One minor, yet very significant addition to your excellent description of the finishing process----very significant because it accounts for S&W's heretofore excellent polishing: The leather polishing wheels were formed----formed to fit (exactly) the particular surface at hand----flat/round/concave/convex----you name it, they had it (with back-up).
If you browse around in older issues of the Gun Digest(??) (late 50's-early 60's is my best recollection/guess) you will find a pictorial essay of S&W's manufacturing process---start to finish. Therein you will find at least one, if not several photos of these polishing wheels-----gazillions of them piled high on racks.
Bottom Line: If you have a surface on ANY S&W (from back in the good old days) they had a wheel (or six or eight) to fit it----exactly. And given even a cursory examination of any high condition older gun, you will come to believe the lads knew how to use them----AND took great pride in their work.
Them there was the good old days----------long gone, but not forgotten----simply lamented.
Given an unwise, yet overwhelming desire to have your gun refinished, send it to Fords. The primary reason is because they polish by hand---and the results are spectacular. Your gun will not look as it did when it came out of the box----it'll be better (very noticeable higher polish, slightly darker color). Their "Master Blue" is what you're after. Your instructions to them to produce these results go like this: Please assign this to your very best craftsman----and I don't care how much it costs. The bad news is you will never again be able to use this gun----it's too pretty------goes on the shelf----occasional fondling is permitted.
Last edited by rct269; 03-19-2017 at 04:46 PM.