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Customs valve cover question

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by thomas comerford, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. thomas comerford
    Joined: Dec 11, 2018
    Posts: 9

    thomas comerford

    hey guys I have a question regarding paying someone to polish a raw cast aluminum valve vs me trying to do it myself. The engine is a 292 straight six chevy with the stock valve cover on it. There is a little tab that is welded to the side of it that holds the throttle valve cable in place that the guys who did the finishing touches for me did. There is a company that makes a really nice cast aluminum valve that you can get raw or polished. I was gonna try and have my uncle who is a welder tack a new bracket onto the new raw cover. my debate is wether i should try and shine it up myself or just have someone else do the polishing.
  2. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,604

    Rusty O'Toole

    You could polish it yourself but unless your time is worth nothing you might as well buy the polished version. It might be better to bolt or rivet the bracket on. Easier too.
    Joined: Oct 16, 2018
    Posts: 310


    Polishing with the bracket in place will be more difficult.
    Buy the polished one, and spot polish the bracket after welding.
    VANDENPLAS and Budget36 like this.
  4. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,246

    Jalopy Joker

    if you have large polishing wheels/motor, and experience using it go for it - otherwise get a polished one

  5. Pop Chevy
    Joined: Jan 20, 2020
    Posts: 23

    Pop Chevy

    I have done that several times and it depends how rough the casting is . If it's rough you will need to wet sand it with probably 3 diff grits , then buff it with 2 diff (orange and white) compounds then hand finish with a good metal polish to get it looking nice. VERY labor intensive and messy. I have an old washing machine motor with a buffing wheel I use. Yea , I'm cheap.
    VANDENPLAS likes this.
  6. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,719

    jimmy six

    No one is mentioning this but your going to make a black mess all over you too. You need a free standing polisher too with at least 2 different pads.. I touch up already polished parts with a pad on a drill press.
    VANDENPLAS and jaracer like this.
  7. jaracer
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,150


    When I first built the sprint car in my avatar, I polished all the aluminum radius rod plus the front and rear bumper. Like Jimmy Six said, be prepared for a black mess. That was enough for me, I had a local polishing company do my last valve covers.
  8. I did these by hand, no polishing wheels or machines, just takes a bit of time, sandpaper and polishing compound like Wenol

    20210208_233605.jpg 20200121_161738.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  9. thomas comerford
    Joined: Dec 11, 2018
    Posts: 9

    thomas comerford

    hey guys appreciate the info. i will put up pics with the final solution when i get it done.
    swade41 likes this.
  10. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 9,719

    jimmy six

  11. thomas comerford
    Joined: Dec 11, 2018
    Posts: 9

    thomas comerford

    yeah its gonna be a bit i just moved and gotta buy new furniture plus pay off some debt
  12. Packrat
    Joined: Aug 25, 2005
    Posts: 498


    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  13. I polished an intake manifold for a SBC once. Did a lot of sanding by hand and with a die grinder (cartridge rolls) then moved to a polishing wheel thingy mounted to a 1/2" drill. I clamped the 1/2 drill into a bench mounted vice in my basement. Was a lot of work and tons of sanding. It looked amazing ... until I took it outside in the natural light ... whoops, time for more sanding as I could now see a lot of scratches. When I was finally done, I was very happy with the look as it matched the polished rocker covers and air filter. I practiced on an alternator case before I attempted the intake. In my opinion, a valve cover would be quite easy. As for me, I have tired of the "show" look and simply grind/cartridge roll all numbers/names off aluminum parts then sandblast and install them. If I wanted something polished, I would not hesitate to do it again though.
    It shouldn't be hard to find some of those spiral wound polishing wheel things and a selection of compound sticks.

    I would never pay someone to polish aluminum, it really isn't hard to do, just very time consuming.

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