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Old 12-06-2016, 09:52   #1
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Polishing stainless steel

I have a home built Flicka sailboat I built in 1994. I've sailed her all along the south coast of England, ( I live in Torquay, Devon, England ), and i've also sailed the North coast of France and the Channel Islands. Gienah is in need of quite a lot of work now, so i've brought her home to work on. All the deck hardware has been taken off and I would like to ask if anyone knows the best way of cleaning up stainless steel ( the chain plates stanchions etc.) Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:03   #2
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

How rusty are they? light rust, heavy?

- For cleaning light rust streaks etc, I like a rag and 3M Finesse It or even home bathroom product "Soft Scrub"
-There are many products sold out there for cleaning stainless .
- use acid only as a last resort for really rusty pitting etc. For most poorly controlled layman use, the acid will make it rust faster and worse after you use it.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:05   #3
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

There are so many specialty products out there, it gets confusing. I always use oxalic acid because I always have it handy on my boat. It works well, cleans everything up with little effort, but then I am not too finicky. For me, good enough is good enough, now off to the next job. And there are so many....
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:08   #4
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Hi Cheechako, the chain plates stanchions and other stainless steel bits aren't really rusty at all, they just look grubby and could do with a polish. I was trying to see if there is a quick way to do that. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
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Old 12-06-2016, 10:14   #5
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Those little Flickas are amazing boats! Have fun.
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Old 13-06-2016, 07:37   #6
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Never Dull metal cleaner. Fast, efficient, not messy. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 13-06-2016, 08:10   #7
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

After watching a guy who was a LOT more fussy about his boat using 3M One Step cleaner and wax on his stainless, I've been using it with a mircofiber and like the results. Was using Starbrite metal polish before and isn't bad at all for a quick clean. For years ago used Never Dull, I liked it ok, didn't like using the wadding and it lost it's edge quickly. This for items installed on the boat, if items are removed use a buffing wheel. Use an abrasive as tough as what you're up for. That means Stainless Steel abrasive compounds, as many as three different types. These are compounds specifically designed to do the job.

The first cut should be done with a good heavy stainless compound, and a good stiff buff wheel. The next two stages should consist of a fine stainless abrasive and a finer chrome oxide and a wax over to help protect.
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Old 13-06-2016, 08:31   #8
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

If you have the pieces off the boat and in your hand invest in something like this. PJ Tool- 8" Buffing Machine for Industrial Polishing You will use it for other things around the shop also. If you put it on a pipe stand you can maneuver large pieces around it. Adjustable Pedestals for Buffers and Grinders, Heavy Duty Something similar can be built with a pipe and some scrap flat plate for next to nothing.
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Old 13-06-2016, 08:37   #9
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

I just had all my stainless cleaned up with "Starbright Rust Stain Remover". Of course it doesn't shine the stainless, but it takes all the rust spots off. Its then super easy to come back and polish it with a good stainless polish (I like Bling).
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Old 13-06-2016, 09:12   #10
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Abrasives remove the chrome oxide layer from stainless, so you need to pickle the SS after. This can be done with oxalic, nitric or citric acids, best to check with a local SS fabricator to find a supply of an effective and safe formulation.

After pickling, cover with a good wax. Colinate (spelling??) Makes a couple of excellent waxes and cleaners. Start with Metal Wax, then finish with Insulator Wax. Do the annually and wipe down with vinegar after sailing and your SS will look great.
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Old 13-06-2016, 09:46   #11
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Flitz metal polish
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Old 13-06-2016, 09:56   #12
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

I use Autosol for polishing and cleaning my stainless with a heap of old socks to apply and remove it. Why socks? Well you stick em on your hands and it's super easy to wrap the material around stanchions and the like without a cloth dropping from your grip or falling in the water.

You can get it from Halfords or Amazon and a little goes quite a long way. I have a tube on the go that has been in use for nearly 2 seasons of cleaning. Admittedly I am in the Adriatic so it's a little less harsh than the UK waters.

Hope that helps

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Old 13-06-2016, 10:16   #13
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Practical Sailor recommends "magic cloth". Im not sure if its available in the UK.

Never Dull is convenient too for general polishing.

But trien and true old school remedy is lemon or vingar mixed with baking soda. Mix it as a paste and let it sit for several hours before polishing. Simple and safe.
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Old 13-06-2016, 11:07   #14
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Thumbs up Re: Polishing stainless steel

Thank you very much to all the respondents to my query regarding cleaning up the stainless steel on Gienah. I appreciate your help and will try out the different methods. All the best to every one.
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Old 13-06-2016, 11:31   #15
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Re: Polishing stainless steel

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post
I just had all my stainless cleaned up with "Starbright Rust Stain Remover". Of course it doesn't shine the stainless, but it takes all the rust spots off. Its then super easy to come back and polish it with a good stainless polish (I like Bling).

When our boat was in the Tropics, we treated the weldments with Ospho and the West Marine equivalent which neutralized the rust. No polish we used could ever prevent the rust from returning. Good luck and safe sailing.
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