Restoring Nambé aluminum alloy with a Dremel—where do I start?
March 18, 2017 7:12 PM   Subscribe

I want to polish/restore some Nambé pieces I have (candlesticks or a plate) with a Dremel to remove scratches and dents and bring back a shiny, smooth finish. The internet says Nambé is an aluminum-based alloy. Dremel shows accessories for cleaning and polishing and sanding. Which should I try, and in what order? Do I need to use a compound or paste, too? I'm looking for guidance and any tips/tricks. Would something other than a Dremel work better? (I’m willing to risk a mess here. Worst case, I’ll just pay Nambé to repolish them.)
posted by jroybal to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
How deep are the scratches? If you run a fingernail over the scratches can you feel them?
posted by gregr at 7:52 PM on March 18, 2017

Some are that deep, some aren't.
posted by jroybal at 8:17 PM on March 18, 2017

A dremel is going to take forever; especially for something like a plate. A bench buffer and some black, brown and white compound will get the job done a lot faster with more equal results across the surface than you can get with the little dremel bobs.

Or if you have a drill you can get kits for polishing aluminum that fit in your drill. This is a little awkward for items that need to be held (as opposed to wheels, bumpers or other large items. Mounting either the item or the drill in a vice will mitigate the awkwardness somewhat. That company also has a basic run down on the polishing process.

Scratches that can catch a fingernail really should be sanded out with the application of successively finer sandpaper before buffing/polishing. Generally I find hand sanding less likely to damage the piece and would be my choice for your project.
posted by Mitheral at 8:54 PM on March 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Just checking: you know you can get special polishing paste from Nambé, right? I wasn't particularly impressed with the job it did, but I don't mind that my Nambé stuff looks like crap.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:04 PM on March 19, 2017

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