Steel wool is used for many different jobs, from washing out cast iron pans to construction purposes. It is very useful for a number of jobs, but mainly for cleaning. It is a rough batch of steel strips or filaments woven together to create what resembles wool. Be aware that it is flammable, even when wet. There are different grades of fineness that are often used in accordance with each other. Choosing a grade of coarseness should be considered and that all depends on what job you are doing.
Grade 3 is the coarsest of all of the grades. This can be used most efficiently at the beginning of a wood finishing process when stripping the wood of previous paint and finish or cleaning up raw wood of its initial splinters. It is labelled as “abrasive.”
Grade 2 coarseness is often used to clean surfaces without hurting the structural integrity of the surface. This grade is the second coarsest product and will remove starches from metal and spots from tiles. It can also be used as an abrasive tool between layers of finish on your wood floors to help create longevity and a cleaner look. It is labelled as “mildly abrasive.”
Grade 1 can be used to remove rust from metal fixtures and to remove stains from wood floors entirely. Grade 1 can be used in conjunction with certain chemicals to remove varnish on delicate wood surfaces such as antique furniture and the like. It is labelled as “mildly abrasive.”
Grade 0 is used primarily for polishing metals, brass specifically. Grade 0 is your go-to choice when removing the finish from delicate wood. Labelled as “Medium Fine.”
Grade 00 is often used with linseed oil to give the piece a high-polished look. It is labelled as “Fine.”
Grade 000 is used for the same purposes as the other fine grades such as cleaning, removing the finish from a delicate wood surface, or polishing. Labelled as “Extra Fine.”
Grade 0000 is the finest grade available and is often used last after other sanding and polishing methods are complete. This grade will make metal and wood gleam. Labelled as “superfine.”