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Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

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  • Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

    Hey all could use some advice,

    Been stripping my 16ft 85 Sylvan,, Slow going even with Aircraft Stripper. However when conditions are right and I get a good paint lift,, the Aluminum underneath the paint is like a mirror. So shinny and clean it almost hypnotizes me like gold fever. Especially on the sides.

    So here's my dilemma. I got an opportunity to get a free Soda Blasting to finish it up. I know it sounds crazy to even consider turning this down and maybe my delirium is stripper fumes.

    Question is can I get that finish/shine back after Soda Blasting? If so how?

    And any advice on keeping that finish.

    Sharkhide ?
    Other suggestions.

  • #2
    Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

    I am no expert in doing this, and I am sure some who have done it will chime in soon...

    You can also look on YouTube for videos on polishing aluminum...

    Far as I know, you can get a mirror finish on aluminum with a lot of elbow grease...

    After soda blasting, you may need to go through a procession of finer and finer sand papers, before hitting it with a variable speed polisher and compound...

    You may also be able to just go straight to using the polisher, if the blasting doesn't etch the surface too badly...

    Once you get the finish you are after, you will definitely need to add a protective coating of some kind...don't have an answer for that, though...

    You should definitely post up some pics of the process if you decide to do it...

    Have fun!
    Why a Fiberglass Boat?...Because they are,"The more beautiful, more seaworthy, more elegant, more easier to get chicks in, nicer, more common, more socially accepted, more politically correct boats."Quote by oops!
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    • #3
      Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

      I think you will be getting some feedback from others very soon but will add my .02

      IMO no matter what you use to get the paint off you can restore the alum to as mirror a finish as you want but no matter what is suggested it is some hard work. Even if the blast is free why throw away the work you have done, especially if the finish you have is already acceptable.

      Then, as you inquire how to maintain it? No doubt some fellas will stop by and help but it will have to be a continuing effort to keep it. The toughest environment is aluminum truck and auto wheels and that is clearcoat but under highly controlled specs.

      May want to do some searching, even with the advanced search feature through the threads and I am betting you will find some good info. I have spent 40 years in alum. fabricating business and for me it is all possible just the cost / energy to find the finish you want and then the same to maintain it.

      Good luck.
      1985 Celebrity 21'
      1973 Chris Craft 30'
      1979 S/N FM 161

      S/N resto underway http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restor...to-587503.html

      "Rust never sleeps !" --- Neil Young
      "There is never just one thing wrong with a boat" --- Travis McGee


      • #4
        Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

        This should get your motor running...


        Post #254

        this is the product you want to use...

        SHARKHIDE Aluminum Cleaner - YouTube
        1961 Lonestar Flamingo - SPLASHED...Kinda!!
        Fabricating Decks, Stringers, and Transoms
        Paint Your Boat with Tractor Paint...Say What!!!


        • #5
          Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

          There are a few shinny tin boats here. dozerII's did a nice 18 SS, huron angler did a nice SS 16 Starcraft, starcrafter 65 did a nice 18 Holiday.

          Lots of elbow grease, and Shark Hide or Shiela Shine, dozer found some other product I think at one point.

          If the stripper is leaving a good clean finish I would stick with it. Otherwise you will be sanding and buffing.

          Wax on wax off many times over.

          1973 Starcraft 21 Mariner ---------------- 1966 Lone Star Medallion II --------------- 1963 14' Lone Star Big Fisherman

          A Smart Phone is one that is Not in your hand when driving!


          • #6
            Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting


            Thanks for the tips and getting me pointed to the right threads... The Bighoss' 16ft SS Rebuild is the look and potential I'm seeing. I may regret it in the long run but it's got a "Wow" factor that's to a hard to resist.


            • #7
              Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

              I too used aircraft stripper (mop on) and it did pretty good, but like you there were still some tough spots. For those places I put on my rubber gloves and switched to the Aerosol can aircraft stripper for more control, and a 3M scotch-brite scuff pad and the rest came off with ease. I really was concerned about the amount of work needed to bring the shine back after blasting. Take a look at the sides of my boat, that is all I have done to them at this point. I know there is still going to be some work involved to get the mirror finish I too want but no where near what it would take after sanding or blasting. I'm not really sure if I even want the mirror finish, I think I do, but I kinda like the look that it has now, although I need to redo it due to cleaners dripping down during the bottom painting. The thing is, even though my boat is in really good shape for it's 61 years of service, I know the more it shines the more the little bumps and dents are going to show, so I don't know.
              1952 Duracraft Sportsman

              Duracraft boat history

              89 Bayliner center console/ 2001 Mercury 150 modified/saltwater addition ,early 50's DuraCraft 14ft Aluminum runabout/88 25 Johnson, late 60's Lamar 15ft fiberglass runabout with a 59 Evinrude 35 hp Lark outboard. From Collinsville, MS and GulfShores AL.ASE master recertified many times over LOL . But most important, Saved by the grace of God!
              "Let the fun you will have with it be your payoff and you will never feel short changed"


              • #8
                Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

                If you use one of the acid based aluminum boat washes, chances are you'll have a clean but dull finish. You could go the progressive sanding route and end up polishing with a rouge and a high speed buffer, but that's too much work.

                I went into the auto detailing blogs and read about metal polishing. Most use a Dual Action Polisher/Sander, like the Porter Cable unit I bought with a wool bonnet for applying aluminum/metal polish. I found White Diamond metal polish at Advance Auto Parts after Mothers Aluminum Polish did a disappointing job.

                You apply 3 dime size dollops on the wool bonnet, and polish at a medium speed up and down, right and left in a 2' x 2' area. The polish will turn into a black oxide paste, and around 90 seconds the black will dry up and mostly disappear into the air. You take a towel and wipe off the black residue.

                I ended up with a slightly less than mirror finish, however the shine's great for the amount of work I put into the polish job. With a high speed buffer and rouge, a close to mirror finish might be possible, but realistically how many people are willing to put the amount of upkeep that it would take to even periodically re-polish to that level of shine. Not me!


                • #9
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                  Re: Polishing Aluminum boat after after Soda Blasting

                  No matter how you do it it is going to be a lot of work and will require ongoing maintanance. If the stripper is leaving it shiney I would continue that route, as any shine you take away with the soda will have to be bought back by polishing. I used the Sonus polishing system, which includes polish for use on a variable speed angle polisher and a clear sealant that goes on over top. the process is very labour intensive. Polish then wipe off all the black residue, polish again wipe of the black residue. Once you have the finish to where you want it wipe it down with blue micro-fiber towels, then put on a coat of sealant. Maintaining the shine is a matter of keeping up with the sealant.
                  2012 SOTY Winner
                  Complete Restore 1976 Hoilday 18 "N THE RED" Condensed version http://forums.iboats.com/forum/boat-...-tin-out-re-do
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                  1986 Starcraft SS201 (Complete) "SOLD
                  My 79 18 SS rebuild http://forums.iboats.com/showthread....hlight=dozerii "SOLD"