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Old October 9, 2013, 01:51 AM   #1
ZentetsukenVII
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Polishing stainless?

I am wondering if you can take a buffed/matte/ not chrome looking stainless gun and make it so it shines like a mirror. Is this difficult? I do Japanese sword blade polishing so I know I could do it, but is it recommended/easy enough?
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Old October 9, 2013, 07:28 AM   #2
45_auto
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Making it shiny is the easy part. Any commercial stainless polish and a buffer will knock it out extremely easily.

The hard part is doing it without rounding off edges and/or getting waves in flat areas. Dremel tools are extremely useful if you like the wavy look.
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Old October 9, 2013, 09:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
I am wondering if you can take a buffed/matte/ not chrome looking stainless gun and make it so it shines like a mirror. Is this difficult? I do Japanese sword blade polishing so I know I could do it, but is it recommended/easy enough?
It sounds like you may already know how to polish metal, so if you like the look of high polished stainless I say go for it.

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Old October 9, 2013, 02:32 PM   #4
ZentetsukenVII
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Thanks guys. A may be getting a Ruger sp101 in stainless soon, but I want it to look all chrome and stupid. I don't know why but I really dig that look. Can I just go by way of Mother's Mag and steel wool?
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Old October 9, 2013, 04:16 PM   #5
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Also if I decided to keep my 1911 (ruger non reflective stainless) could I do the same thing to it? The Ruger logo and serial number are a black engraved kinda thing and I don't want to accidentally remove them. Anyone got any ideas?
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Old October 9, 2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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As 45_Auto mentioned, you can do it with most any polish, you just may not like the results. Better to start with a "gloss" stainless gun.
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:30 PM   #7
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Polish the flats on the 1911 with Silicon Carbide wet/dry paper on a block to keep the flat sides flat, and leave the radiused areas matte. If you polish the front of the grip, the pistol will be slippery, and if you polish the top of the slide, the pistol will shine so much it might make it hard to use the sights. Other than that, go for it.
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:35 PM   #8
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The main issue is that factory satin finish stainless guns are left with small machine marks from manufacture.
If you buy a factory bright polish gun, they use professional polishing equipment to remove the tiny marks and then bring it to a mirror shine.

While using metal polish and a cloth will bring a gun to as bright shine, metal polishes can't remove the fine machine marks nor bring the metal to a true mirror shine.
To do that you have to use fine abrasives to remove the marks and work down in grit until a metal polish can produce a true mirror shine.

Automotive stores sell extremely fine "wet or dry" abrasive cloth that can be used for this but be aware that it's extremely difficult to do this level of polishing without rounding off sharp edges, dishing out holes and leaving ripples in the flats.

Professional polishers have the specialized skills to do gun polishing without doing damage, and they use special shaped polishing tools to polish ares like inside the trigger guard, around frame features, and the cylinder flutes.
The quality of polishing is what sets a good blue job apart from a botched up mess. Gun polishers have years of experience and special equipment to do it whether on carbon or stainless steel.

So, if you want a bright and shiny gun, use metal polish and cloths.
If you want a factory level true mirror polish, it's going to require a lot more skilled effort and the risk of botching the gun are high.

.
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:47 PM   #9
Garycw
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Polishing stainless?

I would skip the steel wool! SemiChrome polish is the best I've found for stainless pistols. It's a little hard to find sometimes through. Some cycle shops have it. Barney's in St. Pete. Fl. For one. , or you can find on eBay. Red jewelers rouge may work too, but haven't tried that. I know the SemiChrome works on lots of different metals. though
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Old October 9, 2013, 08:00 PM   #10
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"Simichrome" in case you need the correct spelling to look it up.
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Old October 9, 2013, 09:05 PM   #11
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It can be done and I have a stainless Colt 1911 that is so shiny I thought it was nickel plated. Anyway the key is in removing all the scratches first before you polish it. Scratches are magnified by high polish. They just stand out more because of the greater contrast. Remove them and then polish.
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Old October 10, 2013, 01:51 AM   #12
ZentetsukenVII
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I've gotten some high carbon steel blades to a mirror sheen from 400 grit. I imagine a gun will be easier to do because I don't risk cutting my finger off and it's a lot smaller. Not to mention you have to work to keep the edge nice and even.

I think I'm gonna go for it, but I can't start for a while. I will post a full thread of the process from start to finish and probably some videos.
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Old October 10, 2013, 11:03 AM   #13
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I've polished the sides, muzzle and rear of a matte stainless slide on an old Taurus PT111 Pro that I had. I used a Dremel with Aluminum oxide wheel to first remove scratches and such and then jewelers rouge on a felt wheel, then some Maguiers metal polish compound on a felt wheel for the final polish. Came out to a mirror shine with no waves in the flat sides of the slide.
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Old October 10, 2013, 02:22 PM   #14
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It's best to leave the Dremel alone, and use sanding blocks and wet/dry automotive silicon carbide paper. Start at 400 grit, then 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 ,2500. Then hand poilish with Simichrome polish.
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Old October 10, 2013, 02:30 PM   #15
ZentetsukenVII
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I'm going to open up a new thread in the same sub-forum beginning my questions and procedures. Thanks for the help!
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Old October 15, 2013, 12:18 PM   #16
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As others mentioned you need to start with a block and paper. Use some dowels and other shaped wood to get into radiuses. I would start with 600 and work your way to crocus cloth or 1200 before you start with a polishing wheel. Then work your way through the 3 rouges. Final polish with a cheese cloth and something like simichrome or flitz. You will need to disassemble everything and make sure all the excess rouge is removed with something like mineral spirits. Personally I wouldnt do it.
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Old October 18, 2013, 01:02 PM   #17
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Put the dremmel away

The dremmel even on its lowest setting is too fast for polishing. A drill with a buffing wheel is a better tool choice. You can get the buffing wheel (3 graduated sizes) and a polishing compound at Harbor Freight for $6. It'll work like a charm.

The bad thing is when you try to shoot it the glare from the top will make it difficult to see the sights. That's why my Colt Gold Cup Trophy is matte finished on the top and polished on the sides.
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Old October 18, 2013, 02:22 PM   #18
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Polishing stainless?

The simichrome , cpl cloth rags & some elbow grease are all you need. You won't have to take a chance on messing it up or end up doing more that you wanted to do to fix it. The stuff is amazing and great for anything metal you want to shine. $12 for a 2 or 3 oz tube. It just takes a very little to do a gun
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Old October 18, 2013, 04:53 PM   #19
Bill DeShivs
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I am a cutler, plater, engraver, former gunsmith. I know how to polish metal. Unless the surface finish is very fine already, using Simichrome will not properly polish the metal. You can make it shinier, but it will not be properly mirror polished.
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Old October 18, 2013, 07:33 PM   #20
Garycw
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Polishing stainless?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill DeShivs View Post
I am a cutler, plater, engraver, former gunsmith. I know how to polish metal. Unless the surface finish is very fine already, using Simichrome will not properly polish the metal. You can make it shinier, but it will not be properly mirror polished.
I would imagine it depends on the condition of the metal you're starting with. If its really bad and scratched up s buffing wheel with corse to medium rouge. Then finish with a very fine or jewelers rouge for a mirror finish.
On my SS Ruger the simichrome did a excellent job with that only.
I used to do quite a bit of hard chrome plating and used buffing wheels on some of the parts to make them shine like nickel chrome
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