A Whole Lot of Buffing

4/20/01 A Whole Lot of Buffing

I continued buffing the aluminum strips for the trunk weather stripping. After sanding the aluminum in progressively finer grit sand paper, I got to the buffing stage. I used a medium grit buffing rouge (brown) and the spiral sewn cotton buff to start. Often this is enough to get aluminum to a high shine. You can see the right side of the strip is buffed, and the left side is still dull from the sand paper.

This picture looks like I’m done buffing, but I’m not satisfied! I can still see some slight sand paper marks in the metal, and the only way to remove these is more sanding! With 1500 grit sandpaper, I carefully sanded away some more material away to get the surface as flat as possible. Once I buffed the aluminum again after this course of sanding, they’ll be worthy for a Ferrari!

I had a revelation today on my drive up to the shop on how I am going to buff the glove box door. Someone on the Bulletin Board suggested attaching an orbital buffer to a vice, and holding the piece in my hand to buff, but after looking at François’ industrial sized buffer, I was sure it would take only a matter of minutes before it snatched my glove box door from my hand! My new idea was how to secure it firmly to a piece of wood so I could buff without worries.

There are two small attachment points on the back of the door, but definitely not up to the task of holding the door to a piece of wood while a buffer is trying to remove it from the wood, so I needed a way to make this connection stronger. I figured that if I screwed thin pieces of wood onto the backing board, they would help keep the door from moving, and the screws would not break off from the force of the buffer.

With the door firmly screwed into place over these blocks, I can now clamp the wood backing board to a work bench and buff to my heart’s content!

So you can see, it pays to be slightly smarter than a piece of wood!

On a totally different topic, I was at François’ today, and we were talking about valves, and blown engines. He, just like most mechanics I know, has a collection of engine parts that come from some kind of catastrophic failure. As we talked about what can happen when an engine drops a valve, he went into his office and came out with this piston.

The valve almost looks comfortable nestled in a perfect new home, but the if you can imagine the amount of force it took to make two perfect indentations of the valve into the top of the piston, it’s not so nice of a picture! This holed piston is from a 365GT 2+2 that obviously needed a major engine overhaul after this stunt. I’m sure the owner and his checkbook shuddered!

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