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Buffing/polishing stainless steel, scratches still wont come out

2009 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Harley
For the firs time this past weekend I tried buffing/polishing two complele sets of stainless steel window mouldings and a pair of tail light mouldings for my 66ss. I purchased a "tripoli" compound and a jewelers rouge. I also bought the same companies recommended buffs, a #40 and a more "fluffy" one for the polishing (cant remember the #). Everything was bought at the Home Depot. Although the parts look OK, some peices are still plain dull and the scratches are still there (even the small ones). Is it really possible to buff these to a like new finish like whats been said here and in the books and catalogs? If so can someone tell me what im missing? Do I need a more course compound and buff? And finally, am I wasting time on the tail light mouldings? (Thier probably not stainless steel are they?).

Big thanks for the help and I apologize for the long post.

Chris R.
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Understand what what you are trying to do. I am going to use round numbers and blow it up a little for explaination.If a scrach is .001 deep then to polish it out you have to remove .001 of material surrounding the scratch the medium must be harder than the material being worked. You can work it down utlizing finer and finer mediums i.e. if the damage is .001 start with .0005 grit then go to .0002 to remove the scratches the .0005 made and further reduce the depth of the original .001 and so on.
The dull is crossion that has penitrated the surface and is removed in much the same way.
You have to be careful of plated objects as you can polish through the plating and make a mess requiring replating but if the material is solid it is shiney down there somewhere you just have to keep after it. Go to the bone yard and get a similar piece to practice on.
I hope this helps I could show and tell better than I can write. But you may have to start with sand paper as Gregg said and work your way down through the rouge to the polishing cloth. There are also acid dips but that is a whole other field.

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