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Restoring Demountable Rims

By Tony Cimorelli

Sharp Edges
Grinding Rims
Smoothing Bumps
Flattening Edges
Sanding Inside Lips
Final Outside Sanding
Primed Awaiting Paint


The problem faced with many rims is that they are rusted on the edges where they deteriorate and become razor sharp. Many a good rim have been thrown in a corner of the shop because the rust has taken over.  The solution is to save as many as we can.  Good, replacement rims are newly manufactured by John McLaren, but not having the budget (about $150 a rim), here is a way to restore your existing ones.

Figure 1 - Before - Razor sharp edges that cut clincher tires

 These sharp edges will slice the clincher tire bead off.  Figure 1 displays a sharp edge on a Hayes rim I recently acquired. A beautiful rim with Hayes stamped on the lugs. Rust, however, had taken over on the inside.

Figure 2 - Using lawnmover blade sharpener

One of the easiest ways to clean up a rim edge is to use a lawnmower blade sharpening tool (Figure 2).  You can get these at any store that handles replacement lawnmover parts (I got mine at Lowe's).  It tapers both edges and flattens the edge. Just make sure you have a decent drill.

Figure 3 - Using a round ratfile to smooth out bumps

Here we try using a rattail file on the rolled lip,

Figure 4- Flattening what we just made tapered

After the initial corrosion is filed flat to shining steel, we take a flat file and reduce the edge on the rolled lip.  All in the interest of reducing the sharp edges.

Figure 5 - Sanding out the rust and smoothing the  edge

Finally, we sand smooth the burrs inside the lip.  I start out with 240 grit paper, and drop down to 600 before priming.

Figure 6 - Final outside sanding

A final cursory glance and it's off to the paint tree.

Figure 7 - Primed awaiting paint

We prime the wheel and sand and paint.  Cadmium plate was original but aluminum paint works great.

Photographs:  Tony Cimorelli using a Kodak DC280 digital camera.