How to polish your old motorcycle metal part ;)
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How to polish your old motorcycle metal part ;)

This is a discussion on How to polish your old motorcycle metal part ;) within the Technical forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hey team. I just thought that since Iím doing tons of metal polishing now, (alum, brass, stainless, steel, etc), I would throw this down thread ...

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  1. #1
    Member tdc57's Avatar
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    How to polish your old motorcycle metal part ;)

    Hey team.
    I just thought that since Iím doing tons of metal polishing now, (alum, brass, stainless, steel, etc), I would throw this down thread just incase anyone was curious on how polish up old oxidized, rusted metalís to (near new).


    First let cover some of the basic myths associated with polishing. Look at this as a (foundation) for you to build your knowledge of all things metal. Hahaaa.

    1. All Metal polishes are the same
    Wrong.

    There are Anti-oxidants, enhancers, grime removers, inhibitors, slip agents, etc., they all vary, sometimes enormously, from brand to brand

    2. All general purpose metal polishes are good on any surface
    Again this understanding is wrong!

    A polish that is good on stainless steel or chromium should be kept away from most soft metals especially gold, silver, platinum, pewter, copper and precious pieces.
    If it is hard enough to cut stainless it will gouge soft metals easily and remove unnecessary material. If it is good for finishing aluminum it probably won't touch chromium, bronze or stainless steel.
    That is not to say that a polish for fine or precious metals won't work on harder metals. It will cut slower. But a polish suitable for cutting hard metals from rough finishes will tear gold and silver apart.

    3. All polished finishes have the same endurance
    Unfortunately not, some fade quickly, in particular the metal polishes that contain ďammoniates, or anhydrousĒ.

    The ones that use acids are not generally far behind them. But also there are many others too. This can be caused by all manner of reasons. Lack of inhibitors, lack of protective waxes, or even the wrong waxes for the environment the finish has to endure. A bad ph. balance caused by the use of acids or alkali or even the protective wax, which is normally acidic, is another reason metal polish will fade.

    4. All polished surfaces should be waxed or lacquered if you want it to really last
    This depends on environment.

    Pieces subjected to ocean environments need protection with lacquers or clear coats.
    Show vehicles want their brightwork to be waxed where it counts, aluminum is normally wxaed to imptove the lustre. With stainless it depends on the quality of finish. Show chrome should never really need more than an ultrafine wax free maintenance polishing. Areas subject to heat should be wax and lacquer free.

    5. A polish that is good on chrome will be good on stainless, or vice versa
    Depends again on what is in the polish.

    There are ways of highlighting the components of a metal, and chromium is an ingredient of stainless. It's what makes it shine. There are polishes that are great on both. Many only excel on one or the other.

    6. All buffing wheels are the same
    Wrong.

    There (2) different types of wheels, a cleaning wheel and a polishing wheel

    Lets talk materials.
    Cleaning disks:
    I use 1 for the buffer and one for the drill




    Polishing disk:
    I only use this on the buffer



    Compounds:



    Cleaning




    Initial buffing phase




    When you think your done and your ready for the final polish (think again!)
    This stuff is ďhands downĒ the best, itís a great cleaner too, but its too expensive to use for that purpose.. its really for when you think you done, it will humble you.. lolÖ




  2. #2
    Member tdc57's Avatar
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    Then once you pass the MAAS test, then you finish it off with mother ďbilletĒ polish for a ultra deep high gloss shine.




    So with that said and out of the way, letís move along with the task at hand, polishing some metal.
    Ask yourself what (kind) of metal are you working with: is it a hard or soft metal?
    Answer Aluminum

    What condition is the metal in / what finish are you going for?
    Answer = Old, oxidized and rusted = polished look / shiny!




    Ok, then here are the steps youíll need to follow to achieve your goal





    Clean it with a buffing compound comparable to your metal, for the forks I used rubbing compound first because I wanted something that would bite in, Iím not concerned about the scratches at this point at all, just go to town with the part on the buffer.

    Once you preformed your initial clean wipe it down and remove the buildup, repeat this process ďat leastĒ 2-3 times, or until the item is thoroughly cleaned of all oxidation, once you achieved this your item should now look dull / shiny etc.



    Due to the amount of oxidization, etc I needed to perform 6 passes to finally get it to the clean stage.


    Once the fork is cleaned Iíll hand rub the initial polish on the items from this point out, but Iím alternating between using the power buffer and hand buffing, here is the sequence that I use, for what it worth.

    Hand rub on the polish, take off with the buffer, then wipe clean
    Hand rub on the polish, rub in the polish by hand, wipe clean
    Hand rub on the polish, take off with the buffer, then wipe clean
    Hand rub on the polish, rub in the polish by hand, wipe clean

    4-6 pass usually get my thinking Iím done or at least pretty close, then I break the maas and find out Iím not even close

    Hand rub on the polish, rub in the polish by hand, wipe clean X3

    At this point Iím usually tired of the item, it looks deep, it looks done, hahhaa NOPE.. Now use the Mothers on it for a final pass, no more than two pass are ever required at this point..




    Both of these forks took me a total of 3 hours to polish, so take that for what its worth..


  3. #3
    Member tdc57's Avatar
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    These parts only took me, on average.. about 45 to 1 hr each






















    Anyway.. Thatís is all I have team..

    Thank you all for your time and I hope this thread helps some one out.

    Tdc


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  5. #4
    Senior Member catboy's Avatar
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    all well and good, but shiney isn't fast.
    iphone generated fag

  6. #5
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by catboy

    all well and good, but shiney isn't fast.
    Less drag....should be faster

    Nice write-up.

  7. #6
    p1j
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    quote:Originally posted by catboy

    all well and good, but shiney isn't fast.
    but the shine gets the girl faster.
    -p1j

  8. #7
    Senior Member JackC's Avatar
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    I was just trying to shine up an alloy rim and hub. I cleaned it up as best I could with steel wool and wd40, and tried the Mothers Aluminum Polish. Instructions said to run it on until the cloth turned black, which happened almost immediately, then wipe it off before it dried.

    Results were not as bright as I expected, but the rim is a bit pitted and I think the hub was lacquered.

    Any advice here?

    HEY Paco, you have to get those hot Latinas off your mind.

  9. #8
    dch
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    good stuff tdc

    dch
    I love the smell of castor oil in the morning, but I have a Honda....and now a \'taco(s)...x2

  10. #9
    Senior Member cafe350's Avatar
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    Don't mind the catboy, he's too punk rock for shiny chrome

    Seriously though thanks for sharing as you obviously know what you're doing.
    \"Hey, McCloud! Get off of my ewe!\"

    Trevor,
    \'72 Honda cl350 (sold)

    \'80 gs450E, the \"spooky \'Zuki\"

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