View Full Version : re-finishing stainless steel

Kurt Bernat
01-04-2011, 3:11 PM
I'm making a stainless backsplash for behind the Range in our kitchen. I found a cheap piece of stainless and got it sheared to the correct width. I would like to improve the look of the brushed finish, i.e. remove the minor cross grain scratches and other blemishes before I mount it. Belt sander, what grit? Hand sand? How would a random orbit sander with 220 grit look? Any ideas or help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Matt Meiser
01-04-2011, 3:20 PM
Depends on deep and what type of scratch pattern you want, of a scratch pattern you want. If you want it in a straight line, definitely don't use a ROS. I'd start with a green Scotchbrite pad. When our kitchen sink starts looking a little ugly i do that and it looks nice again. If you aren't happy with that switch to hand sanding with fine grit paper and work your way up from there.

Lee Schierer
01-04-2011, 4:40 PM
Make sure you don't use any belt or tool that has touched iron in any form as you can embed iron in the stainless which will start to rust. 320 or 220 grit on a belt sander with a soft foot pad looks nice. I suggest trying it our on some scrap and get the look you want. There is a lot of technique involved in getting a uniform grain all the way across a piece.

Bruce Page
01-04-2011, 4:46 PM
I have spruced up SS sheet using Scotch Brite and a piece of 1x4 used as a straight edge. It takes a little elbow grease but the results are worth it.

David G Baker
01-04-2011, 6:42 PM
When I was a kid I worked for FMC's shop in Sacramento called Vitafreeze building stainless steel ice cream machines. We would hand sand the stainless using 120 grit sand paper and oil to restore the stainless grain. Make sure that you run with the grain when sanding. There may be different grain patterns on different sheet material but I only worked with the material furnished by FMC. It takes a little effort but you can make it look like new if you spend the time working on it. As has been mentioned you can use Scotch-bright to soften the grain depending on the final look you are looking for.

Bill Edwards(2)
01-04-2011, 7:26 PM
I was given a cheap sword that was rusted.

I used a green Scotchbrite pad, gun oil and a lot of patience.

Worked great.

Jim Finn
01-04-2011, 8:27 PM
I am a retired sheetmetal worker. We used unpolished stainless steel when working at JohnsonsWax in Wis. We made the required shape and polished this stainless steel with a flap wheel. Actualy 3-4 of them mounted on a large air driven tool. Scotch brite a bit after that.

Kurt Bernat
01-06-2011, 9:10 AM
Thanks for all the replies. I forgot about the scotchbrite pad, that will be step one. If unsuccessful I guess I will hand sand. Thanks again for the tips.