Questions on Sanding Soapstone

gaylJanuary 20, 2013

I have some scratches on my soapstone that haven't come out with with waxing. I checked with my fabricator and he told me to sand them out using first 320 grit, then 400 grit sandpaper. When I did that, the scratches came out, but in the area where I sanded, it is definitely duller in that area. I have put about 4 more applications of wax on that area, but it is still significantly duller there. Can anyone help me figure out how to bring this area to the same finish as the rest of the stone? Thank you1

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Try some 600 wet sandpaper

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:26AM
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I have Alberene ss in the hard Church Hill variety, so my experience(I fabricated, honed, and installed myself) may be different.
I only finished to 320 grit. That's with an extremely hard SS. If yours is softer, it is usually recommended to go coarser.
To your issue: I think you have a spot because whatever patina had been achieved has now been abraded away, and it will take some time to develop another layer of patina.
Also make sure you have thoroughly washed off all of the dust and scrubbed the surface. SS isn't porous _per se_ on a chemical level, but a 320 or 400 grit surface has those sanding scratches, which under the lens are deep valleys which can catch the powdered stone, so cleaning is needed.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:13AM
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Thanks to each of you. I will try this. I do have a softer stone, but I'm not sure that coarser will be better....don't I want to go to a higher grit? I know that when I first moved in someone tried to use a scrubbie to get a mark out, and it is still very rough and more matte there. I just assumed it was because they used such a coarse surface that it turned like that. But I am obviously still in the learning curve on this and would sure like to figure out the fix here.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:59AM
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I think Casey meant that it is advisable with a softer stone to use a coarser grit all the way around. However, it sounds like your fabricator may have made his or her final polish with a considerably smoother (higher #) grit. I agree with ctycdm to try 600 wet or dry paper (with it wet, of course). I also recommend using a sanding block. I also agree with Casey that the coloration may be off from lack of patina. But you indicate that the surface is actually duller, so it may be not as smooth as the surrounding areas, too.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:04PM
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I haven't gotten around to getting the 600 grit yet, but I do notice that the area I sanded is noticeably rougher when I go over it with my fingernail. I have waxed the area a few more times since I wrote originally, and it is still much duller looking than the rest of the stone.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:59AM
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I am a fabricator.

use a finer grit. buy 320, 400, and 600. it's doubtful you'll need a finer grit than 600 but if it feels rougher than the rest of the top keep going to a finer grit.

why are you waxing? we never wax soapstone. normally the stone is oiled repeatedly with mineral oil (until it no longer adsorbs any oil) or finished with an enhancing sealer.

I've actually never hear of waxing soapstone.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 1:32PM
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beeswax. It's a little less greasy feeling and longer lasting then the mineral oil.

Try cleaning the entire counter with dawn dish soap and start all over. It cuts through old oil and might give you an even starting point.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 2:48PM
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oldryder, I use Dorado Dry wax, as recommended by my fabricator. I must say, I've never had SS before, but I have loved this. It was installed about 15 months ago, and the only time I've had to re-wax was in the areas where there were small scratches and I went over them with a little dry wax to blend in. Until now when I needed to go over the area I sanded. The rest of the counters still look great.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 4:36PM
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gharborwa; thx for reply. I will look into it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Oldryder, I just sanded my beat up SS counters with a random orbital with 60, 150, then 220. I was able to get all of the cuts out (previous owner didn't believe in cutting boards I guess) but now I have some pronounced 'bumps' that are actually a higher sheen than the rest of the counter. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to take those down.
Thank you

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 2:47PM
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The bumps are the harder areas of the stone. I avoided the problem by sanding with diamond-embedded sanding discs, (that have a thin metal base material) and a wood block for the hand-sanded edges and roundovers, definitely not a padded sanding disc. To dress it back to flat you have a lot of work ahead of you.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Yes, I agree with Casey. My SS looks very similar to yours. I found that when I hit it with a belt sander, it came out flat. That is, the backing of the sanding belt had sufficiently small compliance.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 5:12PM
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The OP is having problems with using a lower grit than what was originally used by the fabricator. I would assume that the fabricator polished it up with diamond pads, so you can't match that finish with sandpaper. Also sand paper will eat the talc away faster than the other minerals in the stone. This is why your feeling the rough spots where you sanded.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Alberene Soapstone is now offering their own dry wax!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dry Wax info page

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:36AM
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Alberene, it is nice to have you aboard, but commercial spammy messages such as your last one are not allowed under the Terms of Service of this site. Please dial it down.

Before your next post, take a look at the link "Businesses using this forum," which handily appears just before you hit "Submit message."

Here is a link that might be useful: Businesses Using the Forums

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:10PM
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