How to Polish Metal Surfaces

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

Polishing a plane is no easy job. The different surfaces, the fine contours and the odd angles can make plane polishing no fun at all.

And to tell the truth, most people don't buy a plane so they could polish it! Find out the five simple steps to metal polishing and get your aircraft looking great.

5 Easy Steps to Unbeatable Shine

You can learn to polish metal surfaces within a few minutes and by following my five simple steps for each grade of polish used, can produce a professional shine:

1. Clean the surface you will polish.

2. Apply a strip or two of polishing compound to pad.

3. With your polisher on its lowest setting, spread the compound over the target surface.

4. Increase the polisher speed setting and work it up and down, back and forth slowly across the surface until it is polished.

5. Wipe away any excess polishing compound.

Tip #1

You have two choices when polishing your plane, you can either polish it by hand or with a polishing tool. There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these methods, but it’s strongly recommended that you do not polish the entire plane by hand. Electric polishers are quite powerful, so they can easily buff out imperfections on your plane. However, if you polish the plane by hand, you may have to go over the same spot over and over before you start to see a change in its appearance.

Tip #2

Buffing by hand is also incredibly time-consuming compared to polishing with the help of an electric polisher. It can also be physically exhausting to exert so much effort, and you may experience aches and pains in your arms and shoulders after polishing your plane by hand.

If you are choosing one method over the other, I would recommend using an electric polisher. But, the best option would be to use a combination of both hand and electric polishing. Use a polisher on the majority of the plane, and then switch to polishing by hand when you get to a spot that cannot be reached with a buffing tool. Using both of these methods ensures that every inch of your plane has been properly polished—even the hard to reach spots.

Now that you know the five simple steps and tips to polishing the metal surfaces on your aircraft, it’s time to start polishing.


If you have any questions about this article or want to discuss proper cleaning maintenance for your aircraft, contact me at

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