A significant portion of the total manufacturing time for a die or mold is spent on polishing operations following primary machining and grinding of scallops left by primary machining. Hence, there is considerable incentive for automation of die or mold polishing operations. An overview of robot-assisted die and mold polishing is presented here in the framework of a conceptual automation structure consisting of process, control, surface measurement, and planning phases. The emphasis in this paper is on the process phase, with reciprocating stones as the polishing tools because they result in uniform surface finish. A tool-workpiece interaction model is developed for robot-assisted polishing using hard reciprocating tools by modifying a model that has been used successfully in precision grinding. This model is simplified by using experimentally determined numerical values characteristic of these polishing processes. The averaging effect of the finite contact time between the tool and the workpiece is explained, and its significance is demonstrated experimentally. The control, surface measurement, and pass planning phases of robot-assisted die and mold polishing are also described, along with a discussion of associated problems.