27 April, 2012

Polishing with Simichrome

This post is from 2006, and might still be useful. There are now 840 posts on the VO blog. You'll find more worthwhile info in the archives.

I bought some old Dia Compe 980-R brakes on E-bay. They were made in 1983 and didn't seem to have been cleaned since. So I poured a glass of wine, sat down in the big leather chair, and started polishing one of them with Simichrome. In about 10 minutes it looked like... Well click on the photo to enlarge it and see for yourself.

The trick is to first use a scrap of very fine sand paper, about 400-grit, to get rid of any deep scratches. Then dap a drop of Simichrome on a piece of soft cotton cloth, like an old t-shirt and start polishing. The cloth should be about 6" x 6". Keep using the same piece over and over because the little Simi-particles build up on it and make polishing even faster with use. It doesn't take long to get an amazing shine.

Simichrome polish is made in Germany and it's not cheap, nor is it easy to find. But it is the best and a little lasts a long time once your cloth is saturated. It does a great job on non-anodized aluminum, chrome, brass, stainless steel, and silver, perfect for brass bells. It also leaves a thin film that protects the metal. We still stock Simichrome; you can find it here.


George in NoCal said...

I've used Simichrome in the past, and it is indeed, wonderful stuff. I still have a tube around, and was wondering if it would be a good idea to use it on your Gran Cru 50.4 cranks. I did not realize it would leave a protecting coat on the metal, sounds like a good thing to dio to the non-anodized aluminum.

Anonymous said...

I've been using Simichrome since the original post. It's great stuff and the price is only $1 higher than in 2006.

Anonymous said...

not only id it polish the one arm to an amazing finish, it was able to transform the old nubby pad into a Kool Stop!

Ashley said...

I actually use car metal polish (specifically Blue Magic) to clean up old parts. Works like a charm.

Calvert said...

Been using Simichrome for several decades along w/some other brands of jeweler's rouge paste. Terrific stuff & Simichrome is arguably the best.
Two things I can add on.....
--For getting into tight spots, try applying the Simichrome to cotton string of the appropriate diameter. The string can be draw back and forth through grooves and slots. Q-tips are good for tight spots, too, of course. There have been cases where I've had to take a dowel and shape the end or side to fit a parts inside contour. Simichrome can be applied directly to the wood and the harder surface will give you a very bright finish. The dowel can also be wrapped with tee shirt cotton.
I don't think the film left behind is all that durable. I prefer to finish up with a coat of hard carnuba wax. It buffs out very bright and lasts a long time.
I've heard of folks using Simichrome to pack hub bearings for the first 10 miles....I don't know about that but there are those who swear by it.
One more thing--applied to a thick dowel or a strip of old leather belt, Simichrome can be used very effectively to strop the edge of your pocket knife.

dwainedibbly said...

I've been using Simichrome since 1977. Great stuff. I most recently used it (after wet-sanding with 600 grit paper) with a dremel tool on a vintage French chain guard. Hand polishing was required on the edges & hard-to-get-to bits, of course.