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Product info and Tecnique options

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  • Product info and Tecnique options

    I started polishing aluminium on my bike last winter. I was using a competitors products. You know that BIG automotive restoration catalog.
    Well now I've found the real place to be. I am soooo overwhelmed with
    the products and info here, I'll neve look any where again.

    My question is regarding the options for compounds. I've read all that I could find on our Sponsors web site and can't understand the difference between all the choices. I was using tripoli and white and hoped for the best. Now I read the BBS and find you guys are using Black Emory??
    Then I read on and find no less than 11 options. from black,brown, white, fast T-12, alum cut& color A-14, alum buff high lust A-15, non ferr color D-25, non ferr high color D-38, black magic, and then the liquids blue begone and white liq rouge!! Whew what a list I could probley get 1 of each but what a confusing waste.

    So what the heck do I choose??

    I'm using a converted bench grinder 1/2 or 3/4 hp @34xx rpms.with 6" wheels. I also use a flex shaft with 3" @13xx rpm.

    I'm having some of the same problems as I've seen mentioned here::
    haze, hairline scratches.

    I get good results with wetsanding from 220 to 400.
    And then to tripoli on a treated or spiral buff. Or even White on a spiral buff. Some times this leaves some scratches sometimes it doesn't??

    When I move over to the loose with white, is when I crash and burn!!
    If the wheel has a fresh load on it, I get buildup on the part. If I try to
    use less white I end up scratching the part. It's almost like I should just stop with the first buffing step!!
    What gives?
    What can you guy's tell me that I'm doing wrong?
    I will try anything to be more consistent and I want clean clear almost chrome results..

    I have Questions but no answers

  • #2
    I'm still a newbie, but learning fast. I'm in the middle of rebuilding my Yamaha Banshee and am polishing every piece of aluminum that came off the thing. With each piece I'm getting better results and my way may not be the best way, but it's working well for me.

    Depending on the part, I start different ways. Head over to and check out the pics. I'll try to describe how each one was done.

    The engine case was pretty smooth to start with so I just dove in with the black compound and a sisal wheel for the initial polish. I used medium pressure and went against the wheel's rotation (as I learned here) to get all the minor blemishes out and get an initial shine. Once I had the main areas done, I went to a felt bob with black compound, hard pressure and got all the nooks and crannies. Once it was all shiny, I moved to the brown compound on a spiral sewn wheel/felt bob (not the same ones!) with medium pressure. Again, I went against the rotation of the wheel until all the minor scratches from the sisal wheel were gone, then went with the rotation of the wheel to brighten it up. I followed this with the white compound on a loose cotton wheel, lite pressure and going with the wheel rotation. Once it was done, I washed with soap and water, wiped it with laquer thinner and gave it a good coat of carnauba wax to seal it.

    The clutch cover was originally powder coated black and was bead blasted clean, washed, wiped down with laquer thinner and then sanded with 100/220/400/600 until all evidence of blasting and sanding marks were gone. It was then washed and wiped down with laquer thinner again. Then I did the same as I did for the engine case to get it shiny.

    The nuts on the cylinder heads went right to the tight spiral wheel and brown compound with only a dip in the parts washer to clean off the grease beforehand. The balance tube went right to the white compound as it was in good shape to start with. The reed cages got the same treatment as the clutch cover.

    The suspension linkage needed a bit more work before it went to the buffer. I had to grind down the casting lines and rock damage (This is a 15 year old ATV) with a dremel and an 80 grit sanding drum first, then followed up with 80 grit emery cloth over the entire surface. I then used 220 garnet paper to smooth it all out, then 320 wet/dry then 400 wet dry before hitting it with the sisal wheel and the black compound. I should have hit it with 600 wet dry before buffing as it took forever to remove the sanding marks with the sisal wheel. The rest of the process was the same as the other parts.

    Again, my methods may not be "the" way, but the results are more than acceptable to me. Oh, BTW, all this was done with a Makita drill clamped to my workbench and a cheap flexible shaft unit from Harbor Freight. One of these days I'm going to buy the 3/4hp buffer... Probably the day after the old makita finally burns up... heheh

    Some good reading for you would be the buffing guide right here:

    This is where I was "taught" how to polish..

    Good luck!


    • #3

      thanks for the encouragement, but
      I was looking for pointers on what I must be doing wrong
      and how to select compounds. Of the listed ones, how do they
      compare grit / coarseness wise? As to which is used when


      • #4
        I ran across the same issues you're having and nobody really told me the "secret" to getting a nice result. I've just been trying different things and reading this forum from one end to the other trying to pick up tips.

        I'm not sure when to use what compound and honestly I'm not sure there's a "right" way to do any of this per se' - I think it's just a matter of touch and personal preference. I'm sure my methods are different from everybody else's but they seem to work well for me.

        I've been having better results lately by raking my wheels every so often as I work and spending most of my time with the sisal wheels and black compound after the initial sand. I don't go past 320 grit and try to rotate my sanding direction 90 degrees between grades of paper.

        When I begin polishing, I move against the rotatation of the wheel only and continue to "cut" until all the scratches are gone. I seem to get good results by using firm pressure to heat up the parts and get the compound moving. Once all the visible scratches are gone, I move to a tight spiral wheel and brown compound and again, only in the "cut" direction. I usually find a few scratches here and there during the brown session and I just grind 'em out with the brown, or pop back to the sisal/black for a bit to clean 'em up.

        Once I move to the white, I only move with the wheel, in the "color" direction. Once I'm done, I clean the parts with laquer thinner, wipe dry with a polishing cloth (Pickd up several at the local auto parts store) then give it a good coat of wax.

        I think you just need to "experiment" to find out what works for you. My parts are still not perfect, but as my assortment of bobs, wheels and compounds grows and I learn "on the job", the results get better and better. It's not difficult by any means, just a bid tedious to figure out what's going to work and what's not.

        Again, good luck!!