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Refinishing Aluminum Safely 07 Nov 2022 16:13 #123398

My concern was the effectiveness of respirators. From what I've read, they are effective. There are people who polish aluminum for a living.  I visited the shop of a professional to get a quote and some advice. He wore an industrial respirator. It seems you are safe as long as you a wearing one. He said he'd have to charge $1,800 to polish the boat. He was the only professional I could find within a hundred miles. He had more work than he could handle. He gets $100 to polish a truck wheel. He told me that people drop 5k-8k to have their trucks polished. That seems crazy to me. It's only going to be covered in oxide again. It's easy to keep a 14 foot boat shiny after the initial polishing. He appears to be making a good living, judging from the number of trucks sitting in his parking lot. Many were from out of state.

  I was going to polish the boat in the basement over the winter but the noise and the dust are going to make my wife miserable even if there isn't a health risk. 
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Refinishing Aluminum Safely 07 Nov 2022 15:46 #123396

My thought is, even if there is not a lot of dust, or any for that matter, why risk any issue if it is so easy to just wear a simple respirator. I even wear one when I polish with NuVite and afterwards my face is normally black. Below is a link to a good article on it’s hazards. What I did not know is that aluminum dust is actually flammable!


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Refinishing Aluminum Safely 07 Nov 2022 13:43 #123392

In the fifties and sixties, aluminum dust was used in some mines because it was considered to be useful as prophylaxis against silicosis.   Research established that it isn't effective in reducing silicosis. That doesn't seem surprising to me. Why did anyone think that it would?  Miners had a higher rate of Alzheimer's disease but it was not deemed to be statistically significant. Miners also had higher rates of cardiovascular disease but that was true of both miners who were exposed to aluminum and those who weren't. At least according to the manufacturer's specs I've read, respirators can filter 99.97 % of the particulate. With a good respirator (which Charlie wasn't wearing in the photos) and ventilation, it appears that it can be done safely. 

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Refinishing Aluminum Safely 05 Nov 2022 14:15 #123372

I understand that tiny particles that float in the air and do not settle (aerosols) are the ones that get stuck in your lungs. I don't know how you would find out if polishing aluminum makes any aerosols, but I would expect that if you used a paste or had a wet surface, then the paste or water would capture all the particles. Also, if you worked outside (or worked with the garage door up like Charlie) I bet there is enough breeze to move any aerosols away and disperse them. 
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Last edit: by timberwolfe.

Refinishing Aluminum Safely 05 Nov 2022 12:58 #123370

Since is has come up a couple of times on different threads I thought we might kick around different ideas on refinishing Aluminum safely. The Aluminum dust in the pan was produced by Charlie in four hours of sanding, attacking the worst case scenario; an Aluminum hull that was partly sand blasted and had 50 years of oxidation. Charlie used an aggressive approach starting with 80 grit sand paper and advancing to 320 grit.
The sander was an electric sander that has holes in the disc and a built in fan that pulls the dust through the disc and puts it in a small attached bag. It doesn’t capture 100% but it does a a pretty good job, there is no layer on dust on the table tops or work benches in the shop.

This link is to the CDC’s short pamphlet on Aluminum exposure and it’s possible effect on health.

A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

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Last edit: by Locomotion.
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