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Polishing Aluminum

Polishing Aluminum

To day I tried to polish some old cam covers with "Autosol" to day. Well, I got it a bit better than before, but not good enough. My wife says I'm a patient man - I didn't try just a few minutes... What is the best way to get a good result? Somebody mentioned "sandblasting" with nut-shell. Any tips? - Martin Jacobsen

Martin, To truly get the cam covers perfect I have done the following: Wet sand with progressively finer paper using a sanding block made of balsa wood. It bends to the shape but does not fall in the small depressions. Use rouge on a buffing wheel to finish the job. It will look like chrome. Be very careful to hold the piece firmly while buffing or it will end up on the floor. I have screwed one to a bench and used a polishing wheel. That also did well. Good luck - Jim Canedy

I bought some polishing supplies from Eastwood which included a small arbor and some different grades of sanding wheels and some cotton buffing cones to whcih different grades of rouge can be applied. Using finer and finer grits a chrome like finishe can be obtained. I also used the finer and finer grades of wet sandpaper on the cam covers and got a nice result. I have also experimented with clear coatings to help preserve all the work. What I did was polish an aluminum bar, then coated with every clear coating I could find, everything (including a couple that were 'heat resistant') turned yellow when I baked then in an oven at 300 F. for a half hour except Krylon 1311 Clear coating. I have not tried it on a car as yet but I plan to sometime soon. Patience is the key to getting a good finish, and not necessarily having a professional do the work. After my early attempts at doing the cam covers, I took them to a chrome plater to see it they could polish them better with their equipment. When I took the out of the box, the owner said they were already better than his guys would do and offered me a job! Good Luck - David Drenzek

David, Did your tests include Nyalac (sp?), also available from Eastwood? I haven't tried it myself, but I'm wondering if you did. Thanks, Dick White

I tried Nyalic a couple of year's back. I buffed my brass front door hardware and sprayed it with Nyalic. The finish protection didn't seem to last very long (maybe a year). I can't say if it was something I did wrong - usually Eastwood products are pretty reputable. Mike Carpenter

For your info, I used Eastwoods Polished Aluminum Clear Coat Part #1266 about 5 1/2 years ago on my steel brake lines and all the brass fittings including the radiator spigot. They still look very good. The brass spigot has gotten slightly darker as well as the copper oil line to the pressure gage, but this is probably due to the heat. The irony is that I did not put it on any polished aluminum because I wanted to see how it did on the brass and steel and I was also concerned about the yellowing. I have enough trust in it now to try it unless someone says not too. The polishing that I did to the intake manifold and cam covers is just starting to fade. I did use the Simichrome to spruce up the machine buffing a couple of years ago and they could probably use it again. Larry J '51 XK120

Dick, No, I did not try Nyalac but the next time I order from Eastwood I will, just for drill, and give it the test. BTW I misquoted the number of the Krylon, it is 1301 Crystal Clear. - David Drenzek

David, Appreciate having the telephone number or address or email for Eastwood company you mentioned in the XK lovers recently. Thanks, Jim Giordano

Jim, Eastwood's web address is and phone number is 800-345-1178. - Dick White, '64 3.8 S-type, '58 150 FHC

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