Stainless Steel is a popular material for commercial signage. It’s made by adding chromium and nickel into steel resulting in a product that is naturally rust-resistant. Traditional polished stainless steel can be difficult to keep clean, has a tendency to show fingerprints anytime it is touched or handled, and is prone to scratches. Because of this, many choose to go with brushed stainless steel instead.
Brushed stainless is made by polishing the material with friction using things like sandpaper or a fine bristle brush. For large projects sandpaper can be very time consuming but a drum sander like the Eastwood Contour SCT can get this job done in just a fraction of the time.
The replaceable drums for this sander come in a wide variety of grits and materials for all types of applications. For our most recent project we used a 120 grit drum to achieve the desired look for a set of interior and exterior commercial signs. Before you start sanding you’ll want to clean the piece of stainless steel with some WD-40 to remove any dust or debris.
When using the drum sander it’s important to go slow and keep your lines straight. You can use a guide to ensure perfectly straight lines but if you plan to go this route the guide should also be made of stainless steel. VERY IMPORTANT – any carbon particles that may be floating around in the air can potentially find their way into brushed stainless and cause it to rust so make sure you’re not doing any welding our metal cutting nearby, in fact most fabricators prefer to brush the stainless outdoors to avoid any contaminants that may be in their shop. It’s also important to use a new sanding drum or one that is dedicated to stainless steel and only used on that material.
After you’ve finished brushing the stainless steel spray it again with WD-40 to remove all dust and particles. After that wipe it down with a rust remover/repellent such as Evapo-Rust. This product will break down any microscopic carbon particles that may have found their way into the grain and will also prevent future rust from forming.
With all the benefits of brushed stainless steel it’s no wonder that many people are using it for appliances, bathroom fixtures and even outdoor sculptures.