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Acid polishing

Acid polishing, which uses potentially harmful chemicals such as sulfuric and hydrofluoric acid, should not be attempted by the novice. It requires extensive attention to proper safety procedures. Not only are acid burns a possibility, toxic fumes must also be dealt with and controlled. In addition, the acid bath works best when heating slightly, adding to the potential risk.

In the typical acid polishing process, the glass to be polished is dipped into an acid bath, then cleansed in water. In some cases a series of immersions is used rather than a single dipping. Only a very short immersion in the acid is necessary to produce a matte finish; longer periods of time in the acid bath will yield a more polished appearance.

Despite the effectiveness of acid polishing, its potential dangers outweigh the benefits for most warm glass artists. It should only be undertaken by those with the appropriate safety equipment and experience.

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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

This is an excerpt from the book, Contemporary Warm Glass, which contains a wealth of information for the beginning and more advanced warm glass artist.  One company that does acid polishing for artists is Crystal Traditions of Tiffin, Ohio, USA.  See Henry Halem's Glass Notes website for more information about this company.

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