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Polishing chromed Cinelli steel stem

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Polishing chromed Cinelli steel stem

Old 03-21-18, 09:36 PM
  #1  
numbernine
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Polishing chromed Cinelli steel stem

Experts,
I'd like to do a cheap and fast polish on the Cinelli chrome-plated steel stem that came with my 1966 Paramount. I want it to go on before Eroica CA in a few weeks. There is surface patina and a little rust on the bolts. Ideas?

Thanks!
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Old 03-21-18, 09:47 PM
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I'd try Brasso, followed by wax, followed by wax, and then... maybe some wax.
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Old 03-21-18, 09:51 PM
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Some sort of rust removing polish containing oxalic acid. Barkeeper's Friend is supposed to be one such brand. Or, you can use an oxalic acid bath. Oxalic acid will combine with the rust and leave a yellow residue that will wash away with water. Treatments with phosphoric acid (Naval Jelly, etc) will convert the rust into a dark colored phosphate and won't enhance the appearance, I suspect. Oxalic acid isn't real dangerous, but the fumes are unpleasant and should be avoided and rubber gloves are helpful, too.


Any sort of steel wool or SOS pad will probably scratch the chrome and you probably don't want that.

It doesn't look like the rust/pitting is real bad and you should expect a good result though the small pit freckles will remain and will be noticeable when looking closely. Also, the freckles will be sites for future corrosion if care isn't taken.

edit: Brasso also contains oxalic acid. I didn't know that. I've avoided the stuff since getting out of the army in 1979. The smell (ammonia) is distinctive and unpleasant.

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Old 03-21-18, 09:53 PM
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Evaporust for the rust. Barkeeper's Friend and water if you want to cheap out. Both are mild acids.

Polish with Simichrome afterwards. There are a lot of similar chrome polishes, but IME Simichrome is best. That's a Cinelli stem. Spring for the 10 bux IMO.
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Old 03-21-18, 10:58 PM
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Oxalic acid -> Chrome polish -> Then maybe some wax

Evaporust could substitute for the oxalic acid.
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Old 03-22-18, 04:25 AM
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Numbernine, please come over to our Eroica California thread and check in so we can see how many BF members we will have at Eroica.

Eroica California 2018 - BF C&V page - plus donations question
See post #84 for info needed. Thanks!
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Old 03-22-18, 04:30 AM
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Not to start an argument but fine steel wool and chrome polish does wonders on old chrome. I would never use it on new chrome plating.
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Old 03-22-18, 06:17 AM
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I prefer bronze wool, then Mother's Mag Wheel polish.

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Old 03-22-18, 07:48 AM
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For the rust on the nuts and bolts, try a brass-bristle brush, available in the plumbing supply aisle.
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Old 03-22-18, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
Not to start an argument but fine steel wool and chrome polish does wonders on old chrome. I would never use it on new chrome plating.
If you're gonna scrub off the pits, a wadded up ball of aluminum foil also works really well. Strong enough to knock off rust, but too soft to scratch the chrome.
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Old 03-22-18, 02:20 PM
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Cars have chrome to polish, why not use that chrome polish on your bike?
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Old 03-22-18, 02:28 PM
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Wools regardless of type, is used with too much pressure will dull the finish. Been there...


At the recommendation of this forum I picked up Evap Rust. Not aggressive like oxalic acid and works great. It takes time but works...


so... Evapo rust, rinse, dry, polish of choice. I use Mothers, they all work.
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Old 03-22-18, 03:18 PM
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What works for me: aluminum foil dipped in salt water. The salt water helps the process, but the aluminum foil should take off the rust without scratching the chrome (like steel wool will tend to do). Then I use chrome polish.
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Old 03-22-18, 05:00 PM
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Quick-Glo

This is the best stuff for chrome, very little effort required.
Tim
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Old 03-24-18, 11:40 AM
  #15  
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Ok the plan is:

1) buy Brasso, rubber gloves and use aluminum foil for surfaces
2) Brasso and brass bristle brush for bolts (say that 10 times fast)
3) Simichrome (have some around)
4) wax? i don't have any- perhaps can wait. recommendations?

I'll post before/after for y'all
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Old 03-25-18, 11:56 AM
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Wax? Whatever you use for your car.

I've just completed my 3rd batch of small parts with Evapo Rust. Gotta say, I'm impressed. Takes about 24 hours but it works. No scrubbing. Just soak and rinse.
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Old 03-25-18, 01:43 PM
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Wax my car? I don't even wash my car. It's part of my anti-theft strategy.

Okay so I spent some time with Brasso, aluminium foil, a brass bristle brush and simichrome last night and this is the outcome. Still see some of those freckles around. Is it necessary to rinse in water? I wiped off with paper towels.
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Old 03-25-18, 03:11 PM
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Coming along. That really is a beautiful stem, and bike!

No need to rinse off Simichrome residue. It's formulated to leave a thin layer of some wax-like substance. It should be rubbed off vigorously with a clean cotton rag. I use old t-shirts. Paper towels don't really do the trick. Also they're slightly abrasive.

The freckles are the reason people have suggested Evaporust or oxalic acid (Barkeeper's friend and some types of wood bleach). Both of these are acids and do need to be rinsed with water, btw. These substances will chemically dissolve the rust through the damaged upper layer of chrome. You won't see anything after treatment with either of these, followed by a polish. The damaged chrome may look perfect if you do all of this, but it will still tend to rust unless you block the air and moisture with something. Wax is easiest. Paste wax is handy to have around for all sorts of things. Even Johnson's is fine.
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