MEET OUR TEAM
Kevin Drinkwater, President
Kevin has over 35 years of business experience in international marketing, sales, logistics, information technology, projects, and executive management for a multi-national mining company. Kevin is the majority owner of Spectrum and is responsible for financing and business development.
Stephane Touchette, Vice President
Stephane joined Spectrum Alberta in November 2018 and brings with him decades of experience in metalwork. Starting as a “Finisher” at MetalBoss Technologies, Stephane has all but mastered the arts of metal refinishing, utilizing a wide range of hand and industrial tooling to achieve beautiful finishes on aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper, and titanium.
Chris Drinkwater, Vice President
Chris joined Spectrum Alberta in November 2018 and brings with him significant skills and a broad education in business management. Chris is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business, inventory, supply-chain development, marketing, payroll, and human resources.
It’s a common misconception that polishing is the same as “waxing” – however, they accomplish very different things! Polishing corrects surface imperfections (textured and/or scratched surfaces) by leveling the surface so light bounces off in straight lines. Waxing involves sealing a surface (and to some extent, filling imperfections) to prevent oxidization and corrosion – this is a temporary effect, however, because filling agents are often stripped away during washes.
Metal polishing is a multi-step process consisting of the use of consecutively finer grits of sandpaper, buffing wheels, and specialty polishing compounds to achieve the best possible results. The initial sanding steps are the most critical to the polishing process; however, many polishers reduce or eliminate these important (but time-consuming) steps to reduce costs, which typically results in sub-standard finishing.
Spectrum’s pricing includes all the necessary sanding and polishing steps to achieve the best clarity and brightest finish. Lower pricing can be achieved, but at the cost of fewer sanding and/or polishing passes—resulting in lower quality results. This is not our preferred practice, but we will always work with our customers to meet their budget requirements.
Producing exceptional finishes
Producing an exceptional mirror finish can require as many as 12 stages of cleaning, sanding, cutting, and colouring. We currently offer brushed, satin, and mirror finishes on metals including aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper, and more. Some important steps in our process are listed below:
Acid washing is commonly seen as a way to restore the brightness of aluminum; however, while acid washing can remove contaminants and oxidation from aluminum, many acids can harm the metal and cause etching. At best, the aluminum will be cleaned and brightened, but will soon turn white. Afterwards, it takes a lot of hard work to bring a true shine back to the metal; in many cases, the use of an aluminum-safe acid wash is simply the first step to achieving a top-quality finish.
To remove as much oxidization, deeper scratches, and pitting as possible, Spectrum utilizes a minimum of two sanding passes before proceeding to buffing. A number of high-speed rotary sanding passes may be used to take out the harshest marking, followed by multiple stages of random-orbit sanding to produce a soft, smooth canvas for our polishing specialists.
After sanding, we begin polishing by applying a cutting compound with a stiff buffing wheel. Cutting serves to remove sanding marks from the work surface and begins to add a lustre to the metal.
Colouring (and/or finishing) make up the final stages of metal polishing; these buffing operations provide depth, maximize gloss, and produce a mirror-like finish.
It’s important to keep in mind that use of aggressive (high/low pH) chemicals like acids, degreasers, and road salt can cause metal to etch or oxidize, which will change the physical structure of the polished surface and reduce clarity. In addition, contaminated brushes and cloths can cause scratches (especially on soft and sensitive aluminum or brass), which will reduce the smoothness of the polished surface and increase the likelihood of chemical contaminants oxidizing it.
Spectrum takes pride in using high quality polishing compounds without fillers to provide the brightest, clearest, and longest lasting shines possible but we cannot take responsibility for – or warranty finishes – once they leave our shop.