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In simple terms, "anodizing" means increasing the natural oxidation layer of a metal. If you would anodize steel, you would increase the natural oxidation layer of steel, which is rust. No go.

Perhaps the terms "ano" or "anodize" have been corrupted by marketing writers who wanted a fancy word for "black"? The bicycle world is full of engineering terms arbitrarily redefined then and misused in marketing blather.

/w
 

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Mark Kelly said:
As it happens you can anodise stainless steel and the oxide layer is black in colour due to the chromium oxides. I do not believe that this is the process the spoke makers use, however, as the surface layer on anodised stainless is notoriously easily damaged.
Technically correct, but I hesitate to use the term "anodizing" for steels of any kind. The process is just too different.

You can protect the surface layer of treated stainless with clear-coat. There's also a process which puts an aluminum coating on stainless, enabling you to then anodize the work piece.
 
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