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Refinishing of steel surface plate tool

Hi all: I am new to this forum and very excited to be here. I am
sure I will pick up many tips from all of you. I have been away from
my workshop for many years and have now set it up again to get back
into making pewter hollowware and silver/gold jewelry, etc. In the
process of unpacking my tools I cam across one of my surface plate
type tools with round and angular indentations pitted and rusted. I
would like to get it resurfaced but have no idea where to bring it.
I have contact local machine shops but they do not have the small
tools to get inside the round depressions to refinish and polish the
surface. I am hoping I can salvage this tool. I will accept any
suggestions. Thank you. Pat in MA

File, sandpaper and polishing buff . . . takes awhile, but not, too,
bad. We have cast stakes that form pits, we can’t all have forged
stakes grin, and they have to be filed, then emery sticks/rods
depending on shape of 220, 400, 600 (I suck at sanding so I have to
go 800 and 1000 grit to get a mirror finish on the polishing wheel),
then polish.

Petroleum jelly coating, with (if you like) a cotton sock over them
(steel tools/stakes) when not in use will protect them from your
environment (we have humidity like you wouldn’t believe up here).

David Woolley
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Hello Pat, Got some suggestions for you, and all who might be needing
this in the future!!! I teach and have used for many decades the
following system of cleaning steel with only four kinds of Norton
"Emery and Polishing" papers. Each of the following papers are used
in a certain sequence and should be noted that these papers can
transform gravers and “deeply pitted” hammers to a sheen that is
comparable to the finish of a Hubble telescope…:>) well almost! LOL
! Lets just start to use the “Emery Paper” number #1. This has a
texture of a rough grit and with a bit of heavy elbow force rub the
paper all over the metals’ surface. As you are cleaning, emery/clean
with a circular wrist action. Then apply still more heavy pressure
with now a Emery paper #2 (finer grit) and go over ALL OF THE AREAS
in question. Rub quite heavily till your hands are sore, this way you
know you are getting down to a lower metal surface. If you wish go
back to the first paper and rotate your rubbing till you are
genuinely satisfied the marks are starting to disappear. I would now
Pat, remind yourself that this procedure will not take a few
minutes, if you are starting to tire, cease for a while, and then
resume. This can be rather tiring to the un-initiated…trust
me!..:>) If you now are seeing some form of improvement, go to the
next level of cleaning. using now the “Polishing Paper” series, using
number #2/0. This specific paper is not going to clean BUT will now
’polish’, do not rub so deeply. You will see now a slight brightness
occur. You should now rub lighter than before, do you see any gradual
improvement? If so, got to the FINAL finish, using a Polishing
Paper # 4/0, rub all over the metals’ surface till you are totally
satisfied with the ‘fantastic’ results. If you are in need of some
delicate cleaning, resume the initial Emery paper #1 - #2, on only
the specific areas that are causing you grief. Then can go back with
the same procedure as before. In closing…Emery Paper #1,…Emery
Paper #2,…Polishing Paper # 2/0 and then the final Polishing Paper #
4/0. Each of these subsequent papers have a “closer grit” and the
silicone modules are closer together. These can be noted under a 50x

  • microscope. I hope that this will help you Pat in saving your
    rusted and pitted tools?.. See me at the BENCH seminar in Chicago at
    the end of April, where this procedure will be explained in person…
    Gerry, the Cyber-setter!

I have used muriatic acid to remove rust from tools it only eats the
rust not the good metal after that you could use your flexshaft and
rubber wheels to smooth out any pits or grinding wheels and then
rubber wheels. I have a whole machine shop and make most of my own
forming tools and hammers if I can be of any help let me know.

sincerely Kevin Potter

I don’t have the time or inclination to do the refinishing myself.
Nor can I match the precision. I was hoping to get a place to do it
for me if it was cost worthy. I will keep your advice in mind if I
cannot find someone to do it. Thank you. PAT in MA

I have been making my own stakes and hammers, to get them to a
mirror shine I file them then I use a large cratex unitizing wheel
on my buffer to smooth out all of the file marks then I use a polish
developed for steel I got some at a place that does chrome plating
it is real aggresive I use a stitched cotton buff and then I use
tripolee and rouge they come out so shiny I can hardly stand to use
them they are like mirrors. Rio sells the unitizing wheels they are
made by 3M and cost about 40 bucks, seems expensive but they work
real fast and last a long time. Kevin