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
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.
Copyright 2005 Brad Walker. All rights
This is an excerpt from the
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.