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Old 05-12-2017, 10:41 AM
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Default Restoring stainless finish

I've been unsuccessful in my hunt for an affordable (to me at least) 66-1 that has not been polished to a high luster. I don't like that. I have a line on one I can get at a good price but only if it won't be silly expensive to bring it back to it's original finish.

I have a 686 from my late dad he had bead blasted, looks good though not the original finish so that's not an option for the 66. It's what he wanted so I will never change it. For the 66 I'd like to have the original look. Thanks for recommendations.
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Old 05-12-2017, 10:55 AM
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A scotch-brite pad and some time should get you close to what you're looking for. I can't remember if it's the red, green, or white that works best. Been a lot of years since I've done it.

Hopefully someone else will chime in.
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Old 05-12-2017, 11:01 AM
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Pretty easy to do if you follow these directions.First get a good picture of a clean model so that you can follow the same brush pattern.Now use a reddish brown 3m metal finishing pad to put an even uniformed brush onto the stainless steel.This will leave the finish almost with a frosted look at this stage.Then soften the finish with a metal polish like Flitz or Mothers. Passavitation on the steel will naturally occur in weeks,or you could use a quick bath ( wipe down ) in vinegar and let sit for a few hrs before wiping off.I have never tried the vinegar myself,but understand how the acid would speed up the process.
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:22 PM
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I use the green Scotchbrite and only go lengthwise. This gives an even brushed finish that can be touched up anytime desired for free.
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Old 05-12-2017, 06:24 PM
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I got great results with a fine wire wheel and Stainless metal polish.
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:20 PM
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I knew I'd get the info needed here, thank you all very much.
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Old 05-12-2017, 08:26 PM
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Make sure we get some "before & after" photos.

Masterbuck54
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Old 05-12-2017, 09:13 PM
mr.revolverguy mr.revolverguy is offline
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Photos please maybe even document the process?
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Old 05-13-2017, 05:50 AM
DeerSlayer88 DeerSlayer88 is offline
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The grey (xtra fine I believe) scotch brite pads do the trick for me, though you can probably use a different color. It's all about pressure and using the right amount (not very much at all, just lightly in one direction only).
My local O'reilly's auto parts store has them behind the counter for commercial accounts and body shops. They will sell me one or as many as I ask for at a time. They have most other color scotch brite in stock too if you wish to test them all out.

Last edited by DeerSlayer88; 05-13-2017 at 05:50 AM. Reason: mis spelling
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:50 AM
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I usually use red scotchbrite, but it really is probably coarser than necessary. It's just what I have on hand. I'd stay away from wire wheels and steel wool. Both can potentially imbed steel particles in the stainless which will likely rust.
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:54 AM
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I use the grey also.

edit: after watching the next video, where they list the grit equiv. of Scotchbright pads, it's the light grey ultra fine, I use.

Last edited by LAA; 05-13-2017 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 05-13-2017, 08:56 AM
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Here is a pretty good video of the process.

I have found that you need to go in only one direction and not back and forth to get the best results.

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Old 05-13-2017, 11:10 AM
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Passivation is oxidation, usually using a dilute solution of nitric and sulphuric acid. An invisible layer of nickel and chromium oxide provides protection against rust. Passivation also removes any iron particles embedded in the surface which rust first and undermine the passivation layer. Acetic acid is not an oxidant, but may help remove iron contamination. At least it (probably) does no harm.

Cleaning solutions used in ultrasonic cleaners contain EDTA, which will remove passivation in the blink of an eye, as will phosphoric acid and hydrochloric acid. Read the label!

Stainless steel used in firearms is magnetic (ferritic), which is harder and stronger than conventional SS, but has less corrosion resistance.

True passivation requires a complete tear down, and should be done by professionals. Sheet metal contractors and heat treatment companies have facilities for passivation.

For most purposes, a thorough cleaning (soap and water, alcohol swabs) after use of abrasives would probably suffice, followed by an application of Renaissance Wax. Wax resists water but will pass oxygen (e.g., for self-passivation) freely.

Last edited by Neumann; 05-13-2017 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 05-13-2017, 02:35 PM
LanceS4803 LanceS4803 is offline
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Excellent info in the video on the different grades of scothbrite pads.
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Old 05-18-2017, 09:58 AM
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Well my offer was declined on the potential revolver but I greatly appreciate the info. If I come across another and make the deal I'll definitely post on it. Thank you all again.
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