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Old 10-13-2017, 09:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Finishing Aluminum

I just turned my first aluminum pen. Haven't assembled it yet. I was rummaging around and found a piece of 6061-T6 AL tubing that was perfect for making a simple slimline.

What's the feeling on finishing 6061? Anything simple I can use? I'm not going to go to the trouble of anodizing it.


Gary Walz, Vermont Wood'n Pen
Milton, Vermont
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good to know about the lacquer finishing technique .

... mentioned in your other thread.

Don't ASK ... I might lie. Don't TELL me ... Iíll forget. But if you SHOW me I might remember; and if you INVOLVE me Iíll probably get it.

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Old 10-13-2017, 11:13 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Do you even need to finish Al? Though I have heard of issues handling raw Al I believe it creates an oxide coating almost immediately.

I would sand to a high grit like 12,000, maybe use polishing compound, put on some wax and call it a day.
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:38 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've sand blasted quite a few Aluminium and steel bits and pieces which looks nice if you can get it done.
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Old 10-13-2017, 05:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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600 grit satin finish helps hide scratches that WILL quickly appear if you polish. Make sure all the 600 scratches run in the same direction.

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Old 10-13-2017, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I polish aluminum like acrylics, I sand through the grits and finally buff it using Eastwood's mag and aluminum wheel compounds, then wax it. The one finish I liked was from Eastwood, Eastwood Diamond Clear DTM and Painted Surfaces Aerosol

My favorite for aluminum and brass is the polishing as above and then "jeweling" the shiny surface. This video explains Jeweling search "rifle bolt jeweling" for more information.
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Doc told me about VHT it's a clear coat for aluminum wheels. You can find it on the shelf in the paint section at Autozone.

I painted mine mounted on the lathe with it turning slowly. Light coats (follow instructions on the can) No sanding

I found the thread.

Aluminum Barons
Chuck Hutchings
Indianapolis, In.
You can see some pens at

Last edited by Dalecamino; 10-13-2017 at 07:03 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The OP didnít say what kind of finish heís going for but if its polished a finish is a must. Pick your poison, so to speak. VHT is a good product, but is intended for V.ery H.igh T.emperatures, most of those products require baking to reach max hardness.

The jewel finish (or engine-turning) would be difficult on compound curves. Iíve not seen it done on a pen. It would definitely require a finish to retain its looks on soft metals. It can be done simply by attaching a piece of cloth to the end of a doll-rod and twisting it between your palms.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Gary, I think I would use a spray lacquer to finish it off.
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Old 10-13-2017, 11:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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What about powder coating?

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