Sorry I missed the deadline – but here it is at last.
Following is the process I used to buff your plates. It is loosely based on my experiences in a previous life (before retirement). I was once the research director of an organization that mirror polished very large nickel and chrome plated engraved rolls. Needless to say, that process was expensive, time consuming and proprietary. The process I used to buff the plates utilized inexpensive materials, took less that 1 ½ hrs. to finish both plates and is far from proprietary. Unfortunately, there are no pictures.
It can be broken down into 4 steps.
1. Masking The black recessed areas of the plates needed to be protected during both the sanding and buffing processes. This was the most time-consuming step in the entire process.
a. I covered each plate with 3M blue painters tape. Pressed it into the recessed areas with a wooden stylus (made by sharpening a small dowel in a pencil sharpener and then dulling the point to about a 1/16” flat end).
b. An Exacto knife was used to cut along the edges of the recessed areas. I then removed the tape on all the raised flat areas. The smaller GRAND BANKS name at the bottom of the plate does not need to be masked. The recessed areas are small and difficult to reach with the buffing pad.
2. Sanding The marks left by your “grinding” (?) process need to be removed before any buffing could be done.
a. I sanded the plates using a 5” Dewalt random orbital hand sander. First with a MIRKA Autonet dust free P120 grit and then with a P240 grit. It is easy to visually judge when it is done. There will be a uniform fine texture over the entire plate. One more pass with a finer grit wouldn’t have hurt but I didn’t have it at the time.
b. The particular brand of sanding disk used is probably not that critical.
3. Buffing Here is where the mirror finish is created. All of the materials used are commonly available from buffing suppliers. Mine all came from the VOTAW TOOL CO. in Springfield MO (www.voltawtool.com
). Votaw is actually a musical instrument company. Who would know more about polishing brass than an instrument company. There is a lot of brass on a GB.
a. For this job, I used two different buffing wheels and two different rouges. The heavier first buff was done with a Tripoli buffing compound and a 4” muslin wheel.
b. The final, mirror finish buff was done with a Red Rouge buffing compound and an 8” Flannel wheel.
c. Another Buffing/Polishing company I would recommend is Caswell Inc in Lyons NY. I highly recommend reading their “Introduction to Buffing and Polishing”. (www.caswellplating.com/buffs/images/Buffbook.pdf
). Pay particular attention to the use of “Cut” and “Color”. These terms refer to the direction you move the part under the buffing wheel. It will make a significant difference in the final mirror finish you achieve.
4. Lacquering Just like brass, bronze will tarnish over time. Some people prefer that “patina” look. Some, like me, prefer the shiny look. A lacquer is necessary to maintain that shine for any period of time. I use a Nikolas 2015 spray lacquer – again from Votaw.
a. Wash the plate to remove any residual abrasive and compound wax. I used warm water and Barmen’s Friend.
b. Wipe dry and clean again with a solvent. I used acetone.
c. Spay plates (both sides) with your lacquer of choice. The Nikolas spray is easy to use, dries very fast, lasts long and looks great. As with all spray applications, several light coats are better than a few heavy coats.
The above process may not be the ideal (there are always better ways to do things) but it’s the one I used and I was very pleased with the final results.
Hope this helps.