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What is the best stuff to use to help cover scratches and still look smooth, and what about black beauty ?
 

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Beading gets rid of the scratches not cover them.

I've done mine and others with a mix of glass beads and black beauty, 2/3 to 1/3 respectively. It is coarse enough to get rid of the machining marks and cut through the hardening on the edges of laser cut sideplates but produces a great finish that is evenly colored.

Straight black beauty might be too agressive so if you go that route, watch the edges, serial numbers/markings and anything threaded...it cuts fast and deep.
 

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I use 80 grit aluminum oxide without issue. It does not polish the metal like glass beads do, so it depends on what finish your looking for.
 

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I use 40 grit glass bead...plenty coarse and leaves a nice finish...for an amateur :). Al Ox does leave a nice finish too and seems to cut quicker.
 
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