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Polishing chrome, tips etc

Old 05-09-12, 09:38 PM
  #1  
Binxsy
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Polishing chrome, tips etc

Got a chrome frame worth the rubbing time and so on. I got a light buffing wheel and some car scratch remover, and some chrome/metal polish. I cant really tell if it is working or not. Part of the frame used to be painted but someone stripped it using steel wool possibly. The frame it's self doesn't look bad. I just know It could look better.

Any suggestions???
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Old 05-09-12, 10:04 PM
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what kind of suggestions are you looking for? work the metal polish (I like blue magic) to the point it seems you need more, then keep going. It has to heat up, dry and allow friction in order to polish. I use liquid glass to seal and give a nice shine.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:16 PM
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simichrome metal polish
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Old 05-09-12, 11:14 PM
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simichrome is the stuff

if you have a harbour freight you can get some buffing wheels and dressing.

but honestly if it is all scuffed up with steel wool- dont expect miracles, chrome is very thinn and bloody hard,
it will never look like new- but i wish you luck


if the chrome is not responding to polish and it just looks bad
consider this

what would look better?

scruffy chrome or a painted frame with chromed lugs and dropouts?

Last edited by puchfinnland; 05-10-12 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 05-10-12, 03:15 AM
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I remember an episode of Mythbusters where they compared cola drink with brand name chrome polish, the cola performed a lot better. I've never tried it but you never know unless you try but usually scratched chrome is damaged chrome.
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Old 05-10-12, 05:50 AM
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If the frame has chrome that was intended to have paint over it will never have a smooth finish and super shine like the chrome meant to be seen. Back in the day lots of bike had chrome plating just as a way to protect the metal, and some felt it did something to the strength of the frame. The bare metal is not finished/polished as smoothly as "show chrome" like you see on forks and chain stays.

Just clean it the best you can and either tell everyone it spent 2 years at the bottom of the Mediterrian Sea on your sunken 60 sailboat or that it was done like that to discourage theives.
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Old 05-10-12, 06:06 AM
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There are two basic types of all chrome plated frame set - all polished and partially polished. This old Torpado sports an all polished chrome plating...



...while this similar vintage Bottecchia sports partial polish...



You will not be able to properly shine up a partially polished chrome frame because the problem lies beneath the plating. Put another way, the parent metal was not cosmetically prepared before the chrome plating was applied.

And, for my money, the absolute best way to clean chrome, without chemical invasion, is to rub it with crumpled up aluminum foil.

If you send in some pictures of the frame set, we will be in a better position to help guide you.
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Old 05-10-12, 07:04 AM
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Paint it. As others have said, you will not be able to "polish" chrome, no matter your compounds of buffing heads. You won't be able to get the scratches out of the chrome. The stuff is harder than the back of your head. Clean the nice parts the best you can, the fork ends and/or stays that were, presumably, exposed originally, and then have the rest of the frame painted.
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Old 05-10-12, 08:17 AM
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try very fine grit wet/dry sand paper like 1500 or even finer if you can find it

and
instead of wetting it with water

try
applying
Mothers Chrome polish

I`m not endorsing mothers but i have tried almost every polish out there
And this is the one for me

Try a less visible area on the frame and see if it at least helps abit.
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Old 05-10-12, 08:31 AM
  #10  
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I don't mean to sound pedantic but, consider this; on the Rockwell scale, very hard steel, like used in chisels or good quality knife blades, is about 55 to 66 on the hardness scale. Chrome is in the range of 68 to 74. You cannot polish chrome plating. You can clean it up a bit.
There was one member here on the forum who was very knowledgable and had worked in a plating shop who was very adamant about touching chrome with anything abrasive. I had a run in with him, but I've used 4/0 steel wool soaked in WD-40 or LP 1 to very lightly rub rust speckling off good quality chrome plating, but you must be careful, as if you are removing something from a baby's cheek.
As for the plating that was under a paint job and designed to be so? You will never make it shine like bright chrome plating, unless you have the frame re-plated and polish the metal under the plating to a high level.
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Old 05-10-12, 08:34 AM
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Buff out the scatches or at least minimize them then fill the scratches with a wax. Won't look perfect but it will appear somewhat better.
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Old 05-10-12, 08:51 AM
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Uhh people......maybe we are beating a dead horse here,

Binxsy has not replied to his own thread yet!

But we all agree about protective chrome not ment to be smooth, my PUCH had some chrome bits showing and the parts inbetween were rough sanded before plating.
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Old 05-10-12, 08:55 AM
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I love beating dead horses but speaking only for my posts, I was responding to posts other than the OP's. He's probably long since given up on the horse beaters, put his bike back together and is riding happily along.
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Old 05-10-12, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I love beating dead horses but speaking only for my posts, I was responding to posts other than the OP's. He's probably long since given up on the horse beaters, put his bike back together and is riding happily along.
Absolutely, chrome care threads never die an easy death. I'm mostly in the minimum abrasive camp myself, though I like to use Noxon 7 metal polish on rusty chrome, and I think it does contain a very mild abrasive.
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Old 05-10-12, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Buff out the scatches or at least minimize them then fill the scratches with a wax. Won't look perfect but it will appear somewhat better.
You can't buff out scratches in chrome, but wax does minimize their appearance.
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Old 05-11-12, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
I love beating dead horses but speaking only for my posts, I was responding to posts other than the OP's. He's probably long since given up on the horse beaters, put his bike back together and is riding happily along.

Its a 73 world tourer.. Anyways I gave it the ole buffing wheel and polish a go in a couple places and it cleaned it up a bit...But not as I would like it. I tried so super low grit sandpaper in a very tiny spot on the underside of one of the stays and it still didnt do much. Anyways there are a few rust specks here and there and there was some wheel rub in the chain stays. So I might just go the painted route.. Ill post some pictures soon, I wish I was riding it though, I just found the correct FD for it and I want to get rid of the nasty loose bearing headset with a VO probably. It was a well cared for bike I snagged it from the COOP I work at for 50$ only thing it didnt have was the original FD which I later found in a bucket of parts..
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Old 05-11-12, 02:20 AM
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Sorry no close up since my camera is subpar....
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Old 05-11-12, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
simichrome metal polish
This and some elbow grease.
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Old 05-11-12, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognomesimichrome metal polish

Originally Posted by silvercreek View Post
This and some elbow grease.

His great great great great grandchildern will still be polishing that frame to try and make it shine like the stuff meant to be seen.
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Old 05-11-12, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Velognome
Buff out the scatches or at least minimize them then fill the scratches with a wax. Won't look perfect but it will appear somewhat better.




Grand Bois
You can't buff out scratches in chrome, but wax does minimize their appearance.
I'm thinking the abrasive polish for chrome must abraid the surface, if atleast knocking down the edges of the scratch to make it appear less visible, hence the "buffing out". But yea I wasn't thinking total scratch removal that is why the second 1/2 of the sentence mentions wax.

Oh now look what you made me go and do!

Last edited by Velognome; 05-11-12 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 05-11-12, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Binxsy View Post
Its a 73 world tourer..
You mean World Voyageur. <g>
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Old 05-11-12, 09:28 AM
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HArd to tell, but that looks like minor surface rust to me. My Katakura Silk was covered with/speckled with rust. One trip through the OA bath, and it was good as new. Unfortunately, anything abrasive does not know the difference between rust and chrome.
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Old 05-11-12, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex View Post
You mean World Voyageur. <g>
Yes that, I did post those at like 3 am...
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Old 05-11-12, 10:47 AM
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So basically find a polish with a mild abrasive agent. As for the oxalic acid route, I am guessing a shallow plastic tub and it diluted with some water? The inner chain stays need some work...
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Old 05-11-12, 12:46 PM
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OA only if there are rust issues. If not, it is a waste of time. OA does nothing to polish chrome, its just a method to gently remove rust. Google the site for more info.

Before:







After:








Last edited by wrk101; 05-11-12 at 12:53 PM.
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