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Polishing and Cleaning Up Stainless Help


Absinthe Pete

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So I'm just about done with my 200 gallon Stainless Steel Boiler and need some idea from you people on how to clean it up so it has a nice uniform finish on it. Using a wire wheel on a drill gives me a nice satin polish to it, but wire buffing a 200 gallon boiler would not be easy and by the end my arm would have fallen off.

I do have a sand blaster, but don't want a sand blasted finish, but do have baking soda for abrasive blasting, but again it's a small sand blaster and would take an enormous amount of time. Use green 3M pads really does nothing as well as the small surface area of 3" 3M conditioning discs (roloc). I have many tools, grinders and buffers, but not sure what would be best to cover a large area efficiently.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Maybe I should use a large sanding disc, 6" or so, at 320 grit or something??

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Pete,

There are different trpes of Scotchbrite pads. The green one dont do much but the brown ones from the automotive supply house or the automotive paint supply. I would try that or go to the fine grit emmery cloth pads. The 6 inch pads on an orbital sander may also be the ticket.

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I noticed you mentioned using a wire wheel.... was it stainless?

You shouldn't use any metal except stainless to buff out stainless, as the carbon from the wire wheel can scratch into the stainless and cause your boiler to rust over time.

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Yes, stainless wheel, good tip though. Same with stainless brushes for cleaning welds.

As far as the pads they are not the scotchbrite ones, but a 3M pad green color they are more aggressive than a household green pad but a courser one would be better but still too much to do by hand.

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Hey all,

stainless steel polishing is an art, nothing less. it is a huge amount of work unless you invest thousands in specialized equipment. that said, you can minimize the amount of heavy manual labor a bit. get a cheapo electric palm sander (maybe two, as you will wear these out) and use the brown scotchbrite pads cut in half. each pad gives two usable sized pads. this gives an even finish. you can also "shoeshine" tubes with a thin strip of the same. anything with a rotating disc will create as much work as you do. its easy to create swirl patterns that dont remove easily. you may like that pattern, I dont personally. Mcmaster-Carr caries boxes of these brown pads. Dyna-Brade is one company that specializes in the previously mentioned tools. be sitting down when you get pricing if you choose this root. Sandblasting first would be great, but it is time consuming and messy. and true said...anything carbon will "poison" stainless, or anything stainless that has been used on carbon will transmit it as well. hope this helps.

Jes

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I would seriously consider Jesse's advice. I have some of his stainless work, and it is flawless.

Ed,

Thanks, I appreciate the good word. And I have to say, your Comb Vodka is a little higher than top shelf! I was surprised, not being a Vodka fan, it is as you said-"Vodka for Whiskey lovers". I am about due for another 750...may just drive down this time.

Cheers!

Jes

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