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Mechanical Finish Designations

Mechanical finishes are those finishes accomplished by polishing or grinding. Here are the most common designations.

Mechanical finishes and designations

#3 Finish — Also called Grinding, Roughing or Rough Grinding
These finishes are coarse in nature and usually are a preliminary finish applied before manufacturing. An example would be grinding gates off of castings, deburring or removing excess weld material. It is coarse in appearance and applied by using 36-100 grit abrasive.

When the finish is specified as #3, the material is polished to a uniform 60 – 80 grit.

#4 Architectural Finish — Also called Brushed, Directional or Satin Finish
A #4 Architectural Finish is characterized by fine polishing grit lines that are uniform and directional in appearance. It is produced by polishing the metal with a 120 – 180 grit belt or wheel finish and then softened with an 80 – 120 grit greaseless compound or a medium non-woven abrasive belt or pad.

#4 Dairy or Sanitary Finish
This finish is commonly used for the medical and food industry — almost exclusively used on stainless steel. This finish is much finer than a #4 Architectural Finish. Great care should be taken in removing the surface defects in the metal — like pits — that could allow bacteria to grow. A #4 Dairy or Sanitary Finish is produced by polishing with a 180 – 240 grit belt or wheel finish softened with 120 – 240 grit greaseless compound or a fine non-woven abrasive belt or pad.

#6 Finish  or Fine Satin Finish
This finish is produced by polishing with a 220 – 280 grit belt or wheel softened with a 220 – 230 greaseless compound or very fine non woven abrasive belt or pad. Polishing lines should be soft and less reflective than a #4 Architectural Finish.

#7 Finish
A #7 finish is produced by polishing with a 280 – 320 belt or wheel and sisal buffing with a cut and color compound. This is a semi-bright finish that will still have some polishing lines, but they should be very dull. Carbon steel and iron are commonly polished to a #7 finish before chrome plating. A #7 finish can be made bright by color buffing with coloring compound and a cotton buff. This is a good way to keep polishing costs down when a part needs to be shiny, but not flawless.

#8 Finish or Mirror Finish
This finish is produced by polishing with at least a 320 grit belt or wheel finish. Care should be taken in making sure all surface defects are removed. The part is sisal buffed and then color buffed to achieve a mirror finish. The quality of this finish is dependent on the quality of the metal being polished. Some alloys of steel and aluminum cannot be brought to a mirror finish. Castings that have slag or pits will also be difficult — if not impossible — to polish to a #8.

Contact Wagner regarding your railing project

Building on a 165-year legacy, Wagner is the go-to resource for metal fabricating and architectural railing expertise. More than just a manufacturer and worldwide supplier, our niche focus and local market knowledge enable us to innovate so we can better adapt to customer needs.

Accommodating to work with, Wagner lives to collaborate. Our customers rely on us to provide the best possible solution for any installation. Responsive to answering calls and quick to solve problems, we remain an active partner throughout projects and in building long-lasting relationships. As proud and knowledgeable metal workers, we’re passionate about helping our customers find a better, faster, and higher overall value solution. As the experts in code requirements, we work with you to help ensure your specifications and installations meet or exceed them, worldwide.

We communicate openly and honestly and fulfill the promises we make. By standing firmly behind our products and services, we’ve earned the trust of our customers, and that’s why they rely on us day in and day out. By investing in our company, we’ve stayed ahead of emerging trends and are now positioned to serve our customers well into the future.

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