Turning Archive 2008

Re: Rottenstone
Response To:
Rottenstone ()

Bill Hale / The Wood Spinner
>I did find a link on use but not Grit size.

Pumice and rottenstone as a polish for a furniture finish
Pumice and rottenstone
Pumice and Rottenstone, about 3/4 of the way down the page at this link, are weathered limestone. Pumice is a very fine abrasive and rottenstone is a very very fine abrasive. Pumice is used to polish a furniture finish to a lustrous sheen and rottenstone is used for polishing to a high shine on furniture finishes, brass and other metals, glass and just about anything else that needs a high shine.

If you want a high shine start with the pumice and rub the whole surface then go back and rub the whole surface with rottenstone.

Furniture cleaner and felt pads
You'll also need some Prelude Furniture Cleaner and felt. The furniture cleaner is for the final cleaning after your furniture finish polishing job and the felt for making polishing pads.

You'll need a sanding block, either a commercial one with a hard surface or a block of wood. A section of 1x4 or 2x4 cut about 6 inches long will give a good size block that would be comfortable for most hands. Cut a piece of felt large enough to cover the bottom working surface and fold up over the sides of the block to insure that there are no sharp edges to scratch the furniture finish.

Lubricant for pumice and rottenstone
The pumice and rottenstone needs to have a lubricant to make them work. Pumice and rottenstone can be mixed with water or with a light oil as a lubricant. They're more abrasive and cut quicker with water than they do with oil. I always suggest that first time pumice and rottenstone polishers use oil as the lubricant to get the feel of how it works, because if you're not really careful you can go through the finish.

Mix the furniture polishing compound
Just about any light oil will do as a lubricant. Vegetable oil is a good one for starters and it's generally available in most kitchens.

Start out with one cup of oil or water and add one tablespoon of rottenstone. You can vary the amount to suit your needs after you get the feel of the polishing power of the pumice or rottenstone. You can increase the amount of pumice or rottenstone for more cutting action.

On to the furniture polish with pumice and rottenstone
Keep the mixture of pumice or rottenstone and lubricant stirred up to keep the abrasive in suspension.

Soak the felt pad with the polishing solution and start rubbing the furniture finish. Rub only back and forth in the direction of the grain. If you rub in an arc motion or a circular motion you could end up with little swirls in your final finish.

Work in a small area until you get the sheen or shine that you desire, then keep moving to different areas until the whole surface is done, then go back and with long sweeping motions back and forth blend the areas together.

The surface will be white from the pumice or rottenstone while your working with it. Keep a soft cloth handy and wipe the residue frequently so you can see how your work is progressing.

After the pumice or rottenstone for an even higher furniture polish shine
If you'd like an even higher shine than you can get with pumice and rottenstone you can follow the steps on our French Polish page.


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