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Old 03-25-2018, 05:45 PM   #1
sjhark
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Default Stainless buffing question

I started polishing my stainless parts this winter. The head light and cowl light buckets polished up beautifully, but I'm having problems all of a sudden. I started noticing minute pitting as I polished things. My process is to first hit the parts with 220-600 grit sand paper and then polishing with a stainless compound on a spiral-sewn buffing wheel, followed by a white rouge on a flannel wheel. The pictures are of a mirror head, but I've encountered it on the upper stanchions and the top rests, also. I've tried new buffing wheels, new compound, less pressure against the wheel and cleaning the wheel with a rake, but it keeps coming back. I also make sure to not mix wheels and compounds. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong? (P.S. The process hasn't been completed in the pictures, so disregard the scratches!)
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:06 PM   #2
J Franklin
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

Chinese stainless? I note you said the Ford made stuff came out great.
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

I think that 600 as the final sanding is to coarse . i would possible go up to 1000 grit or more then buff . Norm
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

The pits appear to be dents, actually. It's something in my process, as the pits (dents) follow the direction of travel of my wheel. And they show up regardless of whether I use sand paper or not. It's very frustrating!
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

It is the metal that is your problem. Try less aggressive measures and see what you get. I use white and red rouge. Don't overheat the work either.
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Old 03-25-2018, 06:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

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I agree about less aggressive. If they're original ones, these bits are about 90 years old. What does a few more minutes mean now?
Also, don't allow the metal to get hot or it will distort (stretch). I can only assume the compound I use is available over there (I don't use paper). See if you can get some Lee (or maybe Leigh) compound. It is a stick of abrasive material that is applied to the wheel and it will remove scratches etc like that so long as the metal is capable of taking a good polish.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

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Old 03-25-2018, 08:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

J Franklin: I have to assume the metal is Ford metal; I know it's been on the car at least since the 70's for sure. Do you use the white compound as the finish, or the red?
Synchro909: I'll have to look and see what brand of stick I use. I started off with a cheap green stick that I got from Sears many years ago for the light buckets, but used it all up. Then I used a stainless stick from Eastwood and that's when the problem started. I then switched to a stainless stick from our local paint shop and it's still happening.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

I sand with 800 or finer if I sand at all, my final buffs are with red rouge. I've never seen a factory side mirror, or one made of stainless, but what do I know. They may be supplied by outside companies using a different grade of stainless steel.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

Keep the wheel clean I've been told. That advice I was given by a ol'Timer and has made a difference in my work.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

Looking at your pictures and blowing them up, it looks like the pits lineup from the scratches. Less aggressive paper, if needed, then buffing. Have you tried just buffing first?
I’ve used white scotch bright pads with soap and then buffing and had good results!
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:00 PM   #12
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

da sander lock sander so it does not occellate and spins like a grinder 320 grit black then white try it been doing this since the sixtys problem solved take u no time got to use good amount of rogue and get warm
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

SJ, Lee compound is not a brand. I guess it is made by many - it is a type of abrasive stick. A decent machinery supply house should either have it or be able to tell you where you can get it. Maybe an electroplating supply business?
The ones I use are about 1 1/2" diameter and brown in colour.
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Old 03-26-2018, 08:07 AM   #14
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

I often get rouge burned on the material being polished. I know you have to get the metal hot to buff....but not too hot. The burned on rouge is then the dickens to get off. Comments, please.
As to pitting, I have run across original grill shells that showed some pitting and would not polish out. It appeared to be in the metal and don't know if it was at time of mfg or some environmental thingy in the years since; it did appear to be overall and not just top surface.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:21 AM   #15
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

Here's what we do,much as has been stated already:
1. Depending on material thickness and type of part, very fine file, followed by 320,600, 1200 or 1500 grit (wet if desired). 1 head light shell can take hours.
2. Bumping from back side to remove dents and /or pressure to work out material to get a little higher ( but not much) than surrounding area to level then ,sanding. Nail emery board paper type files work great on curves.
3.10" course stitched wheel at not to high rpm to reduce burning
4.White rouge for stainless, small areas at one time to reduce discoloration
5.Green rough for final polish with unstitched wheel
6.Clean parts between rouges .Decharge wheels with flat bar stock or fine file to remove rouge buildup periodically.
7.Some of Ford's metal seems to be imperfect and small pits may appear with deeper sanding and polishing.
Note: Rouges are designed for different metals, and brown and black are not recommended for stainless.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:41 AM   #16
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

A safety item should include a long pair of leather gloves that go above the wrists . I had a friend almost lose a hand with just a headlamp bucket . Norm
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

Looks like your pulling up the surface of the Stainless. I'd try finishing finer with the sandpaper and then white compound going lite with the pressure.

JP
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:49 AM   #18
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjhark View Post
J Franklin: I have to assume the metal is Ford metal; I know it's been on the car at least since the 70's for sure. Do you use the white compound as the finish, or the red?
Synchro909: I'll have to look and see what brand of stick I use. I started off with a cheap green stick that I got from Sears many years ago for the light buckets, but used it all up. Then I used a stainless stick from Eastwood and that's when the problem started. I then switched to a stainless stick from our local paint shop and it's still happening.


Eastwood sells lot of different polishing sticks.
I've also found even more/bigger sticks at harbor freight.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:14 AM   #19
Bob Bidonde
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

You can be sure that the Ford Motor Company didn't mass produce the shiny stainless we strive for in our restorations.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:39 PM   #20
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Default Re: Stainless buffing question

200-600 paper is what you use to apply paint as it leaves a semi-ruff texture for the paint to grab.

For polishing you'll need to wet sand with paper in the 1000-2000 range, THEN move into creams used with a polishing cloth.

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