For years I loved matte-finish hand tools. They didn’t seem as flashy as polished gear, and they’re usually cheaper as well. But as I bought my father a third pay for homework set of fully-polished wrenches for Christmas one year (the first and second set were previous years’ gifts), I started to wonder: Maybe his love for polished tools wasn’t just aesthetic. So I asked him.
His answer: Polished tools are a hell of a lot easier to clean. In fact, you can generally just wipe ’em off with a rag, leaving a slight coating of oil on the surface to protect the tool from corrosion. My matte-finished tools act like grime magnets, requiring a lot of wiping and sometimes judicious application of solvent followed by a wipe-down with oil.
These days you’ve got a hell of a lot of finishes to choose from, including three or four from each of the major manufacturers. So which one do you like? And far more importantly — why?
(Thanks, Julia Manzerova, for the great CC-licensed photo.)