How to polish metal parts to a high gloss

Polishing Metal

Restoring a Vintage Car

There's no question that the trim, rims, headlights and chrome-plated machine elements are the figureheads of any restored motorcycle or well-maintained vintage car.

To enjoy perfect chrome and metal surfaces that catch the eye, vintage vehicle owners have to tackle rusty, matt or weathered surfaces. A good polish can suffice to restore their splendour. 

Instructional Video: Polishing Metal

See for yourself how quickly an old exhaust can look new again.

Tip: Use the power drill to polish

When cleaning up stubborn dirt, light rust or oxidised metal surfaces, it pays to use a power drill with the appropriate cleaning and buffing wheels. The power drill gives the cleaning session quite a boost. Good buffing and polishing wheels protect the delicate surfaces and yield perfect results in no time.

Cleaning Chrome or Metal


Step 1: Thoroughly and gently perform preliminary cleaning 

To work safely, use the power drill in combination with a drilling machine holder. Thus both your hands are free to control your workpiece and minimise the risk of errors. Use a Ø 85 mm felt buffing pad for the preliminary cleaning. Make sure it is firmly locked into the drill chuck.

Apply the cleaning paste to the rotating felt pad. To do so, hold the piece of paste against the edge of the pad. The friction causes heat and the paste evenly spreads over the felt. Once the felt has been evenly covered, as is visible from the colour change, you can start.

With slow, controlled movements, guide your workpiece against the felt pad and remove dirt, oxidation and rust. The high speed of rotation quickly leads to good results.

Step 2: Polishing to a high gloss 

For the finishing, switch to the felt buffing wheel. Clamp it in the drill chuck and apply the polishing paste with the same method as for the cleaning paste.

With the saturated felt buffing wheel, polish the cleaned surface to a high gloss. Finished!

Hobby Polishing Set

The practical all-in-one set