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Thread: Aluminum w/ scothbrite........Help

  1. #1
    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum w/ scothbrite........Help

    Decided to clean and apply some sharkhide to my aluminum boat.
    Used the acid wash to clean most of the gunk off, worked well but leaves some streaks and it is very white.
    I thought I would use a 6" random orbit polisher-sander to make the finish even,
    Well spent the day wearing out stuff and still not satisfied, I dont want to try to polish the whole thing, just even it up some.
    I tried several types of scothbrite, I had some ultra fine brown, which seemed finer then the very fine blue, but the boat still has a mottled look to it.
    The random orbit is a 6" Porter cable electric jobbie w/ a variable spped, unfortunately I didnt discover that untill the end of the day, I think the tool is about worn out from one day, not to mention myself...!
    Is there a better process or tool to do this job?????
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  2. #2
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default

    The proper use of acid involves first cleaning all dirt and "gunk" off the boat. Acid is not a soap, it etches the oxidation layer on the surface of the aluminum. The surface needs to be wet prior to applying it. Work from the bottom up using a plastic pump sprayer to apply it. Keep the surface wet the entire working time. Rinse off from the top down with copious amounts of water. There will be no streaks if done correctly.

    The white will fade back to gray over a couple weeks as a new oxidation layer is formed. Acid is not a "finish" but a surface prep.

    As for sanding/polishing, you want to use a circular sander, not an orbital. And never use a belt sander. Scotchbrite pads on a flexible disc circular air sander will work just fine. But you need to go back and finish your acid etch first.

    You will not be able to polish out the "mottled" look you describe. The lighter areas have no oxidation left. The darker areas are where the acid didn't get to complete the job and left an oxidation layer. The oxidation layer is so much harder than the bare aluminum that you're going to muck up the surface trying to get it all to look even using a sander. In the process you are removing lots of the soft aluminum from the light areas and very little material from the dark areas. So stop sanding and go back to the acid.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Joat,
    Thanks,
    I did wash the boat first and I also read the instuctions for using the acid, however, it doesnt seem to matter much if you start at the bottom, top or sideways it still leaves some streaks
    The mottled look was not from a incomplete acid wash, it was a result of using various grits of scothbrite to even up the finished look before the Sharkhide sealant.
    I tried orbital and circular, I obviously didnt get something right becuase I could never get it clean enough w/ laquer thinner to apply the Sharkhide. The rags kept comong up black?
    Again, I wasnt looking for the polished look just a light even matte finish.

    So I decide to acid wash again and the apply the sharkhide, went ok, stinky stuff, had the shop door open for some ventilation, I used cotton as suggested, however I was wondering how a sponge might work? have you ever tried that?
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  4. #4
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Never messed with Sharkhide, so I can't comment on that.

    You will always wipe "black" off of aluminum, no matter how clean you get it. It is the nature of the metal.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Akgramps View Post
    Joat,
    I tried orbital and circular, I obviously didnt get something right becuase I could never get it clean enough w/ laquer thinner to apply the Sharkhide. The rags kept comong up black?
    Again, I wasnt looking for the polished look just a light even matte finish.
    Assuming you are using a compound with your buffer, use flour generously on a rag to wipe up, it'll get rid of that black residue you can't seem to wipe off.

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    Default I've seen it done right...

    http://randyscustomdetail.com/ALUMIN...POLISHING.aspx

    I looked these guys up after having seen their work. WOW!

    Anyway, Nuvite is the tool for the job. Look 'em up. They sell kits. I did a fair job on my own because I had the time. The first guy that came and looked at that boat after I'd given the Nuvite lovin' snapped it up!

    Nuvite, then shark's hide = a wonderful result!

    There's pictures allllllllll over the internet about aluminum polishing, Nuvite's on the top of the list. If a pro is doing the job, they're using Nuvite from giant aircraft down to little boats. It's absolutely stunning to see a polished out boat and the Sharkshide'll keep it that way.


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    Member Akgramps's Avatar
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    Sir,
    All I can say is WOW........!
    I know aluminum can look like that, I just dont know if I have the energy to get it looking like that.
    I wonder how long it would hold up with the hide on it?
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  8. #8

    Default I seem to recall..

    reports of up to two years time. I have no personal knowledge of this.. only remember comments that I've read online researching the same thing.

    I did read a note somewhere though that Sharkhide wasn't designed and didn't work that well on an entire boat but instead was for use on smaller area's. After seeing the photo above I see it can be done but I would bet it depends on the condition of your boat before you begin the process.

    The boat above looks great but sadly, any hunter passing by within 5 miles would know exactly where you were at unless it was heavy cloud cover or at night. For me, that's counter productive and the reason I have yet to polish my boat.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

  9. #9
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I'd safely bet that is NOT a hunting boat (or a fishing boat for that matter).

    It's always been said... "if it don't go, chrome it".

    Alaskan boats should be dingy gray with bits of fish flesh, herring juice, and egg cure splattered here and there. Scratches and dings are optional, but definitely add character to a real working boat.

    I wouldn't want something that is polished up like the one depicted above. You know those guys who show up with all that brand new Cabela's and LL Bean camo gear and goofy hat... the ones who just walked out of the store with hundreds of dollars worth of gear, but haven't really spent all that much time in the real outdoors? That's the kind of guy I can see on that shiney boat... speaking into the camera during some stupid bass fishing TV show. No thanks.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  10. #10
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Default Shark hide 3 years

    I have put shark hide on my 34' ocean boat, and it has lasted for 3 full years and I think I will get another 2 years out of it, I take the boat out of the salt for the winter and flush it off after each sea trip. It still is looking great, and is very easy to clean. I polished it before applying the shark hide. I used buffing compound with slow speed buffing wheel on 9" buffer. Good luck. Gerberman

  11. #11

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    JOAT - funny.. right down to the goofy hat!

    I have to replace a the decals on each side and that's the only real reason I'm even considering cleaning up the exterior of my boat.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

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    Default I made that mistake too!

    I also made the mistake of acid washing my boat and getting the streaks down the side. I ended up using a heavy duty rubbing coumpound with my 9" grinder/Buffer. Then I went over it again with aluminum polish by Duragloss. It was soooo much work! I am not totally satisfied with the final outcome either, but it will have to be good enough. I would never try and "Clean Up" my boat again... After all that work when I brought it out into the natural sunlight the streaks were still visible looking from the right angle. All said and done I guess it looks better than it did! See before and after pics
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    akdanman: How in the heck did you get your boat off the trailer and into the garage? Furthermore how did you get it back out of the garage and on the trailer?

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    Default Well,

    I built a dolly out of some wood and casters I had lying around. Then with the trailer hooked to the truck I let about a foot of slack out on my winch and pulled the boat back with my 4 wheeler little by little. When I got to the bow I was able to slowly control the load coming off the trailer with the winch. Then I used my 4 wheeler to pull it into the garage. I put it up on blocks so I didn't have all that weight on my cheap casters all winter. To put it back on I used a come-along in place of the trailer winch and had a couple buddies push and rock the boat while I winched it back on. It is no where near my dream shop, but you have to make due with what ya have! It was nice to be able to spend quality time with my boat all winter. I have to give credit to my better half for sacraficing her parking spot all winter!

  15. #15

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    Looks great!!

    Mine looks more or less the same as your 'before picture'.. I have new logos and such to put on.. still havn't made up my mind if I plan to put in all the time and effort to clean it up before hand though. I may just remove all the old decals, etc. and install the new ones.

    Thanks for sharing.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

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    Default Careful

    [QUOTE] "I may just remove all the old decals, etc. and install the new ones."



    Underneath the old decals will look new and shiney. You will have to do something to try and blend it. If you don't want to polish you hull you could use some acid wash on a rag and try to dull the shiny aluminum to match the old. Whatever you do be careful because you just might open up a huge can of worms!

    Good Luck

  17. #17
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I applied sharkhide back in 96 and my boat still looks good. I did noticed when I applied it the sharkhide would dry real quick.
    After this season I will wash and reapply sharkhide.
    Beside the store on International, what other stores sales shark hide?
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  18. #18

    Default mother's mag and aluminum polish

    affordable.. and will give you a mirror finish just like the picture above if you put in the time.
    First, wipe it down with acetone lightly to clean the metal....even soap and water is good enough. When nice and dry...smear 1 foot by 1 foot sections or larger if you're faster with a thin coating of Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish (will be white). Then rub it down until it turns black and juicy...you heard me right. You can use your finger or a rag but the best way is with the drill attachment...mother's buffer ball. The darker and juicer the polish becomes the cleaner the metal will look. You need lots of clean rags...American Linen on Fireweed sells huge surplus boxes of rags for $25....usually lasts 6 months to a year in the garage. Wipe the black juice off with a clean rag and then follow up with another clean wipe/buff by hand with a clean section of the rag. Will look like a mirror. It's going to take a while whatever method, you just have to do a little at a time with a few beers in between. Do a few feet one day, another few feet next time. Before you know it you're done. The first time is always the worst because of all the oxidation. The key is to rub the freshly applied white mother's before it dries. Get it to turn black and get it wiped off...again do it before it dries and it will be much less work. Any polish is only as good as the amount of work you put it, and your final result is somewhat limited by the finish of your particular boat. I've tried quite a few polishes, mother's works great. Make sure you really want to do it before you start, a half polished boat looks hokey.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    affordable.. and will give you a mirror finish just like the picture above if you put in the time.
    First, wipe it down with acetone lightly to clean the metal....even soap and water is good enough. When nice and dry...smear 1 foot by 1 foot sections or larger if you're faster with a thin coating of Mother's Mag and Aluminum polish (will be white). Then rub it down until it turns black and juicy...you heard me right. You can use your finger or a rag but the best way is with the drill attachment...mother's buffer ball. The darker and juicer the polish becomes the cleaner the metal will look. You need lots of clean rags...American Linen on Fireweed sells huge surplus boxes of rags for $25....usually lasts 6 months to a year in the garage. Wipe the black juice off with a clean rag and then follow up with another clean wipe/buff by hand with a clean section of the rag. Will look like a mirror. It's going to take a while whatever method, you just have to do a little at a time with a few beers in between. Do a few feet one day, another few feet next time. Before you know it you're done. The first time is always the worst because of all the oxidation. The key is to rub the freshly applied white mother's before it dries. Get it to turn black and get it wiped off...again do it before it dries and it will be much less work. Any polish is only as good as the amount of work you put it, and your final result is somewhat limited by the finish of your particular boat. I've tried quite a few polishes, mother's works great. Make sure you really want to do it before you start, a half polished boat looks hokey.

    When it comes time to wipe off the black put a generous amount of flour on before wiping, it soaks up the black mess and makes clean up alot easier. Don't let mama catch you stealing it from the kitchen.

  20. #20

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    Where do you buy sharkhide?

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