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Polishing heavily oxidyzed hub and rim??

Old 07-05-15, 09:37 PM
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ClarkinHawaii
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Polishing heavily oxidyzed hub and rim??

Customer's wheel rebuild/hub overhaul--Shimano Exage hub and Mavic M231 rim.

While it's not a part of this deal, I would like to know if in the future I could offer a "polishing" service to improve appearance of components like this

I don't have room for a bench-mounted polishing wheel. Would a Dremel work? I don't have a Dremel now, so I'm completely ignorant of what polishing attachments are available and whether they would be appropriate for this.

Also the hub seems to be bare aluminum, while the rim seems to be oxidyzed under clearcoat.

What would be an appropriate charge for this service? or maybe it's not worth the trouble and I'm better off just staying away from it? Thank you.
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Old 07-05-15, 09:52 PM
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sch
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Dremel would be so tedious as to be not worth your time. If you want to do this you really need a buffing wheel. Unless the polished aluminum is
clear coated, it will rapidly lose its luster. Car wax helps but wears off too rapidly for customers to be satisfied with it. Better reconsider
absent proper equipment.
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Old 07-05-15, 10:09 PM
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Jeff Wills
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Both the rim and hub were originally clear anodized. In order to give them a consistently polished finish, you'll have to sand through the anodization with 600 grit wet sandpaper, then change to red rubbing compound, then white polishing compound. This can be done without machinery, but it's a long, tedious, messy process. Machinery speeds up the process, but it's still messy.

Given appropriate labor rates, you're better off giving them a once-over with rubbing compound, then cleaning thoroughly. It's not worth it to polish them, particularly in your corrosive environment.
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Old 07-05-15, 10:25 PM
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CliffordK
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I haven't done a lot of Aluminum polishing, but some is accomplished through progressive sanding.



Here is a Shimano RM40 hub that I polished in January, mostly on the lathe (knocking out most of the deep grooves, but still leaving a few circumferential scratches. I've ridden it since then including quite a bit in the rain, and it still looks very clean. But, I don't have long-term testing. I also similarly sanded one crank arm on the bike, and it also looks clean.

A bench mounted buffer might be helpful as hand sanding/polishing is a pain.

As far as cost effectiveness... I'm not quite sure. You probably will loose the labels on the rims/hubs.

How much could you sell the complete wheel for 100% restored with repacked bearings and new spokes?

$50 to $100 each?

Minus the cost (or value) of the hub, rim, and spokes&nipples.

And.. the wheel building time.

It seems like you will have a very narrow clientel of individuals who wish to farm out the work to restore C&V bikes. Perhaps with high-end Campy Record hubs.

Anyway, disassembling the wheel like you did is probably the best way to do the polishing, but it will be a rough market.
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Old 07-06-15, 06:20 AM
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The hub you show is so rough and a bit pitted that a lot of sanding and polishing is going to be needed to make it look good. This is going to be very laborious if done by hand. Do you have an electric hand drill? You could chuck a cloth polishing wheel in it and charge it with various grit abrasives to speed up the job.
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Old 07-06-15, 06:35 AM
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Clark, I lived in Hawaii for 12 years and was in the motorcycle business. We constantly struggled with corrosion on aluminum parts on bikes. We quickly found that polishing aluminum was something that shouldn't be done. There was nothing we could do to protect the alu parts from further and quicker corrosion after polishing other than repeated and frequent polishings. Couple that with the acidic volcanic red dirt you have surrounding you, raw alu parts are at a huge disadvantage. IMO polishing hubs and rims is a huge amount of work for very little reward.
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Old 07-06-15, 07:07 AM
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Those rims look pretty rough but I'd give them a quick scrub with fine steel wool before giving up on them and then a good rub down with Simichrome. You're not going to get a high polish look this way but they should clean up a lot better than what they are now.
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Old 07-06-15, 09:11 AM
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Those rims were brushed aluminum to start most likely not polished and they are fairly inexpensive to replace. Unless you are doing a vintage restoration they wouldn't be worth much investment of time or money.
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Old 07-06-15, 09:17 AM
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Charge ? $20 an hour + whats the overhead costs of running your business?, add for actual cost of your materials used..


yes, removing anodizing from parts on an Island with seawater spray everywhere .. is folly.

Bench mounted buffing wheels are very good at ripping the piece out of your hands and throwing it against a far Wall .

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Old 07-06-15, 02:34 PM
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And the consensus is . . . FORGET IT!

Sounds right to me.

Thanks, guys.
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Old 07-06-15, 03:55 PM
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I would offer the customer the chance to polish it themselves before the wheel is built as it's way easier when there are no spokes.
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Old 07-06-15, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ClarkinHawaii View Post
And the consensus is . . . FORGET IT!
I'd go ahead and polish the wheels you have before building them up.

I've heard that the Japanese take their C&V very seriously, so perhaps you would have a different market than one might have here. It wouldn't hurt to experiment with clear coats. Or, perhaps even doing a silver (or other color) anodizing.
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Old 07-07-15, 08:14 AM
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Anodizing isn't that hard. It's just a chemical bath (acid with dye) and a source of DC current. You can offer a polishing *and* anodizing service. Anodizing needs to be sealed afterward with some sort of clearcoat; the oxide layer is porous even if it is pretty. So the shine will stick around for a while.
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