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  1. #1
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    Can Vintage Cinelli Stem be Restored?

    Hey all,

    I am on the hunt for a vintage Cinelli stem to restore my bike to original components. All the N.O.S. stems are $120+ which is out of my budget. The question I have is - can the aluminum on a used stem be restored? Can it be polished/buffed to remove the scratches? or would that only make it worse? Have any of you ever done it?

    Thanks,
    Ben

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    rhm
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    Yes.

    Aluminum takes a nice polish. If scratches are deep, you have to wet sand the whole surface with increasingly fine paper before you polish. This shouldn't remove enough material to make a stem unsafe, but you have to use your better judgement in matters like this. If your stem has an anodized finish, you have to remove that first. There are lots of threads on polishing aluminum as well as threads on using oven cleaner to remove anodizing. It is often easier to search the forum through google than the BF search function (which doesn't).

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    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    What length do you need? Maybe somebody here can help for a lower price. BTW search for Keith's (Khatfull) thread on alluminium polishing. Great stuff. Reanodizing may be trickier, but there are people that could pull it off. The only problem is that that would probably cost more then getting a NOS or a lightly used new one. BTW, here are some for less then $ 120, but maybe shipping will get out of hand. http://www.defietsenmaker.nl/index.p...000012&lang=EN
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    Senior Member ScottRyder's Avatar
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    You should have seen these before Keith worked on them for me:



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    South Carolina Ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Yes.

    Aluminum takes a nice polish. If scratches are deep, you have to wet sand the whole surface with increasingly fine paper before you polish. This shouldn't remove enough material to make a stem unsafe, but you have to use your better judgement in matters like this. If your stem has an anodized finish, you have to remove that first. There are lots of threads on polishing aluminum as well as threads on using oven cleaner to remove anodizing. It is often easier to search the forum through google than the BF search function (which doesn't).
    My experience exactly with a Cinelli 1A. The only problem is that when you remove the anodizing, the stem will will oxidize from hand prints and general atmospheric exposure. It will be easily repolished with metal polish and a soft rag, but definitely not as good as new. I've read that spraying with clear is a mixed blessing because removing the coating later is a pain.

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    +1. Removing the scratchs is easy but tedious. The real concern is the anodizing.

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Yeah. Never replace that soft, pearly glow of Cinelli anodizing. I'm personally against removing anodizing on fine Italian parts but, if you have to do it to salvage the part, you've gotta do it.

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    Gone World Hepster 23skidoo's Avatar
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    I've had great success taking aluminum parts to an industrial plating company that will clear anodize them for a fraction of what you'd pay for a mint/NOS example on ebay to perfectly restore that deep, creamy sheen. Once that's done then the next problem is the disparity in appearance between the hardware--clamp and quill stuff--that's taken a beating over time; I can file, smooth, buff to clean the parts up and when I've got a batch ready they go into the same plater for new chrome and my cost is still way under that high-end ebay purchase price.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sced View Post
    My experience exactly with a Cinelli 1A. The only problem is that when you remove the anodizing, the stem will will oxidize from hand prints and general atmospheric exposure. It will be easily repolished with metal polish and a soft rag, but definitely not as good as new. I've read that spraying with clear is a mixed blessing because removing the coating later is a pain.
    Early Cinelli stems did not have anodizing. Going that way is not w/o effort, and maintaining it is like owning any number of raw finish stems and bars. I also have a early Cinelli bar without anodizing. Cinelli set a trend, perhaps taking the lead from Campagnolo, but they look good either way.

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    I've had great success taking aluminum parts to an industrial plating company that will clear anodize them for a fraction of what you'd pay for a mint/NOS example on ebay to perfectly restore that deep, creamy sheen. Once that's done then the next problem is the disparity in appearance between the hardware--clamp and quill stuff--that's taken a beating over time; I can file, smooth, buff to clean the parts up and when I've got a batch ready they go into the same plater for new chrome and my cost is still way under that high-end ebay purchase price.
    Very interesting 23skidoo. Sounds like a very useful facility to be near. In Nebraska? Have you posted pics of some of the results here?

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    thanks for all the great feedback. I need a Cinelli 1R 105 or less from the mid 80's. I was worried there might be a finish on it - were the mid 80's stems anodized? I can probably find a place to re-anodize it but I still would have to get it polished out before. Does this take a bike guy/gal or would a good metal shop be able to do it?

    A mint 1R just sold for $127 on ebay. I'd rather spend $50.

    By the way - my project is an '85 Trek 770 - that's right, the pink one. Mine had been striped and repainted orange and after a year of effort, I finally matched the original Dupont hot pink dead on. Just got it back from the painter, velocal decals and all. I'm pretty excited but I cannot put the black bars and stem back on, I have to get the original clear alum. components.

    Thanks,
    Ben

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    Quote Originally Posted by BenA View Post
    thanks for all the great feedback. I need a Cinelli 1R 105 or less from the mid 80's. I was worried there might be a finish on it - were the mid 80's stems anodized? I can probably find a place to re-anodize it but I still would have to get it polished out before. Does this take a bike guy/gal or would a good metal shop be able to do it?

    A mint 1R just sold for $127 on ebay. I'd rather spend $50.

    By the way - my project is an '85 Trek 770 - that's right, the pink one. Mine had been striped and repainted orange and after a year of effort, I finally matched the original Dupont hot pink dead on. Just got it back from the painter, velocal decals and all. I'm pretty excited but I cannot put the black bars and stem back on, I have to get the original clear alum. components.

    Thanks,
    Ben
    For a 1R you are better off buying a NOS or really clean used one if you really want it perfect. If you are going to pay somebody to strip, prep, polish, and re-anodize a $50 stem you are going to end up spending the $127 anyway.

    Also to consider with the 1R is the plastic cover in front, which will usually be faded or scratched on a used stem, or broken when you remove it to polish. And 1R's had alloy quill bolts and wedges which are usually cracked on well used examples.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Yeah. Nice 1R's can be had for fairly reasonable prices on ebay, etc. Do you really need a NOS one? I agree with Otis. If you don't have the facility and tools to buff yours out yourself, a nice used one is a good idea.

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    Gone World Hepster 23skidoo's Avatar
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    I'm lucky to have found a local polisher who operates out of a small storage unit and he will strip and polish stems, seatposts, and cranksets to an absolute gloss for next to nothing--$10-15 for the smaller items and $35 for a crankset with rings; then it's my choice whether to leave them in polished brilliance with a couple coats of wax for some protection or tone them down with clear anodizing.
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    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Easily de-anodized and polished, but not restored unless you've access to an anodizer.

    I've polished the Cinelli sleeves on their handlebars, and there's a fine line between losing the logo or having it show through a highly polished sleeve.
    I'd imagine it's quite the same for some Cinelli stems. I have a stem with what looks like a silk-screened logo. I've never figured out how to polish up that one without losing the logo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    I'm lucky to have found a local polisher who operates out of a small storage unit and he will strip and polish stems, seatposts, and cranksets to an absolute gloss for next to nothing--$10-15 for the smaller items and $35 for a crankset with rings; then it's my choice whether to leave them in polished brilliance with a couple coats of wax for some protection or tone them down with clear anodizing.
    Who said all the cheap labor was in China? That is cheap.

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    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    Yeah. I charge myself more than that when I do it for myself. (?) Killer deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    I'm lucky to have found a local polisher who operates out of a small storage unit and he will strip and polish stems, seatposts, and cranksets to an absolute gloss for next to nothing--$10-15 for the smaller items and $35 for a crankset with rings; then it's my choice whether to leave them in polished brilliance with a couple coats of wax for some protection or tone them down with clear anodizing.
    I'm guessing he has a few buffing machines with some course wheels to start, and doing the whole job on the wheels. I can't imagine anybody doing any hand sanding to prep for polishing at those prices. The abrasives can cost $5 if a piece is really rough. I'd like to see some examples.

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    Senior Member c_bake's Avatar
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    I have a 1r in 80mm pretty good shape. I'd be interested in trading
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  20. #20
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    I was in the same place, I feel for you and bring you the mother-load of NOS ttt stems. Not Cinelli but still Italian for your stallion.
    http://www.planet-x-bikes.co.uk/i/q/...uid_quill_stem
    Hope that helps.

  21. #21
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    I recently sanded down and polished a Cinelli stem to fit a French fork tube. The Cinelli was anodized so the finish was lost where I sanded the stem down to fit the French tube. I did this very carefully in my home machine shop, and the fit is smooth, round, and really perfect, but you can tell that the anodized finish was removed if you look closely. Someone mentioned the use of oven cleaner to produce a finish that looks close to the original. BTW, I got the stem for $5 at a local flea market. So what's the deal about restoring that anodized finish? Oven cleaner???

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    FBoD Member at Large khatfull's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neurocop View Post
    I recently sanded down and polished a Cinelli stem to fit a French fork tube. The Cinelli was anodized so the finish was lost where I sanded the stem down to fit the French tube. I did this very carefully in my home machine shop, and the fit is smooth, round, and really perfect, but you can tell that the anodized finish was removed if you look closely. Someone mentioned the use of oven cleaner to produce a finish that looks close to the original. BTW, I got the stem for $5 at a local flea market. So what's the deal about restoring that anodized finish? Oven cleaner???
    No, oven cleaner/lye/sodium hydroxide REMOVES anodizing. I ue kye-based drain cleaner crystals now....very economical and doesn't spray that crap into the air like Easy-Off. The only way to restore an anodized finish is to have the part anodized again.

    To the OP, read the info in the thread linked in my signature. That will get it polished. Then you have to decide if you want to have it anodized again or not. My big winter project it to figure out DIY clear anodizing.

  23. #23
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    Yes you can absolutely buff out scratches. However, if its a part you treasure I'd trust it to someone who has made polishing and restoration of vintage components a passion. You can find several members on this forum who would do it for you, for a fee, for vintage kit, and some just to see the part restored.

    You can absolutely have any part re-anodized. Anodizing is not some mysterious alchemy that only the Italians knew in the 60s/70s/80s but is lost to the modern world.

    However, the better question is why bother? Instead, why not source a Cinelli Grammo titanium stem and add some bling to the bike? Titanium quill stems sell for shamefully low prices nowadays. I picked up one (in my length even) for $25. I'll have to have a custom built someday just to use that stem because the drop doesn't work for me on my marginally too small bikes.

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    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23skidoo View Post
    I'm lucky to have found a local polisher who operates out of a small storage unit and he will strip and polish stems, seatposts, and cranksets to an absolute gloss for next to nothing--$10-15 for the smaller items and $35 for a crankset with rings; then it's my choice whether to leave them in polished brilliance with a couple coats of wax for some protection or tone them down with clear anodizing.
    I'm seriously wondering if he'd do a set of rims. I want a polished set of Campy Ypsilons.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by khatfull View Post
    No, oven cleaner/lye/sodium hydroxide REMOVES anodizing. I ue kye-based drain cleaner crystals now....very economical and doesn't spray that crap into the air like Easy-Off. The only way to restore an anodized finish is to have the part anodized again.

    To the OP, read the info in the thread linked in my signature. That will get it polished. Then you have to decide if you want to have it anodized again or not. My big winter project it to figure out DIY clear anodizing.
    I did some Googling and found that I can use my shop electroplating equipment to anodize aluminum...it's actually pretty easy if you have the adjustable power supply, plating tanks, and electrodes. I'm set up for nickel, silver, copper, and even rhodium plating, but with a change in baths (sulfuric acid for Al anodizing) and Al anodizing "dyes" I should be able to do a decent job.

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