[CR]Polishing Technique

Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2002
From: "Eric Elman" <tr4play@cox.net>
To: <mikel66132@juno.com>, <Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <20080223.215052.15714.0@webmail13.dca.untd.com>
Subject: [CR]Polishing Technique
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2008 09:24:03 -0800

Hi Mike,

The missing link in your process is access to an electric polishing wheel - you are close enough to me so are welcome to come over and use mine. That said, various techniques have been covered by others, but here is my technique:

1. Start with components that are not too heavily scraped or gouged - buffing/polishing can be used to remove small blems but just like paint, can not hide, cover or eliminate significant issues. 2. If the item is anodized, remove the finish either by careful and light sanding or by the "Easy Off" method (see archives). 3. Wear gloves of some sort as all the following work will leave your fingers black by the end of this process. 4. If the component is flawed, use very fine sandpaper to remove minor scratches (if there are none, skip this step). Except as mentioned in step 5, avoid using files as they can create marks that are very difficult to eliminate. I'll start with 400 grit paper and progress through 600, 1000 and 1200. I also always use cloth backed sandpaper as it is easier to work with and longer lasting. Use the paper lightly, especially the 400 grit as even that will create scratches that can be difficult to remove. 5. If prepping a hub, I always file smooth any spurs caused from spoke pull around the spoke holes - do this carefully with a very fine file. 6. Next, use a "Medium" Scothbrite pad to even out the surface condition over the complete component. 7. Next, go another round but with a "Fine" Scotchbrite pad to even out the surface condition but at a finer level. 8. Now she is ready for buffing/polishing. 9. Use an electric buffing wheel; I use an Eastwood brand 3/4 horse electric buffer. I also use 10" buffing wheels as they allow the component to be farther from the arbor so odd shaped items have more room and are easier to maneuver (like handlebars). Please take proper safety precautions using an electric buffer - they can cause great harm by throwing an item. 10. Next I start with a "tripoli" compound on a spiral buff wheel/to get it cleaned up. I spend a lot of time at this stage to remove all final surface scratches. Move the item in multiple directions, clean the wheel as needed and generally this is where all the actual buffing work takes place. It is time consuming, requires good concentration so the wheel does not grab and throw the part (very dangerous) and if you cannot get the desired finish to your satisfaction here, go back to prior steps as your prep work must not have been good enough. Also, be very sensitive and light handed around an engraving (such as a Cinelli logo on a stem) or raised edges (faux lug on a GB spearpoint stem) as the polishing can quickly make these faint or soften/round what should be crisp edges. Just to reiterate - I spend a lot of time on this step. 11. The last machine buffing I do is with "white rouge" on a loose section buff wheel to put the mirror finish on the item. 12. The previous two steps will leave lots of black compound all over your component. Now I put on a clean set of gloves and use Semichrome polish (by hand) to remove the black gunk and give the component her final clean and shine. Make sure you are using clean cotton rags (synthetic rags, or even cotton rags with synthetic threads for the edge binding leave small scratches in your mirror finish - use only 100% cotton) and don't skimp here, keep moving to clean sections of the rag and then toss it. 13. Semichrome polish can leave a very light film seen in certain light so if you wish to remove that (why not, if you've gone this far you're pretty damn anal like me), use Windex to get the component 100% clean, shiny and without any film. 14. I'll usually give an item a new polish with Semichrome every year or two.

Hope that helps. Be patient, remember much of the work is in good prep, be safe and enjoy the process and outcome - I find it very therapeutic (cheaper then other forms of therapy?).

Eric Elman Somers, CT were the sun is finally shining but my thermometer read 9 degrees this morning so I'll still have to ride rollers or probably ice skate again today.

----- Original Message -----
From: mikel66132@juno.com
To: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2008 6:50 PM
Subject: [CR]Attn: Eric Elman

> eric,
> the go-ds of polishing were not with me today. i tried to remove the vis
> able black from a set of bars and a seatpost with decent results. most o
> f the black is gone but not without light scratching to the area.
> i began with mild sandpaper but had to switch to a heavier grade. i then
> used a polishing compound with a mild abrasive hoping to remove the scr
> atches. from 2 feet the parts looks nice, from 2 inches o.k.
> i dont have a polishing wheel and not inclined to get one. i've used a d
> rill attachment with a soft chamois in the past. what does the barron of
> buffing wheel recommend?
> mike goldman
> warwick,r.i.