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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Cleaning/Polishing Portlights
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Thread: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-04-2012 09:33 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

I've always been able to tell the difference between S/S & aluminium ports, even when they are too nasty to tell by looking, simply by picking them up - S/S is heavy, Aluminium isn't.
10-04-2012 02:56 PM
SVTatia
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

Thank you RocketScience, I will take note of that.

The main point I was trying to make is that since her ports are identical to mine, they most likely are cast aluminum, and therefore should be treated as such.
10-04-2012 01:29 PM
RocketScience
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVTatia View Post
Kelleyg - Please see reply # 9.

These are definitely cast - and they are not SS (cast stainless? - no).
Cast aluminum should not be powder coated - it does not accept this type of finish, the heat pushes out trapped air that creates air bubbles and destroys the finish - I have tried this and it did not work, it was hell to remove the coating after the failed attempt. Polish and re-anodize or paint as explained in reply 9.
Not entirely true.

Yes, this is a common problem with powder coating companies who are unfamiliar with coating cast aluminum, but not all powder coater's are created equal. This is why I emphasized (in bold) the "marine, three stage" system. RMC here in Seattle is an approved applicator for the USCG. They are experts in the coating of all types of metals, including cast aluminum. If your powder coating company is unfamiliar with the coating of cast aluminum, move on to somebody who is.
10-04-2012 10:33 AM
SVTatia
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

Kelleyg - Please see reply # 9.

These are definitely cast - and they are not SS (cast stainless? - no).
Cast aluminum should not be powder coated - it does not accept this type of finish, the heat pushes out trapped air that creates air bubbles and destroys the finish - I have tried this and it did not work, it was hell to remove the coating after the failed attempt. Polish and re-anodize or paint as explained in reply 9.
10-04-2012 09:59 AM
KelleyG
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

Thanks all for the help here. The captain, who is also a welder and carpenter, has assured me they are SS, but i may have him test via RocketScience's video technique. It's a great video!

Kelley
Sailing Chance
10-03-2012 08:43 PM
RocketScience
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

Kelly,
I've come across this type of portlight before, and they were typically made from either aluminum or bronze. IMO, they look to be made of aluminum, and not stainless, but I could be wrong. How I/we suggest any cleaning or polishing of your portlights depends on the metal. You can test stainless vs. aluminum by using an abrasive grinding wheel on an inconspicuous spot on your portlight. If it throws out sparks, it's stainless. If not, it's aluminum. Below is a how-to video:



If your portlights are indeed stainless, you can polish them up by hand fairly decent with some of the commercial products already mentioned. On the nuclear side, they can be brought back to a chrome-like finish, but this is best done by a metal finishing shop using industrial equipment.

On the other hand, if your portlights turn out to be aluminum, they are more than likely to have an anodized finish applied to them, and if so, your options are very limited. The option that I took on my own worn and pitted aluminum portlights, was to have them powder coated in white with a marine, three stage powder coating. They turned out nicely, and the finish is about as durable as it gets.
10-03-2012 10:39 AM
rbrake
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

They look like the Bomar ports widely used in US production boats. I'd do some investigating first as they are made of an aluminum/magnesium alloy and nothing should be done to them except clean them with vinegar. The original Bomar almags had a stainless set screw as a hinge adjuster on the hinge inside. They cannot be re-anodized because of the magnesium content if indeed they are the Bomar.
10-02-2012 08:22 PM
SloopJonB
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

If they're S/S and you want them to look incredible, spend a few bucks at Harbour Freight and buy a buffing wheel. Remove them, mask the glass and buff them with green compound - they'll come out looking like new chrome.

If you want a LOT less work, use the Autosol polish I mentioned previously - I've tried a bunch of different metal polishes and it's easily my favourite.

See the attached before & after of a neglected mast tang using a buffer.
10-02-2012 07:24 PM
HMoll
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

If SS, leave them overnight in Barkeeper's Friend. Hand polish next day with metal polish.
10-02-2012 07:17 PM
SVTatia
Re: Cleaning/Polishing Portlights

These are exactly the same as mine, and mine are cast aluminium.
Mine were in terrible shape, and very pitted, they are the original, from 1967.
To re-anodize them I would need to polish them pretty good, a difficult job and expensive to outsource. After polishing they would still need to be dipped for cleaning then anodized. A 3-step process - polish, clean, anodize.
I opted for cleaning them as good as I could then prime with Boeing-spec primer and painted with two part Polyurethane. Sounds like a long process, but I did the cleaning and paid for the prime-paint. It was inexpensive, much less than the re anodizing process.
Be careful if you just want to clean and polish them - by using abrasives you could remove the anodizing and they will be prone to corrosion and pitting.

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