Everyone's talking about steel wool here. I have polished dozens of bikes and have never touched the stuff. I can also do a complete show quality polish job in about two weeks, instead of taking all winter. It is certainly possible to do it the hard way, like everyone’s describing here, just like mowing your lawn with a pair of scissors, it can be done and done beautifully, but I'll stick with my lawn mower. Rather than attempt to cover the basics here, let me just point anyone interested in the right direction. Check out [www.bright-works.com]. The key item here is a substance called greaseless compound. These folks also have excellent how-to manuals and even a VCR instruction tape. Another good source is Eastwood Co. but Bright Works has much better quality greaseless and a far wider range of products as well. This is a very complicated subject and cannot be summed up in just a few paragraphs. There are almost as many tools and specialized equipment as there are in techniques. What is needed here, in my opinion, is a better foundation or understanding of modern methods.
The steel wool would only take a week or two as well if we had worked on it more then a day or two a week
I'll try the greaseless if I ever need to do it again, but the steel wool worked awsome (see the pics of BoyRacers bike in the members pics section)
I'm not sure if you fully understand what the greaseless is for or how it works. It is used in place of sanding. The most time consuming aspect of polishing is getting all those really roughcast aluminum areas, such as the centers of the wheels and the spokes ready for buffing. I used to do it the hard way as well, with all sorts of sanding devices and a whole bunch of elbow grease. I prepare at least a half dozen buffing wheels coated with the greaseless compound in advance. It's hard to explain just how aggressive this stuff really is. Let's put is this way, if you accidentally touched a spinning fresh wheel against your skin, you'd be through working for a several days. Perhaps a better way to describe it would be to imagine a course-sanding drum that never clogged and at the same time was so soft it could form fit to any curvature or uneven surface. Also remember that unlike steel wool, this is a powered operation and therefore much faster and easier to do. This is one of the services I provide at my shop so I’ve tested buckets of stuff, but this is one item for which there is no substitute.
You know, i'm gonna have to vouch for Dave Leonard here.
I work in the Jewelry manufacturing business, where we actually melt the gold, and shape it to the proper casting. after casting, we use the same exact materials in brightworks to buff out the gold to make it luster.
I myself has never used it to polish aluminum, but it works damn well on silver and gold products, i dont' see why it wouldn't work on aluminum
after seeing it on a polishing website, i think i'm gonna have to do a little fiver finger shopping at work monday morning
I never said it doesn't work, I've never even tried it..
I just said steel wool works well too.
For the rough cast areas it sounds like it would be usefull.
I only did the lips on my wheels cause I like the green/polished combo.
My buddy did his wheels all by hand with sandpaper and his fingers were bleeding every night
When we did our frames, we used a power sander on the rough cast part of the frame.
two questions first to cdninja your buddy who did his whole wheels did they come out good I'm debating doing mine I did the lips of mine and it came out good. also Dvae what the stuff call just greaseless compound?
I know of no other name for it than greaseless compound. It's a rather soft, sausage like tube of compound that you just push against your buffing wheel. I like to prepare at least a half dozen wheels so I won't have to wait for curing time. I also found this to be a really messy process. Initially I'd hold the hand drill and greaseless down into an empty wastebasket to contain all the splatter; otherwise you'll have it all over you and the ceiling. Getting tired of this mess, I made a full enclosure on the end of a bench mounted electric motor with only a small opening just large enough for the greaseless to be inserted. Now all the mess is contained in this enclosure. The outer cover has an opening just large enough to mount the buffs. I can post a picture of it later if you like.
I have also limited my greaseless to the red (180 grit) As a rim or whatever nears completion I simply use the more worn-out wheels to give a smoother finish, before the buffing process. I can also post a Polishing Tools help guide, if you’re interested.
I haven't read your E-mail yet, but I'll be happy to help you with this complicated subject. I sat down with my polisher this evening and for several hours we had a great discussion of techniques, needed tools and fixtures, and other aspects. This is one never-ending process. So many think that there's nothing to it, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I'll send you a rather long but helpful description of equipment basics and methods. It all comes down to money and the anticipated volume of work. You don't want to spend more that you really need to and you sure don't want to do everything the hard way.
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