Finishing touches after the real work is done...  




This is one of those things one does because they like shiny things. I do it for that reason and because I can create things out of aluminum and then polish it to look better. I also like to polish the parts of the truck that didn't come polished. I think this makes the truck look just a little different than others, like polishing the lower rail of the cargo box, the front corners, and the lift-gate. I suppose you could buy pre-polished material, but where would the fun be in that. I also suppose one could purchase polished stainless steel to build those projects, then the maintenance would be much less. Buying pre-polished material is considerably more expensive and with any project there is waste and excess.
 
To begin a polishing project you need some specific tools and supplies. Personal protective equipment (ppe) is also a must, once you begin the polishing process you will get dirty, very dirty, so access to a shower when you are done is a given. For ppe I have a pair of well fitting coveralls (loose clothing could get you hurt), a respirator (lots of aluminum dust and other airborne stuff from the buffer), eye protection (flying debris from the buffer), I wear a hood to try and to keep the dust out of my ears and hair (makes cleanup of me easier), good slip-resistant shoes, and of course disposable rubber gloves. It truly amazes me no matter how much ppe I wear, where that dust gets on me, it seems to wash off easy enough, but it gets everywhere.
 
As for tools, a good variable speed sander/polisher. I started with a cheap one from Harbor Freight or somewhere like that to see if this something that I was going to keep doing to warrant buying a good one. In a lot of truck stops I’m sure you have seen the polishing section with several different kinds of liquid polishes, near there will be cloth wheels, 8" or 10", you will need at least one of these made from the yellow cloth and one of white cloth, the yellow wheel will do the heavy cutting and the white one is for final polishing. You will need the adapter and safety hubs that will allow you to attach the wheels to the buffer. There are also bars of rouge by the wheels, I use the red bar with the yellow wheel and the white bar with the white wheel, these bars are about 12" long and 2 1/2" wide and tall (they are shaped kinda like a gold bar does in the movies, I've never seen a real one).
 
If you are starting on a project that has never been polished before, you will need a sander and several grits of sandpaper, 220, 320, 400, 600, 800 and 1000. I picked up a nice quarter sheet sander that works well for large areas and will still get in some of the tight areas to help reduce the handwork.
 
Of course you will need some rags, cheap terry towels for the rough cleaning, a better grade as the work becomes more susceptible to scratches and some microfiber towels for the finish work. A good liquid polish for the final cleaning polish will also, in some cases, put a protective coating on the project.  Next blog will be getting started on your polishing project.
 

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Bob, you do an amazing job keeping your truck clean and polished and there isn't anything easy about it. A lot of time, dedication and elbow grease for sure.

July 21, 2015 19:15:51 PM