Rubbing and polishing are significant steps in finishing. It’s here that the final touches are frequently added when a dull or polished finish is needed. When a dull finish is required, the finish coat of varnish, after thorough drying, is rubbed down using very finely powdered pumice sprinkled on a felt pad and doused in water.
When a polished surface is required, the work, after being carefully rubbed down with pumice stone and water, is then polished using very finely powdered rottenstone and crude or sweet oil.
Very soft cotton waste makes for an ideal polishing pad. This pad is dampened with water, then wrung as dry as possible. Rottenstone and polishing oil, that has been thoroughly mixed together into a thin cream, are then put on to the pad and the polishing is commenced. The motion isn’t the same as polishing, but it is a straight stroke extending from one end of the surface to the other.
After the polish has been taken to the highest point possible, its brilliance can be intensified by rubbing quickly with the bare hand, using the littlest possible amount of oil polish, just enough to keep the hand from sticking to the finish. This rubbing by hand must be done in a circular motion.
When a greasy appearance remains after polishing, clean the polish off using a soft cloth moistened with alcohol or benzolene. The best care should be exercised in doing this. Have but a really small amount of alcohol on the cloth and go over the surface very lightly, with a circular motion. Never pause or stop. When there is too much alcohol on the cloth, it will burn into the varnish and destroy the polish.
Waxes are created in paste and liquid form and of various mixtures. They are readily applied using a piece of cheesecloth or a brush, and, after leaving to dry, are briskly rubbed until a smooth polish is attained. Waxes are used on floors, linoleum, table tops, and the like. Wax polishing could be done over unfilled wood, or over wood filled with paste filler or a thin coating of shellac. The wax is utilized in the form or a brush, and, after allowing it to dry, are briskly rubbed vigorously using a piece of cheesecloth to get a polish. This must be done numerous times to ensure a good gloss.
A simple oil polish can be used in the same manner as a wax polish on filled or unfilled wood. Oil polish is long-lasting and really simple to prepare. Equal parts of linseed oil and turpentine, when applied sparingly, rubbed vigorously, and done frequently, will afford a beautiful and lasting semi-gloss. This finish is great in its resistance to heat and water marks, and is used usually on dining-room tables.