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Rottenstone for Tamra

Bill Hudson

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Rottenstone AKA tripoli is used for polishing out wood surfaces.  The photos are pretty much self explanatory.  While they recommend pumice first I fine it is too course for miniatures.  I use the white rubbing powder which is slightly more course than tripoli.


It says not to use with linseed oil or such. I have not had a problem using them after the final polish is done and the hardening oils are dry.. Rather than using a felt pad I use a T shirt piece stretched over my finger tip, dipped in oil and then in the rottenstone or white polishing powder and rub in circular pattern.


Your wood surface must be sanded to final sanding then polish it out using the powders. It is important to stop and wipe down the piece to prevent accumulation in detail or lines.













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Thank you Bill for taking time to post this.


Now I understand... I have never read about this finish before.  Perhaps it was the precursor for today's sanding sealer.  I  think I understand how it would apply to the sanding sealer post. 


I had imagine a stone that was intact, like a sharpening stone to use as an abrasive for finishing.... clearly I did not guess that it was a form of powdered stone.   Tripoli... yep I recognize this word in terms of polishing, but not rottenstone.


It is good to have the ability to learn about these techniques of the past... as we never know when we are asked to restore a beautiful miniature and may need this for a future restoration project.


I think perhaps keeping a journal of your finishes is very important if you sell items to a museum... they need to know how you did something in order to restore it 50 years from now.



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  • 4 months later...

Thanks Bill!   I tried it, I like it.  Not surprisingly, I need some practice - especially with the accumulation in fine lines and details, but overall it's a great addition to my tool box.

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