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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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597 Posts
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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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I know, you want a lightbar/radar arch/wakeboard cage don't you. BTW, nice design drawings for your rails. Are you an engineer
<font size="2" face="verdana,arial,helvetica">Not an engineer, a surveyor, and yes I'm looking for an arch like yours. I want to use it for rod holder as well as the other stuff.

Under the carport I have about 2" clearance above my boat with the canvas up. The arch will have to fold back or come off to clear so it may take some design change.

If you would post or e-mail the manufacturer I would owe you. Thanks.

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
qualitytruck.com/index_copy(7.) the () wont work on this site


Check out the picture at bottom of these two pages.
Probably nothing untoward but I get that jiggy feeling-------

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Thanks, I'll be waiting anxiously.

I also did some noise reduction experimenting (something that Alumaweld could have done)and was reasonably sucessful. I'll post when I get some pictures.
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