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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 03-24-11, 03:42 PM   #1
reptilezs
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squaring or resurfacing pads, how do you do it?

brake pads end up misaligned or they have a lump in them from the wear indicator on the rim. what do you guys use to remove these lumps and flatten the pads back out? i have used razor knives/box cutters and files. looking for a faster and more efficient method. anyone try a wood rasp?
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Old 03-24-11, 03:51 PM   #2
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For large lumps I usually use the sidewalk in front of my house. Quick, easy, effective. Just don't go crazy.

For a more delicate approach (like to remove glazing) I use sandpaper.
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Old 03-24-11, 03:57 PM   #3
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Dremel with sanding tip
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Old 03-24-11, 04:01 PM   #4
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flat bastard file
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Old 03-24-11, 04:21 PM   #5
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I use a fingernail emery board. It has a nice, flat backing. It has just the right grip. And, since I steal them from my wife, the price is right.
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Old 03-24-11, 07:53 PM   #6
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^^ all of the above.
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Old 03-24-11, 07:55 PM   #7
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coarse metal file.
goes through rubber like butter.
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Old 03-24-11, 08:54 PM   #8
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flat bastard file
+1, I use a half mill bastard (cut in only one direction) file to quickly dress shoes that are glazed or that have pocked up stones. It's quick, easy and doesn't leave abrasive grit embeded. One trick for filing rubber, dip the file in water and it won't load up. BTW- I'm still using a 20 year old file, which is used for all kinds of hack work, and while it's not pristine anymore, it still has lot's of life left.
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Old 03-24-11, 09:54 PM   #9
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NONE of the above. I just clean the darn things with Fantastic household cleaner. It does a nice job of removing any blackness from the Koolstop salmon coloured pads I like and avoid wearing out the pads quicker than they need.

Really, we just do not get our pads hot enough to actually produce a "glaze". Yes they get polished by contact with the rim. But if you sand, file, or slice it away the surface restores itself to the original polished finish in short order from contact with the rims braking surface. In the end you get nothing but increased rate of pad wear due to both you hogging away the material before its time and from the high pressure spots due to the abrasion reduced contact area in the next few hours of riding.

The most I've ever done is to use a sharp pick to remove the galled rim deposits from Shimano brake pads that I found before the shining day when I realized that Shimano can't make a decent brake pad material if their lives depended on it.
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Old 03-25-11, 10:06 AM   #10
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I don't,I adjust them so that they wear even.If they get something in them,I pick it out.
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Old 03-25-11, 10:18 AM   #11
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Really, we just do not get our pads hot enough to actually produce a "glaze". Yes they get polished by contact with the rim.
I agree that they don't get hot enough to glaze in the sense that automotive shoes do. I used glaze as a descriptive term. My commuter is ridden in all weather and road conditions, and over time, the surface develops a hard glaze or skin of dried shoe material embedded with aluminum oxide from the rims, and fine bits of road debris. This lowers the coefficient of friction and needs to be compensated with higher braking pressure, and I suspect it increases rim wear.

Once in a while I pull the wheel and give the shoes a quick pass with my lathe file. I take off that dried skin and the brakes are rejuvenated. It's a tiny effort, takes seconds, and I'm sure speeds brake shoe wear. But on the flip side, I find that I tend to replace shoes infrequently as it is, and in any case shoe replacement is easier and cheaper than rebuilding a wheel because of brake surface wear (never had to yet).

I don't suggest this as a necessary procedure for everybody, but if you think your brakes are working at a sub par level, and they appear glazed, or have fines embeded, 30 seconds with a file is a fast and cheap way to try to restore them to peak performance.
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