Friday, April 1, 2011


Springtime maintenance has my motor-sickle lookin' like this, waiting for parts.

Since everything is apart, now is the perfect time for some deep cleaning and a bunch of small projects that I've been putting off.
One project I've been thinking about is shaving and polishing the fork lowers.  From the factory they come in silver powdercoat that begins to chip, scratch and generally look like shit.  Plus, there's a bunch of rough edges, casting lines, useless tabs, etc. that could all be cleaned up in the process.
The job looks like this:
  1. Shave - remove excess lumps, bumps, pads and tabs with a grinder
  2. Smooth - file / sand off remaining lumps, smooth the radiuses and flats
  3. Sand - smooth the surface, removing grinding / filing / sanding marks
  4. Polish - remove sanding scratch and buff 

Most of the shaving was done with a die grinder and carbide "no-load" bit.  Hand files were used to smooth out the surface and fillets.
The leg on the left has had the brake tab smoothed and blended into the leg vs. the unaltered leg on the right.

A round file helped keep everything straight, the grinder took off the bulk of the "meat"
 Even though no one will ever see the backside, extra tabs and rough casting finish was taken off with the grinder and a sanding disk or bastard files.

This tab was ground down with the grinder first and finished by hand with a file
 Both legs have been shaved / smoothed in about an hour an a half but there's a lot more work to go.

Everything gets sanded starting with 120 grit ending with 600 wet.  Sanding blocks can be made out of anything and help keep the surface flat and minimize the ripples.  I used a 1" wide block a lot of the time to sand in between the tabs and on the tabs themselves.
The cast finish on the ends was left as-is.
Every surface should have an smooth matte finish without any deep sanding marks.
The final step is to polish out the sanding marks on a wheel.  Starting off with red emery on a 6" cotton wheel and finishing with white jewelers polish. 

Once everything's been re-assembled I'll go back over everything with Simichrome on a polishing ball in the drill.

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