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INTRODUCTION TO METAL FINISHES
V.Ryan © 2018
 

There are often good reasons to leave metals without a finish. Sometimes a metal is used as a concealed construction material and consequently does not need further protection against the elements. Precious metals such as gold and silver, may not need a protective coating / layer, as they are naturally attractive. Many metals, including brass just need the occasional polish, to lift the quality of their finish.

However, metals receive a finish for a variety of reasons:

 
 
 
 
WHY ARE METALS PROTECTED WITH A FINISH?
 
1. To protect them against the elements and resulting corrosion.
2. To protect them against surface scratches / limited damage.
3. To increase the aesthetic / visual appeal.
4. To increase or reduce electrical conductivity.
5. To prevent or limit tarnishing of the surface, therefore, no need for repetitive polishing.
6. To provide decoration, such as with the technique called etching.
7. To increase surface wear and resistance.
8. To increase the products value.
 
 
 
SOME OF THE WAYS METALS ARE PROTECTED WITH A FINISH?
 

There are many types of surface finish that can be applied to metals and some are listed below:

1. A ‘machined’ finish, as provided by a centre lathe, surface grinder or a vertical miller.
2. Hand finishing, through the application of an abrasive. This includes the use of emery cloth, wire wool and metal polish.
3. Adding a layer to the metal surface, through galvanising the surface or anodising.
4. Adding a layer through powder coating.
5. Electroplating a metal, which deposits a thin protective layer on the surface.
6. Oil blacking of steel, to provide a dark, attractive, protective layer.
7. Case Hardening, to increase the wear resistance.
8. Using hand tools, such as a planishing hammer, to create a decorative surface and to toughen the surface.
9. A clear laquered finish.
10. Etching

 
 
 
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