The bygone skill of hand polishing marble
Polishing a marble countertop is something that is best left to the professionals, since it requires a certain amount of skill and experience. The average Joe probably doesn’t have the correct tools to polish marble slabs countertops, either. What most people don’t know is that polishing a marble countertop is actually not really polishing it at all. It is actually the process of wearing down the surface with increasingly finer scratches until the scratches become invisible to the naked eye.
The task of polishing marble slab countertops begins with the edges, at which point the marble slabs are placed on work surfaces and the patterns are matched. Massive amounts of marble countertop edges can be identified and polished after the edges are identified and the slabs are marked where each marble countertop will begin and end. Each piece of the marble slab countertops are propped against a work surface for the job to begin.
Marble countertop polishing is often done by machines these days, but the best way is still to do it by hand. In this process, the diamond saw blades are used to polish the marble countertop surfaces. This is the longest stage of the work, because the edge of the marble countertop will have deep wheel marks left by the diamond saw blades. The marble slab countertops must be dipped into the water and then rubbed evenly up and down, keeping a heavy and steady pressure on them. The rough corners of the marble countertop must also be rubbed off to create a flat corner called.
Periodically during the marble polishing process the marble has to be dried to check on the progress by spinning the rag in the air above the work. Once all of the wheel marks and deep scratches are removed with the 60 grit blade, it’s time to move on to the second blade, this time a 120 grit. This will be used until all of the scratches from the previous grit are removed from the marble countertop and replaced by a new layer of finer scratches.
This process continues through at least six different grit abrasive levels, at which point the marble countertop has a very smooth honed finish. The final stage is achieved with a hard block of felt and a mixture of various polishing powders. The most commonly used powders for marble countertop polishing are putty powder, pumice powder and oxalic acid. One or all of these are used, either wet or damp, to provide the final gloss.
The most obvious advantage of hand polishing marble slab countertops is that the process does not create clouds of dust because the work is carried out wet; this means that there are few serious health risks to the polishers. The quality of the finished polish is also superior to machine polishing; leaving a higher polish and a flatter surface on the marble countertop.
Hand marble polishing, however, is a seriously slow and laborious process. Machine edge polishing is much quicker, and within three or four years after the advent of edge polishing machines, the art of hand polishing marble slab countertops had all but disappeared.