Over the weekend, I attempted to make the fork shiny. I started off by using sandpaper, but it didn't really work.. it remained looking a bit dull, and with bits of dirt and/or powder coat ingrained in the metal. I suspected I'd have to let it rust.
On Sunday, I had a brainwave, followed by a root through the shed. I knew I had some weird attachments for my drill that I'd bought for renovating a Mini (a far less successful project), and was pretty sure one of them was a rust/paint remover. I dug out an attachment that looked like this
, and had a go at the fork with it while my son was having a nap, not really sure what it would do.
The result was impressive! Gone were all the dull and dark patches; replaced with shiny but quite scored metal.
This afternoon, I attempted stage 2; polishing using wet'n'dry sandpaper. I wasn't sure how well it would work, as I'd read that pure metal is hard to make properly shiny, but I went through the grains and ended up with an almost chrome-like finish! It was surprisingly easy, and it makes me a bit tempted to scrub the rust idea and make the whole bike shiny.. I'm not going to, but I might do it if I ever have to get rid of the rust to sell the bike.
I had about 10 minutes left of my lunchbreak, so I decided to put the boiled linseed oil on, in order to preserve it. The oil has an odd smell, which reminds me of going to the beach in my hometown of Southampton. Nostalgic, but not in a good way - the smell was probably being caused by one of the chemical additives, and my memory of the beach in Southampton is one of feeling sick and itching, due to oil pollution caused by the neighbouring Fawley oil refinery. Lovely!
I found a nice webpage that shows how well linseed oil works as a rust protector: http://modelsteam.myfreeforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=25878
This is where I made a teeeeensy mistake, however.. After applying the oil, I lifted the bike over a rail and into the bike rack by holding the top tube with my rust-preventing linseed oil-soaked hands.
Hopefully I can just sand off the oil, otherwise my bike's going to have two preserved hand prints on the top tube!