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topic 8330

Plain stainless to brushed stainless at home?


We'd like to use a piece of plain stainless steel (marked "24"), size about 2' x 3', as a backsplash behind our stove. Problem is this steel does not look as "brushed" as the other stainless items in the kitchen (range hood, dishwasher front, etc.). Is it possible to do a good job of transforming this plain stainless to brushed stainless with the tools available to a homeowner? We have a well-equipped woodworking shop, with lots of sanders, drills, etc. I read about using Scotch Brite [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] pads, and tried a bit on another scrap. It seemed to work, but I doubt that it would be easy to get it looking uniform on a larger sheet.

Any help most appreciated!

Carling Lake
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Scotch-brite, or equivalent abrasive, is probably your best approach. My personal experience with finishing is limited to cleaning a stainless sink that had become stained at home. I used a flap wheel on an electric drill, hand held, under a water stream. I had to go over the entire surface to make the fine scratches uniform, but it turned out satisfactory. This pattern depends on the fineness of the abrasive, pressure, and relative speed, or direction of movement of the wheel. On a flat sheet, it may be possible to apply a surface finish using abrasive, either in the wheel, or as slurry, while moving the wheel across the sheet. This is usually called a "machine turned surface". It gives a consistent pattern with overlapping swirls, in straight, consistent lines. Apparently you do not mind if your backsplash isn't completely scratch-free.

W. Carl Erickson
- Rome, New York

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