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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just ordered a new pair of black Mavic 819 rims cause they don't come in silver. I have kind of a nice shiny theme going on my singlespeed, so it would be nifty if my rims were shiny as well. Is there anyway to remove the black and polish them silver? If so, will I have to polish them constantly to keep them looking sharp?
 

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A few years ago, I tried removing the gold anodizing off a mavic rim. Easy-Off oven cleaner, which usually works on ano wouldn't even touch it. Not even a stain mark. I don't know if the black on newer mavics is any different, but good luck!
 

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My understanding of what Mavic uses for a coating on their rims is that it's nothing more than a powdercoat. I could be wrong.

If i'm correct then Easy-Off oven cleaner will do a fine job. Follow the directions for wait time, then wipe off (wear gloves!!!!!). You may have to do it a few times, but the powdercoating should come off. After that get some Mothers aluminum mag polish and get those elbows busy.

If you don't clearcoat the rims after you're done then you will have to do follow-up work to keep them looking their best. Even aluminum will get dull after exposure to the elements, no matter how well you polish it.


For striping an anodized finish Easy-Off is definetly useless. You need lye for that.
 

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viva la v-brakes!
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Andrew,

I assume sanding is going to come in here somewhere? Maybe after the black is removed I would start sanding? At what grit and to what grit?

How do I clearcoat the rims? Is there a rattle-can option? If I don't clearcoat how often will I need to polish them?

And my wife brought up a point. That Easy-Off is pretty strong stuff, any chance it would damage the Al of the rim?
 

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FishMan473 said:
Thanks Andrew,

I assume sanding is going to come in here somewhere? Maybe after the black is removed I would start sanding? At what grit and to what grit?

How do I clearcoat the rims? Is there a rattle-can option? If I don't clearcoat how often will I need to polish them?

And my wife brought up a point. That Easy-Off is pretty strong stuff, any chance it would damage the Al of the rim?
Sanding might be a necessity, but it really depends on how the EO works out. Then there's also the question of the joint (where the two ends of the extrusion meet - not the other kind!). The natural finish of the rim itself should not need much sanding, if any at all.

At any rate, I did fail to mention that, yes, sandpaper (or emery cloth for the anal) and/or ScotchBrite should be on hand. The ScotchBrite is like an SOS scouring pad. You'd use it to help smooth out any irregularities and obtain a finer surface finish and it won't get quite as clogged up as quickly as sand paper. The remaining finish is left with what's commonly referred to as a "brushed" finish. Personally, I always try to avoid sand paper and have done so quite well when working with aluminum and titanium - it's just a pita compared to ScotchBrite pads. If you really must then I say start at about 400 and work finer from there, but again, try the ScotchBrite first. Rims aren't THAT rough under the clearcoat.

I can't say i've had a problem with EO attacking aluminum. Then again I don't leave the stuff applied overnight. The can says right on it "fast and easy, 20 minutes etc" - no problems with 1-hour times for me. I avoid the 4-hour and overnighters because if it's going to take that long it's not worth my while to be using it in the first place (just me). Just remember to take your rim strips out, eh?!?!?!? :eekster: Also, make sure your rag/towel/sponge is DAMP, not dry! A dry (whatever) won't "pick up" of "lift" the leftovers anywhere near as well and makes the job more messy.

Clearcoating - you can use a spray can, sure. If you've got a steady hand, patience and a decent eye (to get a somewhat even finish) then I don't see any problems. It's worked for me in the past. I just get a can from the automotive section at the local Canadian Tire and use that (can't remember the brand right now). Follow the directions for cure time before you build the wheels and try to be carefull when lacing the rims to avoid scratches.

Now you're undoubtedly going to wonder HOW when clearcoating. Get a spare spoke and nipple. Put the nipple through an eyelet from the inside of the rim, so it's pointing to the outside of the rim. Now thread the spoke onto it (the spoke is obviously on the outside of the wheel, eh!). The head of the spoke can now be a hook for a piece of string hanging from an open garage door (because you need good ventilation). :thumbsup: I wish digicams were aroud when I used to do this. It would make it easier to explain. :madman:

Good luck! Ask if you have more Qs and be sure to post here when you're done! :thumbsup: I'll have my ~>:cool: <~ ready.

EDIT - if you don't clearcoat I can't tell how long before you'd have to polish. It depends on how fine a finish you achieve with your polishing, amongst many other variables I can't even begin to guess at. Sorry, just being honest. I'd like to say 4-6 months if you nail it good the first time and wipe them down after rides, but it might end up being a year. Even then there's something to be said for waxing, too.
 

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Check out this stripper...

FishMan473 said:
I just ordered a new pair of black Mavic 819 rims cause they don't come in silver. I have kind of a nice shiny theme going on my singlespeed, so it would be nifty if my rims were shiny as well. Is there anyway to remove the black and polish them silver? If so, will I have to polish them constantly to keep them looking sharp?
...http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=1189946
 

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If they are anodized, you can mix Red Devil lye and water to take it off. Find a plastic tub that you can lay the part in and let it sit in the soloution for a few minutes. This will remove the anodized layer.You might have to do this a couple of times but it will take it off. The part will start to fizz and will turn a dark color but this is normal. Just rinse it off with Simple Green and the clean, white aluminum is there. The dark sooty stuff is the copper left behind. It just rinses away.
If you have any questions, just ask, I anodize aluminum all the time.
Scott.
 

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ScottWatkins said:
If they are anodized, you can mix Red Devil lye and water to take it off. Find a plastic tub that you can lay the part in and let it sit in the soloution for a few minutes. This will remove the anodized layer.You might have to do this a couple of times but it will take it off. The part will start to fizz and will turn a dark color but this is normal. Just rinse it off with Simple Green and the clean, white aluminum is there. The dark sooty stuff is the copper left behind. It just rinses away.
If you have any questions, just ask, I anodize aluminum all the time.
Scott.
Lye is the main ingredient in the Easy Off so if that didn't work, the Red Devil probably won't either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the info thus far, good stuff.

Can anyone say for sure that if the rims are powdercoated, rather then anodized, that Easy Off will take off the paint?

I did a little experimenting today. I have some of th Mother's Al polish, so I gave it a shot on the 'raw' aluminum on my snowcat rims. Polished it up pretty well, I would prefer a slightly finer sheen on my 819 rims to match my White Industries hubs and cranks.... but looks pretty good. Then I tried it out on my old Shimano RSX hubs, and they polish up real nice too!

Then I tried to anodize the Mavic CPX 22 rim attached to this road hub, and it wouldn't take a polish. Must be anodized.

So this all makes me wonder a few things. Why don't polished alumninum parks like the Ultegra brakes on my road bike get tarnished over time when things polished with Mother's do? Are they anodized after polishing?

So it seems like as long as I'm not looking for a super mirror finish, a treatment (or two) with EO and then a bit of polishing with Mother's will get me where I'm going?

Lets say I want to polish the rims up a bit more. What sort of Scotchbright pads would actually make the rims more polished? The green scrubby pads I know would certainly rough the rims up rather then polish them... I think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh yeah, and this successful polishing has given me some ideas. Maybe I could de-anodize and polish my Ritchey seatpost to make it shiny too. Maybe My Avid brake levers? Woud that work? What about my Avid SD Mag brakes, the Mother's does say Al and Magnesium polish??? Though I'm guessing he Mag brakes would corrode pretty quickly.
 

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FishMan473 said:
Oh yeah, and this successful polishing has given me some ideas. Maybe I could de-anodize and polish my Ritchey seatpost to make it shiny too. Maybe My Avid brake levers? Woud that work? What about my Avid SD Mag brakes, the Mother's does say Al and Magnesium polish??? Though I'm guessing he Mag brakes would corrode pretty quickly.
HAHAHAHA! Someone's getting a little excited, huh? ;)

Not sure what to expect with the Magnesium. I've never tried to polish them, although I did sandblast a set a shile back. Interesting material to work with, from a machining perspective, so i'm guessing that polishing would be about the same as aluminum.

(previous post)

Gotta ask what you used to polish with on the rims. Was it a cloth, rag, sponge? It makes a difference not only in the time it takes, but also the final smoothness. I might have another step for you to use depending on what you say.

Part of the reason Shimano parts don't get corroded over time is due to their material (which specific grade of aluminum was used) and also the manufacturing method. Some of Shimano's parts, like brakes for example, are forged. Forgings have a harder surface than something that is machined or cast and this provides the opportunity for a surface finish to last longer. In some cases they will also put on a paint and/or clearcoat.

ScotchBrite pads come in a variety of coarseness. I'm not sure how much this link will help as 3M's site has progressively become more difficult to use and less helpful, but ..... http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/...rtal&PC_7_0_4UVL_command=CustomizePageHandler.
 

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I wouldn't polish the magnesium. Although it will polish better than the aluminum, it will also oxidize about a million times faster. Within days it will be dull and funky looking. Magnesium requires a special treatment for protection and I'm not familiar with it.
Scott.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Andrew, At the moment I'm using the softest rags I can find in my rag bin: old flannel boxers. Basically I am using the softest rags I have since the Mother's says to use terrycloth.

Scott, thanks for the input, that's what I thought. There's got to be a metal finishing forum or something on the web somewhere I/we could ask these kinds of questions. Seems like there's a forum for everything these days.

What about using fine grades of steel wool to pre-polish and smooth out the aluminum before using the Mother's polish?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
OK, here are a couple web pages I found about the process:

http://www.modelairplanenews.com/ma/HOW_TO/polishSpinners_1.asp
this one is about polishing a model airplane nose cone. He goes through a lot of effort starting with sanding off the machine grooves off with 240 grit sandpaper then 400, 600, and 1000 grit sandpaper before applying the aluminum polish. The final product does look great, but I'm not sure I need to put that much effort in it, especially since rims see a fair amount of abuse, and will be covered in dust/dirt/mud in short order anyway. It is interesting to note though that I put the aluminum polish straight onto my RSX hub which still has the machine grooves, and it came out looking pretty darn good, almost Thomson stem good. But will it last?

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3825/is_200209/ai_n9123869
This one is about polishing 4x4 rims. Much more reasonable process (using just 600 and 900 grit paper) for parts that will see similar abuse.

Not even sure if I need to sand at all though, I'm starting to think a quick wipe-down with the fine steel wool or 3M pad would shine it up plenty for my needs. Can anyone say in which situations you would use steel wool and/or 3M pads and in which you would use sandpaper?

Still not much information as to why some surfaces need re-polishing and others don't. Also, not much on finishing for permanency. It does mention clear-coating in that second article, but I'm still not sure if the clearcoat itself is durable or if it will just scratch off easily?

BTW: I am now also thinking about polishing seat binders and skewers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Blaster1200 said:
A few years ago, I tried removing the gold anodizing off a mavic rim. Easy-Off oven cleaner, which usually works on ano wouldn't even touch it.
AndrewTO said:
For striping an anodized finish Easy-Off is definetly useless. You need lye for that.
Homebrew said:
Lye is the main ingredient in the Easy Off so if that didn't work, the Red Devil probably won't either.
OK, I think I have the answer to this problem. Easy-Off comes in 2 formulas: Original (with Lye) and Fume Free (without Lye). This explains why different people are getting different results.

I bought some supplies today (not entirely sure if they were the right supplies or not, but I got them) and I'm giving this a go. Currently my XM819 rims, my Ritchey WCS seatpost ans Salsa seat binder are all getting chowed on by the Easy-Off (unscented, lye free formula). So I will be able to report back as to if this works on the rims and if it works on anodized parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK, the lye free stuff does NOT work. The Easy-Off WITH the lye is working. First treatment got about 1/3 of the anodization off, and I'm on the second coat now.

BTW it appears the rims are indeed anodized since the lye seems to be having pretty much the same effect on the rims as it is having on the seatpost and binder.
 

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FishMan473 said:
I just ordered a new pair of black Mavic 819 rims cause they don't come in silver. I have kind of a nice shiny theme going on my singlespeed, so it would be nifty if my rims were shiny as well. Is there anyway to remove the black and polish them silver? If so, will I have to polish them constantly to keep them looking sharp?
Something like that: http://home.comcast.net/~ledrocnoc/1FG/Show_2.swf :)

DC
 
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