Most glass artists polish or shine their pieces using one of
three methods: fire polishing, cold working, or acid
polishing. While any of these three methods can be successful,
all have limitations.
Fire polishing, for example, which involves re-firing the piece
to around 1325 to 1400F (718 to 760C), can do an excellent job of
restoring a shine to fused, slumped, and cast glass, but it has the
disadvantage of requiring an additional kiln firing. It also
cannot be used if the piece has already been slumped or has delicate
or extensive tack fused areas.
Cold working, another common polishing method, can work well, but
it has limitations as well. In addition to tending to require
expensive and specialized equipment, it also requires consider
experience and expertise to cold work pieces to a high shine.
The number of steps involve also mean that cold working can be
laborious and time consuming.
Click here for more on cold working equipment.
A third method, acid polishing, involves the use of hazardous
chemicals. It can rarely be safely performed in the studio,
and outside experts and facilities must often be hired to perform
the polishing. This makes it a less than ideal polishing
method for most situations.
Click here for more on acid polishing.
Because of the limitations of these three methods, a fourth
polishing method has emerged. This method, which is sometimes
known as "faux polishing", involves the use of common (and
relatively safe) substances to impart a shine to the glass.
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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.
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