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Old 03-09-2008
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"Unpainted" masts are actually clear anodized. Aluminum, if left bare, will oxidize to a degree and stabilize, but the oxidation leaves a dusty/flaky surface that is unattractive and rubs off on contact.

If the paint is in good shape you should be able to do a scuff sand and repaint. Don't lay it on too thick, as all masts move to some extent and a thick layer of paint will tend to crack over time.

If you do go down to bare metal, then it needs to be thoroughly cleaned after sanding, lightly etched with a mild acidic (we used vinegar) before priming and painting. (We used Awlgrip products)
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