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Bottled Ship Builder

Grinding off details on the outside of the bottle?

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Has anyone tried to grind off or polish off embossed details that are part of the exterior surface of the bottle? Seam lines or the myriad numbers and codes at the base of the bottle, or unwanted textures?


I imagine it is possible with the right tools and materials, but has anyone here done it and have some advice?

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I recently had to deal with a situation similar to this, trying to remove the numbers and symbols baked into the surface of a lab Florence Boiling flask.  On the advice of Bob Prezioso, a superb craftsman I know through the Constitution Museum Guild, I first tried valve grinding compound.  The results were poor, leaving a much scratched up surface.  Then he suggested diamond compound, made by the Helical Lap Co. in Michigan.  This worked, using a Dremel tool at high speed with felt grinding pads.  The results were great, but there are a few downsides.  First, diamond compounds are expensive, about $60 for a small tube.  Secondly, it's time consuming, taking over an hour and a half to clean up the numbers and symbols in a section not much more than an inch square,  Thirdly, it goes through the pads quickly.  I used half a dozen.  Finally, as Bob suggested, don't wear a good shirt while you're doing this - it's messy. 

However, my experience only has to do with something baked onto the glass.  I wonder if this technique would have any impact on the glass itself.



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There are diamond headed bits for rotary tools such as Proxxon, Dremmel etc. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that a drop of paraffin is a good lubricant when grinding glass. This would remove the bulk and then polish with reducing grades of diamond paste. A lot of expense and  time, and there's no guarantee that the finish will blend in.

If its just the seam, tilt the bottle slightly, so that the bottom seam is towards the viewing side, level with the 'sea'. The top one will be over the top and not so obvious.

Can you hide the molding with a bit of rope work?  Or even look for a different bottle?

Hope this helps



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  • 5 years later...

I used up the contents of a clear  square face 1 pint olive oil bottle, lovely bottle, but with Delallo embossed on all four shoulders. A corundum stone with water made short work of the embossed letters, leaving a frosted surface. I went at the frosting with various grits of diamond polishing compound  on 1/2 inch felt cylindrical buffs chucked in a Dremel. I was careful not to contaminate the buffs with different grits, and had no trouble going from the frosted surface down to the same gloss as the bottle, took a while though. The diamond paste came from Tech Diamond Tools by way of Amazon, and cost around ten bucks per five gram syringe. A little goes a long way. After buffing with 200,000 grit there was no trace of the lettering.

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