Would you be able to expand a little on the auto-paint and perhaps, in
terms of course=pumice/ medium=rottenstone/ fine=rouge, point me in a
comparative direction? When it comes to automotive finishes, I have
absolutely no clue ...isn't that the purpose of having car insurance?<g>
I've had good results using Meguiars Speed Glaze followed by Show Car
For best results with them use the appropriate foam pads on a random
orbit sander. Meguiars has "cutting pads", "polishing pads", and
"finishing pads". They're Velcro backed and hook right onto a 5" ROS--
they're a bit oversized for it but that doesn't seem to make any
The pads themselves have polishing action, from coarse to fine in the
order I listed--I've never needed a cutting pad on a woodworking
project, a polishing pad with Speed Glaze followed by a finishing pad
with Show Car Glaze gets things up to a high gloss right quick. If you
want less gloss stop at the Speed Glaze.
You can also apply by hand but you're going to need a lot of elbow
grease--the abrasives are designed to break down during the polishing
process so that you start out with a relatively coarse abrasive that
during the process of polishing becomes a much finer one, and the energy
to break it down comes from your efforts. The specific items I listed
above are intended to be usable by hand--some of the others from the
same company you'll be working on forever trying to get a decent hand-
These work well with lacquer and polyurethane, I've never tried them
with shellac (at least not yet). You want to have a fair bit of coating
thickness though--they can go right through if it's too thin.
4F pumice is essential for the initial grain filling stage of
French polishing. Rottenstone is used as an optional
final rub to raise a high gloss. If the local paint store
doesn't stock them, try Woodcraft, or any of the online
luthier's suppliers, such as Stewmac. A 1 lb box should
last you for years.
Plumber's rouge sounds like a compound used to
clean copper pipe fittings before sweating. Would
tripoli be the same thing?
Diatomaceous earth (dead plankton shells) is supposed
to work as an ultrafine compound. Never tried it, but
you can buy 5 lb bags of Safer (tm) brand, sold as
an organic nonchemical insecticide. It doesn't
work as a polish, feed it to the roaches.
Yep, but cannot find locally anymore and was hoping not to have to
special order online. Don't like doing financials online - for anything.
Thought perhaps their might exist a more commonly available substitute.
Could be, though seems to me it was indeed known simply as a Plumber's
rouge and often the final process in the application of hand rubbed
finishes ...not the same as a French polish, but same goal with quite a
bit less work.
If memory serves correctly, also used similar methods to remove
scratches on plexiglass desktop covers when these were fashionable.
I believe plumbers used the compound to clean & polish porcelain/ baked
enamel, and chrome fixtures after repair or installation. Doubt you
would find a plumber today with that sort of ethic or pride, but, maybe
I will ask around about Tripoli and see what I can find.
Excellent suggestion! Sounds reasonable and worth further pursuit.
Sears used to carry pumice and rottenstone, no longer do, in central Florida
at least. I doubt you'll find either locally, I wound up getting it online
but not at woodworking places, they rob us. Grizzly has them, rouge too
both in paste and wax stick. I'd just use auto rubbing compound (rouge red oxide).
If you order online, this place filled my order expeditiously and
If you need a lot you can get it here for $0.40/pound. Even cheaper if you
get 90# :)
Never thought of Grizzly, should have but didn't. Good lead though
apparently Grizzly must have very well ventilated toilet stalls, judging
from the prices they charge ...really proud of their uhhmmm!
Lemelange looks good also, as several from this neighborhood routinely
travel to Ft. Lauderdale/ Delray areas anyway.
Good for industrial purposes but trust me, I will not live long enough
to use those quantities.<g>
Thanks dadiOH, solid info and do appreciate your input. Several others
have also mentioned automotive compounds and I will likely build up a
few sample boards from scrap and see what happens -- inexpensive and
Hmmmm...let's see now, wonder what would happen if I tried to fill pores
with some of this stuff?<g>
Yep. Just wondering out loud, mostly in jest. One reply (Father Haskell)
however did suggest Diatomaceous earth (food grade) as a possible sub
for 4F. Local hardware store carries it and perhaps I should experiment.
DE is calcium based and pumice is silica, so not quite sure what effects
will result from stains, Poly, lacquer, shellac, Varnish, or grit on
grit finish sanding/ scraping. Will it color differently as seashells do
when oiled? Will it react badly with clear finishes? Will it even work
as fill? ...?
Never read anything on this sort of an application for DE, so unless
someone can save me the trouble I'll just have to give it a shot myself.
Anyhow, sounded like a good idea and worthy of serious consideration.
Probably right, in fact more than probable! But, it just sounds so
plausible that I will likely waste a couple hours in the shop tomorrow
reaching your conclusion.<g>
Thanks for the reminder as it is always helpful...
DE _is_ silica -- that's how it kills bugs, by abrading the
wax from their exoskeletons, which dehydrates them. It's
hardly food grade, though it's harmless to furry household
For French polishing, the only substitute for FFFF pumice
is FFFF pumice. For an after-cure rub, take your pick of
I stand corrected, as I was mistakenly under the impression diatoms
consisted of typical seashell substrates rather than silica. Glad you
caught me on it.
And I'm also sure you are correct regarding french polishing, not what I
am attempting to do at all.
Since I often do a cut shellac wash anyway, I was thinking I could
possibly use DE to fill pores and, as final rub on hardened finishes.
Simply thought it worth investigation, nothing more. I'm curious by
nature and have lots of free time.
I have not given up on pumice, but have also used it in woodworking and
plastic applications far removed from French polishing ...not something
I want to do every day.
Thanks for the correction,
The shells of diatoms are silica as well. At least, they were when I was
majoring in geology in the 50s.
OTOH, they pooh-poohed continental drift back then so who knows?
FFFF pumice is in the 10-20 micron range. DE 10-200 but can be smaller or
Well, silica doesn't suck up stuff so should be clear. Powdered calcium
carbonate (whiting) sucks like a sponge.
If that's the really fine stuff, be sure to wear a respirator when
working around it and sweeping up afterward. Dat stuff'll kill ya as
quickly as silica.
Life is full of obstacle illusions.
-- Grant Frazier
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