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Sanding Porcelain

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If I have to sand porcelain, I use waterproof carborundum paper (also called wet-dry sandpaper).  I've found it at a small hardware store in 150 grit.  If you use it wet, it makes a paste and not a dangerous dust, and you can rinse the paste off in a small bucket as often as you need to. I also have a small cheap rotary tool (similar to a Dremel) with very small diamond grinders.  Mine comes from Harbor Freight.  The results of the grinder on finished porcelain are coarse enough to require a bit of hand sanding, but it depends on where you need to smooth.

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I know you said high fired, but in my experience I've found it's a lot easier to sand at the bisque stage if possible. The 220 wet-dry sandpaper works well but doesn't hold up long on the high fired porcelain—you get more mileage out of it at the bisque stage. I make a lot of unglazed porcelain beads and small sculptural forms, and my process is to use fine steel wool on bone dry greenware (if needed, wearing a mask), then after bisque firing I wet-sand any pieces that aren't as smooth as I'd like using either the diamond pads linked above, or sandpaper. After the final firing, if anything feels rough I might sand it again. A three step-sanding process is obviously a bit tedious, but for very special pieces it's worth it for the amazing buttery finish.

 

Also if you happen to be making small rounded forms, you could use a large rock tumbler with water and some aluminum oxide powder which is much, much easier than manually sanding them. This could be done at either the bisque or high fired stage depending on how much material you want to take away. 

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