Thursday, August 14, 2008

Polishing Aluminum: A Dirty Job

Polishing Aluminum: A Dirty Job

I needed to polish a large piece of aluminum to a reflective state--and what a lot of work this was, for only a so-so result. I started with 400 grit sandpaper, then advanced to 800, 1500, 2000, and 2500. (I went to Spray & Paint, an auto body supplies shop in Garden City to find the 2000 and 2500 sandpaper.) Then I used Mothers' Mag Polish with one of those rotary buffers that goes into an electric drill.

I've done something similar before, and got much better results--not quite sure why. (I was polishing a 1/4" thick piece of aluminum last time--this is .025" instead.) I can recognize myself in the aluminum, but it isn't quite as shiny as it ought to be.

And did I get dirty. Nor does the black aluminum oxide/polish mix come off your skin very easily.

I have a vague awareness that flophouse hotel rooms into the 1960s sometimes had what were labeled as "unbreakable mirrors," which probably means that they were actually highly polished aluminum. Perhaps the next time I should look for a vendor of such. What's scary is that I don't know how I know about those unbreakable mirrors--but I'm quite sure that they existed, and were either labeled or advertised as such.

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