We do lots of custom parts modifications. This usually means taking a sweet old part that is showing some wear and making it look better than new, or taking a new part and removing the logos, or less that stunning original finish and making it look like a million bucks.
We do a lot of Mafac brakes, among other things such as seat posts, cranks derailleurs, headsets, pretty much any scruffy part or part with ugly logos or anodizing that you want to be bright polished silver. Sometimes, like in the case of T.A. cranks we can not only polish out all the scuffs and get them bright and shiny we can get new stickers and make them look even better than new.
The first step is making sure a part is mechanically functional and sound, this is usually done with a visual inspection. Once determined to still be functional we hit the piece with several files of increasing fineness and take out all the pits and dings and ugly casting marks. It then goes to a deburring wheel to smooth everything out and get it to a uniform texture. After that it's off to several stages of polishing to make the part shine.
Yes, parts come out looking better than new, custom, and exactly what you want for your handmade bike!
Some parts like Mafac "raids" we scrounge up wherever we can, (yeah, we got a guy in France!), and will fully polish up and replace all the old mangled up rusty hardware with a full new kit from Compass. Their hardware is second to none and so absurdly superior to the stock hardware it's like a hot-rod drag racing a soap box derby car! Well worth the money.
The hardware is made from chrome-plated steel, which is stronger than stainless steel. All bushings are made from high quality brass instead of mafac's plastic. And best of all they use standard shift cables as straddle cables instead of Mafac's undersized "french" cable heads. It's truly the nicest hardware that ever graced a bicycle, and at $125 it's no joke or cheep cop out. Read more about it on Jan's blog here, here and here, well worth the read!
Sure, you can get the hardware on the New Compass brakes for less than we charge for a polished set of original Mafacs. And the Compass brakes are great, and we have them in stock too..., but they just aren't as sexy as the using the real deal, and they don't make matching levers...yet. We're working on talking them into it!
Nos Shimano Exage Cranks Polished with Custom Bash Guard.
These cranks came with a grey paint of some sort finish. we had to sand it all off then polish the cranks. The bash guard started out as a worn out ring from my stash. It seamed just right so i cut the teeth off and filed and de-burred and polished it up. Pretty great use of a worn out old ring if you ask me.