Just a short one today, as nothing else seems to be moving at the moment, I decided to play in the workshop again, as the weather was so fine (27°!) I thought that I’d work on making a few things ‘pretty’…so a clean up of a few parts was on the cards.

Not wishing to go too deeply into making a job in competition with “Snow White’s Stepmother’s Mirror”, I decided to do a bit of polishing, or rather, a buff up of some covers.

You know how it is, not too much going on financially, but still loads of small things to do that will only hold you up at the end if you don’t do them now…

So I decided to clean up the magneto-drive-cover, the so-called camshaft-housing and the valve-covers. It all came about, actually, due to a horrendous mistake…

I decided a few days ago, to drop one of my filthy valve/rocker covers into the degreaser I use, to see how it cleans up. Well, that as a few days the meantime, most of the water has evaporated out of the mix and whatever is the main aggressive ingredient, became presumably and progressively more concentrated…not wishing to put too fine a point on it, the result was nothing less than scary!

The otherwise not too bad (but a bit dirty) Aluminium cover was BLACK and covered with a 1/16” thick ‘growth’ (I don’t know how otherwise to describe it!) all over! A sort of ‘orrible coating in all sorts of colours, but definitely gruesome. I attacked it with a (real) brass brush and most of it came off, leaving a very attractive (really!) dark grey, almost black, covering on the ally. Well, blow me down, I thought, looks like it’s made of a magnesium alloy!

Although definitely of oxidised nature, I did indeed want to be rid of it and have the part returned to the ‘normal’ silver-colour, and so set about removing the covering. Well, brushes didn’t help much, so the only option was sandpaper (320 grit) to get rid of it. This left everything very smooth, so, I thought, let’s give it a quick buff…


About half a minute later, and it looked like I’d entered a ‘let’s-see-if we-can-see-our-face-in-it competition…not exactly what I wanted, but none-the-less pleasing.

Having committed myself (although largely unseen), I suppose that the other one must follow suit, and I was bored, so I thought I’d try my hand at some other bits that might look good if set optically apart from the rest (just to break up the monotony of cast Ally) and so the magneto-drive-cover and the ‘cambox’ cover were buffed up, too.


As it ‘appens, not bad at all, though a bit over the top?These parts were probably never polished ex works, but they do look nice, don’t they? I particularly like the contrast between the polished parts and the ‘sandcast’ finish of the other stuff, or not?


The buffing itself (on not more than a hand-held cotton ‘mop’ or a mop running on a suitably modified spindle of a grinding-wheel, available at any ironmongers!) took only about a minute each item (maybe two minutes for the largest one), the main work having been done largely by hand with 180 grit paper to smooth out all the casting irregularities. This can be helped with a sanding disc held in a drill and run at SLOW speed to remove obvious high-spots and blemishes…

A 70-year-old-cover will also have it’s fair share of scars, and these need not be removed completely (it’s by no means not new, after all!), so the groundwork has to be consistent but not enough to remove all scars of time. Apart from, on some castings, running the risk of making them too thin in places, we don’t want to remove all ‘character’ from the original castings (or at least, I don’t want to!…You might!)

I think (and it is my opinion entirely, that I have struck a balance between the smooth, buffed, finish of the covers and the ‘roughness’ of the base castings, enough to emphasise the one against the other, without losing the connection between the two. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Having got into it again, all sorts of things were ‘found’ that could do with a buff or a polish, so much more time was spent than was perhaps expedient, but at least I was enjoying myself!


On Monday, I’ll pick up the front brake-plate from the blasters, to have a closer look at that… (last blog) and to decide what to do next.

I still can’t find a way to get that damned gear off the crankshaft, but tomorrow will give more attempts and experience…

and bought an ‘Altette’ horn on e-bay that works fine, but looks C.R.A.P.! Shall have to work on that, too. It would seem that it has been stripped and painted by brush (crudely) with someone’s left-over oil-paint!




What a nice table-cloth!


© peter gouws 2012

Made on a mac