Making Stainless Steel Shine
I buy almost all of my stainless steel flatware at the thrift store. Utensils at the thrift store come in various conditions: the shiny ones, the ones with surfaces scratches or just dull looking and then there are the ones that look like they were introduced to the garbage disposal.
When I am selecting items, I am looking for unusual shapes or certain types and styles of handles. Unfortunately, not many of them fall into the shiny group. So, a lot of the time I get the utensil home and need to put some effort in to make them shine.
I attempted to find a method that was easy, fast and produced good results. My first attempt was with just polish and a cloth. That did not prove to be the best method to get the shine I wanted and was extremely labor intensive. I really did not want to spend all my time polishing when I had product to make and a life to live. A mechanical method of shining items up was needed.
I bought a 6-inch bench buffer and tried using that. It worked well. But sometimes the items did not really fit the wheel size. I bought the smallest disk I could find, but that still did not solve the fit problem.
Finding the easy way
I remembered the Dremel tool that I bought my husband for Christmas one year. Of course, that model is no longer available, but it was very similar to this one. This little beauty was still sitting its nice case out in a garage cabinet. I probably do not need to mention my idea of what would be good for a present doesn’t always match my husband’s idea. But it did prove to be what I needed. It moved from the garage to the house and became a very important tool to me. Actually, any of the Dremel rotary tools would work and it you have one already laying around even better!
I watched videos and read article on polishing. I tried several types of polish and all sorts of buffing accessories and techniques. Every time I thought I was happy with what I was doing, some other polish or buffer showed up. I finally found a set-up that really works for me.
The first thing is swapping the standard chuck on my rotary tool for a Dremel 4486 MultiPro Keyless chuck. It allows me to change accessories rapidly and without worrying about the mandrel diameter. It is a very easy item to install.
The next thing I found was the Dremel 511E EZ Lock Abrasive Buffs. They come in three grits, a coarse and medium and a finishing grit so that you can really get the scratches out. These abrasive buffs fit on the Dremel EZ402 EZ Lock Mandrel. It makes sense to me that each attachment does not need to have a mandrel. With the EZ Lock Mandrel, I put it in the chuck and I can easily change the grits. This saves a lot of time.
The final piece of the puzzle
The final step is using a buffing wheel on the Dremel with some polish and making them really shine. An internet search will show you an amazing number of sizes and styles. Pick the ones you like the best. But, please believe me when I say there is no one style or shape or size that will do it all. Last but not least, you need a buffing compound or polish.
There are two polishes I like and I switch back and forth between the two. The first one is Flitz Polish Paste and the second is Blue Magic Metal Polish Cream. Both do an excellent job of shining things up.
Hope this helps anyone who needs to polish surface scratched stainless steel. It might seem like a bit much, but I really wanted share what I have found out about polishing. I cannot recommend this procedure for use on any other metals as I have not tried it on anything but stainless steel flatware and it works well there.
I have come a long way from those first spoons I tried polishing. Although I am happy with the procedure I use now, I keep working on learning more and improving the process.