Lever refurb :
This post is going to be very picture heavy sorry … !
I have chosen to do the write up on the levers first as we will use a technique that will get used on most of the other components but we will use nothing more than emory paper and our hands. The other parts will have additional steps and tools - we will use the levers as 'practice'
Here is the starting point :
I picked this lever as a demo as it is visually the worst of the batch.
This is all you need :
Clean, flat worktop.
Clean, soapy water.
Wet n dry / Emory paper.
Use good quality paper – it will last much longer and is worth the extra money
These are the grades I use :
The fine grade can be found in your local auto body shop / auto paint supplier
Wet the work top and stick the course paper down. Splash some of the soapy water on the paper :
Rub the lever back and fourth over the emory about 20 times and then wash the lever off in the water and inspect it. Repeat as necessary. Use a 'medium' downward pressure – don't go trying to gouge holes in the paper or worktop, let the paper do the work ! Use all the paper surface evenly, rotate as necessary etc. After about 5 mins :NOTE
: I always find working in straight lines gives the best finish NOTE
: Scratches that are on edges don’t need to be fully removed – just reduce them by about half. The remainder of the scratch will be removed when you sand the mating face
Repeat above on the sides as (if ?) necessary :
You can see the flatness difference in the surface and the original radius, this now needs to be blended in along with removing the scratches from the radius.
Start like this :
Then drag the part over the paper rotating it so you finish like this :
Repeat as per first process, rinsing off etc until you are happy with the results. This process can be used for the end of the lever to.
You should end up with something like this :
i.e. nice flat faces and nice 'sharp' edges NOTE
: Still a little bit of damage on the end on the above pictures – don’t worry, this will be removed in the next step.
We now need to 'break' the sharp edges and put a small radius back on them.
Start by adding a small chamfer on the long edges. About 20 'light' passes like this will do the trick :
The rads around the circular parts of the lever will now need adding, this will be done by hand.
If you don’t have any old paper, you will need to cut off a bit of your new paper :
A nice trick to add even rads – hold the paper at an angle, stick your thumb (or finger) in one of the holes and rotate the lever back and fourth around your thumb (or finger) :
You should now have a lever looking in really good shape
If not – repeat any parts of the process you didn’t do well enough until you do ...
Once done, repeat all of the above with the fine grade paper. This sounds like a ball ache but it will work very quickly and remove the (relatively) rough marks from the first process and give you a very nice / even / smooth / satin finish. As a guide, if you spent 30 mins with the 'rough' paper you will only need to spend about 10 mins with the 'smooth' paper NOTE
: If you scuff any of the flat faces when adding the rads, two or three 'light' passes on the face again will restore it very easily.
This is what you should end up with :
Note that the camera and lighting highlights some so the marks left by the emory - in reality the lever looks much better than the picture suggests. I will get a better photo on good / natural light at some point for comparison
The lever can now be very easily polished up from this condition and (I think) they look very cool – check the black skewers from my bear valley in the pictures at the top of this thread. For polish I would use (and recommend) Meguiar's NXT metal polish which is available from car shops, I am sure other polishes will work just as well
This batch of levers will be anodised – talk to your anodiser to find what surface finish they are looking for / what end result you are looking for
Time wise the above process took me about 40 mins (but I have had a bit of practice now
) including stopping, washing my hands, taking pictures etc.NOTE
: All the work done has only altered the aesthetics of the lever – it hasn’t altered its basic design or operation in anyway. Its true that some material has been removed but it is only (very) nominal and from non stressed areas. Its surprising how bad a scratch can look but it actually be very minor. Out of interest I might weigh the next lever before and after as a comparison
The paper I used is still in good condition and will probably live long enough to refurb another one, maybe two levers before retirement. Keep some of it for working the bits by hand.
The above process should fix most / all of the common aesthetic issues of 'most' levers but some have other issues that I will address separately …
I won't photo all the other levers as I have done above, just a single before and after shot of each lever at the point of worst damage
Hope this helps – more coming soon !