ok, the ball is really rollin in the basement workshop, but I've been wrestlin' with thoughts of what the finished cogs should look like, what sort of finish I want to present. I figure I should share this with ya'll, just so everybody's on the same page.
I'm doing this project to fill in an empty niche and I'm kinda feeling a connection with the old school mtn bikers, from wayyy back in the day, cobbling together bits of bike in a garage or basement to make something work. A throwback to the heyday of boutique cnc'd small batch parts. Remember all those funky brakes, lego block derailleurs, homemade barends, blingy quick releases, etc. I'd like these cogs to reflect those bygone days, and retain the character of one off, hand finished parts.
That said, I've decided that I'm going to leave the finish be and send them out raw. Thought about hitting the backsides with a finishing wheel, to put some type of uniform grain into it (a few of the first I sent out do have this look), or maybe polish 'em up somehow, or bead blast, or maybe tumble..... But by doing that, I feel like each individual cog loses part of its character, each one just like the other.
I'd like the cogs to reflect the one at a time, hand finished in my basement workshop heritage. So, I'm leaving them be. When you get your cog, you'll see the surface markings on the back from me deburring each cog with a plain flat file, you'll be able to pick out where I cleaned up the edges here and there. The front side will reflect the handling of each piece from the marks on the raw sheet, to scuffs and whatnot from stacking, then into boxes, to restacking & shuffling and stacking and finally packing and sending.
Each one is unique, and that's how I think they should be sent out. They aren't meant to be a blingy high polished work of art for your hipster coffee shop bike, these are meant to be abused out in the woods, on the trail, thru the muck and yuk. These are about the down and dirty silliness that offroad fixing is, nothing more, nothing less.