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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    How to polish a steel bike?

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    I'm surprised I couldn't find anything on this with a quick search 'cause I swear I've seen it discussed here before, but a friend is stripping an old Schwinn and wants to polish the steel to a mirror shine before putting on a clear coat. Anyone have any recommendations of the best way to polish steel?
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2008
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    Well, I'm not sure about steel...but I have a bare titanium bike and I've been told by my bike manufacturer to use Lemon Pledge on it.
    2012 Seven Axiom SL - Specialized Ruby SL 155
    2007 Trek 2100 WSD road bike - FOR SALE!!!

  3. #3
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    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
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    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    DE
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    I don't think using Lemon Pedge or Pedro's Bike Lust is what she's after here. She wants to polish it to a shine before applying a clear coat. I'm pretty sure that any substance like Pledge or Bike Lust would need to be removed before applying the clear coat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Unsure, but perhaps you could call an approachable frame builder or company that makes steel frames and ask? I've found Waterford to be quite approachable, and if they could handle the rather odd questions I came up with during the design of my one-off custom Gunnar, I am sure that they would take this question quite in stride...

    Would steel wool scratch? I just don't know, but that was the first thing that came to my mind.





    2011 Custom Gunnar

  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by withm View Post
    I don't think using Lemon Pedge or Pedro's Bike Lust is what she's after here. She wants to polish it to a shine before applying a clear coat. I'm pretty sure that any substance like Pledge or Bike Lust would need to be removed before applying the clear coat.
    Exactly. My first thought was, like Catrin's, steel wool, but I also wasn't sure if that would leave a smooth finish so I didn't suggest it to him.
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Over the top
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    I don't know if I've done unplated steel, but I've had really good results with Simichrome.
    Trying to live every day as though it were my first

  8. #8
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    Simichrome sounds more like what he needs, but this page mentions that it leaves a protective film. Would that create issues with the application of the clear coat?
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
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    Quote Originally Posted by withm View Post
    I don't think using Lemon Pedge or Pedro's Bike Lust is what she's after here. She wants to polish it to a shine before applying a clear coat. I'm pretty sure that any substance like Pledge or Bike Lust would need to be removed before applying the clear coat.
    You're right. I didn't really see that until after I posted and then had to scoot - so no time to revise!

    Would something on this page help??
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Mrs. KnottedYet
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    We've had two bikes powder coated and in both cases my LBS had them sandblasted and smoothed first.

    Sandblasting's self explanatory, strip the bike and sand blast. Could you get equal results by laboriously using steel wool? Dunno.

    He explained then they:
    1) carefully check it for rust of course then ...
    2) Check for dents, dings, scratches. They fill those. Don't quote me I think they used copper. Some kind of metal. They fill the dent then roll it down using a weighted tube to level consistent with the tube. If they have to do it several times to make it perfect they do. Why? Because stripped whether painted or clear coat those dings just stand out.

    The result almost mirror like surface. Here's one he did (BTW no longer for sale):

    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=23135
    Last edited by Trek420; 04-10-2012 at 02:28 PM.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
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    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    5,144
    Considering it's a Schwinn, I'd think Waterford would be a good resource.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    326
    Sandblast, check for needed repairs then probably something like different grades of rubbing compound. Any sanding or steel wool will leave fine scratch marks. I have used rubbing compound (medium to fine) for copper pipes used for shelving - silky smooth.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    '89 Bridgestone Radac Dura-Ace | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1 | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '92 Bridgestone MB-1.2 (balloon tire bike) | Specialized Ruby, 143
    '93 Bridgestone MB-5 (my SUB*) | Specialized Lithia, 143


    My blog: Portlandia Pedaler (at Blogger)

  13. #13
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    Dunno if he's prepared for sandblasting, but that certainly makes more sense than steel wool. Thanks, all. If anyone has any more recommendations, keep 'em coming
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1
    I was going to go that route with one my steel frames. I stripped the frame with some citrus stripper in a can, started with steel wool and then moved to fine sandpaper. I tried a number of different polishes, I think Mother's makes a polish for steel. The only issue is that it begins rusting very quickly, so he should clear coat the frame asap after polishing. Does she/he know that steel still rusts under the clearcoat? It's more porous than primer/paint/clearcoat. That's why I ended up painting my frame instead... however, now that it's a beater bike, I'm tempted to try again :0)

    *By the way, hi everybody! I'm not new to browsing this forum, but first time poster.
    Last edited by Halin; 04-17-2012 at 11:02 AM. Reason: *

 

 

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