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Hand Grinder/Polisher  What They Do

Just the Facts


Grinds, sands, or polishes, using hand tools or hand-held power tools, a variety of metal, wood, stone, clay, plastic, or glass objects.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Grinds, sands, cleans, or polishes objects or parts to correct defects or to prepare surfaces for further finishing, using hand tools and power tools.
  • Marks defects such as knotholes, cracks, and splits for repair.
  • Moves controls to adjust, start, or stop equipment during grinding and polishing processes.
  • Selects files or other abrasives, according to materials, sizes and shapes of workpieces, amount of stock to be removed, finishes specified, and steps in finishing processes.
  • Measures and marks equipment, objects, or parts to ensure grinding and polishing standards are met.
  • Verifies quality of finished workpieces by inspecting them, comparing them to templates, measuring their dimensions, or testing them in working machinery.
  • Records product and processing data on specified forms.
  • Trims, scrapes, or deburrs objects or parts, using chisels, scrapers, and other hand tools and equipment.
  • Removes completed workpieces from equipment or work tables, using hand tools, and places workpieces in containers.
  • Loads and adjusts workpieces onto equipment or work tables, using hand tools.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Aircraft Skin Burnisher -- Burnishes and hand finishes sheet metal stock or fabricated aircraft skins to remove surface defects, such as scratches, mars, and blemishes, and to restore surface to uniform grain, color, and luster, using burnishing tools.
  • Barrel Finisher -- Smooths and polishes outside surfaces of shotgun barrels preparatory to bluing, using files, striker tools, and emery cloth.
  • Fettler -- Grinds and sands ceramic products, such as clay slabs, refractory tiles, ceramic tiles, and bisque tiles to remove defects, press marks, or rough spots.
  • Forging Dies Final Finisher -- Grinds and sands contoured metal surfaces to finish forging dies, using handtools.
  • Glass Beveler -- Bevels edges of pattern (irregularly shaped) glass, using grinding wheels.
  • Gold Burnisher -- Rubs hollowware with burnishing brush or polishing cloth to polish gold band or trim.
  • Golf Club Facer -- Shapes faces of golf club woods to achieve specified contours.
  • Jewel Bearing Broacher -- Operates lathe to finish holes drilled in partially processed jewel bearings.
  • Sandblaster -- Cleans and refurbishes building exteriors, chimneys, industrial equipment and other surfaces using specialized equipment and techniques.
  • Solar Film Installer -- Cuts out and applies sun-blocking film on windows of vehicles or buildings, using handtools and applying knowledge of installation techniques.