Restoring pontoons aluminum finish

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by last chance, May 16, 2007.

  1. last chance

    last chance New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    Louisiana
    I've been working on a 24' tracker pontoon for almost a year off and on and have tried every trick I've ever heard about and some of my own and the problem is being able to get the finish uniform all over the same. I've used acid of a couple of different kinds and that works pretty well but then there are places that I sanded out some pretty deep scratches and those areas don't take the acid cleaning the same as the places that weren't sanded. Wishing now that I had not done any sanding and just used the acid wash to start with but too late for that now. Was just hoping maybe Mark or some of you other fellas had some ideas that would help out. Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    For a brushed aluminum finish that is uniform use 120 grit on a 4" random orbital sander (palm sander).

    I've run into the same problem.
    If I was adamant about the finish I would probally coat it with Shark Skin.
    I've never used it but alot of folks like the stuff. Its expensive.
    Guessing it take atleast 200 dollars to coat those toons.
     

  3. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    Messages:
    1,374
    State:
    South Carolina
    mothers alum polish will work great but it is alot of work.
     
  4. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I started polishing mine with aluminum polish and a high speed buffer.
    Man that sucker was like a mirror. I got about 2 feet of one toon done before I broke out the sander and sanded it with 120 grit.

    You put a shine like that on something 30 years old it shows every kind of ding imaginable including the ding bat looking back at you. Dings you cant see with a dull finish. It would make a cool looking toon though. Bring the sunglasses.
     
  5. last chance

    last chance New Member

    Messages:
    56
    State:
    Louisiana
    I've been down that polishing road but like Mark said about the scratches and dings it only enhances them. I used a delta variable speed buffer polisher and then came the places it would not get into and I did not have enough elbow grease left in these old arms, so its back to something of a compromize like sanding. I tried a random orbital sander with a green scotchbrite pad and gojo hand cleaner and that does pretty well but leaves scratches too. If I ever try all this again it will just be the acid wash and thats all. The places I didn't have to do any sanding looks great with just using a product called alumaclean that I got at a local truck parts place. Thanks for all the feed back guys. This is a great place to bounce ideas back and forth.
     
  6. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Messages:
    3,659
    State:
    Andrews, SC
    What you guys are dealing with is the surface oxidation on aluminum. It will only return after polishing unless something prevents contact with oxygen. There is a product sold for protecting the shiny tool boxes and such, not sure of the name. I'm not certain there is a way of keeping aluminum shiny, without a lot of hard work, at least. Good luck...:big_smile:
     
  7. badkarma

    badkarma New Member

    Messages:
    772
    State:
    Oxford,Miss
    Tommy is right, I acid washed my 20+ year old boat and with in 2 years the oxidation was back so I'll never throw money away like that again.
     
  8. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Thats what the shark skin is for. That long lasting look.