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How to Burnish Metal

How to Burnish Metal. Burnishing is the process of polishing metal to give it a smooth shiny finish. It is often used on soft metals such as brass or aluminum and is an alternative to diamond dragging.

Trophy brass is usually lacquered with a thin layer of paint or plastic that must be abraded to expose the underlying metal without actually engraving it. The following steps will show how to burnish metal.

  1. Select a burnisher. This is a special engraving tool with a blunt end instead of the usual sharpened tip, illustrating its purpose of polishing metal without cutting into it. The spindle motor causes the burnisher to rotate rapidly and will provide a smoother appearance than diamond dragging.

  2. Set up the engraver for burnishing. Install the light touch burnishing adapter and insert the burnisher into a solid collet or top load spindle just like any other cutter.

  3. Remove the nose cone and micrometer. They are not needed for burnishing and removing them will provide a better view while burnishing.

  4. Loosen the set screw and position the burnisher so that it extends at least 1/4 inch past the spindle and tighten the set screw.

  5. Push the burnisher with your finger to see if it hangs up. If it does, loosen the set screw slightly and rotate the burnisher 30 degrees. Repeat this until the burnisher moves back and forth. The idea is to have the set screw as tight as possible and still allow the burnisher to move freely.