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Thread: Aluminum Polishing

  1. #1
    Member akriverunner's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum Polishing

    What's the most efficient way to polish aluminum and what product works best?

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    Member TWB's Avatar
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    I'd hit up sport_drifter. Be hard pressed to find a guy who can shine a hull better than he.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    My buddy just finished his Wooldridge Alaskan and he picked up everything he needed at www.highwayshine.com
    27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I have used Flitz, it was a pain in the arse to do and din't last long.
    I am a believer in sharkhide once you get it clean though.
    BK

  5. #5
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    I spent more than 100 hours last year sanding and polishing my 26' Alaskan using Flitz followed by Sharkhide, and I can confidently state that the results are not worth the effort due to 1) it's a MAJOR PITA; and 2) my lack of skill.

    It looks much better than when I started, but it doesn't match the mental picture I had when I started out ;-(

    I got my sanding disks from the auto paint supply store on Lake Tudor, and Flitz is available everywhere.

    On another note - if anyone is looking for a Dewalt variable speed buffer used for only one project, mine is for sale

  6. #6
    Member TWB's Avatar
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    Sharkhide is another good one.
    We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banks anywhere that we may be placed

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I used to polish the boat with flitz and a buffing wheel but it sucks and takes for ever. I came to the realization that if your not going to do a Sharkhide type sealant that your work is for nothing. Aluminum dulls from natural oxidation that protects the metal. That oxidation is going to always come back till you seal it. I have never used sharkhide but have heard rave reviews from people who have and did all the proper prep work.
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

  8. #8

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    Easiest way to do it go to napa get 2-3 bottles of aluminum bright 12$ a bottle spray it on let it sit for a while and then pressure wash it off you can do it a couple times it works great your boat will be so shiny with no scrubbing

  9. #9

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    Do it outside that stuff is strong

  10. #10
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    RE: the NAPA Aluminum Brightener.

    Not only should you do it outside, but make sure you use appropriate eye protection (goggles), long sleeves, and a respirator. ANY breeze will send overspray in your direction where it can cause burns to skin, eyes, and your esophagus if you breathe it. It contains both Phosphoric and Sulfuric Acids, and should be treated with the caution these chemicals deserve. Here is a link to the MSDS for the NAPA product. It's not stuff to play around with . . .

    NAPA Aluminum Brightener MSDS

    As fo making it "shiny", it doesn't do much more than strip the top coat of oxidation away so that you can begin the process of sanding/polishing. It does tend to turn the aluminum "whitish", but shiny? Not so much . . .

    Having said all that, I used it, and it does a great job as a etch, and does take off the old Sharkhide.

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    In regards to the NAPA polish, it should be the first step to polishing your boat, but not the final. Spray this on and let it eat most of the oxidation off and then polish with Flitz or your favorite polish. It will speed up the process.
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

  12. #12

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    And here I thought the reason we bought aluminum boats was for the lack of upkeep needed to keep them looking good

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    Member Kay9Cop's Avatar
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    Is there a need to polish the aluminum other than for aesthetic appeal? I thought the dull gray was normal and nothing to worry about.
    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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    Member Yukoner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay9Cop View Post
    Is there a need to polish the aluminum other than for aesthetic appeal? I thought the dull gray was normal and nothing to worry about.
    You're right, its only for aesthetics. The Grey oxidation is essentially anodized aluminum, and is actually tougher than un-oxidized (on the surface), which is why its such a bear to get off. Seal the Al from the air, and it will stay shiny.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
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