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jonathandavies 03-29-2008 08:58 AM

finishes available for stainless steel

I was wondering if anyone knows of any alternative finishes possible with cast stainless steel sculptures? I'm looking for a permanent material to cast a piece in, I don't really want to use bronze on this work as it has too much history and I'd like to keep the clarity of the material it's currently cast in (plain white plaster). I've seen some work that was plated silver which had the feel of what I'm looking for but I've had some bad experience with plating and don't want to repeat it. I've been considering stainless but I don't want a highly reflective surface, or a completely dead surface as you get when stainless is brushed or shot. I was wondering if anyone has seen and can show images of some alternate stainless steel finishes, fire stain for example, I'm guessing stainless doesn't really patina but I'm talking about the more natural finishes not an anodized or painted one, something that would add that tiny bit of depth to the surface (if that makes sense).

Many thanks


Marcel Bauer 09-07-2008 10:59 PM

Re: finishes available for stainless steel
Hi there!

If you are thinking about using heat to color the stainless, the problem is that when stainless gets "blue", I believe iron has precipitated to the surface and it will rust. Maybe that is an effect you want, but sort of defeats the purpose of using stainless.

Most of my work in stainless has been functional, and therefore polished bright so I don't know what else to do other than maybe acid etching.

dotten 09-30-2008 02:14 PM

Re: finishes available for stainless steel

My name is Doug Otten and I run an electropolishing/passivating shop for stainless steel. At Complete Metal Finishing, Inc. we electropolish and passivate 200, 300, 400 series stainless and Hastelloy grades. A protective thin film oxide is created in passivation, which leaves the product with about the same brightness it had incoming. Electropolishing removes the peaks on the surface miroscopically and exposes a chrome rich surface, which tend to brighten if not make the surface like a mirror. The incoming surface finish is critical in electropolishing if a mirror finish is the desired result.

Anyway both processes clean the surface and really help stainless become stainless. The reason rust spots are somtimes found on stainless steel is because that is free iron not protected by the chromium.

Hope this helps,

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