Originally Posted by Mike6158
Polishing- Just an idea but have you thought about using Flitz or Semi-Chrome (I like Flitz) on one of those cotton-wool mops that "they" sell for cleaning guns (bore mop)? Or super fine steel wool? I'm betting the steel wool is a bad idea for some things due to impregnation of the particles in whatever it is that you are polishing.
Mop is not a good idea. It will fit too tight, could grab and cause all sorts of problems. The loose piece of paper is just fine, and very weak so it can't transmit much torque unless the dowel is too big, so use a dowel that gives it plenty of clearance. Been doing it for 57 years more or less.
Don't wrap emery paper all the way around a spinning object either. It will grab and roll you right up before you can let go.
Don't wear long sleeves. Don't put any part of your body over the spinning chuck, ever. Sometimes the chuck jaws will be sticking out of the body and can hook you right into the work. Even if your hand was already on the switch you couldn't turn it off fast enough to avoid injury.
If you file something in the lathe, hold the file left handed so your right arm doesn't go over the chuck to hold the end on the far side. It will feel alkward at first but you will get used to it quicker than you think with just a little practice. Don't have the file lined up with any part of your body. Never use a file on a lathe that doesn't have a handle on it. The lathe can, and probably will, drive the tang right through your hand if the file catches.
Rotating machinery is dangerous. Safety is #1, #2, #3, and so on. I still have all 10 fingers after running a lathe off and on since I was 10 years old (with Dad's supervision).