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"How-to" on polishing stainless with a buffing wheel


Smartin
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I posted this on the AACA Technical section last week, but it's crickets over there. 

 

So, A friend over on v8buick.com asked me how to polish his stainless trim before he puts it back on his freshly painted race car.  He just wanted a once-over quick job....most bang-for-your-buck type deal.  I decided to create a video on how to do this, because it's nearly impossible to explain it via text alone.  I call this the "Cliff's Notes" version of polishing.  There are a bunch of steps you can take before this, but I will cover that in another video.

 

IF you're looking to do a light polish job on your trim, this is really the easiest way to do it, while achieving nearly professional results.  This method will not take out dings or big scratches, but it will make the trim shine like crazy.  If your trim is anodized aluminum, this method will NOT work.  If the anodizing is scratched or cloudy, it must be sent out to be re-anodized, or you can remove the anodizing layer and polish the aluminum itself.  Be aware that if you do that, it will remove any protection the raw aluminum had with that anodizing layer, and you will have to maintain the piece with something like wax or aluminum polish.

 

This is my first shot at a YouTube video...many more to come!  Hopefully, I'll get a little more comfortable in front of the camera.  I HATE watching and listening to myself on video.😄

 

 

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Dude, your kitchen's a disaster!

 

Excellent video. Polishing stainless is one of the most rewarding restoration jobs there is. Easy to get great results. Thanks for the tutorial!

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Ha!  Thanks....you should have seen it before I hit the record button.  That corner of the garage get NASTY with me running that wheel there.

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😄

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I chickened out and sent these away to Southern California to be straightened and polished,  let's just say I didn't want to make them worse!  One had two holes that needed to be repaired.  I'm from Canada and I don't find the cost of some work done in the U.S. being stupid expensive.  What kills us is the foreign exchange, custom, duties, taxes and shipping.  I shipped two!  The box was huge but weighed less than 10 lbs,  shipping two never made the box any bigger....  so why not have two 37 Buick nose pieces fixed for about double the price but only pay shipping for one.

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Someone should mention that polishing anything is using the most dangerous power tool in your shop. Do enough of it and it will happen and when it does it happens soooo fast you won't even feel it. A floppy buff is the most dangerous. Parts with edges, like trim, are just waiting for a slightly off angle application to the buff. Besides GOOD safety glasses a full face shield is a must. loose cloth gloves are a big no no. Tight leather is much better.

Please don't take polishing lightly. When your buff grabs that head light ring and slings it past your face and you hear it ricocheting off the far wall and into the over head you will be glad you weren't hurt. Until, that is, you see the blood.

I never felt a thing..............Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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I believe I covered some of the basics on watching how you run the parts on the wheel in the video.  Been there done that...scary as hell when you realize how strong the wheel can be to rip it out of your hand faster than you can blink.

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Great video

always have fun with the results polshing stainless

totally agree with ALL the safety precautions mentioned above

i learned the hard way how sharp the edge of my 75's grille molding was 

lucklly the damage wasnt too bad and healed well and the molding survived

i have also had some good luck polishing plastic, different wheel and polish, but you have to know what plastic you have 

taillights come out great dashboard lens was a loser

thanks for posting the video

Marty

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Employee of ours was polishing a brass PULLMAN radiator script for a car we were restoring.  It caught in the polishing wheel and went ZING.  Well, at least half of it went ZING. That half embedded itself in the insulation above the buffer while the other half hit him in the belly so hard you could read PU on his belly for at least a week.  Be careful out there!

Also, lots of late '40s and '50s stainless was flash chrome plated.  This plating has to be removed before you can polish the underlying stainless and NO you cannot polish away the chrome.

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Yep, even into the 70's I get flash chrome plated parts.  It's kind of a pain in the butt.

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