Old aluminum deck hatches- How to fix up weathered finish

Toolate

Admiral
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Posts
6,484
Likes
2,412
Location
Southwestern CT
First Name
Ben
Boat Make
1998 36' Sabre Express CAT 3116TA's, 2015 ROS Scotia 16 Etec 50
I have 2 of these in my deck that work fine but look a bit rough but work just fine. Could use some new weatherstripping but thought I would talk to Freeman about that. The biggest issue is the weathered appearance.

Any suggestions to give them a nicer look?

I have used rust removal wheels on old metal finishes with good luck in the past. Like a stiff sponge with abrasive in it and you can grind a bit and leave a sort of grain or engine turned look if you are careful. Also thought I could sand them in various grits until I at least had fresh aluminum showing and then leave it satin-y maybe somewhere above 220 grit.

Any thoughts?

image.jpg
 

Toolate

Admiral
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Posts
6,484
Likes
2,412
Location
Southwestern CT
First Name
Ben
Boat Make
1998 36' Sabre Express CAT 3116TA's, 2015 ROS Scotia 16 Etec 50
SHould have had them do them when they did the hull. Thought that would be too aggressive. What would the finish be? WOuld think it would need some cleaning up afterward like from a scothchbrite wheel or something.

How about a do it yourself method?
 

Sailorgp

Commander
Joined
Nov 1, 2011
Posts
498
Likes
101
Location
Great Lakes
Boat Make
Sisu 26
when you ask Freeman about the weatherstripping ask them about refinishing the aluminum...and let us know what they say about both topics
 

petrel

Rear Admiral
Joined
Dec 17, 2011
Posts
1,583
Likes
381
Location
NC
Boat Make
56' DMR, 31' BHM
Put some non-skid on 'em while your at it.
 

Keelboater

Admiral
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Posts
6,350
Likes
4,816
Location
Clinton Harbor
Boat Make
35' Bruno & Stillman
If you want a like new finish, you can just send them out for anodizing. They will prep the hatches correctly, and once re-anodized, they will look EXACTLY like new or better. You can also pick your color if you don't want a clear finish. It does not chip or peel like paint can, but 20 years from now, they will look like they do now......weathered. Just look in the yellow pages or google anodizing. This is probably the most expensive route, but it will last the longest and look the best. I used Paul's Custom Plating in PA. to get some bronze parts re-chromed for my Bertram. I'm not sure if they do anodizing, but you can email them at paulschrome.com. They did a fantastic job on the chrome.
 

Brooksie

Rear Admiral
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Posts
1,990
Likes
1,156
Location
Cape Cod
Boat Make
Bruno-Stillman 35
Had the same things on my boat. Although not disturbed by the looks of them, the rings in the deck kept "growing" in their rabbet in the deck I mean giving off a white oxide dispite my attempts to rebed them. This "growing" caused them to pull the bolts up through the deck. I'd clean them (the rings) grind them and rebed them in a new position but in a year or so they would start again giving off white oxide and pulling the bolts up and again causing a tripping point on the deck. A good day for me when I deep sixed them.
 

Keelboater

Admiral
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Posts
6,350
Likes
4,816
Location
Clinton Harbor
Boat Make
35' Bruno & Stillman
Most anodizing shops will not attempt to anodize weathered castings, or castings of unknown alloy. If they do agree they will not guarantee the results. And yes, I know someone that owns an anodizing facility.


Well, then maybe just blast them and clear coat them? Just a thought for the like new look. Not sure how the clear coat would hold up. All of my anodizing experience has been with new parts, many moons ago.
 

Toolate

Admiral
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Posts
6,484
Likes
2,412
Location
Southwestern CT
First Name
Ben
Boat Make
1998 36' Sabre Express CAT 3116TA's, 2015 ROS Scotia 16 Etec 50
anyone have a picture of what glass beaded aluminum looks like? Please post pics of your aluminum restoration. Would think the blasting would make it blotchy for some reason.

The more I read all these ideas the more I think I might paint them the same color as my cockpit floor (light tan or grey) with non skid. Would have to leave the handles bare metal since they are smooth SS. I think this might be the best way for me to go but I will experiment with the wire wheel (brass) and some sand paper. Polishing is just sanding up to extrememly high grits really. Was thinking I might make the highest surfaces look decent with sanding and leave the recesses a little rougher and paint them. Not sure what I could use for clear coat that would stand up to foot traffic though so maybe just paint the whole mess.

I can see how the metal would be "impregnated" with some foreign metal using the wire wheel because I have seen little rust spots appear on non-metallic items I have used a steel wire wheel on before but going to try it anyway because I need to at least scuff the whole thing for paint.
 

Raider Ronnie

Vice Admiral
Lite User
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Posts
3,197
Likes
2,086
Age
57
Location
Boston Ma.
Website
www.bostonharborcharters.com
Boat Make
33 Flowers.

Tuna Pursuit

Rear Admiral
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Posts
1,606
Likes
525
Location
Beverly ma
Website
www.oliverwelding.com
Boat Make
Thunnus
You could just get them anodized. They etch them first. They will look pretty good, maybe not like new, but they will be protected. If your going to paint them I would still take them to a plating company & have them chromated. This will give corrosion protection under the paint or powder coat and make an excellent prep for adhesion. If it was me I would just anodize and be done with it.
 

Badlatitude

Rear Admiral
Joined
Apr 5, 2012
Posts
1,943
Likes
596
Location
CT
anyone have a picture of what glass beaded aluminum looks like? Please post pics of your aluminum restoration. Would think the blasting would make it blotchy for some reason.

The more I read all these ideas the more I think I might paint them the same color as my cockpit floor (light tan or grey) with non skid. Would have to leave the handles bare metal since they are smooth SS. I think this might be the best way for me to go but I will experiment with the wire wheel (brass) and some sand paper. Polishing is just sanding up to extrememly high grits really. Was thinking I might make the highest surfaces look decent with sanding and leave the recesses a little rougher and paint them. Not sure what I could use for clear coat that would stand up to foot traffic though so maybe just paint the whole mess.

I can see how the metal would be "impregnated" with some foreign metal using the wire wheel because I have seen little rust spots appear on non-metallic items I have used a steel wire wheel on before but going to try it anyway because I need to at least scuff the whole thing for paint.

It depends on the aluminum but it pretty much looks frosted and matte. Its raw at this point and everything will leave a mark. fingerprints and all.

I bet Aluminum wheel acid would do the trick for a good clean up before paint. (which leaves an etch also)
 

Tuna Pursuit

Rear Admiral
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Posts
1,606
Likes
525
Location
Beverly ma
Website
www.oliverwelding.com
Boat Make
Thunnus
Think they will get painted but this is interesting. Would be the first pair of polished hatches in a Sisu lol... good video and proves it can be done with sandpaper.

How To Polish Aluminum Rims - YouTube

That's cool but I don't think it will work as well on the hatches due to the nooks & cranneys, and they will be slippery.
 

Parttime

Lieutenant Commander
Joined
Nov 8, 2012
Posts
156
Likes
32
I have the same hatches. I've tried polishing, clear coating and painting. All with limited success.

Painting seems to improve their looks with the least effort.

Have you had the handle jam because of the plastic bushing, yet?
 

Toolate

Admiral
Joined
Aug 6, 2013
Posts
6,484
Likes
2,412
Location
Southwestern CT
First Name
Ben
Boat Make
1998 36' Sabre Express CAT 3116TA's, 2015 ROS Scotia 16 Etec 50
That's cool but I don't think it will work as well on the hatches due to the nooks & cranneys, and they will be slippery.

Think if I were to go this route I would just do the highest, flat areas to 400 and leave the rest. No polishing but I could at least cut down to some fresh metal. Going to sand and paint though.

Just put the video up because it was an interesting, do it yourself with low tech way of cleaning up some metal. Works on other kinds of metal too.
 
Top Bottom