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Need some help... Newbie polishing trouble.

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  • Need some help... Newbie polishing trouble.

    Hello all!

    THis weekend I began to polish my aluminum wheels with my supplies ordered from Caswell that I previously discussed. While the polishing takes A LOT longer with the multi-step method versus my previous Wenol and felt bobs, the results so far are awesome! Almost a mirror quality like when they were new.

    Now my problem... I started with emory/sisal and felt bobs in the tight spots to cut and remover all of the oxidation, brake dust, and smooth out the micro pits from the hot dust particles etching into the soft aluminum. This gave the wheel sort of a dull, brushed look, except where I used the bobs where it was sort of a satin luster. Because of that, I then used some more emory, but with a spiral sewn and a tapered cone buff and got a very nice, even, smooth, dull shine. I was then going to move on to a spiral sewn and another tapered cone and the Tripoli, but I could not load the Tripoli onto either buff! The buffs were both new and I raked them to remove the loose strings, the Tripoli was ambient temperature (about 65?) and no matter how I tried it I could not get the Tripoli to load... Even re-read Caswell's guide and the forum, where I found that warm water might help, but it didn't. The Tripoli bar I received is brick hard - literally... You cannot scratch it without considerable pressure from a finger nail. I ended up using some blue Wenol with my old buffs on a portion of the wheel to see what the effect would be and it's great, much better than red Wenol followed by the blue, but I think the Tripoli would be even better if the emory is any indicator!

    What am I doing wrong that I cannot get the Tripoli to load? My buffing speed is within the stated range and I had no problem with the emory? Would heating the Tripoli help? Should I soak it in very hot water and not just sprinle it? I even let the wheel "sit" on the bar for some time to see if I needed just to generate more heat, apparantly I still wasn't generating enough because I couldn't budge the wax suspension! HELP!

  • #2
    The tripoli needs more pressure than the other compounds to get it to apply to the wheels, just push really hard onto the wheel, as if you're trying to stop the wheel turning and it will load.

    Also, make sure the buffing wheel is clean first. You said you raked it, so I assume it is.

    You'll want to keep using the emery compound until the part looks almost perfect, then use the tripoli. The more work you can do with the emery, the faster the job will go.
    Mike Caswell
    Caswell Inc
    Need Support? Visit our online support section at


    • #3
      You can leave it in the water overnight, it should soften up more.


      • #4
        Thank you marsfrogie and caswell! I'll be trying again later this week and will try your tips!