Author Topic: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques  (Read 32335 times)

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« on: January 03, 2009, 05:31:45 AM »
Several folks have asked what I use to polish locks, so I put a list together.

I have a lot of stuff left over from my mold polishing days that I use for lock polishing, and below is a list and description of the tools and where I get them. I am sure there are other sources, but this is what I am familiar with.

The part numbers are from Gesswein: http://www.gesswein.com/  1 800 243 4466  P. O. Box 3998, 255 Hancock Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605
(their website is miserably slow, yet their paper catalogs are excellent, just wait to see what you can buy ;) )

FILES
RIFFLERS

Rifflers, most commonly used shapes. Very pricey, but if you must, just get the #2 cuts, and spend a little more time stoning.

Rifflers (about $24 ea) (I wish I had pictures of these)
700-9652 and 700-9654
700-9564
700-9814

NEEDLE FILES

Needle files come in sets, but you really don't need all those shapes. I prefer to have coarse files(#2) for shaping, then fine ones(#4) for finishing. The half rounds will do 90% of your file work. To save some money, skip the #6 cut.

needle files 6 1/4 long ( about $12 ea)
715-1032   #2 half round
715-1034   #4  "        "
715-1036   #6  "        "
715-2062   #2 square
715-2064  #4    "
715-1052    #2 round
715-1054    #4     "

SWISS PATTERN FILES
half round
730-0620 #2 cut, 6" length of cut
730-0440 #4 cut, 4" length of cut

STONES

Stones are the workhorse between filing and polishing. Use a hard stone to remove file marks and maintain crisp details (Oil Treated). These do not break down very easily, so you can get inside corners without the stone losing its sharp corner.  Then use a soft stone(Ultra) to remove the marks of the hard stone. These DO break down rapidly, so do not count on them to get inside corners very well, but they do smooth up the steel and soft metals without scoring or picking up. Definitely use the Stoning oil or some other light lube. The Ultra soft stones conform rapidly to whatever shape you are working on. Soft enough to shape with an old file, too.

Gesswein  Oil-treated Stones (320grit)
415-0530  5/32 x 5/32  x 4"  ($2)
435-5301  1/4 x 1/8 x 6"      
435-5303   1/2 x 1/8 x 6"   ($4.50)

Gesswein Ultra-Soft Stones
450-7303    1/2 x 1/8 x 6"   320 grit
450-7603    1/2 x 1/8 x 6"   600 grit ($4.50)

Stoning and lubricating oil
800-0100  pint


The most critical stage of polishing is the filing, because this is where you actually determine the shape of the lock, the mouldings, how crisp or worn the lock will look. Spend the time filing up the details, and the stoning and polishing will go much faster.

After filing, I use a hard stone(Oil-treated) to scrub out all the file marks. Use oil with the hard stones. Otherwise the stones will get clogged with metal.The hard stones leave scratches, no matter how gentle you are with them. I stone with 320 grit Oil Treated, and when done with that stone, I switch to 320 grit Ultra soft. Even tho' they are the same grit, the Ultra stones really get out the scratches of the hard stone. Then go to 600 grit ultra after the 320 grit is done. Wipe the work down completely between steps to remove any coarser grit left behind.

After the stoning is done, leave the 600 grit particles and stoning oil on the workpiece. Then I take a soft brass brush with a low speed on a Dremel, and swirl this gritty mix all over the work. This really softens the polishing marks to a satin sheen. Then take a piece of cloth or soft leather, and rub the parts clean, using a directional polish stroke, aligned with the long axis of the parts.

You can take this polishing as far as you like, but this works pretty well for me. Just be sure to take the time to complete each stage of grit, work out all the marks of the previous operation. I use a criss-cross polishing technique, which will show up any deep scratches from the the previous grit. The last polish with the last grit I use a linear pattern. For example on the lock plate, the polish direction would be with the length of the plate. On the frizzen, it would be parallel with the upright leg. This hides the final scratches better than a random pattern of scrubbing. Polishing is nothing more than scratching, but making smaller and smaller scratches as you work into finer grits.



« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 09:35:23 PM by rich pierce »
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Lock polishing tools and materials
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2009, 05:34:09 AM »
Someone mentioned diamond paper, which I never tried, but sounds intriguing. Jim Filipski and Dave Rase mentioned leather and pumice.
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

Offline B Shipman

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Re: Lock polishing tools and materials
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2009, 08:23:00 AM »
As mentioned above, various abrasives on leather or felt tightly stretched over a hard surface, works very well, and IMHO was used by the oldtimers in place of sandpaper which was relativaly crude and expensive. These methods could be used on steel, brass or wood.

As an aside, I have the opportunity to do a bench copy of an original Schroyer, one well published. For this one, the wood will be finished with scrapers and abrasives available to the 18th cent. gunsmith. And the metal will be finished, ala Eric Kettenburg, with nothing more than files and burnishing.

I really want to get at this but it will be awile. I'm convinced that locks and anything else could be finished to perfection in the 18th century. But they often were not. And this is one of those pieces.

Offline Ezra

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Re: Lock polishing tools and materials
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2009, 09:03:27 AM »
Thanks Acer.  The list really helps me. 


Ez
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westbj2

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Re: Lock polishing tools and materials
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2009, 06:48:32 PM »
Bill, I think you are right on regarding the use of wood, leather and hard felt for the final polish.  The process is cheap, relatively fast and quite forgiving....just right for the 15 year old kids working at the polishing shops in the British gun trade.
If you look closely at the sharp corners on an old  high-end lock (especially the lock plates) you will often see microscopically rounded edges that sometimes take just the right light to see. This is the result of "overrun" with the polishing components.
These materials are the only ones I have found that result in a finish like the antiques.
Jim Westberg

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2009, 04:48:59 AM »
Another technique is wet/dry sandpaper wrapped around a file. You gotta be careful that the file doesn't wear thru the paper. Other than that caution, it is a great system. The teeth on the file bite into the paper, and it does not slip off the file, or move side to side. A Martin uses the cloth backed paper which is more resistant to tearing or crumbling like the wet/dry paper.

Tom
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 12:03:58 AM »
Another technique is wet/dry sandpaper wrapped around a file. You gotta be careful that the file doesn't wear thru the paper. Other than that caution, it is a great system. The teeth on the file bite into the paper, and it does not slip off the file, or move side to side. A Martin uses the cloth backed paper which is more resistant to tearing or crumbling like the wet/dry paper.

Tom

 Like emery cloth and crocus cloth.

Tim C.

Offline Dphariss

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2009, 03:46:13 AM »
Another technique is wet/dry sandpaper wrapped around a file. You gotta be careful that the file doesn't wear thru the paper. Other than that caution, it is a great system. The teeth on the file bite into the paper, and it does not slip off the file, or move side to side. A Martin uses the cloth backed paper which is more resistant to tearing or crumbling like the wet/dry paper.

Tom

Wet or dry double stick taped to 1/4" plexiglas works well. Better than a file. No chance of a tooth coming through.
Wrapping the plastic is not near as good as the tape. On a nice square piece of plexiglas it is almost like a stone when taped on

Dan.
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Offline brokenflint

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2009, 04:59:50 PM »
I just got a couple of the stones from Gesswein to give stoning a try. Was wondering about the preferred method of use.  You guys use them with oil, water or just dry?  I hit the lock a few licks with one dry and it looks like it would clog up quickly. 
Good Journeys
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Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2009, 10:47:42 PM »
You MUST use lube. LIght weight oil or better yet, the gesswein stoning oil.
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

Offline brokenflint

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2009, 05:00:02 AM »
Acer, yeah I figured this out after two passes :-)   Just using the knife honing oil which seems to work out.  I've also been trying out the plexiglass backed sandpaper with the oil, not too bad doing that either.
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Offline Hoot AL

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2009, 07:37:11 AM »
The simplest thing I discovered was to get a typewriter eraser.  Cut it down to about 2" length and put it into my drill press. Works great!! ;)

I've never had to because when it worn down to the wood, the wood would wear away.

Not special polishing compound or special attachments needed.

Hoot AL

Offline RobertS

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2009, 02:11:04 PM »
Hoot, that sounds intriguing.  Are you talking about the style of typewriter eraser that is made like a pencil?  (What's a typewriter, anyway? ???  )  THanks for the tip!  Where do we send the moon pies?

Offline Hoot AL

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2009, 03:55:18 PM »
Yes, it is the pencil type.

Bookie likes those blasted Moon Pies.  I'm a Butter Finger man myself.

Hoot AL

DTCoffin

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2009, 02:37:57 AM »
I just came across this post and am gonna try to get a reply here before i start a new post,here it goes.I assume when you guys are discussing polishing your referring to the internals of the lock.What do you use on the outside of the lock ?

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2009, 03:28:37 PM »
DT, I am talking inside AND out when I speak of polishing. This to me, is all about taking off the outer surface of the cast parts, down to clean metal. Also truing up sunken areas, polishing the moldings around the edges of the lockplate, etc.

Tom
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Offline frogwalking

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2009, 02:01:58 AM »
How do you handle round face locks, like the Chambers Virginia?  Even more complicated would be Chamber's English lock with the moulding around the edge? 
Quality, schedule, price; Pick any two.

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #17 on: October 16, 2009, 09:26:49 PM »
I file the contour, stone it, finer and finer grit, up to about 600. You may have good results with a stick faced with leather, charged with pumice.

For down in the corners, if you have a moulding, you can start with a file( or riffler) to clean the inside corner and to keep the contours defined. Then you can use a hard stone which will keep its shape, or a hardwood stick charged with grit.

It's a lot of rubbing, any way you slice it. It has to be done consistently, and there is no point in going to the next grit stone until the whole lockplate is COMPLETELY done in the current grit.

Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

dannybb55

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2009, 03:00:02 PM »
Would lapping compound work with the leather stick combo?

Offline brokenflint

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2009, 04:31:28 PM »
Dannybb55

I've not used lapping compound but try it, worst case scenerio is you will have to go back over it, and by the time you're finished you will have been over it a 1000 times anyway.   With time you can do it will just sandpaper.  Was the only thing I could get when I first started and I did 3 or 4 locks with only sand paper and they came out good.  If you try the lapping compound let us know how it works so we can add something else to our bag of tricks.

Broke
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docwhite

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2009, 08:33:19 AM »
A comment on polishing with a file wrpped in emorycloth: I buy my cloth as a 1 1/2 inch strip in a large roll, tear off a 4-5 inch peice then fold it around a 1/2 inch file, the c;oth is much sturdier then paper and lasts quite a while. Progressive grits of course then a leather stick with grit for final polish. DOC

ronward

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2010, 05:20:11 AM »
while working on an indoor iceskating rink several yrs ago, i picked up a few scrap pieces of the green rubber matting that they put down for the skaters to walk on. the stuff is about 1/2" thick and fairly dense but still soft enough to bend easily. i cut these into strips and use a utility knife to carve radii on them of different sizes. they work great. they're soft enough to bend around gentle curves and firm enough to to cut accurately. i just wrap a piece of whatever grit wet or dry i need around them and have at it.
       i cut a few bigger pieces that make great sanding blocks for stock work, as well.

Offline westerner

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #22 on: January 29, 2010, 04:07:45 PM »
Acer,

when the corners on the hard stones do get rounded, how do you square them back up?

I'd like to add that its a good idea to carry a wet stone in your pocket when hunting.......just in case you get lost.

           Joe.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 07:05:41 PM by westerner »
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Offline westerner

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2010, 11:29:05 PM »
Maybe I didnt give enough details. I have small stones I use for polishing sears. The corners get rounded, then they get used for something else. I dont know how to make the corners sharp again.  Will one of the diamond stones sharpen a hard stone?

                Joe.
X

The other DWS

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Re: Lock polishing tools, materials and techniques
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2010, 06:08:38 AM »
for the really hard fine grit Arkansas stones, dremel makes some wheels specifically for cutting tile, glass, granite countertops etc.  I imagine that with a steady rest and steady hand you could recut a stone. or find a local rockhound with a lapidary wheel to re face them.

on medium and softer stones, I have a old 1x42knifemakers belt grinder.  if I make sure the platen and the rest are  really square I can rework them--really carefully using fine grit belts at a medium speed.