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First time using aluminium

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AES

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As already said, I'm definitely NO expert in "decorative" finishes for ali. But I must say that all the items above look "brilliant" (sorry!) to me.

The only things I can say about ali tarnishing and or corroding is:

1. It does depend an awful lot on the atmosphere - any dampness (and especially a salty atmosphere) will accelerate the process);

2. A lot depends on the actual alloy (which of course, in the home workshop is something we usually have no idea about);

3. To reduce corrosion and tarnishing (not prevent, you can't) in such as aircraft structures there is an etch primer process followed by "undercoat" then colour paint - often 2-part PU. Or if internal, in maintenance areas, etc, a very hard-wearing matt "paint".

Even then, if you look at the floor beams around the toilet area for example (not trying to upset anyone here, sorry in advance) when an aircraft comes in for major overhaul you will ALWAYS find some corrosion. Often to the extent that parts of the floor beams have to be replaced for new in sections (and all "iaw the book" of course). This despite the manufacturer going to great lengths to ensure the floor beams themselves are well protected as above during build, AND despite the galley people going to great lengths to seal the "rubber" matting between the loo and the structure. I guess that's because urine is acidic (or is it alkaline? Dunno). Such major overhauls would typically take place every 6 years or so BTW.

Therefore my GUESS is that what you blokes are doing with your micro crystalline wax (what's that BTW? Excuse my ignorance) is forming a pretty effective seal between the ambient atmosphere and the surface of the ali. Whatever, from the above pix it seems to work well.

And I thought the example of the razor (above) VERY interesting. How long was it in and out of the water when you were wet shaving, and what steps, if any, did you take to dry if off before next use please?

And BTW, I also have a small router plate made out of ali ("found" in a scrap box when I was working). That, just like the example above, shows no blemishes at all. I therefore assume it's a matter of what the alloy actually is (I have no idea).

Interesting thread this.

Edit for a P.S. I too would be interested to know what your crystalline wax consists of. TIA
 

Phil Pascoe

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I bought the m/c in small blocks on line from a chap who seems no longer to be selling it, though I dare say if you search you can find some. I used to make my polish with beeswax, but now I used carnauba and/or m/c. Just make a primitive bain marie for safety - I used a jam jar in a pan of water - and melt it with white spirit or turpentine. I used turpentine because it smells so much nicer - mess about, if you use too little turpentine you can always melt it again to thin it. I'll drop the chap an email, he might not have picked up the last one.

Just done it, he may not respond - he didn't last time.
 

Lons

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Thanks Phil, I'll give that a go at some stage, if it's cheap I might give some of the furniture a coat as well.

Andy, the razor shown hasn't been used because my missus bought me an electric shaver. I wouldn't care but I had quite a job at the time finding the head to fit Gillette Fusion blades, I did make a handle for my brother a few months later to fit a standard head and he hasn't yet complained which is unlike him as he's certainly not shy or diplomatic when it comes to those matters. :LOL: I'm curious to find out now so will ask next time I speak to him.
If you google microcrystalline wax you'll find plenty of info, as Phil said it's used by the museums to protect furniture. Easy to apply, just a very thin coat, let the solvents disperse, I often use a hair dryer (don't tell my missus) then shines up easily using a microfibre cloth.
 

Fergie 307

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Think it is down to the material. The grassbox on my mower has an aluminium handle, which has long since lost any finish. This always leaves my hand blackened after a few trips emptying it. Other things I have made are generally either unfinished but on machines where they are always oily, or in the case of bits for bikes I get them anodised. I did try anodising myself but wasnt impressed with the finish. A recent project was a powerdrive for the mill, the alloy cover for that was painted. Learned years ago to always use etch primer on aluminium if you want the finish to last. Also works on stainless, should you want to paint it for any reason.
 
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