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Vapor Honing

Makes your old parts look like new

Vapor honing is a wet blasting process which uses very fine glass beads and water under air pressure. It leaves a smooth, satin finish and is much more gentle to the surface than dry sand or glass bead blasting. It's perfect for restoration work because it makes the metal surface look like new but does not remove metal like sandblasting. It preserves casting artifacts and stampings, keeping that original look so important to Concours-quality restorations.

Jim's Workshop is committed to helping you do the finest work possible on your restoration project. Get in touch today or visit our shop to find out more.

Vapor Honing: Repair Services

Amazing Results

Vapor honing strips away surface rust and corrosion while preserving casting/machining artifacts and stampings. Here's a dramatic before/after view of an engine side cover with about 55 years of exposure. The vapor hone leaves a gorgeous, satin finish without stripping away base metal.

Vapor Honing: Welcome

Vapor Honing in Action

This video shows a couple examples of parts from a 1964 Honda motorcycle before, during and after vapor honing.

Vapor Honing: Video
Vapor Honing: Image

Before/After Pictures

Vapor Honing: Gallery

Vapor Honing FAQs

Vapor Honing: FAQ

What metals can be vapor honed?

Almost anything, really. I've done work on cast aluminum, mild steel, brass and stainless steel, all with excellent results. Cast aluminum engine parts seem to have stunning results. Ferrous metals will flash rust almost immediately after vapor honing, so I coat them with a rust inhibitor for you.

Does vapor honing work on chrome?

Yes and no. It will definitely remove rust and corrosion, but it will dull the chrome to a satin finish. So I would not recommend vapor honing your chrome unless you plan to have it re-plated and you're just trying to assess the condition of the underlying metal.

Can vapor honing be used to remove paint/powder coating?

Technically, yes, if you use aggressive media like silicon carbide. However, my process is set up for very fine mesh glass beads and is not aggressive enough to remove paint or powder coating. However, if you've previously used paint remover and there are just small bits of paint/primer remaining, my process will remove it and clean it up nicely.

How long will it take to vapor hone my item?

That depends. I can generally turn an order in one business day, but if your order is large or complicated it may take longer. Deep-finned parts take longer to hone than simple flat or rounded surfaces. If your part is not relatively clean and free of all grease/oil, it will take me more time to clean it first before honing.

Is vapor honing safe on bearing and gasket surfaces?

Yes! The process removes almost no metal, so it cleans up gasket surfaces nicely. However, it will not remove hard, dried-on gaskets, so you should remove them before bringing me the part (I can remove them for you, but will have to charge more labor time to do so).

As for bearing surfaces, if you're re-using the items that go in those bearings (e.g. cams and crank journals), let me know and I'll mask off the bearings for you before honing so as to preserve the wear marks on the mating surfaces.

What about screws?

Vapor honing is kind to threads. It won't harm them at all and does a great job of cleaning the gunk and corrosion out of them. It won't repair damaged threads or screw/bolt heads (that would be magic...) but it'll make your hardware look as good as it possibly can without replacing it.

What if my item is deeply corroded, pitted or gouged? Will vapor honing clean that up?

No. However, in many cases I can use a progression of grinding/polishing wheels to remove pits, tool marks and gouges. Vapor honing after that produces beautiful results. Send me pictures or bring me the piece for an evaluation.

Can you vapor hone the entire outside of my engine (carburetor, wheel, etc.)?

Unfortunately, no. Everything must be completely disassembled because the glass beads are extremely fine and under high pressure. They WILL infiltrate every opening, no matter how small, how well-masked, or how tight the clearances are. So if you want me to do your carb bodies for example, every part must be taken out first, including all linkages.  Wheel bearings must be removed before cleaning hubs, and any shafts (such as brake cams) must be removed from their guides.

How much does vapor honing cost?

I charge $90/hour for vapor honing labor. However, most parts only take a fraction of an hour. Smaller parts like cam boxes and tappet covers might only take five or ten minutes. Larger or more complex parts like finned heads and cylinders can take 45 to 60 minutes or more. If I have to do any pre-work such as dirt/grease or paint removal, or if you want me to grind out scratches and gouges, I charge $65/hour for that work.

See my Pricing page for more detail.

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