Loose carborundum powder should not be used for cutting down lacquered surfaces, as the cutting action will not be evenly distributed and deep scratching may result. Valve-grinding pastes are also unsuitable, and only proprietary cutting-down pastes specially compounded for the work should be used. If too stiff they can be thinned with water or white spirit/wood alcohol according to the makers' instructions. Most car polishes are midly abrasive, as are liquid metal polishes, and could be used for burnishing to a high gloss. These materials should, however, be used with care since they often contain additives such as silicone oil which will cause discoloration of the surface, called 'blooming', after a few months. For this reason products formulated for use on furniture are preferred. Do not use burnishing creams or paste on any surface which has traces of open grain, since these materials will leave white deposits in the crevices which are very hard to remove. A satin matt finish on full-gloss lacquered surfaces can be obtained with either water-floated pumice powder or Silex powder, and the process is described in Chapter 49, Wood Finishing. Highly polished surfaces can be effectively dulled with No. 0000 steel wool; use wax polish as a lubricant where required. The coarser grades of steel wool are invaluable for cleaning off old polish in conjunction with a suitable stripping compound. Nylon fleece in various grades is also used for this type of work. Steel wool can be used for cleaning and dulling metals, especially chromium plate, stainless steel, aluminium, and brass. This should be carried out carefully, using strokes as in brush painting.
Recent developments include abrasive wheels made from strips or flaps of grit-coated cloth or paper. These are attached to power drills or flexible drives and may be used for rapid sanding of complex shapes. A similar idea uses rotating nylon brushes with grit-coated bristles. Stainless-steel wool is a new material which, although expensive, is a tougher, rust-free alternative to conventional steel fleece.
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