how to turn polished nickel into brushed nickel, the hard way!

halfwaythereFebruary 15, 2013

I bought these beautiful island lights online at a great price and when they arrived I was so disappointed. My hardware is all brushed nickel, not to mention the stainless apron sink and stainless dishwasher, so these polished nickel lights just didn't look right at all. I was sure I ordered brushed nickel lighting but my email order conf said otherwise.... polished nickel :( There was a hefty restocking fee. I tried to use sand paper and steel wool on parts that wouldn't show but they didn't make a scratch! So off I went to the local machine shop to get advice. He recommended a tool, a drill attachment actually, called an abrasive ball. It's a red, plasticky scouring type of material. It's how he brushes stainless steel. Bought it, used it, love it. I beat the heck out of most of the surfaces with the ball and tore the rest of the material into small pieces and scrubbed by hand the rest of the parts the ball couldn't reach. By the 3rd light I was a pro! So if you ever wondered how it's done, that's how it's done! My fingers are worn to the bone :( My reno is soooooooo far behind, it kept me busy and sane for a few days. Now back to fighting with my slow as molasses GC.Here is a pic of the brushed fixture on the left and the untouched one on the right. It might not look as good in the pic but it's really pretty in person.

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Love the lights! Post when installed.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:05AM
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Great job! Very interesting to me because I had requested brushed nickel hinges on my cabinets and they were delivered with polished nickel. The cabinet maker said he is going to "brush" them. I guess this is what he means.
I love those fixtures, by the way. Where did you get them?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 6:38AM
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Great job, the brushing looks terrific! I'm a little jealous that you have those lights, as I really wanted them in my family room, but they were beyond my budget. ( I'm glad I can live vicariously through you!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:12AM
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Wow, you did a great job with that! I love the perspective of the pic, they look like they could be a couple of feet wide.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:06AM
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Great job!! Absolutely beautiful pendants.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:18AM
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Love them. Can you post a link to them please?

Great job. Who knew?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:09AM
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You are very luck there was enough plating to even 'brush' without going through to the base material.

Unlike brushed stainless, brushed nickel is mostly in the base material.

Nickel plating is not all that thick.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Thanks everyone! If you look at the unbrushed light you'll see it takes on the yellow hue of my cabinets and wall paint. The original finish was so shiny and mirror like, it reflected everything. NOT what I wanted. The brushed finish is truly silver and lovely.

@brickeyee, I did notice that when I brushed the top curved part, after a while it would take on the red color of the abrasive ball. Perhaps the plating was thinner there? It was in an inconspicuous spot. After that I took care to brush a little lighter.

@fouramblues and redlover I saw the exact pendants on shades of light ($319 each) and found them much cheaper on Bellacor ($220). They are a few inches smaller though, but the larger ones are too big for island pendants IMO. The cage part on mine are about 11W x 14H, add about 6H for the curved part. Bellacor also carries the larger size for $309. Oh and I saved 10% by using the code CAP10 so they were actually $198 each. If you look at the site they have 4 on clearance for $121.97!!!! That wasn't offered when I bought mine and I would have been all over that!!! It says re clearance items.....Find the biggest mark-downs in Bellacor's Clearance Center. Items have been returned and inspected/verified to be in new condition. Due to the substantial price reduction that is offered through the Bellacor Clearance center, items purchased on clearance are not returnable. Product warranties may apply; contact us for complete details.
Worth a look. Here is a link to the pendants....

Here is a link that might be useful: Capital Lighting Fixture Company Midtown Polished Nickel One-Light Lantern Pendant on Bellacor

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Thank you!!! This is exactly the info I need! What level of abrasiveness did you use? I googled those balls and i think the balls come in course, medium and fine.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 11:18PM
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