Metal Finishing Types and The Process Involved

There are many different types of metal finishing: processes that run the gamut from highly complex to simple and basic. Each method offers a unique set of benefits, depending on the type of metal and the number of pieces being finished. Regardless of the finishing type, each process also has some downsides. Cost is one major factor, along with the materials used in manufacturing.


Abrasive blasting effectively removes debris, scale, rust and other unwanted materials from a metal part or product. The process relies on either pressurized air or a motor-driven wheel to propel a stream of abrasive material against the object. The shape and size of the abrasive media particles play an important role in the final surface finish. Round-shaped particles are less abrasive than angular shapes. If you’re restoring an antique, dry blasting may be best for removing paint and other contaminants from a surface. You can also use wet abrasive media for rust removal and decoration. Shot blasting is an alternative to sandblasting when you need deep abrasion penetration on heavy surfaces like gears and shafts. It uses coarse abrasion media like steel shot and grit to loosen caked-on rust and baked-on pollution.


Staining is one of the most common types of metal refinishing NYC. It gives various materials a smooth, shiny finish, including aluminum, brass, bronze and stainless steel.

During this process, the surface of the metal is brushed with a brush or other abrasive material. Often, a grit belt is used for speed and efficiency. This finish is popular with many industries and homes. It is less harsh than polished finishes, which makes it easier to clean and protect from tarnish and corrosion. It is also a good option for high-traffic areas that benefit from an aesthetic, non-slip finish. This type of finish is ideal for stainless steel, often used in kitchens and bathrooms.


Lapping is a metal finishing process used for smoothing and preparing the surface of a piece of metal. This method is often performed by skilled artisans, who use a soft iron tool with a mild abrasive slurry to work the surface gently. This machining process requires using a medium (lapping fluid or carrier) manufactured with additives. Oil-based mediums are commonly used, as they are easier to clean than water-based ones. When a lapping plate is rotated, the abrasive particles between it and the workpiece transfer cutting energy with their sharp edges and remove microscopic material chips from the component surface. The abrasives can vary from aluminum oxide or alumina, silicon carbide (SiC), boron carbide (B4C) and diamond. Each has its characteristic properties and is used for different applications.


Polishing is a metal finishing process that creates a smooth and shiny surface. It can be done with various abrasives and is ideal for many metals.

It is a popular method used by industries that produce metal products. It gives them a quality surface finish that protects against corrosion, rust and tarnish while maximizing the product’s strength, thickness, durability and hardness. The polishing process can be completed by hand or by using a machine. It is an inexpensive and effective way to make a metal item shine. Another popular method for metal finishing is electropolishing, which involves immersing the object in a liquid bath. The fluid acts as a conductor of electricity, making the surface smoother by removing small amounts of debris or burrs. Buffing is a similar process to electropolishing, but it uses a machine with a cloth wheel. Manufacturers use a common metal finishing method to prepare metal parts for electropolishing. It is typically applied to remove burrs or minor imperfections and eliminate peaks and valleys.