From start to finish, modifying a half hatchet into a carving head, and then polishing it takes about two days of work - very dirty work!
This is what I start out with:
This is what it looks like afte it has been shaped and rough sanded:
Polishing is just like sanding, starting with coarse wheels and compounds and progressively getting finer, until a brilliant finish is achieved. I use three different buffing compounds and five different buffing wheels in my process, which produces a "nearly flawless" mirror shine.