Restoring chrome

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  • ok so i had a look on sheldon and google and here and i've not found much on restoring chrome.

    am i right in thinking the best thing to do is go buy a decent polish and give it plenty of elbow grease? or are there any tricks/brands people would recommend?

  • Wirte wool or very fine emmery paper.
    Metail polish will have the same effect but more subtle. Maybe use it after.
    I use 'Peek'.

  • cheers for the tip, will try and find some.....

  • I've seen some great info on using oxalic acid on chrome.. mostly on some BMX forums:
    EDIT - rusty chrome mind...

  • Not read all of it yet, how does Oxalic acid react with aluminium?

  • pshaw?! You think I actually** do **any restoration of bicycles?
    I decided the chrome rim came up nice enough using WD40 and a scotchbrite pad..

  • pshaw?! You think I actually** do **any restoration of bicycles?
    I decided the chrome rim came up nice enough using WD40 and a scotchbrite pad..


  • You can pick up oxalic acid in the form of "Barkeepers Friend", for a couple of quid from a supermarket. I have tried it on a few bits and it seems to work great, worth a go for the price!

  • fine steel wool. i'll give you some when i give you the seatpost. you around tonight?

  • 0000 Grade steel wool will do the job, plus Autosol, plus elbow grease.

  • fine steel wool. i'll give you some when i give you the seatpost. you around tonight?

    what's tonight? getting some more ink at my tattooists, but will be free later? send me a text or somfink innit.

  • Cheapest option for cleaning up chrome / removing rust spots - and it works a traet! Buy the following:

    1) A can of coke
    2) Some aluminium foil.

    Scrunch up a strip of the foil into a ball, dip it in the coke & scrub away. This method got rid of all rust spots & brought up the chrome beautifully on a pair of fairly battered part-chromed forks.


    Used this on a set of seriously neglected hubcaps from 1957 Porsche and they came up a treat, obviously can't do anything for proper damage which has removed the Chrome but if it's rescueable this will do it...

  • Autosol. The original, the best.

  • fine steel wool. i'll give you some when i give you the seatpost. you around tonight?

    0000 grade or finer. And then use it gently, start with a test patch somewhere it won;t get noticed.

  • A careful write-up by 'Swivel' on RADBMX.CO.UK ;

    Hi all. I've had many PM's about this since I done my Haro Copy bars with foil and coca-cola so I thought i'd show you from start to finish what to do if you have a frame/forks which are pitted/rusty or look like they need re-chroming. I never thought that chrome could be saved without an acid bath but it can, and here I'll show you.

    I purchased (after much discussion) recently a Haro Freestyler Gen 1 from Jezza (Zac) and I see the photos beforehand and when we met up and he showed me the bike, he wasn't wrong, it really was rusty. Not that it was poorly kept, it was just ridden hard and you could see that it had a lot of history. As soon as I got back that night, I did the following (note: not all of this was done in one night, overall process has taken 3 days, total time in hours, 6 hours).

    Photo 1} This is Jezza's photo as in the Torker Built section. This is how it looked when I picked it up.

    Photo 2} When I got it home, I assessed the condition of it and the chrome really was bad, very pitted and looked beyond repair. I covered the bike in Autosol and left it for one night for it to sink into the chrome.

    Photo 3} The bottom bracket was the worst offender with dark hard crusty rust.

    Photo 4} Around the top of the seat tube was very bad indeed with hard crusty rust and this was the same all the way down the seat tube to the bottom bracket.

    Photo 5} Some areas of the rust wasn't too bad and I knew from looking at that part of the bike that it would come up well.

    Photo 6} The area around the decals were also poor with rust pitted around each decal with large areas of crust forming under the hard to reach tubing areas.

    Photo 7} The seat tube was very poor with rust all the way from top to bottom and it looked discoloured also.

    Photo 8} The next day it was resto time. To start, clean the bike with hot soapy water and use a jay-cloth. Don't use anything tough as you don't want to scratch the chrome or leave marks. Then once that is done, spray the bike with WD40 and leave for half an hour. The WD40 works as a release agent and will lift tiny parts of the rust.

    Next thing to do is take a 1 metre length of Kitchen Foil (any make) and scrunch it up into a ball and make sure its the non-shiny side that you will be using. Next pour a glass of coca-cola. It has to be real coca-cola, not cheap stuff as there really is something in real coca-cola that helps this process. The glass doesn't have to be big and you'll find that to do the whole frame/forks and bars you will only use a glass of this size.

    Photo 9} I've chosen the top tubes as an example here (not seat tube). Dip the foil into the coke and start rubbing them, and don't be afraid to rub quite hard. If black type liquid/water is appearing in the area your rubbing, don't fret, this is actually the rust breaking down and not your chrome coming off. Continue this process all over the bike, flipping round the foil. If you need more foil, then scrunch up another ball and keep rubbing. You will see the rust come off quite easy in front of your own eyes.

  • Photo 10} Finished example, you can see that the rust as removed albeit the chrome isn't too shiny yet, but that's to come!

    Photo 11} The worst offender was around the seat tube, big thick black/brown rust which the foil did not remove

    Photo 12} This trick I created myself as I know how good WD40 is. Spray it on, leave for a minute, then take a normal round end kitchen knife (not pointed or sharp) and slowing rub the rust. You can use the back of the knife also on other parts of the bike. This won't scratch it so don't worry, but if you used a sharp knife then it may but that's your own risk. Spray more WD40 on and keep working that knife. Then rub off with a towel and keep at it until you can see the chrome below albeit brown coloured chrome.

    Photo 13} Not quite there yet. Next is Autosol and Brasso Metal Polish. Both of these work in different ways and are vital in bringing up the chrome. Autosol is especially good. Just keep working all the frame and if the cloths are black, then keep going until that area is hardly bringing up any dirt. Chrome really sucks in the muck and you'll find like me that you'll go through at least 40 or 50 clothes before you're happy with how shiny it is.

    Photo 14} After hours of polishing, here are the results and you'll see for yourself how shiny it is. To get this look and to really clean off everything at the very last part of your process, use Window Cleaner. The acid is good in that and will really make the frame/forks look shiny, also shows off your handy work! The chrome is not 100% perfect but I knew that from the start, but its a survivor with character and is now very shiny with no real offending areas.

    Photo 15} The complete bike. I'd say that the chrome is now 8.5 out of 10. It'll never be good enough for me so I'll keep polishing and polishing but it is very satisifying seeing the job get better each time you polish.

    I hope you've understood what i've said above and if you have any questions let me know.



  • Autosol. The original, the best.

    +1 analsol

  • Nice job Mr.Pack

  • wow amazing results :)

  • fannypack, that post was redemption for all the other nonsense posts / threads.

    • rep
  • That looks stunning, must give that a go. Great tip and pics, never thought that would come up so good.

  • This thread is a winner, I'm about to try and restore some chrome in far better condition than the bmx so fingers crossed it should turn out at least as well...

    Cheers DFP.

  • Outstanding. That knife trick shows bravery and skills. I'm going to have a second attempt at de-rusting my own frame. You've inspired me, DFP

  • thread , bookmarked. cheers fellers !

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Restoring chrome

Posted by Avatar for xsheepx @xsheepx