Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

How best to polish tools?


#1

I have a hammer and steel block I need to polish so they won’t leave
marks on my metals. I’ve used a fine grit sandpaper on other tools
(burnishers, mainly) that didn’t need such aggressive treatment.

Should I start with steel wool and then work my way up to a fine
grit sandpaper? Should I be sanding these with round motions (wax on,
wax off) or back and forth, then up and down (cross ways changing
between grits)? My power tools are lacking, so this would strictly be
by hand.

Thanks in advance for helping me get my tools in shape!

Tracy
Tracy’s Treasures


#2

Hi, Tracy,

Steel tools don’t require the gentle touch you would use for
non-ferrous metals. In fact, the job might take a lifetime if you
start with steel wool!

If there are dings and scratches on the steel, start with pretty
coarse sandpaper, around 100 grit or even lower if dings are deep.
Work your way up until the surface looks beautiful, taking our all
the previous marks with each new grit-- the usual process. Finish on
a buffing machine with bobbing compound or tripoli.

I did this years ago with an inexpensive small ball peen hammer,
first reshaping it with files, and I still use the lovely little
hammer that resulted. I’ll never forget how it instantly took on a
mirror shine when I touched it to the buffing machine.

On the other hand, I put a lot of elbow grease into resurfacing the
steel block that is part of my bench pin, got it smooth and
beautiful, and as soon as I hammered on it, it dinged up again–
crappy steel.

Anyway, don’t be afraid to treat steel like the workhorse it is-- it
is tough stuff. Just try to be sure the pieces you work on are worth
the effort.

–Noel


#3

I’d glue or staple a sheet of sandpaper down to a flat piece of wood
then scrub the block and hammer face on the sheet. It works
amazingly fast. Then just change the grits. If you want it to be dead
flat, then glue the sandpaper to a 1/4+ thick piece of plate glass
and use that. Start around 120 grit and go up from there. I do not
use steelwool, but I would think that is not nearly as aggressive as
120 grit sandpaper. Good luck!


#4

Hi Noel,

On the other hand, I put a lot of elbow grease into resurfacing the
steel block that is part of my bench pin, got it smooth and
beautiful, and as soon as I hammered on it, it dinged up again–
crappy steel.

Don’t be too quick to blame the steel. Most steels are soft unless
they’re a tool steel that’s been heat treated or a regular steel
that’s been case hardened with a product like Caseinit (sp?) or
similar. The other possibility is a section of railroad rail that’s
been removed from service. After years of loaded cars running over
it, it’s really work hardened.

The steel should be selected & treated for the job it’s to do.

Dave