Aluminum is very soft and a lot of "polishes" end up making microscopic
scratches that are hard to remove. I have used a lot of polishes and
systems on my antique cars (polished aluminum body) and suggest the
If the aluminum is badly corroded, you will have to sand it first starting
with about 320 grit and work your way up to about 2000 grit. Wet sanding
works best from my experience.
The 2000-3000 grit paper will make the aluminum look shiny but you will see
it is full of tiny scratches in sunlight. These can be removed by polishing
with a fine compound such as wenol. Use small amounts of the polish on a
clean cloth and change to a clean area of the cloth frequently. You will go
through a lot of cloth if done correctly. By changing to a fresh area of
the cloth, you avoid rubbing in the black polish residue into the aluminum
pores. You can easily clean the black residue from polishing cloths and
buffing wheels by soaking in a solution of TSP and water.
Finally, you can buff out the aluminum with a high speed rotary buffer using
a clean wool wheel. Dust the area to be polished with corn starch (from the
grocery), mist lightly with water and buff it out. The resulting shine will
be good enough for most uses.
If you are a glutton for punishment and want a perfect mirror finish that
you can shave in, take a look at the article I wrote on polishing car
bodies. I have posted it at:
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