View Full Version : polishing stainless steel

May 4, 2008, 12:56 PM
What's the best way to polish 410 or 416 stainless steel to a high gloss? How difficult would it be to maintain the shine? Can stainless match the gloss of chrome or polished nickel?

May 4, 2008, 01:01 PM
Mother's Mag Polish gets rave reviews here. Available at auto parts stores. Other can give you a more detailed description of what you made need to do.

I pretty much quit polishing mine. They just get dirty again. There are one or two safe queens that will get brightened up every now and then.

May 7, 2008, 06:39 PM
Get some cloth buffing wheels, spiral sewn or concentric sewn, and some bars of polishing compound.
Use the buffing wheels on your grinder and load one color (green, gray or white for stainless steel. White (or green depending on what brand) being the finer and mirror polishing compound) on one buffing wheel and change wheels when you change colors. Use looser sewn wheels for finer polishing.
Google polishing and buffing stainless steel and you should get plenty of sites where you can get your supplies.
I've done stainless Colt 45's and Ruger Blackhawks and, yes, they shine like a mirror.

May 7, 2008, 06:51 PM

May 7, 2008, 07:17 PM
What are you trying to polish? You will need a variety of wheels in different diameters in most cases. Using too large of a wheel on say a fluted wheelgun cylinder will cause a lot of rounding which is not good.

Polishing well is a specialty and is best left to the pros unless you're willing to put in the investment. I have an 8" for bigger stuff, a 6" and 4" for smaller stuff plus a RotoZip and Dremel tool for detailing. The pad widths are from 1" to 1/16th". Burnishing heads are from 1/2" to 1/16". Then you get into the compounds. They come in different grits all of the way down to jewelers rouge.

Also be aware that polishing SS can cause rusting. SS still contains ferric material and polishing will smear this over the surface.

Cimarron Lawman
July 18, 2008, 07:29 AM
I've found that polishing actually retards rust, because polishing seals the pores. Bead blasted finishes, even on stainless, seem to promote oxidation because the pores are deepened.

July 18, 2008, 10:22 AM
I use Eagle One Nano-Polish for all my stainless and aluminum. You have to buy 2 different types but their great. You can either hand or machine polish with it. The good thing about it is that it has a sealer additive that seals the surface for a long time. It comes in a paste form and I also dilute it and use it in my polishing media and it makes them nice and shiney.

July 18, 2008, 10:58 AM
Flitz is another product that works quite well for polishing stainess.

July 18, 2008, 11:11 AM
Wenol.... Has a finer cut than Flitz.

July 18, 2008, 02:06 PM
Bead blasted finishes, even on stainless, seem to promote oxidation because the pores are deepened.

Bead blasting removes the passivation layer on the stainless and increases the surface area.

July 18, 2008, 08:36 PM
Eagle One Nano Polish puts a protective anticorrosion material into the metals surface and its weatherproof. Check it out, Its good stuff. The nano particles in it are as small as nanometer, 1/75,000th of a human hair. Thats small!

Cimarron Lawman
July 28, 2008, 04:50 PM
The bolt on a Mauser rifle is polished high-carbon steel, and you rarely see a rusted one.

August 21, 2008, 03:10 PM
Polished stainless will have a very "White" appearance wheras Nickle/Chrome will have a slight "Blue" tinge to it.