Steel wool is a bundle of thin metal fibers spun into a pad. It can be used to remove paints and varnishes, or for polishing and finishing. The softness of steel wool permits its use on surfaces like glass and marble.

Steel wool comes in many grades of coarseness. Always apply the correct grade of steel wool to the work you have at hand, as detailed in the chart below.

SELECTING STEEL WOOL
Grade  Number Common Uses
Coarse  3 Paint and varnish removal; removing paint spots from resilient floors.
Medium coarse  2 Removing scratches from brass; removing paint spots from ceramic tile; rubbing floors between finish coats.
Medium  1 Rust removal; cleaning glazed tiles; removing marks from wood
floors;
with paint and varnish remover, removing finishes.
Medium fine  0 Brass finishing; cleaning tile; with paint and varnish remover, removing stubborn finishes.
Fine  00 With linseed oil, satinizing high-gloss finishes.
Extra fine  000 Removing paint spots or stains from wood; cleaning polished metals; rubbing between finish coats.
Super fine  0000 Final rubbing of finish; stain removal.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:
  • Home Repair Tools: Whether you prefer to use the Yellow Pages for anything that needs fixing around the house or consider yourself a regular do-it-yourselfer, there are a handful of tools that everyone should have in their tool box. Learn all about them in this article.
  • Abrasives: Choosing the proper abrasive for a home repair job usually means the difference between mediocre results and a truly professional appearance. Check out this article for tips on using sandpaper, steel wool, and a file.
  • Sandpaper: Sandpaper comes in myriad forms. Find helpful tips along with a chart containing information on sandpaper types and uses on this page.

More To Explore
You Might Also Like
The Ultimate Laser Level Quiz

Hanging your pictures in a straight line or cutting a straight piece of wood can be very frustrating. A laser level can make the job a lot easier. Laser levels come with various features and prices range from as little as $20 to a few thousand, depending on what you need. Take this quiz to find out about laser levels.

How does a new product go through the prototyping process?

New products pop up on store shelves every day, but did you ever wonder what went into getting the latest and greatest invention slotted into place? Chances are there was a lengthy product evolution, most likely beginning with a prototype.

Don't Miss