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Metal Polishing Myths, Half Truths and Lies

16. Fine polishes don't cut

Kinda, ish, and sort of.

The ability for a compound or polish to cut depends on the shape of its crystals or particles. What is governed by its size is how deep it can gouge. A coarse grit may be fairly round and spikey, which will tumble rather than cut.

Many abrasives have wedge shaped edges protruding from triangular looking crystals. These slice easily. They can also dig.

However, a big round crystal that tumbles won't have a deep scratch. So the size of the crystal can be as important as the shape. A coarse grit using one type of abrasive may be a finer cut than many finer grades even if it is the same type of abrasive. Its shape and cutting ability or scratch are defined by the manufacturer and the manner in which the crystals that form the abrasive are cultivated.

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