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Explaining the Difference Between Industry #8 Mirror and True (Super) #8 Mirror

(True #8 Mirror produced on flat bar by Diamond Brite Metals)

Diamond Brite Metals’ founder and current President, George Karpus, often tells customers that polishing is a mixture of both science and art. Stainless steel’s metallurgical properties affect the ultimate finish. The amount of Sulphur present in stainless steel will determine surface quality and subsequently the integrity of the finish. Simultaneously, polishing is a mechanical process that involves a keen awareness of aesthetics. Polishing transforms stainless steel’s surface quality from a coarse, dull hue to a reflective and vibrant finish. Architectural, labor-intensive finishes, such as the industry #8 mirror and the true #8 mirror (aka the super #8 mirror), perfectly encapsulate how polishing is an amalgamation of science and art.

What are mirror #8 finishes?

Diamond Brite Metals services both precise industrial end-users and Original Equipment Manufacturers (“OEM”) and highly discerning architects and architectural fabricators. These architects and architectural fabricators often request mirror #8 finishes for their projects. Projects included the construction and installation of facades, canopies, louvres, curtainwall, awnings and bollards. Since these projects are located in highly visible and highly trafficked areas, surface aesthetics are crucial. The #8 finishes provided a highly reflective finish that is almost free or completely free of underlying grit lines. These finishes accentuate the projects’ seamless design.

How are mirror #8 finishes produced?

Polishing is the mechanical process of removing surface flaws from a piece of stainless steel and creating a uniform finish or pattern on the piece. Accomplished by passing a product under a successive series of abrasive cloth belts resulting in the abraiding or grinding of the surface. The abrasive belts grind the product’s surface imparting grit lines in a successively finer pattern. As the abrasive belts meet the surface, the impact and friction caused by the coarse belt hitting the product’s surface removes the initial surface of the product including any surface flaws. Ultimate surface condition or “finish” is dependent on grit of belts used and whether buffing with compounds is required.

For both mirror #8 finishes, successive grits from 60-600 are used to grind or abraid the surface. Following grinding, rouge-like compounds, generally comprised of animal fats, are applied to the surface using a buffing wheel. The compounds remove any haze or underlying grit lines and increase the surface’s reflectivity. For a true #8 mirror, after buffing, an orbital polishing unit is applied to the surface.

The difference between Industry #8 Mirror and True #8 Mirror

The difference between the #8 mirror finishes is simply that the true #8 mirror is completely free of any haze or underlying grit lines. Industry standards allow for a slight haze and minimum, albeit fine, grit lines in industry #8 mirror. The true #8 mirror is more labor intensive and more expensive for end-users. However, the difference between these two finishes is only discernable by scrutinizing eye.

Diamond Brite Metals, the country’s most comprehensive architectural and industrial polishing facility can produce both an industry #8 mirror and the true #8 mirror. Diamond Brite Metals welcomes and all inquiries regardless of size. For architectural projects, please contact Colton Karpus at For all other inquiries, please contact Darragh Harten at



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