A finishing processes for smoothing a workpiece’s surface using an abrasive and a work wheel or a leather strop. Polishing is a more aggressive process while buffing is less harsh, which leads to a smoother, brighter finish.

Polishing is often used to enhance the looks of an item and is used to create a flat, defect-free surface. Polishing stainless steel can also increase the sanitary benefits of stainless steel.

The condition of the “metal” at hand determines what type of abrasive will be applied. The first stage, if the material is unfinished, starts with a rough abrasive (perhaps 60 or 80 grit) and each subsequent stage uses a finer abrasive, such as 120, 180, 220/240, 320, 400 and higher grit abrasives, until the desired finish is achieved.

To achieve a mirror finish it requires polishing and buffing compounds, polishing wheels and high speed polishing machines.