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Old August 25th, 2010, 04:22 PM
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Default How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

I recently saw a Ruger Mark III Hunter that somebody polished to a mirror like finish. I would like to do the same to mine as well as possibly my S&W 686.

How can this be accomplished?

Is there any reason I should not do this?

-Zach
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Old August 25th, 2010, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

I would wonder about the effects of hydrogen production on metal, but this looks like an interesting and easier method. probably what they do on some of the production stuff before plating.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...6&postcount=18
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Old August 25th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

strip everything not to be polished off the gun, sights, controls, etc.

get a buffing wheel set for your bench grinder

go to town with fine polish, and finish with mothers mag wheel polish.

do NOT remove the serial number.

be aware its a serious PITA to keep clean then.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 06:03 AM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

i took the blue off my ak bolt using blue remover. for polish i use Never Dull Wadding Polish. stuff works great, i got the polish at tractor supply ($6) and the blue remover, cabelas (about $4). like was said before, strip the piece good, that blue remover will stain everything.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

To remove a brushed finish or other fine marks, use 1000 grit and then 2000 grit wet/dry paper from your local auto parts store.....then use the polish or jewelers rouge.


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Old August 26th, 2010, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lycanthrope View Post
To remove a brushed finish or other fine marks, use 1000 grit and then 2000 grit wet/dry paper from your local auto parts store.....then use the polish or jewelers rouge.


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I also believe that it is best to go only one direction with the paper in addition to what Lycan has suggested. Takes longer but comes out way nicer.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 11:51 AM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

I used a method similar to what Jay Bell posted. There may be better methods to get the results you are looking for, I'm positive there are cheaper, but this worked very well for me.

I used a 1/3hp buffing motor to spin two 8" buffing wheels. One spiral sewn and one loose cotton. I used stainless buffing compound with the spiral sewn and white rouge on the loose cotton. If you plan on doing anything like this, wear a good stout pair of mechanic gloves or something that deflect heat because the metal gets HOT.

The biggest PITA is cleaning the pieces afterwards. Major PITA. But to me it was all worth it as I love the finish I put on both of the firearms I worked on.

The rust question? Both firearms pictured below get used often, one is my carry piece, and niether have ever showed the slightest signs of rust. I do care for the them, clean and oil after each shoot, so perhaps my anal nature as it pertains to gun care keeps them both as good as the day I put the buffing wheel to them.

Okay, here are the pics:

My Beretta 96 Inox


My Glock G23 with gradiant




The Glock is actually just as bright and reflective as the Beretta, those pictures just suck.

My only warnings from personal experience is that I had to accept the possibility that what I was doing may have completely destroyed the firearm component I was working on. Obviously, I have reduced the resale value of each gun by healthy sums, but I have zero intention of ever selling them. The worrisome bit was that I might ruin the metal in some way that would render the part useless. Of course, in my case, that would just result in the purchase of a new slide...no big deal. For a revolver? I can imagine where a mistake might be much more costly.

My method was simple in that the slides were easy shapes to manipulate and apply to a polishing wheel. I did have some tight spots that were tough with the Beretta, and I needed to be certain I didn't reshape/remove the metal in such a way I changed the fit/finish of the slide internals. The dovetail cut out for the rear sight actually was altered in a way that the original sight didn't fit nicely any more. I was able to reshape the rear sight (think staking) in such a way that it stayed put, but have since replace it with an adjustable sight that fits perfectly. Just something else to consider if you go the industrial route.

Sorry for the long post, I wanted to share what I did. It's possible to polish stainless (even treated stuff like Glocks) with a buffing wheel, polish, and patience. I also believe other methods can get the same results.


Take care,
G.

Last edited by Gi14; August 26th, 2010 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Pluralized warning(s) and added 'n' to word 'long'
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Old August 26th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gi14 View Post
If you plan on doing anything like this, wear a good stout pair of mechanic gloves or something that deflect heat because the metal gets HOT.
ehh... using gloves on anything that rotates at high speed can be BAD!! if they get sucked up (it doesnt take much contact) you can be in a world of hurt.

look into getting a set of non maring locking pliars if the budget allows.
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Old August 26th, 2010, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

I'll bet you guys just get 'dem guns nice 'n shiny so you can look in 'em and comb your hair all nice 'n purdy 'afore you go out chasin women.

Yeah......Dat's what I think.

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Old August 26th, 2010, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: How to polish Stainless Steel to a mirror like finish?

@Blazer: I grew up close with a family that owned and operated a metal finishing company, I spent many hours in the shop. Gloves weren't a choice, they were a requirement. Common sense is king. I don't recommend reaching in front of a big block Chevy with a pair of gardening gloves as it idles. DUH! But a 1/3 HP motor spinning an 8" wheel at low RPM is fairly benign when wearing a tight-fit pair of mechanic's gloves. If you have the noodle to handle it of course.


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