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    Re: Cleaning arc of Vernier sextant.
    From: Bill B
    Date: 2006 Oct 26, 23:35 -0400

    Frank wrote
    > Can you describe this process of polishing with ashes? I'm having a hard time
    > picturing it. Are you pouring ashes onto the arc and then rubbing them with
    > your finger, or do you rub the cigarette/cigar itself, ashen end down, along
    > the arc?
    LOL. I think your first impression is closer. In this case the ashes are a
    very mild abrasive. In fact the finger has ridges (a mild abrasive and "open
    coat" sandpaper).  While in theory the process could be done "dry" I would
    suspect one would want to add a bit of liquid to keep the ashes in
    suspension and form a slurry.  This would help lift and wash away the
    material removed while exchanging the broken down ash and "rough ash.
    Like many abrasives the more you work it the finer the slurry becomes, the
    less aggressive, and the finer the final polish.
    I would recommend caution and one step at a time.  You might be surprised
    how aggressive some common slurries are on soft materials like gold, silver,
    brass or plastic.  For example, rub a plastic watch crystal a bit dull from
    wear with toothpaste on your finger for a minute or two.  Add a bit of water
    and rub for another minute or two. Rinse and rub dry. It will not remove
    deep scratches, but the surface will shine like new.
    As a caution, I fear toothpaste would be too aggressive for this project.
    Hope that helps,
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