Newbie: Steel wool

Hello all -
Even after Googling a while I've still not been able to determine what category the "Brillo" brand steel wool would fall under (the one that's available in the supermarket) ... if any. Reason being is that I'd like to use it for rubbing down a finish, but if it's not good enough, I'll have to go out and get some of that "0000" stuff.
Thanks, Chad
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Chad Stansbury wrote:

Brillo is way coarser than #0000... #0000 steel wool is very fine, feels very soft to the touch. I'd say Brillo is more like #0, or maybe #00. It also frequently has soap in it, but you don't want that :-)
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2003 03:58:09 GMT, "Chad Stansbury"

Useless ?
"Brillo" wire wool pads are full of soap, and they're pretty coarse - maybe 1 grade. Definitely not what you want for woodworking, except maybe rubbing paint off house trim.
You'll probably be able to find soap-free steel wool in a grocery store, but I don't think it'll be Brillo brand. I'm in the UK - maybe there's a soap-free Brillo in the USA.
Supermarket wire wool will also contain oil from the manufacturing process. Woodworking grades are oil-free, and if you're using this to rub down finishes, then it's pretty important to avoid oil.
Another option is 3M or Webrax plastic abrasive pads. These don;t live rust fragments behind, unlike steel wool, so they can be better for finishing work, especially on oak.

You've not seen 0000 have you ? The stuff is soft, and very fine - almost like lambswool (from farmer Tetsuo's flock of mutant android sheep). To avoid scratching, you should also _cut_ 0000 wool and keep the pad flat, rather than tearing it.
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Lee Valley Tools sells three grades of fine steel wool. Of course, you'll end up spending money on much more than that, but that's your problem. :)
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?SID=&ccurrency=1&page 062&category=1,190,43040

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Thanks to all for the replies. I will definitely reserve my (unsoaped) Brillo-brand steel wool for tool maintenance/cleanup, and get the finish-quality steel wool from Woodcraft or Lee Valley.
Thanks again.

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Get it from the BORG (Home Depot or Lowes ,etc.) like I do. Its much cheaper in price and quality. But, it won't cost you an arm and a leg. The stuff at the Woodworking places is probably better, but its way too pricey!
Leslie
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Home Depot and Lowes have plenty of "finish quality" 0000 and 000 steel wool as well as the nylon 3M pads, as do most traditional hardware stores and paint stores. If you can go to Woodcraft or Lee Vally, I guess they would be as good a place as any for buying it (possibly a tad more expensive), but making a special trip or mail ordering is not necessary.
Dave Hall
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Not good enough.
I have purchased #0000 at Home Depot, so it is not hard to find. Look in the paint aisle near the sand paper.
-Chris
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On Mon, 15 Dec 2003 03:58:09 GMT, "Chad Stansbury"

Brillo pads should not be used for finishing as they contain soap. Steel wool is very inexpensive, and every shop should have a supply of all grades.
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Back in the late 60's I spent 3 summers between classes making Brillo soap pads in beautiful almost-downtown London, Ohio. If I recall correctly, the standard cut was about 00 to 000 for soap pads. It was judged by eye, never measured.
Used water soluble oil on the cutting tools as a lubricant when shaving the wire. 0000 needed kerosene as a lubricant, which was flashed off in a hot air dryer before packaging (no EPA or OSHA in those days). Made for some excitement when the line went down and we couldn't get the dryer shut off quickly enough. Singed the roof once before we got it out.
You can find 0000 at Walmart and many other large chain stores.

Replies need to put RP in front of the number on my email in an effort to cut down on spam.
Roy Parker
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Chad Stansbury wrote:

Where do you live? If you have a Wal-Mart, you can get various finishing grades of steel wool in the hardware/paint department. They sell it at Lowe's and Home Despot too.
It's cheap, very handy, and easy to find. No reason to even think about using Brillo pads. Particularly once you consider the ramifications of all that soap.
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"Silvan" writes:

all
SFWIW, I have a personal dislike of steel wool for almost everything, especially finishing.
Why? Because the steel particles rust and become a real PITA to get ALL of them off the surface.
These days 3M and others, offer a whole line of plastic pads as an alternate to steel wool.
HTH
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snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net says...

I have tried the 3M plastic pads and have found them less than satisfactory in terms of abrasive capability. It's unfortunate, as I would prefer not having to deal with steel wool particles either.

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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Not if you use a magnet... :P

True. I don't care for them though. No really profound reason why not, I just don't like'em. I'd rather use steel wool.
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