Re: [CR]Maintaining Gum Brake Hoods - a professional Conservator speaks!

Example: Production Builders

From: "8pbw" <>
Subject: Re: [CR]Maintaining Gum Brake Hoods - a professional Conservator speaks!
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 20:12:03 -0500

Joel Dressner wrote:

<<"I am interested in finding out the best way to care for and preserve gum brake hoods. Any suggestions on which products to use?">>

Joel and All,

I have just posed this question to my wife who, for 15 years or more, was a professional "objects" conservator.

Here are her views. Unfortunately there is not a lot that can be done. There are steps that someone who knows what they are doing can take to slow the process but ultimately the problem is that the vulcanizing processes which go into producing the rubber continue to work throughout its lifetime. The rubber naturally gets harder and eventually crystallizes. This can take quite some time but it will eventually happen. And this goes for all rubber components, including tyres, brake pads, washers, etc.

If in regular use, a number of factors can accelerate the degradation - these include: light, heat, cold, and sweat (in other words the acids from the skin).

One way to extend the life of the brake hoods is to: keep them clean with water and mild soap to get the salts and acids off the rubber; not to let them get too hot or too cold; and don't leave them in unnecessary bright sun-light. This doesn't preclude using them but these are precautions to take when storing. Because of the on-going crystallization processes, one should also be careful not to take the hoods on and off too often as the stretching will also increase the degradation.

For further excellent info on rubber - its history, production, care and conservation, she recommends looking at:

Interestingly, she would expect white hoods and black hoods to last longer because of the type of fillers used to produce the colour - they will also eventually deteriorate but natural brake hoods will degrade the fastest (but then this has been discussed before on the list).

By the way, the cleaning of salts and acids from the skin off all parts of the bike is something also to be recommended!!! If anyone is interested she can also tell us all we need to know about dealing with rust and other metal cleaning issues!!!!

Paul "sometimes its very useful to be married to someone who knows everything about cleaning" Williams,

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada