I have 3 handwheels that I need to restore for my Enterprise band saw. I figured I would put together a quick pictorial showing the steps I used to make them beautiful again.


Original condition:

(click on the pics for a larger image)

As you can see in the pic above they are in pretty rough shape .. rusted, pitted, and any original old paint that is left is flaking off.

First thing I do is use a handheld wire brush and remove as much of the dirt and paint as I can. Next I use a wire wheel mounted on a buffer/grinder and remove the rest of the crud and rust, taking it down to bare metal.

After hitting it with the wire wheel it’s looking pretty good.

If the rust was only on the surface then ya can skip this next step, but the rust on these was pretty heavy which caused some minor pitting. I mounted the wheel in my metal lathe and used various grits of emery cloth and sand paper to clean them up. The wheel in the upper right hand corner of the pic above is very pitted and I will need to use a file to get rid of most of the pits.

If you don’t have a lathe ya can build a mandrel and mount it in a drill press or just mount a wooded dowel in a vice, slip the wheel over the dowel and turn it by hand, I’ve done it that way many times and it works great.

Next I use a buffing wheel and load the spiral sewn wheel with tripoli compound and the loose cotton wheel with white diamond compound.

Then start polishing.

Purdy ….

Next give the whole wheel a wipe down with some denatured alcohol or mineral spirits to get rid off any wax residue that may be present so the paint will stick to the bare metal.

Use some masking tape to cover the polished areas

and apply the paint.

Good as new

One down, two more to go.

Looking at the time stamps on the pics it took me an hour and a half from start to finish, not including time spent waiting for the paint to dry.


Hope this helps … Good luck,




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3 Comments on Handwheel Restoration Pictorial

  1. Shane that is awesome I cant wait to try it. I really thought there must have been some special trick to getting those crisp lines on the wheels from paint to polished area but I now know it is just carful attention to applying the masking tape. Thank for the post it was really helpful. I be getting to mine soon. I think I’ll paint the inside cream.Later


  2. I have some handwheels from a milling machine I need to try this on- what a stunning transformation. Thank you for sharing your techniques with everyone.


  3. J.R.S. says:

    Thanks for posting this Shane. I was trying to find out the best way to do this exact step and stumbled upon your method of doing it. Looks like the way to go. Thanks for the website, and awesome machines!

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