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topic 9578

Polishing Stainless steel chain


I run a business, creating jewelry from bike chains and transmission chain. I am asking for suggestions for a cheap and quick way to polish heavy stainless steel chain (1"-2") without having to buff. Chemicals? Heavy duty polish? I would prefer something I could do myself, rather than paying for the expense of electroplating or powder coating.

Aleisha McCormack
- Hobart, Tasmanina, Australia


Having just researched this type of question, I have some information on shine and gloss. Unfortunately, it's not what you were hoping for.

Shine, gloss, reflectivity, etc., all come from light reflecting off a surface that is smooth. The smoother the surface, the more reflectivity you will have. Stainless steel is not a naturally smooth metal, so even if you clean these chains so well that nothing is left but the steel, they STILL won't be shiny because they are not smooth enough.

The only way to get them shiny will be to either paint/electroplate them, which applies a smooth, reflective coating on top of the steel, or to buff them, which polishes the steel itself to a smooth, reflective appearance.

As a personal opinion, I think it would be best to get them electroplated in some way. Done properly, you could get a unique finish for your products at the same time they are being cleaned and made shiny.

Robert Zonis
cosmetic pencila - Bohemia, New York


Electropolishing can provide a quite brilliant appearance for stainless steel, depending on the surface finish of the metal to begin with. It doesn't necessarily have to start out perfect to look great after electropolishing, though. I have seen common pipe fittings and stainless steel plate electropolished to an almost chrome-like finish. It was quite a surprise what electropolishing will do.

Another benefit of electropolishing is that the stainless steel will now have the optimum corrosion protection possible for stainless steel.

Todd Turner
- Monroe, Louisiana

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