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Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

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

    Watch this:
    Dirty jobs How to Polish Aluminum - Aluminum Polishing - YouTube

    Comment



    • #3
      Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

      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, 07:19 PM. Reason: added link
      This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
      Please, shop iboats first!!

      Comment



      • #4
        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

        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
        sigpic

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

          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

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

            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
            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

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            • #7
              Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

              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

              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
              sigpic

              Comment



              • #8
                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!!!!

                Comment



                • #9
                  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

                  Comment



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

                    what a waste of time. BUT to each there own

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                    • #11
                      Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

                      A few cans of "chrome" paint would be a lot easier.
                      Have a nice day!

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        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 [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_207136_1408744416566_963[/ATTACH]
                        "No Good Deed"

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                        • #13
                          Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

                          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!

                          Comment



                          • #14
                            Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

                            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.

                            Comment



                            • #15
                              Re: Want to "mirror" polish an older aluminum boat

                              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

                              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
                              sigpic

                              Comment

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