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Brush Finishing of Aluminum


How is a brush finish obtained on Aluminum, is a special tool required? Also can anyone recommend a UK based company who are able to undertake repairs to damaged aluminum and recreate the original brush finish effect.

Any help is much appreciated.

David Pearson
- Cambridgeshire, UK


I suppose it depends on what you mean by a brush finish, David, but this is not normally actually done with metal brushes but with sandpaper on a large belt sander.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


Thanks for your information Ted, would I be able to obtain the brush effect with a domestic DIY type belt sander, does it have to be a certain grade of paper and rotation speed? Your help is greatly appreciated.

David Pearson
- Cambridgeshire, UK


Industrially it's done with a large continuous sanding belt that goes by the trade name "Time Saver" and maybe others. The belt is wider than the width of the part, and the part is passed lengthwise along it so "bzzts" and it's done. To do it on a smaller scale, if you have a belt sander that is wider that the width of the part, you might be able to do it. If the part is wider than the belt, I imagine it would take a lot of skill to not leave unsightly marks where multiple passes were required. I can't recommend a particular grit size or speed; trial and error would be required.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

July 11, 2008

I have recently purchased a 1985 Honda VF700C Magna motorcycle. It was stored outside for two years and a lot of the aluminum covers and wheels are corroded. They have a brushed aluminum finish and I want to restore them to that finish. How do I do that?

Ken Huston
motorcycle owner - Albany, Oregon, USA

October 7, 2008

To obtain a brush finish on aluminum, it can be done with a time saver or a stroke sander, depending on the original brush (line grain or satin brush) A satin brush is usually done by a scotch brite belt (A medium grit)thru the time saver where as the line grain is better achieved with a 120 grit belt on the stroke sander,
Depending on the age of your t/s will depend on how clean your brush actually is as these machines were designed to run wood thru not metal.

Lisa Kluin
- Marysville, Washington

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