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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    It's a 12' semi-vee Alumacraft that's about 40 years old. Central Illinois = fresh water. Rub your hand across is and it's akin to rubbing across 1000 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper with a few pits.

    I admit it. I'm attracted to pretty, shiney things.
    That a mirror-finish hull is likely to go faster too has not escaped my attention.

    I have an *OLD* Craftsman orbital sander with a felt pad to cushion the sandpaper. I'm thinking of using the bare felt to apply rubbing compound, then polishing compound. Assuming that works, what's a good 'wax' to use to preserve the appearance of my "go-faster MirrOlure"?

  2. #2
    Admiral jigngrub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    I consider overkill a job well done... plus a little extra.

    There's as many ways to do something as there is people to tell you how to do it... but not all of them are the right way.

    The drinking and debauchery will continue until morale improves... and maybe for a little while after.

  3. #3
    Moderator Bob_VT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by jim j geezer View Post
    It's a 12' semi-vee Alumacraft that's about 40 years old. Central Illinois = fresh water. Rub your hand across is and it's akin to rubbing across 1000 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper with a few pits.

    I admit it. I'm attracted to pretty, shiney things.
    That a mirror-finish hull is likely to go faster too has not escaped my attention.

    I have an *OLD* Craftsman orbital sander with a felt pad to cushion the sandpaper. I'm thinking of using the bare felt to apply rubbing compound, then polishing compound. Assuming that works, what's a good 'wax' to use to preserve the appearance of my "go-faster MirrOlure"?
    Okay then..... you are part squirrel!!! It has been done many times before and what you feel is oxidation which is actually protecting your hull.

    If you look up Airstream trailers you will see some polishing. A few members start with sand paper and wet sand through the gritty surface. You could try 600 or 1200 to start. Some people use 0000 steel wool too.......

    It's a labor of love and you will have something to keep you busy!

    Look at this boat http://forums.iboats.com/boat-topics...ll-177292.html
    Last edited by Bob_VT; November 1st, 2012 at 07:19 PM. Reason: added link
    This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
    Please, shop iboats first!!


  4. #4
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Also, you should know that while the difference will likely not be noticeable, a slick surface will actually have MORE drag and thus less speed than the slightly rough surface.... wax will slow it down even more!... TRUTH
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
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    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by jigngrub View Post
    Well that's just awesome... Makes me want to go outside and start stripping paint off mine....

    Austin
    "May the fulfillment come from the journey, not the destination" Mike Carter

    Schuylkill Haven, PA

    -1989 17' Blue Fin, Converted to a Runabout, "Blue Crab" w/ 70hp Evinrude

  6. #6

    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by smokeonthewater View Post
    Also, you should know that while the difference will likely not be noticeable, a slick surface will actually have MORE drag and thus less speed than the slightly rough surface.... wax will slow it down even more!... TRUTH
    Nonsensical truth!

    Several of my buddies in the local club have 1950's vintage Feathercrafts. They were meant to be polished like they were chrome plated. Done right they simply look awesome.

    So, here we have a 16' tinny with a 40 HP OB. OK, the mirror polish reduces the speed by 0.2 MPH. (Or, whatever). So now they get 24.8 mph instead of 25.....LOL.

    So, who cares. Simply too cool to worry about it!
    2009 Starcraft 14' FLSS & Yamaha 25
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    1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
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  7. #7
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by JimS123 View Post
    So, who cares. Simply too cool to worry about it!
    Agreed!... I just mentioned because the o/p said he expected it to be faster
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
    90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral 5150abf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    I like polished aluminum to and have done quite alot of it, mostly motorcycle parts.

    Just be aware that it is a VERY time consuming proccess and once you start you almost have to finish, rivets and anything else on the hull will slow you down further so you will have a very cool looking boat but it is going to take you 100+ hours to get there.

    And no your orbital sander won't work you will need an actual buffer and for a job this big it is well worth the money, check Harbor Freight, you should be able to get one pretty cheap.

    If you have to sand I would start with 1000 then go to 2000 wet then a polish like Mothers, there are many.

    Never tried compound but you will want a finish or last stage, nothing rough because you have to get all those scratches out.

    Also when you are done get some Shark Hide on it to keep it shiney otherwise it will start oxidizing and you will be doing this again in a year.
    GO IRISH!!!!

  9. #9
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Sanding is the KEY to a mirror like finish. Depending on the condition of the metal, pits and imperfections etc, I would start with 600 grit, then work in steps up to 2000 grit, then use 000 steal wool, then 0000 steal wool, before even attepmting to polish. I would definetly use a variable speed buffer, instead of the felt pad on a sander. I used to polish aluminum for a part time job at a casting foundry, and these are the steps we took for perfect chrome like finish. Good luck! It will be a HUGE job!
    1983 Galaxy 19' B/R with a V/P AQ225D/280 ~SOLD~
    1995 Wellcraft 210 Eclipse SCS with a Mercruiser 5.7/Alpha 1 GenII

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    what a waste of time. BUT to each there own

  11. #11
    Commander jestor68's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    A few cans of "chrome" paint would be a lot easier.

  12. #12
    Chief Petty Officer jayhanig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    I'm thinking how annoying it's going to be to be anywhere near that boat on a sunny day. I wouldn't want to be in the car behind it out on the road when it's being towed somewhere.
    Jay Hanig
    Topsail Beach, NC USA
    1985 Galaxy 176 Bowrider
    "No Good Deed"

  13. #13
    Admiral jigngrub's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by jayhanig View Post
    I'm thinking how annoying it's going to be to be anywhere near that boat on a sunny day. I wouldn't want to be in the car behind it out on the road when it's being towed somewhere.
    It's all well worth it when you consider the grinding and tabbing of a 'glass boat!

    ... it's your nown fault for not wearing your sunglasses on a sunny day anyway!
    I consider overkill a job well done... plus a little extra.

    There's as many ways to do something as there is people to tell you how to do it... but not all of them are the right way.

    The drinking and debauchery will continue until morale improves... and maybe for a little while after.

  14. #14
    Chief Petty Officer rivermouse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by acarter92 View Post
    Well that's just awesome... Makes me want to go outside and start stripping paint off mine....

    Austin
    Best get started today and maybe with luck you might have it ready sometime next summer.

  15. #15
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by jayhanig View Post
    I'm thinking how annoying it's going to be to be anywhere near that boat on a sunny day. I wouldn't want to be in the car behind it out on the road when it's being towed somewhere.
    Don't worry Jay... unless the owner is WAY persistant it'll just be like any other aluminum boat except it'll have a shiny spot on one side just big enough to see your face in.... If he IS tough enough to finish the job he'll probably keep a cover on it to protect his 2000 hours of hard work LOL



    O/P..... no offense... just having fun.
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
    90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  16. #16

    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by Mi duckdown View Post
    what a waste of time. BUT to each there own
    I guess the typical boater must feel the same way. Look at your "typical" fiberglass runabout that is all chalked and faded, uncovered with the upholstery torn to shreds.

    The REAL waste of time is watching TV!!. And I just can't believe the time wasted doing that gawdaweful texting when there is nothing really worth saying.

    It ain't cool if your boat don't shine!
    2009 Starcraft 14' FLSS & Yamaha 25
    2005 SeaDoo GTX 4-Tec 155
    1984 Stingray SVB190SS & Mercruiser 3.0 Liter 140
    1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
    1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
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    63 Outboards: 1919-2008, representing 11 manufacturers
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Quote Originally Posted by jestor68 View Post
    A few cans of "chrome" paint would be a lot easier.
    I can't understand why they call it "chrome paint". It's not even a good grade of silver. Polished aluminum DOES look like chrome though.
    2009 Starcraft 14' FLSS & Yamaha 25
    2005 SeaDoo GTX 4-Tec 155
    1984 Stingray SVB190SS & Mercruiser 3.0 Liter 140
    1964 Sea Nymph 14R & 1970 Evinrude Sportwin 9.5
    1960 Mulray 100 Dinghy, equipped with Beaver Oars
    1952 Lyman 15' Mid Steer & Evinrude Big Twin 25
    63 Outboards: 1919-2008, representing 11 manufacturers
    -------------------------------------------------------------------
    Member ACBS, LBOA, AOMCI

  18. #18
    Lieutenant V153's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    Screw all that sanding BS. Haven't y'all heard of 'pearl discs'? Fit on yer 4" grinder. Come in grades from coarse to super fine. Make quick work of polishing aluminum. With far less material loss vs sanding. Find @ your local welding supply store.
    1981 Baja 15SS_1983 Johnson 140_62.9 mph
    1981 Glastron/Carlson C500 metric series_Modified 1978 Evinrude 140_Project
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    ReHab
    1990 Bayliner 1700 Capri
    Calm waters and Good times to all.

  20. #20
    Admiral kfa4303's Avatar
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    some inspiration :0

    AluminumBoat.JPGHornet.jpg

  21. #21
    Petty Officer 2nd Class
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    Default Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

    THAT did it!
    .
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    Now my nipples are hard, and my retinas incinerated.

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