Surely this is not a sign of factory processing, is it?

I find them pretty harsh too. The factory surface finish looks a little smoother compared to that, though you can still see some machining marks. Take a look at my new OEM EJ253 short block when I started the build…

That finish in your photo looks like it could have been worked on. It could have been spruced up with a somewhat worn and/or coarse grain in a machine shop, but it was most likely done by hand. That said, it might not be a bad idea to bring it to a machine shop to refinish the block – however, they’d have to disassemble the entire block to do that, so who knows how much that job would cost …. and, in my opinion, if you’re going to try to take the block apart, you can rebuild it (eg tear out the cylinders, replace all the bearings and piston rings, etc). Whatever price the machine shop gives you, know that a new OEM short block from the dealer is around $2k. Alternatively, you can decorate it at home with fine sandpaper glued to a marble slab or a sheet of glass. Of course you should seal off all cylinders and oil and water jackets when doing this (you can use blue shop towels). I guess it just depends on what it’s worth to you, as there are obviously risks involved in doing it in your backyard, but sometimes it’s worth it.

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