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Polishing skills beyond the most rudimentary

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Polishing skills beyond the most rudimentary

Old 11-17-20, 09:00 AM
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tiger1964 
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Polishing skills beyond the most rudimentary

OK, I think I am ready to, indeed really need to, take my polishing skills to a new level. I have questions and, if there is a particular on-line tutorial that you’ve have success with specifically for bike parts, please let me know (quick search of YouTube reveals “About 522,000 results” when I type in “polishing aluminum", yikes… the trick is which ones are valid). Plus, I just got finished reading several BF topics on polishing, and didn't see specific answers to some questions.

For anodized aluminum parts, is the Blue Magic polish I bought safe, or only for raw aluminum (and chrome steel)? If so, that’s great but I figured I better ask first before I do irreparable damage.

For items I de-anodized (started on a bike two years ago, stopped, now resuming), I was reading here about progressive fine sandpaper (right now I have 800 & 1000) followed by a polish. My first results are OK but not great, on a pair of Stronglight 49 cranks the finish is shiny but not perfect, and it won’t remove 60 years of tiny nicks (I guess I could try coarser sandpaper!)

My biggest challenge right now is load-up of black residue, presumably of aluminum oxide mixed with remains of the polish. This is especially true in corners and crannies, is there a trick to not getting so much build-up or more easily removed? I tried a bucket of household cleaner and a toothbrush, with mediocre results. Maybe something stronger without hurting what polishing I have done? I checked my jug of Simple Green Pro HD but, alas, there’s only a few ounces left left; I made up a batch and tried scrubbing, however there are deposits that even that won’t budge. I recall reading it’s more aluminum-safe. If this is the best stuff to use, I could get more, but if there’s a better product for this purpose… hmm, Aluminum Jelly?

And to get “gunk” of all types out especially in corners and other less-accessible spots, I am contemplating Scotch-Brite pads, anyone use these and, if so, which grades?

And this is hand polishing, so far. I did buy a two-sided benchtop electric buffer, and have sticks (old) of Emery, Tripoli & Rouge polishing compound. Which for aluminum? And, again, when I tried using it before, I did have the load-up issue, maybe there’s a trick to it.
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Old 11-17-20, 09:52 AM
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I"ll cover a few of your points

For your progressive sanding, 1000 will get you a clean, satin finish but you'll need a 3rd step to get a chrome-like finish. My typical 3 steps are 600/1000/2500 all done with water. Finish with Blue Magic (or comparable polish) and you'll have a chrome-like finish.

For gouges and nicks, you need to fix these with filing or coarser grit before using the 3 steps for polishing.

The black gum is normal and the Blue Magic easily removes it in my experience. If you're currently dry sanding, maybe wet will help reduce this.

Cleaning with less abrasive Scotch-Brite pad is still going to dull the finish of your polished part, requiring you to use the 2500 and Blue Magic again.

I love my buffing wheel as long as I'm not buffing something with defined edges I want to preserve. On aluminum, hit it with Tripoli first followed by White Rouge. Finish with Blue Magic. If there's a lot of black gum build up, I may clean it up with Windex before I finish with Blue Magic.

Hope this helps!
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Old 11-17-20, 10:27 AM
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plonz +1. I'll just add that I got I nice 3M sanding kit at the auto parts store that had 400 through to 3000 grit. It was handy being all in a kit.
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Old 11-17-20, 10:48 AM
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I use a scotchbrite wheel (carefully!) to get to a satin finish, then a polishing wheel loaded with green polishing compound.

Hold onto those parts tight, and wear a face guard or your nose will need cleaning out!
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Old 11-17-20, 11:43 AM
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Thanks, this is a start!

Originally Posted by plonz View Post
I"ll cover a few of your points For your progressive sanding, 1000 will get you a clean, satin finish but you'll need a 3rd step to get a chrome-like finish. My typical 3 steps are 600/1000/2500 all done with water. Finish with Blue Magic (or comparable polish) and you'll have a chrome-like finish. For gouges and nicks, you need to fix these with filing or coarser grit before using the 3 steps for polishing. The black gum is normal and the Blue Magic easily removes it in my experience. If you're currently dry sanding, maybe wet will help reduce this. Cleaning with less abrasive Scotch-Brite pad is still going to dull the finish of your polished part, requiring you to use the 2500 and Blue Magic again. I love my buffing wheel as long as I'm not buffing something with defined edges I want to preserve. On aluminum, hit it with Tripoli first followed by White Rouge. Finish with Blue Magic. If there's a lot of black gum build up, I may clean it up with Windex before I finish with Blue Magic. Hope this helps!
Sounds like I need far more sandpaper, both finer and coarser (household stuff, I never get finer than 400). I figured on the Scotch-Brite to remove scale/crud/whatever prior to sanding/polishing, I have some stuff here that I cannot budge. Tried one of the kitchen O-Cedar scrubbing sponges (rated a winner by America's Test Kitchen), some success but some still there. Of course, then I start sanding/polishing all over again. Hmm, I have Red Rouge not White, what's the difference?

Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
plonz +1. I'll just add that I got I nice 3M sanding kit at the auto parts store that had 400 through to 3000 grit. It was handy being all in a kit.
Worthwhile and I have two major-chain auto parts stores within walking distance. Thanks!

Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I use a scotchbrite wheel (carefully!) to get to a satin finish, then a polishing wheel loaded with green polishing compound. Hold onto those parts tight, and wear a face guard or your nose will need cleaning out!
Scott-Brite WHEEL? Hmm. Never seen one nor know where to look. Reminds my of the 4 years I was doing purchasing work for a janitorial products company, ordered the discs for floor polishing machines, in all sorts of coarsenesses and the looked like Scotch-Brite to me. Of course, cannot fit a 27" disc to by bench buffer! And wish me luck finding a face guard during the pandemic!
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Old 11-17-20, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Scott-Brite WHEEL? Hmm. Never seen one nor know where to look. Reminds my of the 4 years I was doing purchasing work for a janitorial products company, ordered the discs for floor polishing machines, in all sorts of coarsenesses and the looked like Scotch-Brite to me. Of course, cannot fit a 27" disc to by bench buffer! And wish me luck finding a face guard during the pandemic!
Here's one place to purchase.

My setup (yeah, it makes a mess)



A few months ago someone mentioned to me that Compass Rene Herse no longer had MAFAC RAID backing plates. Most of their sales are for people like me that braze on posts to forks and seat stays, but there were a signficant number of people that wanted a modern brake on vintage bikes - brazing on posts requires a repaint. I just so happened to have several sets of RAIDs from one my French connections ('ello Mark, I have 3 RAID, you want?), and had no use for the backing plates. These were polished up to match the RH brake finish over a weekend, and traded for a like number of braze on posts - which are different than cantilever posts.

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Old 11-17-20, 12:58 PM
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Took me about ten minutes, per hub and once stripped, to go from this...


to this...


using this yard sale found, $5.00 polisher and some polishing compound...



I also use fine water proof sanding paper to remove laser etches before attempting to polish. And, for anodized, out comes the Extra Strength Eazy-Off used with extra care, does the job before attempting to polish.

But, as often as not, I prefer to polish without removing original casting information (marks). Again, only a few minutes, once disassembled, produces some pretty nice results...
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Old 11-17-20, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Here's one place to purchase. My setup (yeah, it makes a mess) A few months ago someone mentioned to me that Compass Rene Herse no longer had MAFAC RAID backing plates. Most of their sales are for people like me that braze on posts to forks and seat stays, but there were a signficant number of people that wanted a modern brake on vintage bikes - brazing on posts requires a repaint. I just so happened to have several sets of RAIDs from one my French connections ('ello Mark, I have 3 RAID, you want?), and had no use for the backing plates. These were polished up to match the RH brake finish over a weekend, and traded for a like number of braze on posts - which are different than cantilever posts.
Wow, not cheap -- but I guess that depends on how long one disc lasts (and the results, of course). Bookmarked and I am inclined to get one.

Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Took me about ten minutes, per hub and once stripped, to go from this...
to this...
using this yard sale found, $5.00 polisher and some polishing compound... I also use fine water proof sanding paper to remove laser etches before attempting to polish. And, for anodized, out comes the Extra Strength Eazy-Off used with extra care, does the job before attempting to polish. But, as often as not, I prefer to polish without removing original casting information (marks). Again, only a few minutes, once disassembled, produces some pretty nice results...
Impressive results there too. I did use the Easy-off on some parts, two years ago, rinsed off and then left in a box for two years (yikes). My inclination is to only de-anodize the aluminum parts for the one bike (Gitane), leave the others anodized -- subject to revision! Hmm, wondering if de-anodizing the rims for the wheels without unlacing would be insane on several levels.
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Old 11-17-20, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Hmm, I have Red Rouge not White, what's the difference?
You know... I have absolutely no idea! I see there's Green and Blue Rouge out there as well. I'd guess they vary in abrasiveness and to make it more difficult, probably vary my brand as well.

FWIW, I use White Rouge from The Eastwood Company which is where I bought my buffing wheel. Their handy chart specifically prescribes Tripoli on a spiral wheel and White Rouge on a loose wheel for polishing aluminum. This has always worked well for me.

More FWIW, when I'm removing nicks and gouges, I often use less than 100 grit for this. Need to be careful because you're definitely removing material with that grit.

Even more FWIW. I remember an earlier post explaining not all sandpaper grit was graded using the same rating system. That really made my hair hurt!

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Old 11-17-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
For anodized aluminum parts, is the Blue Magic polish I bought safe?
Probably safe, but seems like a waste of the product on anodized parts.

My biggest challenge right now is load-up of black residue, presumably of aluminum oxide mixed with remains of the polish. This is especially true in corners and crannies... I am contemplating Scotch-Brite pads.
That's new to me. The black residue that gives me the most problem is left on my hands. I polish with 80/600/1000 grades of paper and two files by hand over a sink. (I use 3m Scotch Brite pads and Ajax to wash the basin afterwards.) After using Mother's with the first of two dedicated rags, the hands get even more blackened. I finish with the second, far cleaner cotton rag. Lastly, I wash my hands a couple times and then return to the component to ogle.

I use Scotch Brite pads when overhauling components and everywhere around the house. The 3m originals are the bomb. I get 'em in a big box on ebay.
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Old 11-17-20, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Wow, not cheap -- but I guess that depends on how long one disc lasts (and the results, of course). Bookmarked and I am inclined to get one.
Yep, not cheap, but a real time saver if you're doing a lot of polishing, otherwise some of the other methods posted here will give you excellent results, just takes more time.
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Old 11-18-20, 04:24 AM
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Super polished...nice!

Are there any tips and trick for polishing chrome that's turned black and corroded? Fighting a battle against rust and wondering if there's anything to protect the parts.

Right now using car polish for the frame and Autosol for the shiny bits and pieces.
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Old 11-18-20, 10:14 AM
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Later yesterday I started playing with the bench buffer -- I can see where a stand might be better as sometime the bench got in the way of positioning the part where I wanted it. I might have previously been using too little polish form the stick... no idea how much or little to use, when to replenish, how long to buff, etc. Well, I was working on a paid of Mavic "Count de Coucy" bars and Mavic stem that I had bought off BF, de-anodized, and let sit for 2 years. I really like how the bars (I only buffed the center, the rest will covered by tape) and stem turned out. The stem had milled recessed (I guess it's not Panto if there are no words, just rounded-end oblongs) that I could not get into. And at least one has gunk in it that might be adhesive reside from an old sticker in there, I do not remember (Goo-Gone, maybe?). I was planning to fill those recessed with paint anyway, plus drill the stem for the Mafac brake cable to pass through.

Still not done on the Stonglight cranks, especially the DS one where there is crud, Easy-Off reside or something else (dark) built up around the mating surface for the 5-pin chainring. Still wondering what grade Scotch-Brite I might try there.

I was reading old BF topics and I saw some mention of putting a product on at the end to preserve the shine; in particular I saw a post that cited "Wolfgang MetallWerk Concours Metal Sealant", does anyone/everyone use this, or an alternative?

Originally Posted by gugie View Post
Yep, not cheap, but a real time saver if you're doing a lot of polishing, otherwise some of the other methods posted here will give you excellent results, just takes more time.
Probably on my next batched Amazon order, but cost/benefit ratio really depends on the life of the wheel, if a few mere minutes (like most sandpaper), ouch. If it lasts a long time, well worth it to save man-hours prepping the surfaces for polishing.

Originally Posted by DYREWILLOW View Post
Super polished...nice! Are there any tips and trick for polishing chrome that's turned black and corroded? Fighting a battle against rust and wondering if there's anything to protect the parts. Right now using car polish for the frame and Autosol for the shiny bits and pieces.
Had to look that one up, I presume Autosol is like Simichrome? Almost 50 years ago, worked Saturdays as an early-teen gopher at a motorcycle chopper-parts shop, lots of chrome goodies and sold a lot of Simichrome, I seem to recall.

Are there interesting techniques/products for rims and especially oxidation on spoke nipples and ferrules on the rims? I cannot see machine polishing working there... prove me wrong!
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Old 11-18-20, 11:24 AM
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Here’s an older thread that might be worth a look.

KHatfull's Aluminum Polishing Thread
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Old 11-18-20, 06:45 PM
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Thx for sharing tiger1964! Let you know how I go with the rust battle and polishing!
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Old 11-18-20, 07:46 PM
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I use mineral spirits to remove the gunk that builds up while polishing. Works great.
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Old 11-18-20, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Probably on my next batched Amazon order, but cost/benefit ratio really depends on the life of the wheel, if a few mere minutes (like most sandpaper), ouch. If it lasts a long time, well worth it to save man-hours prepping the surfaces for polishing.
Year and a half on my last one, and I use it a lot.
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Old 11-18-20, 10:01 PM
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Hmm, wondering if de-anodizing the rims for the wheels without unlacing would be insane on several levels.
Don't even think about it. If any of the Easy-Off is left on the alloy, good bye alloy. And I do mean good bye.

If I want wheels really clean, off come the spokes. Out comes the polish/clean/shine-up stuff and all that is coupled with elbow grease. Fact is, in most cases, the spokes I deal with are corroded zinc plated eyesores. I tend to always replace with stainless steel spokes.

Would I strip a bare rim with Easy-Off? No, for fear that some of the caustic based product might not get rinsed away, causing serious alloy corrosion. Corrosion under eyelets or in hollow parts of the rim, if there are any.
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Old 11-19-20, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
Here’s an older thread that might be worth a look.

Thanks! I'm giving Evapo Rust Gel a try now, see how I go.
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Old 11-19-20, 05:26 AM
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I have three "go to" wheels for cleaning n polishing. I purchased a low power bench grinder (2.1A Ryobi) that has a cloth wheel on one end and a fine wire brush on the other. I specifically bought the low power machine as it cannot tear a piece our of my hand, even though I generally hold the pieces with pliers. I worked on a high power machine a few times that was f........n scary! I really like having a hand on each side that looks just like the other one.

The third wheel is a very very fine 3" wheel on an arbor mounted on my ShopSmith at lowest speed. It is very gentle and is good for brake calipers and small parts, dried gunk surface oxidation, general buffing. Not high shine but probably factory original luster. I bought that very soft wire wheel long ago from a surplus hardware guy. You could probably buy one now from a place like Grainger.

I finish pieces off with Mother's aluminum polish and call em good nuff.
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Old 11-19-20, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
OK, I think I am ready to, indeed really need to, take my polishing skills to a new level. I have questions and, if there is a particular on-line tutorial that you’ve have success with specifically for bike parts, please let me know (quick search of YouTube reveals “About 522,000 results” when I type in “polishing aluminum", yikes… the trick is which ones are valid). Plus, I just got finished reading several BF topics on polishing, and didn't see specific answers to some questions.

For anodized aluminum parts, is the Blue Magic polish I bought safe, or only for raw aluminum (and chrome steel)? If so, that’s great but I figured I better ask first before I do irreparable damage.

For items I de-anodized (started on a bike two years ago, stopped, now resuming), I was reading here about progressive fine sandpaper (right now I have 800 & 1000) followed by a polish. My first results are OK but not great, on a pair of Stronglight 49 cranks the finish is shiny but not perfect, and it won’t remove 60 years of tiny nicks (I guess I could try coarser sandpaper!)

My biggest challenge right now is load-up of black residue, presumably of aluminum oxide mixed with remains of the polish. This is especially true in corners and crannies, is there a trick to not getting so much build-up or more easily removed? I tried a bucket of household cleaner and a toothbrush, with mediocre results. Maybe something stronger without hurting what polishing I have done? I checked my jug of Simple Green Pro HD but, alas, there’s only a few ounces left left; I made up a batch and tried scrubbing, however there are deposits that even that won’t budge. I recall reading it’s more aluminum-safe. If this is the best stuff to use, I could get more, but if there’s a better product for this purpose… hmm, Aluminum Jelly?

And to get “gunk” of all types out especially in corners and other less-accessible spots, I am contemplating Scotch-Brite pads, anyone use these and, if so, which grades?

And this is hand polishing, so far. I did buy a two-sided benchtop electric buffer, and have sticks (old) of Emery, Tripoli & Rouge polishing compound. Which for aluminum? And, again, when I tried using it before, I did have the load-up issue, maybe there’s a trick to it.
i (hand) polished a lot of Aluminum bits and pieces the last decades. Recently, i bought my self a prosumer polishing machine, and a good quality set of supplies consisting of several polishing discs (fibre, cotton, sisal) and a couple of blocks of ompounds. Was an upfront investment but i don'T regret a dime as i can do now in minutes what would have taken me hours.

https://www.top-maschinen.de/img/600...818393_1_1.png
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Old 11-19-20, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Are there interesting techniques/products for rims and especially oxidation on spoke nipples and ferrules on the rims? I cannot see machine polishing working there... prove me wrong!
In my experience nothing beats the buffing machine for reviving the finish on tired rims and hubs. First picture shows the Mavic Module E wheel on a crusty old Peugeot I got. Next picture is the rim after a visit to the buffing machine. Wheel eyelets cleaned up great and new stickers add to the brilliance. Last picture are the hubs that were recently sold on BF. Polishing by hand is okay but a buffing machine really nails it on rims and hubs.


Mavic Module E
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Old 11-19-20, 12:24 PM
  #23  
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I was on a polishing kick a few years ago. Remove the anodizing with oven cleaner. Wet sand with 400-600-800-1000-1200-1500-2000 grit paper. Finish with Mothers mag and aluminum polish.


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Old 11-19-20, 04:16 PM
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I have a basic Harbour Freight bench grinder. Problem is that I can't get into the deep areas.

Example below I can't get up close to where the crank arms meet the spider.

Might a Dremel style tool work? and if so, what kind of bit would I use?


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Old 11-19-20, 07:09 PM
  #25  
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Occasionally one must break out the flat file before a proper polish


Road Rash meets flat file


Gonna break out the 120-220-320 sandpaper


Ready for the buffing wheel
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