As my polishing experience increases I am becoming more consistent in the final finished surface. Not to mention finding that sweet spot of pressure and quantity of compound that make for easy work. I mistook the idea of pressing hard would result in faster smoothing/polishing, where as that just creates a lot of heat and the compound melts into a liquid goo that smears across the metal face you are polishing. A light touch is best.
The engine sprocket cover is one of the last items that I needed to clean and polish. As previously described with the alternator and clutch covers, I scrubbed it clean with a heavy duty engine degreaser, using both Gunk and then with Purple Power, finishing off with using the high pressure steam cleaner to really get into the crevices (really, it's one of the best purchases I've made during this whole project; you can find it here on Amazon), then used Aircraft Cleaner to remove the aging and yellowed clear-coat.
When I finished the first run on the polishing machine with the sisal wheel and emery compound, I was quite taken with the consistent matte finish that had been achieved. So here is the dilemma: do leave the matte finish, which is more akin to what the factory finish would have been, or go with the mirror finish, created using white rouge and the Canton flannel wheel? (You can see from the photos below that I have the two covers mounted on the engine for comparison.)
I think even though the high gloss mirror finish is super fancy looking, it's not really what this motorcycle is all about. I have polished the front forks to this finish, but they match the rear shocks. The frame is flat black, and the engine is a semi-gloss, so I think it's in keeping with the whole theme of this bike to leave the engine components a matte finish.
With that choice made I then started polishing the clutch cover. (Something to know for the next project bike is that it's not necessary to get so aggressive with the emery cloth when removing the oxidization and corrosion off the aluminum. I really made a huge amount of extra polishing work for myself having to get rid of those scratch marks. Lesson learned there. Stick with nothing coarser than 400 grit.)
So I just have some minor detail work with the Dremel on the covers to complete, and then run the generator cover through the sisal wheel/emery compound to take it back to a matte finish. Pretty soon we are going to have the engine back together and heading towards the frame for reinstallation.
Current hours on build: 102.0