Some months ago, I purchased a prop replica of the famous amber fossil from Jurassic Park on John Hammond’s walking stick. It was not really perfect, but I got it for a reasonable price, so everything was fine. Unfortunately, the surface was in a terrible condition for a prop. So let’s make it shiny again.
The eggy shape of the amber was pretty good, but the surface was scratched, tarnished, and had even small holes. It looked as if someone hadn’t taken care of it. You can get an impression from the pictures below:
The procedure is straight forward and takes about two hours (depending on the size and shape it can be more or less):
- Sanding the surface until all corrosion is gone
- Polish it
First, depending on the condition, start with sandpaper with a 220 grain size taking care not to grind too much. Compared to metal, the resin is very soft. From time to time, with a piece of soft cotton, clean the surface. Below you can see what it looks like:
Don’t be afraid of the scratched look. This is just the beginning. After you have finished the process with one grain size, clean the surface with a cotton rag carefully. When you change to a smaller grit size, sand the surface at 90° to the last step. Make sure that all traces and scratches the former step have disappeared. This is very important. Otherwise, you will end up with micro scratches in the end.
When you are at a grain size of 800, start grinding with water. This means you dip the sandpaper into the water before you start.
Be careful with your clothes – It’s a mess 😀 I recommend those graining sizes one after each other:
I know it looks like a lot. But it can be done within 30 minutes. The finer the sandpaper is, the faster it goes. But don’t cut corners!
On the last of the pictures above, you can see what it should look like in the end. To prepare the resin for the final step, polish it with polishing paste for acrylic glass. Again, make sure no scratches are left behind. Most likely, you will achieve a certain shine, but it will still look matt.
To solve this problem, in the last step, paint the surface with epoxy varnish. That will both make it super glossy and seal it at the same time. I recommend Zapon lacquer in an aerosol can, which is suitable for both metal and wood, in addition to the resin. Ensure not to apply too much. Better take two or three steps instead of having drops on the surface.
And finally this is how it looks in the end:
If you have worked carefully, it looks like glass. If the result is not good enough, simply repeat the procedure. If the damage is now just minimal, you can, of course, start with smaller grain sizes.
I hope that tutorial could help you. Thank you for reading and have a good time!