If you’ve ever used glass finishing compounds like Kem-o-Pro or LIVA Glass Polish you’ll know they’re really useful for polishing your glass, solder and lead work and for giving it a protective coating of wax. They’re also very useful for making black patina look shiny and black rather than dull grey and for stopping copper patina from going dull brown.
But did you ever wonder why these compounds are so expensive, or consider whether there are cheaper alternatives that are just as effective?
Well, there are cheaper alternatives, and I’m not going to suggest you make use of other costly alternatives that other stained glass workers might recommend, such as car wax.
Carnauba wax is used in cheap furniture polish (as are other kinds of wax). Car wax is more expensive and is recommended by glass workers if you hunt around on the Internet for advice. And proper furniture polish is even more expensive than car polish. So, which is best?
If you have a look at the Manufacturer Safety Data Sheets for specialist glass finishing compounds like Kem-o-Pro or LIVA Glass Polish, such as you’ll find at http://www.edhoy.com/pdf/50935msds.pdf, you will discover you’re buying carnauba wax polish with a very gentle abrasive powder (to bring up the shine on the lead and solder work) and some other components that are not so important. You will also notice, if you’ve used them, that they ‘settle out’ into an emulsion layer containing the wax and a whitish powdery sediment containing the gentle abrasive powders. The solution to the problem of how to make your own finishing compound is to use or substitute the key ingredients.
An effective yet inexpensive formulation for your own finishing compound is the cheapest carnauba wax polish you can find to which you add some whiting. The whiting acts as the very gentle abrasive and the carnauba wax provides the protective shine. Job done for a fraction of the price.
Easy. Job done.