Laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) can be reliably produced with ultrashort (<10 ps) laser pulses given fluence near the ablation threshold. Neat, parallel, uniform structures are harder to reproduce. Electrodynamic models show a field at normal incidence interacts with the surface resulting in periodicity in intensity along the surface in the direction of the incident E-field producing ridges and toughs on the surface orthogonal to the E-field. A completely smooth surface offers nothing to perturb the eventual periodic feature formation but is very difficult to achieve: we have demonstrated that simply avoiding surface roughness components near the frequency and direction of the emergent features significantly improves uniform feature production. An appropriate unidirectional polishing process can be realised using an inexpensive spinning cloth wheel. By using a cylindrical lens we were also able to process stainless steel surfaces at 5 mm2 s−1 so indicating useful industrial potential.