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Old 02-18-11, 12:44 PM   #1
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Newbie polishing help? Rims.

Recently acquired a 90's era campy shamal; wheel is in great condition but the last owner ran a brake and there's some marks (with harsh shimano brake pads I assume). How would I go about to polishing out these marks out and hopefully try to get the original finish if possible?

Before you go teaching me lesson on brake safety I want to mention that I plan to put this on a track frame.
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Old 02-18-11, 01:05 PM   #2
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Can you provide a pic of the damage? I'm quite sure we can help you out.
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Old 02-18-11, 01:07 PM   #3
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Can you provide a pic of the damage? I'm quite sure we can help you out.
Will do once I get back home; 50 mins.
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Old 02-18-11, 02:41 PM   #4
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Pictures of the damage







They're not that deep.
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Old 02-18-11, 02:48 PM   #5
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These were probably silver anodized and the brake pads have certainly worn through the anodizing. Common.

I would take some rubbing alcohol and green scrubbie pad and clean the black embedded gunk off....you might need something like Goof Off to get it started. Then see where you are. Might be good enough after that. If not...

Then you can look at polishing...you'll never get back the look of the clear or silver anodizing. Maybe a little 00 then 0000 steel wool to smooth the scratching then use Mothers, Blue Magic or another aluminum/metal polish to bring back some sort of shine. Again, you're not going to match the unmolested parts but you can make them look a heck of a lot better than they are now.
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Old 02-18-11, 03:29 PM   #6
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I would have guessed he picked up some grit in his brake pads and that ground its way into the braking surface.

Clean off the black residue with a solvent. See if that makes you happy enough.

If not, fine grit sand paper will minimize the appearance of the scratches. I would not try to remove the grooves, you'd be removing too much material.
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Old 02-18-11, 03:41 PM   #7
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Would it seems practical to start off with goo off and a scotch brite pad? I'm not in my actual home in addition to being tied down by my academic workload; so I'm going to try to use what I have here.
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Old 02-18-11, 05:48 PM   #8
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Update: tried khatful's method with the rubbing alcohol and the scrubbing pad, it works!

For the polishing what should I use for the cloth? A polishing cloth?
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Old 02-19-11, 04:09 AM   #9
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Not sure if this is a help or not... Clenaing and Polishing Paint, Metal and Fabric.

Also, I start by cleaning dirt off of a rim and I use only the green scrubbie pad. I rarely use solvents, but that is just me.

Hope this is a help.
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Old 02-19-11, 07:19 AM   #10
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I've had real good luck starting with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, use it wet. Then move on to 600 or 800, finish up with 1500 or 2000 grit. Then hit it with Mother's mag and aluminum polish. I had a set of original MAFAC brake levers on my Mercier that were pretty scuffed up. I did that treatment to them and they look great.
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Old 04-25-11, 09:47 AM   #11
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Same exact wheel and issue

I just picked up the same exact wheel and am looking to do the same. i would love to see the results and what you ended up using on it!
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Old 04-25-11, 10:33 AM   #12
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After removing the pad residue with solvent I would start with simple rubbing compound available at any auto store. It looks like the scratches are not that deep and sandpaper is probably not necessary. If the rubbing compound is not enough to get it smooth I'd go with 1000-grit wet-sand paper first with a pinch of dish soap in with the water. Alloy is really soft and it doesn't take much to dig in. If the 1000 was not getting the grooves out I would drop down to 600-grit wet-sand paper (with some soap) and smooth very carefully before working my way back up to 1000 and then rubbing compound -each step finer to remove the scratches made by the previous step until they are all gone with the rubbing compound.

Finish up with polishing compound and then mother's to seal it back up or the alloy will darken and gray out as it oxidizes again if exposed to air. Aluminum oxidizes if not protected by a clear coat, anodizing, or some form of wax to protect it from the air. Fortunately this thin surface oxidation actually seals and protects the alloy from any further oxidation unlike steel which keeps rusting/oxidizing. But alloy DOES oxidize on the surface if it is not treated/protected and will be a dull gray color eventually. Saltwater is even worse for bare aluminum and can cause nasty pitting if allowed to sit over time.


Do this polishing/sanding by hand or use a Dremel tool with a cloth wheel for the rubbing and polishing steps if you want to go faster. But do the sanding by hand with a LIGHT touch as it is easy to go too fast.

You should end up with a beautiful polish that looks nice. Even without the anodizing it can be made to look almost as shiny as chrome and if Mother's alloy rim polish is used on it the finish will stay shiny for a long time.
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