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Restoring old Nickel frames...

#1 2009-06-10 1:22am

mongoosedrummer
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From: Twomey, TN
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Restoring old Nickel frames...

I love Nickel!!!  smile  Such a classic finish and so durable...

Without much effort, it's pretty easy to make some old stuff look almost new again. Nickel frames (especially old Mongoose) are one of my favorite things to clean up. Yeah, I know I'm a Mongoose geek, but it feels great to take these beat up and dull old frames and bring them back to life. It's quite amazing how well that older nickel can still polish up and bling out again...

Anyhow, as I seem to do this a lot, I figured it would be cool to share one "clean up process" of a nice old frame as I went along... Another great thing is that is you can find these older nickel frames that look really dull and ratty and scoop them for very cheap. A couple hours of cleaning up and they can instantly double in price/value. 

Started off with this bad boy from 1981... Nickel was very dull, some rust here and there and the decals were toast. Not worth leaving as a survivor IMO, but definitely worth cleaning up and bringing back to life.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07566.jpg

Decals this old are really hard to get off sometimes, using a little stripper can help get them softened up...

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07764.jpg

Scrape and scrub..

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07771.jpg
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07765.jpg

Light sanding with a fine grit...

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07773.jpg
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07769.jpg

Smoothing out with 0000 fine steel wool and some Mothers polish...

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07770.jpg

This little "Sonic Scrubber" thing is great with Mothers...

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07753.jpg
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07754.jpg
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07755.jpg
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07756.jpg
http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07759.jpg

Pretty much done... Another sweet old nickel frame ready for some decals or left as is...
In this case I left one OG decal (Tri-Moly Frame) which was in decent shape on the headtube.

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07789.jpg

Before:

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07566.jpg

After (first one in foreground):

http://i253.photobucket.com/albums/hh73/mongoosedrummer/DSC07792.jpg


A "Squonk" is like a Mongoose only much harder to find...

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#2 2009-06-10 1:35am

momo_torker
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From: Australia
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Verrry noice. You sure have a lot of mongeese.


Seriously considering a torker/redline midlife crisis project ^_^

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#3 2009-06-10 7:39am

motomagic
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From: Brisbane Australia
Registered: 2008-09-11
Posts: 20
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Was wondering where all the mongeese are lol

Will try your magic on this one soon.

http://i371.photobucket.com/albums/oo160/mabbnet/Mongoose%20Motomag%20Build/058Medium.jpg

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#4 2009-06-10 8:10am

BridgeCity
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

adding a disclaimer for you because not everyone here will get this part..... be cautious with the sandpaper and steel wool.  He took a lot of time and used the exact right grades of materials to do that work!  It's meticulous, careful, exact work.

if you rush the job thinking it'll be done in 2 minutes with any old wire brush or sandpaper laying around the shop, you'll end up with a mess.
The nickel is only a covering on the frame and can be damaged with careless restoration technique.  smile

 

#5 2009-06-10 10:46am

mongoosedrummer
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From: Twomey, TN
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Good point Bridge... It's important to remember that only very fine sandpaper was used. Then only 0000 extra fine steel wool. The old Nickel plating on these Mongoose frames is quite versatile though and even a slight "brushed" look can be nice too. I used the fine steel wool to get the swirles out from the light sanding... Mothers + 0000 steel wool (or brass wool) = really nice! I also went over the areas again with straight Mothers and some paper towels. This whole thing/process took about 2 1/2 hours.

"Motomagic", that frame is a great candidate for a clean up for sure... However, the decals don't look all that bad, especially the headtube one. IMO, you may want to clean the frame up and try to save the OG decals. I have one that looks almost the same and I left the old decals and cleaned and polished around them. I just scrubbed the decals with a little mild soap and a soft non-scouring 3M pad. They brightened up quite nicely. Looks pretty cool that way too... Nothing like OG decals! smile


A "Squonk" is like a Mongoose only much harder to find...

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#6 2009-06-10 10:54am

GColloton
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From: Albany, NY
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Great post.  I like how you documented each step and showed us your process, as opposed to just a before and after..  Thanks, Garry


My 1983 Kuwahara Laser Lite KZ-83:

My 1986 Skyway Street Styler:

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#7 2009-06-10 1:06pm

TxFireman
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Great doco, Pete! I agree that Nickel is a fantastic finish. Nickel and stainless is a classic, long lasting combo... ol Skip knew what he was doing. smile

It's easy to get addicted to cleaning up those old motomags! big_smile


"Danger is my business" ~ Jeff Spicoli - Fast Times at Ridgemont High
~1978 Mongoose Motomag~1979 Mongoose motomag~1983 Kuwahara KZ-83 Laser Lite~1981 Mongoose II~

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#8 2009-06-10 1:12pm

RAPIDTRANSIT
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Registered: 2009-02-12
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Great post, I just bought an 81 from stark70 in the for sale section. can not wait to get it Been waiting since 1980 for a Mongoose. this will help alot.

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#9 2009-06-10 2:07pm

chuckster
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From: Kentucky
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Excellent tips for restoring a nickel frame.

I am always learning something new here and love looking at these restroation projects.

Awesome job!

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#10 2010-01-01 3:58pm

captainhowdy3136
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From: Heaven and Hell
Registered: 2009-09-15
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

If the frame is too far gone is there a place i can send the frame for replating?


Brothers Before All Others

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#11 2010-01-01 4:09pm

swbruni
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From: Detroit, MI
Registered: 2008-08-10
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Great job. I have the same frame and did not know what to do ...but thanks to you I will get started.....big_smile...


hava a great day....

(.)(.)
  ).( 
( y )

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#12 2010-01-01 4:12pm

Pro_Star
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From: Ohio
Registered: 2009-12-12
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Wow, never really a big fan of nickle, but it does look nice shined up.

Where do I get a  " sonic scrubber "?


I'm just trying to get rid of a bunch of extra stuff now

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#13 2010-01-01 4:23pm

badbroccoli
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

captainhowdy3136 wrote:

If the frame is too far gone is there a place i can send the frame for replating?

Where I work at has the facilities to do nickel plating.  We can strip, polish, and plate most any frames.


Black Widows... let's mount up!!

Looking for chrome 24" Araya 7X wheels in good shape!

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#14 2012-03-20 3:20pm

johnng23604
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From: CC TX
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

badbroccoli wrote:

captainhowdy3136 wrote:

If the frame is too far gone is there a place i can send the frame for replating?

Where I work at has the facilities to do nickel plating.  We can strip, polish, and plate most any frames.

You still work there badbro?


I'm looking for the following frames, frame & forks or completes by BMX products:
MotoTrac (nickle or chrome), Racer-X or a Super-X (with the double gussets).
Thanks wink
I'm also johnng23604 at "Retro-goose", "VintageBMX" & "RADbmx"

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#15 2012-06-07 9:51am

kimberly8r
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Guri tumi kae akase oro

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#16 2012-06-07 12:07pm

badbroccoli
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

johnng23604 wrote:

badbroccoli wrote:

captainhowdy3136 wrote:

If the frame is too far gone is there a place i can send the frame for replating?

Where I work at has the facilities to do nickel plating.  We can strip, polish, and plate most any frames.

You still work there badbro?

I do!


Black Widows... let's mount up!!

Looking for chrome 24" Araya 7X wheels in good shape!

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#17 2012-06-18 10:25am

SupergooseScrambler
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From: Algonquin, IL
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Just tried this on my Supergoose that I was planning to send out for replating.  Holy crap!  This really worked well!  I was a little afraid of scratching but if you use little circular motions (as if you are polishing) it works great!  Thanks for the post!  You just saved me $200.

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#18 2012-06-18 11:18am

JacksonHole22
Pro Member"Closet Hutch Fan"
From: Jackson, WY
Registered: 2010-07-11
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

nice write up......gonna try this on a couple old nickel geese

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#19 2013-05-27 5:09pm

Neil-Son
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From: BMX museum
Registered: 2008-04-23
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

has anyone tried pepsi and aluminum foil in cleaning nickel plated frame? I know it works great for chrome plated frame

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#20 2013-05-28 8:24am

Old-School-Fool-951
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From: Lake Elsinore, CALIFORNIA
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

oh oh, im doing this TODAY


Back in my day, we didnt have all these fancy dancy freesytle bike flipping and bouncing trick type stuff, Man Kids Got It Good Now Dayz hmm

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#21 2013-05-28 9:05am

clowry22
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From: Overland Park, KS
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Subscribed! Just picked up a 79 that I will be restoring this summer. I have a thread going, check it out and give me your thoughts.

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#22 2013-07-22 10:17am

healeyracer
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From: Mystic CT
Registered: 2011-07-08
Posts: 327
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Anyone had a frame nicle plated lateley??  What is going price for a 20 inch say rdline squareback??  Reason I ask is I have a redline honda xr75 frame. needs new nickle.. is prepped and ready.  I am getting quotes of 1200 dollar range !!!  It's not much bigger than a 20 inch bmx and maybe twice the surface area......

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#23 2013-10-10 12:02pm

ss6r
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From: Michigan
Registered: 2011-08-09
Posts: 607
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Good info! I Got a nickel Cooks Bro's frame and looking to brighten up the finish..Thanks!

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#24 2013-10-10 5:29pm

Flatlandfox
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From: New York
Registered: 2009-04-28
Posts: 1419
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Here's one I did last winter, I got this one off ebay, I call it the Matt Stafford Goose...http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/mongoose%20restore/IMG_0001_zps488a1689.jpgAnd after...http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/mongoose%20restore/IMG_0159_zps7a215659.jpgBefore...http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/mongoose%20restore/IMG_0003_zps2db80e0e.jpgAnd after...http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/mongoose%20restore/IMG_0026_zps7d777c35.jpg And as a complete...http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/flatlandfox/mongoose%20restore/Mongoosechrome-yellow_zps83b8b0c2.jpg


BMX/Freestyle... my fountain of youth.

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#25 2013-10-11 8:46am

ss6r
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From: Michigan
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Re: Restoring old Nickel frames...

Nice Goose FlatlandFox!   Wonder if it was Matt Stafford's the quarter back from the Detroit Lions, although he's from Florida originally....and theirs probably many Matt Staffords out there!

Last edited by ss6r (2013-10-11 8:47am)

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