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Black aluminum restoration?

Old 08-29-15, 10:08 AM
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Black aluminum restoration?

Time marches on... and now or pretty soon, bikes with satin-black finished aluminum handlebars and seatposts will be C&V. These usually get scratched or nicked up showing the bright metal. I'm not really certain how to tell what's anodized and what's paint; and the finish is sometimes very thin. What's the best way to touch these up? Should they be painted?
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Old 08-29-15, 10:32 AM
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I've gone with paint markers in the past. You can often flood the scratch, then wipe away excess. It's not perfect but doesn't catch the eye as much.
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Old 08-29-15, 10:33 AM
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Then there's weathered black anodizing...



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Old 08-29-15, 11:09 AM
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For most minor scratches, a black Sharpie pen is your friend!.....
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Old 08-29-15, 11:33 AM
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You can have parts re-anodized, though it can be expensive if you are doing it piece-by-piece. I restored a pair of rare Weyless pedals and had the black cages re-anodized. You basically strip the original anodizing, file/sand as needed, polish, clean and hand over to the anodizer. I paid ~$65 iirc, but probably could have done a batch of a whole bike's worth of small parts for the same cost.


before side


before top


after some initial sanding


Some reshaping

Then more sanding


Then more polishing and reshaping, and a trip to a local anodizing shop to get:

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Old 08-29-15, 11:56 AM
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For touchups, flat black spray paint, sprayed into a cup, then dabbed in and excess wiped off. 2-3 coats and the hole is filled and flat black matches.

I've also done it with Sharpies. I've also done it with black touchup paint pens, then used my finger to create the satin no-gloss.
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Old 08-29-15, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
You can have parts re-anodized, though it can be expensive if you are doing it piece-by-piece. I restored a pair of rare Weyless pedals and had the black cages re-anodized. You basically strip the original anodizing, file/sand as needed, polish, clean and hand over to the anodizer. I paid ~$65 iirc, but probably could have done a batch of a whole bike's worth of small parts for the same cost.


before side


before top


after some initial sanding


Some reshaping

Then more sanding


Then more polishing and reshaping, and a trip to a local anodizing shop to get:

I think you had some fun doing this, as well. Excellent.
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Old 08-29-15, 12:18 PM
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I've used this on gun parts I used to make, https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/Refin...-Touch-Up.aspx , it works pretty good on machined aluminum but better after being blasted. As far as being air cured, this is the toughest stuff I've found http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-to...-prod1117.aspx , I used it often for magazines.
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Old 08-29-15, 12:34 PM
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I learned when I touched up a scratch on a Buick that Sharpie ink is not true black, but very dark purple. It made the scratch less noticeable but I was not satisfied with it. Birchwood Casey Super Black worked much better.

http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-to...-prod4942.aspx

dksix beat me to it.
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Old 08-29-15, 01:02 PM
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FWIW Powder coat adds thickness, anodizing then dye for color wont.

powdercoated 22.2 handlebar measured out 22.5....
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Old 08-29-15, 01:58 PM
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i use model enamel like testors.
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Old 08-29-15, 02:14 PM
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Aluminum anodizing is an electrochemical process that creates a layer of aluminum oxide on an aluminum surface.

Clear anodizing is the type of coating used in cosmetic applications like bicycle components. It's usually .0002" to .0006" thick (0.005mm to 0.015mm). The aluminum oxide layer forms a very hard scratch and corrosion resistant surface. It's relatively porous.

Most colors including some blacks are created by introducing a dye into the anodized surface. The dyes are organic and not permanent but they can be made more light-fast with a the application of a chemical sealant to fill the pores after the dye is applied.

I don't recall ever seeing black anodizing that has faded as much as stem that @The Golden Boy posted pictures of in message #3 .


Hard anodizing is done with different chemicals and produces a grey to dark brown coating that's .001" to .005" thick (0.025mm to 0.150mm). Many rims were/are hard anodized. The black dye used on hard anodized surfaces is far more light-fast than that used with clear anodizing.

I use a magic Marker to cover up small scratches. It's not very permanent but creates a cosmetic camouflage. Rubbing alcohol and other solvents will remove the Magic Marker coating.


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