Topic: Having trouble getting mirror finish on alloy


First of all let me list my arsenal :

- Flap Wheels 60, 80, 120 grit.
- Sisal, Colour stitch, white stitch, loose flap mop, swansdown mop
- Sandpapers 240-1200 grit
-- Grey Fastcut Bar, Brown Tripoli, Terracotta Light Brown, Blue, White and Green ORION compound bars
- Liquid Reflection and Blue Saffire Polishing Liquid and Paste.
- Microfibre cloth.

I have an alloy Piece that I started off with. I used a 80 grit flap wheel to get rid of casting marks, then I used sandpaper starting from rough 240, going up in grit working upto 1200 until the surface was smooth.

The compounds I use are not Caswell but Orion but still the same types I believe. I started with the Dark brown Tripoli to begin with on a colour stitch buff, going across the piece in straight lines/rows, then holding my buff on a diagonal angle and working down the piece in rows again.

Then I used the Light Brown (Terracotta I think it is) compoundicon with the White stitch mopicon, again working my way in the same method.

I now used the Blue compoundicon on the Loose Flap wheel.

Then used the White compoundicon on a Swansdown wheel, after that, I used the Green compound on the swansdown wheel.

Using Liquid Reflection or similar polishes from bottles in the end on a microfiber cloth did not help.

In the end what I noticed :

1. At some Stage when I used the Tripoli or terracotta, I put some sort of "stain marks" on the alloy that are visible on the final finish, like black tinges that just don't come off.

2. I cant get a mirror finish, when looked at from a distance it looks like a mirror finish a bit, but if I look into it my face is very dull, reflection is dull, like a fog over a mirror best to describe.

I don't know if it's my method of the compounds i start with and ended with or the sequence i used the compounds and on which buffing wheels I used them.

Any input appreciated. Thanks.


Re: Having trouble getting mirror finish on alloy

I'm not sure how it works with your compounds, but in my experience the white compound is finer than the green.  You might try to hit it again with the white compound and then apply the liquid polish.

-Dustin Gebhardt, CEF

Advanced Manufacturing/Finishing Engineer


Sanford, NC


Re: Having trouble getting mirror finish on alloy

OK POLISHERS !, Some updates, half a job done I guess and half satisfied.

Please do read may be long but it is my procedure I tried.

So The surface was smooth to the feel from previous attempts, so I hit
it back with some 600 Grit and WD40 as Charles suggested.  The WD40
seems to let the sandpaper do a smoother cut, (or I may just be
imagining).  So after the WD40 and sandpaper it looked quite uniform and
smooth, so i wiped the wd40 off with a cloth and then here is the METHOD :

1. Colour Stitch Mop Picture -

Used the colour stitch with some ORION GREY FASTCUT COMPOUND - Held the
mop parallel with the long piece i was polishing and went in a
Serpentine Pattern LIKE THIS :


Going at medium speed I continued like that slightly overlapping.  Then
I turned the mop and held it diagonal to the piece and worked my way the
same direction again, but just holding the mop diagonal.

Then after that I did the same proccess again but going at SLOW speed.

Then I did the same as above but going at SLOW speed and put PRESSURE on
the piece.

After that I did the same, but going faster and only "Gliding" the mop
over, as if the mop wasn't even touching (it was), but just flying over
the piece.

I turned the drill off, then I used LIQUID REFLECTION POLISH on a
microfibre cloth.

After that I used "BLUE SAPHIRE" Polish paste.

In the end after cleaning up and wiping with a clean clean cloth, from a
distance the piece is shiny, you can see objects like my tools nearby
and bottles reflecting on it, but if I were to look at it with my face,
I would see myself, but my face is blurry.  Not like looking at a
picture yourself, but more so like a fog over it.

Any suggestions Welcome, do note I have lots of compounds as I
previously posted.

I was contemplating using GREEN CHROME compound on a swansdown buff, but
apparently that is only for Jewelry.

Any input welcome, I will try anything.  I don't know maybe use finer
sandpaper next time? or maybe the cutting compound I'm using doesn't
like aluminum.

Again Here is a link to my BUFFS and COMPOUNDS please have a look :


Ontop of that I have lots of finer sandpapers etc but those compounds
and buffs are the ones I have. 

I also tried to hit it with some "Green Chrome" Green compound on a swansdown buff, i got the impression it made it a bit brighter but other than put heaps of black marks on the piece it didn't do much, after i cleaned the black marks off with liquid reflection paste, and polished it up, my reflection didn't seem any brighter after I had used the Green compound.

Any ideas welcome, I am going to go out to do some more trial and error again wish me luck.


Last edited by Z2TT (04/10/2011 - 04:21 AM)


Re: Having trouble getting mirror finish on alloy

That stitched
buff is too firm for a mirror-bright finish.  The stiffer the buffing wheel, the fster it will cut, which is not something you want towards the end of your buffing process.  Try using the unstitched wheels. 

If your reflection in the piece looks wavy, often times you have used a wheel that is too firm or you have pressed too hard on it.  If your reflection is hazy, then the piece is not perfectly smooth.

-Dustin Gebhardt, CEF

Advanced Manufacturing/Finishing Engineer


Sanford, NC