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May 2012

How To Burnish Metal

 If you have never heard of it before, burnishing describes the process of polishing metal in order to give it a smooth and shiny finish. It is commonly used on softer metals, such as brass or aluminium, and is often used instead of the less precise process of diamond dragging. Follow these steps if you want to burnish your metal yourself:

 Step 1: Select an appropriate burnisher for your metal. This is a special engraving tool that has a blunt end (instead of the usual sharpened point), showing that it polishes with cutting.

 Step 2: Set up the engraver for metal burnishing. Install the light touch-burnishing adapter and insert the burnisher into a solid collet or top load spindle, as you would with any other type of engraving tool.

 Step 3: Remove the nose cone and micrometer from your engraver, as they are not needed for burnishing metal. Their removal will also give you a better view whilst you work.

 Step 4: Loosen the setscrew and move the burnisher until it extends at least a quarter inch past the spindle. Then re-tighten the setscrew.

 Step 5: Give the burnisher a push with your finger; if it hangs up, you will need to loosen the set screw a little and rotate the burnisher about 30 degrees. Repeat this until the burnisher moves back and forth, as it will across the metal.

 Step 6: Begin to run the burnisher over your metal surface, much as you would if you were engraving it with any other tool. Repeat this process until you have achieved a smooth and shiny finish.

 As you can see, the process to burnish metal is a fairly straightforward one, especially if you have experience working with engraving tools. The next time that someone suggests you diamond drag your metal, opt instead for burnishing, as it provides you with a much nicer finish.