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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a thread a while back about how to clean & shine aluminum boats and since I was going to do it, I thought I would keep notes and take a few pics as well.

Gather the equipment:


Painter's masking tape . About $4
Zep-A-Lume ; an acidic aluminum cleaner (it will really clean your galvanized trailer. If you don't want it cleaned cover it up). About $8.
Buffing machine ; (not a grinder-too fast) about 800-1000 rpm - maybe a little slower. Borrowed.
Buffing wheels ; - the darker the stiffer - we used yellow and white. About $7 ea.
Jeweler's rouge ; (between the orange and yellow wheels) darker the coarser. Used the fine white the most. Use this on the buffing wheel to do the rough stuff. About $7 ea.
Polish ; (on the left) the tube is "FLIT" - it did , probably, the best job but at $18 a tube not that much better. The small bottle is a product from a car parts store (can't remember the name, sorry) which did a good job but was hard to get off. The best all around is "ALUMAG - CHROME Metal Polish" - did the whole boat, came off well, still have 1/3 bottle, about $7.
ARGO cornstarch is the secret ingredient (along with rough terrycloth rags) in all this.
Put cornstarch on a clean terrycloth rag to remove all the polish. 3 boxes and good rags will cost about $12. So: 4+8+14+14+7+12 = $59 so far.

All the stuff that I found to be the best, I bought at my local Kenworth parts dealer.

I taped off the paint (decal?).

I don't know if it is necessary. The Zep-A-Lume caused either the glue in the tape or something in the paint to run down the sides in a couple of places. It was hard to get off. I would recommend putting Zep-A-Lume on by hand so that it doesn't run (use gloves). 2 hours.

Use the Zep-A-Lume to take off the worst of the oxidation.

It has to be pretty strong - probably 2 part Zep-A-Lume to 1 part water. (wear gloves ,cover galvanized stuff). Notice the difference just past the bottle? 3 hours.

The buffing wheel will do the majority of the polishing. It will take out scratches and start making your boat look the way you expected it to.

You can see the difference between the area cleaned with Zep-A-Lume and the area buffed with jeweler's rouge (about a foot to the left of Rick). Starting to "shine like a spinner". 4 hours.

Once the buffing is done you must hand polish with liquid polish on a terrycloth rag. Just as the polish dries to a haze rub it off with another terry cloth rag sprinkled with cornstarch. If you wait too long there will be small black spots that are hard to get off. A terry cloth rag sprinkled with cornstarch and some hard rubbing will get it off. Two men and a boy for 2 hours = 6 hours.
So altogether: $60 - $80 (if you buy a buffer add $120) for stuff and 16 hours of time.
If you have a couple of days when you're not fishing or doing honey-do's it can be kind of fun to see how shiny you can get it.

This pic isn't the best but you can see the reflections and it kind of sparkles.

I took the boat out salmon fishing. I think that there was fuel etc. in the water of the boat harbor at Westport and I brought it home with an off-color stain along the sides. It polishes out with a little rubbing.
Next time I'm going to contribute to my local economy by finding someone who does this for a living and, if I can afford them, I will spend a couple of days bank fishing at the Barrier or Point-No-Point or go out on a charter or …………
 

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Nice job. Thanks for the tips!

It may be a good time to try some Sharkhide to keep it looking nice???
 

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Looks Great!!


I really like your bow railing. Is it welded to the windshield, or bolted on? Sure would make anchoring a lot safer.
 

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Corkyking,

Next time I'm going to contribute to my local economy by finding someone who does this for a living and, if I can afford them, I will spend a couple of days bank fishing at the Barrier or Point-No-Point or go out on a charter or …………
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Two steps (and one polish job) ahead of you. After amusing the Multnomah Sheriff's Dept. no end with my polishing antics...I used:

Bob Graham Polishing

Brion
PS Boat looks great!

[ 07-21-2003, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: Pete ]
 

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Great post, Corkyking!

Thanks for the great info. :cheers:
 

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So,

Is there anything wrong with just using Zep-a-lume and leaving it that way?

Would you need to finish it on top of that?
 

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Wow, that polishing looks ... almost perfect. I think you may need to practice one more time before you have it perfect. I'll get the taping done ahead of time so you should be able to get right to work when you get to my house. OK? :wink:

All kidding aside, that is a beautiful job!

Next question, though. Once it's done, what do you do to protect the work? Do you put wax or a polymer finish on it, or do you just weather it and do another polish later?
 

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Corkyking,
Nice job on the pictorial and the polish job, you boat looks great. Brion made a post earlier about Bob Graham(thanks Brion),and I had him polish my boat as well. I can't say enough good things about Bob. He did as excellent job on my boat, did it in my driveway and did it on time. His business name is EZ-WAY metal polishing. I loved the new shine so much, I decided to try to make it last with Sharkhide. Thanks to Pete Morris and others that posted about tips for application of the SH. This is a shot after I removed all the polish with lacquer thinner,and after one coat of Sharkhide. The thinner takes away a little of the shine, as does the SH.

The diamond plate takes more effort to polish, but you can see it came out looking good.


Bob actually polished my gunnel as well, it shined up well, but also darkened it some. He was very gracious and came back and removed the polish with cleaner, and this is the look I was after.


I moor my boat off and on in the Willy. I have had lots of green growth and waterline staining in years past. I pulled the boat out after being in the drink 10 days, and it had some minor scum marks. They didn't come off with the garden hose, but my pressure washer took them off with ease. The SH has definitely made maintenance easier. Bob didn't know about the SH product when he did the polish job, but I think he may offer that application as well now.

[ 07-21-2003, 10:22 PM: Message edited by: Red ]
 

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Looks great. I would say your hard work was worth it.
 

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Great Job! :bowdown:

I'm with Pete. What's your plan for keeping it looking that way. I would love to get my Hewes Craft back to that shape.

SD
 

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Red,

How did you have the heart to take off Bob's shine <grin>. Mine's holding up pretty good. Getting ready to have him do a Fall Chinook update shine.

Having the polish shine and the Shark Hide, what's your next move...shine or shark?

Brion
 

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GRB: The cleaner opens up the "pores" of the metal. It will then oxidize or stain easily. I've tried using meguires quick wax after a acid wash to seal the metal. I didn't get such good results, when I moored the boat(stains and slime) . However, having wax on the boat was definitely better than bare aluminum. That is why I am trying the SH product.

Brion: It wasn't an easy decision :shrug: , 'cause after Bob got done I was very impressed with the shine. But, I didn't know how well the polish would protect the shine, when the boat is moored. Sharkhide is made for this purpose. Has your boat been moored, and if so have you taken it out to see if you are badly stained? If the polish protects as well as the SH, I won't use it again. Give us a report.

[ 07-21-2003, 10:20 PM: Message edited by: Red ]
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"I really like your bow railing. Is it welded to the windshield, or bolted on? " Drachir
It's bolted on - I designed what I wanted and let the experts (Steve Pool in Hoquiam) build it.


The rails on the bow and sides (I didn't do the aft rails - they were in the way) + a platform for the anchor system and elec. windlass was $475. All heavy wall pipe and welded except where it's bolted to boat. I am very happy with the quality of work and feel much safer on the bow.

"Two steps (and one polish job) ahead of you." Brion Lutz
It was fun once but you have the right idea.

"Where can a person buy Zep-A-Lume? " Trap50
In the post - I bought mine from the local Kenworth parts and service outfit - I would that any truck parts and service outfit would have it.

"Is there anything wrong with just using Zep-a-lume and leaving it that way?" Gun Rod Bow
No but although it is clean and bright it doesn't shine i.e. you can see a face but can't make out the features.

"The diamond plate takes more effort to polish, but you can see it came out looking good. " Red
I ground the polish in with a semi-stiff brush and then dumped a good quantity of cornstarch on and brushed the heck out of it. Worked good. BTW would you post a pic of the whole boat? I think you may have something that I've been looking for. Nice boat.

"I'm with Pete. What's your plan for keeping it looking that way. I would love to get my Hewes Craft back to that shape. " Spoiled Daddy
As I said, I came home with a stain all along the sides from the salt water or something in it. After washing the boat as one should anyway, it shined easily - not more than an hour. I'm guessing that if you use it daily then every 2nd or 3rd time should keep it looking good. I don't know about Hewes but mine didn't come looking like it does now. It's one of the things that Alumaweld would do well to correct.
 

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Corkyking,

Thanks, likewise. I don't have a pic of the entire boat, even if I did I couldn't post it because of a design secrecy agreement I have with T-jet :grin: :wink: :grin: . This is as whole as I have right now.

Is that enough? I know, you want a lightbar/radar arch/wakeboard cage don't you. :grin: :grin: BTW, nice design drawings for your rails. Are you an engineer?
 

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Red,

I do moor my boat and it's been holding up well.

The waterline mark is not bad. I get some green algae growth under the waterline and I scrub that off once a week. So...I think the polish worked well.

Jack got the ArmorPlate on his and has found it hard to clean.

I'm probably going to do a twice a year polish unless you tell me the Shark Hide is good for year and keeps it's shine <grin>.

Let's meet and compare boats around October some time.

Brion

[ 07-21-2003, 10:58 PM: Message edited by: BrionLutz ]
 

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Just about ready to do the sharkhide treatment on my new boat, here's my question - What's the secret for getting under the boat where it contacts the bunks? Do you jack it up? or just ignore that part of the detail? Thanks and your project looks great! zip
 
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