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Polishing Cases


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Hi guys,

I'm currently working on a project, a Seiko Pogue. I already finished the movement and wanted to restore the case now. So I ordered polishing pads for hand finishing and a polishing machine and polishing wheels for final finish. Also I got 3 polishing pastes. I wanted to try the polishing machine on a watch where it doesn't matter when I ruin it. It had some really light scratches on the caseback, so I wanted to try there. I started with the second paste (for pre-polishing) and it was working okay. I got a lot of really fine scratches, but better than before. So I proceeded with the third paste (for polishing) and it was only making scratches, no mirror finish. I tried different wheels but that didn't changed anything. What am I doing wrong? Too much pressure? The wrong pastes? Wrong polishing Wheels? Also I wondered that the paste was really hard, I expected it to be soft, is that normal?

Here you can see the tools I used: 

 

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This is the polishing paste

 

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the polishing wheels (from Beco)

 

 

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and the polishing machine.

 

 

 

Edited by handwound
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Hi,

I think it’s the type of polishing wheels in my opinion.  You need very fine fibre wheel.   Check ebay.     Also check retro watch guy website as he listed in order what he uses.    

I hope it helps.

Regards,

Yasser.

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Polishing cases is a very big subject; you can do a 6 week course at WOSTEP for many thousands of bucks and still a debutante (well you'd be better than 90% out there but needs thousands in equipment).

 

Without seeing exactly what you're up against it's hard to say. One big thing, when going for a fine (scratchless) polish is cleaning - clean your case ultrasonically and use different buffs for different grits. The buffs don't forget what was there before and you can't clean it off.

 

 

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First of all thanks for your answers.

i know that I‘m not going to be a professional polisher after reading some posts about it, just as I‘m not a watchmaker, despite being able to perform a service and some repairs. I just don’t have the proper education and above all just not the experience. 
 

I just want to improve the condition of the case a bit. I‘ve tried to work with less polishing paste and higher rpm now and the results were a lot better, but I still get some swirling. Also I can’t say what caused the scratches in the beginning, the case was clean, the wheels too. And the scratches were really obvious, not these very fine ones.

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The polishing machine you have is a dental laboratory/jeweller's micromotor. When I polish metal with a handpiece, I prefer to start with silicone wheels.

Silicone wheels come in different diameters, shapes and grits. The coarse grits can remove deep scratches and can even round off edges if not used properly. They can give a nice brushed finish. 

Medium grits give a nice satin finish. For final polishing, I use a hard felt wheel with polishing compound. But mostly I prefer to switch to a bench polisher with a larger diameter felt wheel or muslin wheel.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, I chose one with handpiece because I don’t have the space for a bench polisher and I thought it would give me more precision with the smaller wheels.

I will remove the deep scratches by filing the case by hand, I will use the polisher just for the final touch. Otherwise I would be scared to lose the edges. So I don’t really need to use a silicone wheel.

Edited by handwound
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It's a mix of equipment and technique.

For getting a finish free of microscratches on stainless steel, I use loose 4" cotton wheels and the Menzerna family of compounds. I step down from blue (if needed) to pink to yellow to white. In between each step, clean the case with a steamer or an ultrasonic cleaner. You can get true mirror polishing, with no swirls or scratches under a 10x loupe and raking light, this way.

An underappreciated side of this level of polishing is contamination. Different grits shouldn't be used on the same wheel, or course, but think also about your fingers, how the piece is cleaned and wiped down, and so on. A fine finish will be scratched if a piece is wiped or dried with something that has old compound residue on it.

 

 

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