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How to Use Rotten Stone to Polish

Rottenstone (also spelled rotten stone and also known as tripoli powder) is an extremely fine abrasive made from the products of limestone and silica. Its fine grain allows it to be used for polishing many surfaces such as wood, glass and metal with only minimal lubricant. It is best used after polishing with a slightly less fine abrasive such as pumice, but it can be used on its own with surfaces that are already highly polished.

Rottenstone can be used to polish glass surfaces.

Step 1

Put on safety glasses and rubber gloves before opening the rottenstone container. Take care not to inhale, ingest, or expose your eyes or skin to dry rottenstone during the polishing process.

Step 2

Make a polishing solution by mixing 1 cup vegetable oil with 1 tbsp. rottenstone. Stir it thoroughly after mixing.

Step 3

Soak a felt cloth in the polishing solution. Wrap the cloth around a hand-sized block of wood -- make sure that the bottom and sides of the wood block are covered by the felt to avoid scratching the surface to be polished.

Step 4

Rub the felt-covered block back and forth over a small area of the surface -- polish in the direction of the grain if you are working on wood. Use a soft polishing cloth to periodically wipe away the polishing solution to check on your progress. Continue polishing the rest of the surface after the test patch. Stir the polishing solution before re-wetting the felt, as the rottenstone will accumulate on the bottom of the mixing container otherwise.

Step 5

Wipe away the lingering rottenstone solution with clean polishing cloths.

Things You Will Need

  • Rottenstone powder
  • Vegetable oil
  • Measuring cup
  • Felt cloth
  • Smooth polishing cloths
  • Wood block, 1 to 2 inches thick, 4 inches wide, 6 inches long
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves

Tips

  • Use a cleaning solution after polishing wood or glass furniture.
  • For woods and other furniture finishes, using pumice powder to polish the surface before an application of rottenstone can have better results than rottenstone alone. Mix pumice powder with vegetable oil in the same quantity as rottenstone before application. Use different felt cloths for different abrasives and thoroughly clean the surface of pumice solution before using rottenstone (or any other abrasive) afterward.

Warning

  • Use caution when using rottenstone, especially before mixing it in solution, as it can cause irritation or injury upon direct exposure. Flush exposed eyes or skin with water for at least 20 minutes. Dispose of clothing that comes in contact with rottenstone. Contact poison control if rottenstone is ingested.

About the Author

Jason Williams has been involved in journalism since 2000 as both a writer and an editor. Graduating from the International Baccalaureate program in 2004, he has written on a wide array of topics, specializing in topics of natural sciences and technology.

Photo Credits

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