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Wet sanding aluminum motorcycle


I have a aluminum Honda CR250 and I was told to wet sand it with 1000 grit sandpaper. However when I did that it scratched the aluminum. I've tried polishing it but the scratches are very evident and quite blotchy. My question is what do I need to do to get the scratches out? Thanks for your input.

Steve Payne
motorcycle repair - Mapleville, Rhode Island, USA


Could you tell us what parts you were trying to sand? Why did they need sanding? 1000 grit is typically pretty mild stuff, were you using water to keep it wet?

What did you use to polish it with afterwards? Chemical polishes like Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and others will not get rid of scratches. They are meant to remove oxidation and road-film.

Using buffing wheels and tripoli [link to product info at Amazon by ed.] polishing compound will remove sanding scratches from plain aluminum. If you have clear coats or anodizing on the parts, that will have to be removed, but I have seen anodizing get removed with aggressive polishing. You will have to polish the entire part to get an even finish. Of course, the protective anodize coat is now gone as well!

Ray Coogan
- Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA

Metal Fabricator's Handbook


I am sanding a aluminum motorcycle frame. I am trying to restore it. I've wet sanded it with 400, 600, 1000 grit paper. I've used a buffing wheel on a drill with red jeweler's rouge [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] compound but still have spider scratches that make it appear cloudy. I've polished it and it's shiny but still has many scratches. Can anyone tell me what type of polishing wheel to use and what I should use to take the scratches out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Steve Payne
- Mapleville, Rhode Island, USA

August 29, 2008

Hi, Ray. letters 800, 1831, and 10917 go into substantial detail about aluminum polishing. Good luck!


Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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