seconds for the best results. It should get done more often because then it will give a smooth mirror finish. At last, a blue rouge should be usable. It will give the surface a good look because there is no abrasive. Moreover, it is polish only. 

Cleaning the surface is the key to the best work. It will help in removing scratches as well as decreasing the haze effect on the surface. Because hazing will also cause damage, apply slight pressure, and it will be gone.

Surface Protection

When the surface becomes truly shiny and mirrored, its protection is critical. Any fingerprints, dust nibs, or dirt tarnish the part and give undesirable results. So wipe that surface gently with lacquer thinner and a mesh towel. In this step, keep the press too low. Because a hard press, even with a mesh towel, can scratch the surface. Rouge should get removed from all the services in this step. Otherwise, under the lacquer, these surfaces turn black and damage the effect. Wipe off the thinner and dry the surface with a clean mesh towel.

You are almost there. Just clean the part with wax or grease remover with a new fiber towel. These grease removers are perfect because it removes all residues. Use the compressed air to blow off the part. But do not use the tack rags; they will leave too much residue behind. At last, two coats of lacquer using 1 to 1.1 mm of any spray instrument. No more coats are necessary, and you have done the spectacular work of the shiny and mirror-polished surface of the brass.

If you are looking for a better understanding, go for this video.

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