Friday, January 1, 2010

Mad Genius at Work...Grinding and Polishing Away

I have a lot of glass to grind and polish.  I've let the number of pieces build up over the fall as I just couldn't bring myself to slog through it.  I finally had to face the daunting task.  I've blogged about the type of pieces I'm doing in a previous entry, and I've also talked about the "joy" of coldworking.  I don't mind doing it, I just should have done a few pieces at a time and not built up such a backlog. 

Above is a picture of the mad genius busily grinding away.  Actually, this is the final polishing step.  I've already taken the piece to the wet saw to cut the top flat, through loose grits of 80, 220, and 400, and a pre-polish on that green wheel.  The green pre-polish wheel is similar to using pumice, but not as messy.  The white hard felt wheel is for cerium, which gives the final high gloss polish.  It's pretty messy.  I really like these Polpur wheels, but I don't think I'll be using them on these particular pieces.  The lips of the glass vessels tend to eat away the surface pretty quickly.  I don't have that problem on larger surfaces.  I've probably lost an inch in diameter on that green wheel.

This polishing machine is hand built from parts.  The main piece is a dual arbor I got from HIS Glassworks.  The rest I either built by hand or through various trips to Grainger's.   It works quite well, all things considered.  

Here is a closer look at the polishing step.  One thing I learned, don't let the cerium dry on the surface of these pieces.  The surfaces are highly textured and once the cerium dries, its pretty hard to get off.  I have three pieces sitting in the sink right now trying to dissolve some of it, or at least loosen it up enough to scrub it off with a stiff brush! 

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