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Old 11-21-11, 09:05 PM   #1
Sprayman
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Advice on Polishing Chrome Parts

Hello;

I'm sure this question has been asked many times, so I hope you'll excuse the repetition.

I'm restoring an old Schwinn. What kind of polish would you recommend for the chrome parts?

Thanks,

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Old 11-21-11, 09:39 PM   #2
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Ask the C & V forum- you'll probably get a dozen different but equally valid techniques. As an ex-Schwinn mechanic, I'll recommend what we sold: Quick-Glo

http://www.quick-glo.com/
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Old 11-21-11, 09:40 PM   #3
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Sprayman: I recently restored an old Schwinn Collegiate for my wife and used NEVR-DULL Metal Polish after using 3/0 steel wool to remove the pitting from the handlebars, rims and spokes. Steel wool shouldn't scratch the chrome, just remove the oxidized steel which comes through the voids in the chrome plating. They make bronze wool if scratching is a concern, but I didn't have any problem. Both will scratch aluminum, though so keep them away from it and just use the NEVR_DULL.
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Old 11-21-11, 09:45 PM   #4
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The only chrome polish I've used on this old Schwinn since I've owned it is Mother's Chrome Polish:

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Old 11-21-11, 11:18 PM   #5
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+1 on the Mothers. It depends however on the condition of the chrome. If there's heavy pitting and corosion, or the copper undercoat is showing- no polish will bring it back. In the old days the "chrome polish" of choice was Simichrome.
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Old 11-22-11, 12:00 AM   #6
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the most important polishing job was to the bare steel before the plating started
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Old 11-22-11, 08:08 AM   #7
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Any chrome polish will work, just use it on the finest steel wool you can get, 000 or 0000. Synthetic abrasive wool is another alternative if you are concerned about scratching.

Edit: 000 can haze the surface if you get aggressive with it. It will remove fine surface scratches and corrosion, but you will need to follow up with a good buffing and polishing to restore the original shine. Be careful as it is possible to wear through thin chrome.

Last edited by Myosmith; 11-23-11 at 08:30 AM. Reason: added information about scratch removal with 000
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Old 11-22-11, 08:16 AM   #8
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Any chrome polish will work, just use it on the finest steel wool you can get, 000 or 0000. Synthetic abrasive wool is another alternative if you are concerned about scratching.
When would you NOT be concerned about scratching? Aluminum foil works, I'd stay away from steel wool on chrome, or any "abrasive wool," synthetic or not.
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Old 11-22-11, 05:47 PM   #9
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Wet aluminum foil is all you need.
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Old 11-23-11, 08:48 AM   #10
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The OP said this was a restoration project which usually entails the removal of years of haze, fine scratches and specks of corrosion from the chrome. 0000 steel wool or fine synthetic wool used with a good chrome cleaner/polish and a light touch is a good way to buff neglected chrome clean and restore much of the shine. If you really want a showroom shine, follow that up with a good buffing using chrome polish on a microfiber cloth. I added a note to my earlier post that it is possible to haze a chrome finish if you get aggressive with 000 steel wool. Sometimes fine abrasion is necessary to remove fine surface scratches prior to repolishing. A quality chrome finish will take a good amount of polishing, but beware that some lower quality chrome plating is very thin and it is possible to wear through it. This usually isn't a problem with older or higher quality bikes, but can be with low end bikes or some non OEM replacement/reproduction parts or parts that have been rechromed by discount plating services.

When I said "if you are concerned about scratching" I should have been more clear by saying something along the line of "if you are concerned that steel wool may haze the surface, synthetic wool is an even less aggressive alternative".
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Old 11-23-11, 11:57 AM   #11
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Mother's.....

Last edited by Booger1; 11-23-11 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 11-24-11, 02:48 AM   #12
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When I started cleaning up my old chrome Redline, that had been hanging in the garage for nearly ten years, I used Maas Polish. It cleaned it up nicely. I've also used it on some rust prone bolt heads, and it's kept the rust away.

I did end up using a polishing wheel in a Dremel, on a few of the Redline's trouble spots. (using the Maas, on the wheel)
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Old 11-24-11, 09:26 AM   #13
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Chrome plating is 60 billionth of an inch thick you can actually lick it off if you have a bit of time. The nickle plating under the chrome is thicker stop polishing when you hit the nickle.
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Old 11-26-11, 05:21 AM   #14
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A lot of old Schwinns DO have some aluminum parts, if you polish thos paint them with clear paint or they wil oxidize and you ahve to be re-polishing and re-polishing adnausium
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Old 11-26-11, 06:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
Sprayman: I recently restored an old Schwinn Collegiate for my wife and used NEVR-DULL Metal Polish after using 3/0 steel wool to remove the pitting from the handlebars, rims and spokes. Steel wool shouldn't scratch the chrome, just remove the oxidized steel which comes through the voids in the chrome plating. They make bronze wool if scratching is a concern, but I didn't have any problem. Both will scratch aluminum, though so keep them away from it and just use the NEVR_DULL.
Yup. Nevr Dull is what I used to clean up the chrome on a Schwinn that was over 40 years old. Didn't even need to resort to the steel wool as the Nevr Dull wadding does work as an abrasive to work through the pitting.
Old Schwinn chrome cleans up very nicely I found.
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Old 11-26-11, 07:11 AM   #16
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There are many types of good Chrome Polish that will do the job. Having used "Quick Glow" to restore three of my own old Schwinns, and others too, I can promise you it works. It is also non toxic. It is sold at the LBS, an used at the LBS. Don't use any abrasive like steel wool, it makes for less labor, but, can remove too much too fast. Quick glow is also a good size container for the money. Semi-chrome is great, but expensive considering the size of the container. This was rusty when I got it. It has a lot of chrome on it compared to a two wheeler.

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Old 11-26-11, 08:59 PM   #17
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A product I have used, especially if there is some rust to remove, is Bar Keepers Friend. You can find it in Walmart in the grocery section usually on the bottom self under the Comet.
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