I started a project today. Restoring a set of Aluminum wheels that are pretty well pitted from neglect in the elements. Here's the wheel style.
The 5 spokes are polished aluminum and the wheel center and gap between the spokes are painted aluminum. No pitting on the painted surfaces, but lots of brake dust very well set into the finish ( not sure how I'm going to tackle the painted surfaces ). Today I sanded the unfinished spokes of 1 wheel with soap / water / 220 grit paper where the pitting was the worst and got rid of the pitting on the spokes. I'll be working through a few more grits before I'm done. Next is the outer rim which is also unpainted and has some good pitting on it.
The sanding is taking a ton of elbow grease and wearing the skin off my fingers that are doing most of the sanding. I'm just using 2x4" sheets I cut with soapy car wash water. I'm not totally satisfied with the look but I'll reserve judgement til I go through the higher grits and smooth out the surface area.
Has anybody tackled a task like this - and have a few pointers to make the task move a little faster with less effort / time. For tools, I have a good drill and a Random orbital sander that I don't want to get wet but might be useful if I can dry sand or buff some of this job out.
Worst case scenario, I'll just have a long slow process of getting these wheels resurfaced by hand. But I'd like to speed things up if possible.
Also: back side of wheel could use a ton of sanding too, but I'm guessing that's not worth the time and effort. Is it ... ?