10/5/2003: Polishing Aluminum

Today I decided to try polishing aluminum, using the windshield washer bag’s cap as a test.

Some time ago, I cleaned up the bag itself, and it looks remarkably good.

I also have a spare, in somewhat shoddier condition, but with the prettier Foredit logo on it (I’m not sure if it’s an older style or what). The caps are identical, so I had two to play with.

(side note- similar, if not identical, washer bags for ferraris of the same age, in restored condition, go for $300+. amazing..)

The aluminum was heavily pitted and crusted over. Until I sanded one down, I didn’t even realize there was lettering under there.

I did some reading up on the polishing process and learned a few things. this page had a particularly concise summary of the issues.

I started on one of the caps with wet 600 grit sandpaper on a block, but I found that I started to lose the ‘FOREDIT - TORINO’ lettering before I got rid of all the pitting. I decided to switch to the other one, but to go more slowly, and do it by hand instead of against a block.

This gave better results, allowing more control over what area I sanded. After sanding, I polished it on the buffer to give it a little bit of shine- this isn’t supposed to be a highly polished item, so I didn’t want to go overboard. In order to leave the lettering clear, I had to leave some pitting. I just sealed it over with eastwood diamond clear paint to keep it from oxidizing more, and left it looking old, but intact. The other cap, whose lettering is already compromised, I think I will sand flat - it will not have any pitting, but it will also lose its lettering. I can choose between the two when the time comes to assemble the car.

Also today I won an ebay auction for 10 feet of original style cavis 4x6 mm windshield washer hose, which should be plenty to replace all of the hose, or at least all that is visible. The old hose was badly yellowed and stiff, so it was likely to leak when reconnected.

Tonight I came across another interesting web site (http://www.totallytriumph.net/spitfire/projects.shtml). An amazing amount of material, well beyond most typical restoration sites. I just started reading it over- it should keep me busy for a while. :)