Preserving your hard work
Having got the alloy back as you want, it’s worth considering how you’ll retain the effect. It shouldn’t be necessary to use abrasive metal polishes on a regular basis so look for a good wax polish or one of the more benign metal polishes that are now available. Metal polishes that contain preservatives and/or waxes normally bring back the lustre and leave a protective coat. As long as water and oxygen are excluded from the metal surface the underlying polishing work should remain largely unaffected.
The results speak for themselves here. Polishing is without doubt a messy job but it’s also disproportionately satisfying. An hour or so spent in the workshop with some grotty old bits of festering alloy quickly produces something to be proud of. Polishing can provide a therapeutic break in a restoration project; when you’re waiting for parts, the penetrating oil still hasn’t done its job or it’s too cold to spray that side panel, there’s normally something that needs a session on the mops. Crank up the polisher and, for once, bask in your own reflected glory.