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Shimmer 'N Shine

Who Said Wheel Finishing Had To Be Hard

Andrew Schear Mar 18, 2005

In keeping with the theme of this month's Wheel and Tire issue, we'd like to give a little heads-up on a cost effective and cool aluminum smoothing process.

Over the past 25 years The Eastwood Company has brought us all sorts of cool restoration products ranging from the Hot Coat powder-coating system to their No Weld panel repair kits and everything in between. For those of us with aluminum wheels, a polished finish is greatly desirable, but unfortunately very expensive when jobbed out. Whether your wheels are cast, machined or a combination of both the two-part Eastwood Wheel Smoothing and Buffing Kit will works wonders on your aluminum rollers. The only required tools are a 3/8 corded drill with an rpm capability of 2,500, face protection, a protective breathing mask and of course lots of elbow grease.

Like your dad always said, "If you want it done right, do it yourself." Check it out!


The Eastwood Wheel Smoothing and Buffing Kit came complete with three compounds, tapered goblet buffs, four-inch spiral buffs, Tripoli lubricant, white rouge finishing compound and all the necessary mounting hardware.

Start by spinning the drill at high speed and bearing the tapered buff on the coarsest compound. As the compound heats up it will adhere to the buff. Cover the buff with compound as evenly as possible.

After the compound has hardened, begin to polish perpendicular to the machining grooves. If the wheels are cast, begin in any direction you choose. Just keep in mind that every stage of polishing must be applied perpendicular to the previous.

When the buff becomes glazed with aluminum, use a small section of 36-grit sandpaper to clean the surface of the buff.

After each stage of compound be sure to clean the entire wheel. Any residual compound may scratch the wheel and will require redoing the previous step.

When all three cuts had been made, 80, 220 and 320 we began buffing with the Tripoli compound.

After the Tripoli has been buffed off, inspect the surface for any remaining scratches.

We noticed that some scratches were still visible after the first buffing. To fix this we jumped back one step and re-cut the surface with 320-grit compound and gave the surface a second buffing with Tripoli compound.

Once all the scratches had been removed we used white rough to polish the aluminum to a high gloss shine.

A higher rpm (2,800) caused the compound to glaze over, making removal easier.

The four-inch loose wheel worked well in the tight areas such as the outer most section of the rim.

After all the compound had been washed away, we rubbed out the surface by hand with Mothers Aluminum Polish.

The tighter pockets were more difficult and resulted in being more time intensive, but wow what a difference!


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