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Old 11-28-2007, 09:59 PM   #1
Greg63
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polishing stainless trim

I have just picked up a set of '63 - '66 stainless side trim for the truck and now I want to clean and polish it . I have read various articles about polishing , but I want advice from anyone who has done it to one of our trucks .
I have practiced on a piece of door trim (lower) that I had laying around . It seems that there is some type of a "coating" that is coming off when I put pressure on it . It is really shiny when the coating comes off , but I fear I may be doing something wrong . You really have to hold it on the wheel and put pressure on it to get this result .
I do not want to screw up the pieces I just got . I am using a 6" bench grinder with sewn cotton wheels and black and green compound .
Can anyone add some advice or direction ?
Greg
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Old 11-29-2007, 12:33 AM   #2
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Re: polishing stainless trim

I heard that hitting them with some oven cleaner before polish can do some wonders. test a piece out first. let it soak for like 5-10 minutes.
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Old 11-29-2007, 07:34 AM   #3
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Re: polishing stainless trim

I have never heard of that before .
I will try that today and see how it goes .
Any other tips anyone ?
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:36 AM   #4
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Re: polishing stainless trim

i saw the oven cleaner trick on an episode on trucks i think. can't remember the polish that they used though
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:54 AM   #5
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Sounds like that door trim may have a clear coat of some kind on it and you are just "burning through" it
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Old 11-29-2007, 04:19 PM   #6
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by harley View Post
Sounds like that door trim may have a clear coat of some kind on it and you are just "burning through" it
That is what it seems like , but I was not aware of a "clear coat" on trim for the '60's .
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:38 PM   #7
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Re: polishing stainless trim

i believe its anodized coating. This is what the oven cleaner is removing.
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:41 PM   #8
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by salazar44 View Post
i believe its anodized coating. This is what the oven cleaner is removing.
If that is the case , am I damaging anything by doing that ?
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Old 11-30-2007, 01:01 AM   #9
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Re: polishing stainless trim

If it looks crappy with it, then whats to damage? You are just removing old beat up anodized coating and polishing up what you have.
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:32 AM   #10
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by salazar44 View Post
If it looks crappy with it, then whats to damage? You are just removing old beat up anodized coating and polishing up what you have.
Good point .
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:59 AM   #11
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Greg63: I believe the moldings are aluminum not stainless. The coating you are removing is the anodized surface of the aluminum. Once you cut through the anodize surface the soft aluminum remaining is easily polished to a bright luster. As you have found, this is a lot of work and difficult to accomplish with uniform results. The polished aluminum will not be as durable without the anodized surface and will likely become dull from exposure to the elements. Also, it will be much more easily scratched and scuffed if left without anodizing.

If you have a company locally that does anodizing of aluminum, they can chemically remove the anodize surface so you can repair and polish the parts. The parts can be then anodized again to protect the bright polish. If you do this, be sure the company is equipped to process bright aluminum. It would be good to have them anodize your "practice" door molding first to make sure that you are satisfied with the results.

An alternative method of protecting the moldings after polishing is to coat them with a clear coat paint. Glisten by POR 15 works well for this and has good adhesion even to polished aluminum. It is not as durable as anodizing, but may work well for moldings that are usually protected from the elements. As with anodizing, it is recommended that you use your practice door molding to make sure your procedure gives the results you are looking for. Be especially careful assembling the front fender spear tip to the fender molding to avoid scratching through the coating.

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Old 11-30-2007, 02:03 PM   #12
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAR-Ktech View Post
Greg63: I believe the moldings are aluminum not stainless. The coating you are removing is the anodized surface of the aluminum. Once you cut through the anodize surface the soft aluminum remaining is easily polished to a bright luster. As you have found, this is a lot of work and difficult to accomplish with uniform results. The polished aluminum will not be as durable without the anodized surface and will likely become dull from exposure to the elements. Also, it will be much more easily scratched and scuffed if left without anodizing.

If you have a company locally that does anodizing of aluminum, they can chemically remove the anodize surface so you can repair and polish the parts. The parts can be then anodized again to protect the bright polish. If you do this, be sure the company is equipped to process bright aluminum. It would be good to have them anodize your "practice" door molding first to make sure that you are satisfied with the results.

An alternative method of protecting the moldings after polishing is to coat them with a clear coat paint. Glisten by POR 15 works well for this and has good adhesion even to polished aluminum. It is not as durable as anodizing, but may work well for moldings that are usually protected from the elements. As with anodizing, it is recommended that you use your practice door molding to make sure your procedure gives the results you are looking for. Be especially careful assembling the front fender spear tip to the fender molding to avoid scratching through the coating.

Mar-Ktech
Excellent advice .
I am really glad I had a spare door piece to experiment on and not bugger up the "good" pieces .

Thanks , Greg
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Old 11-30-2007, 07:50 PM   #13
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Re: polishing stainless trim

2000 grit sandpaper also works, the finer the better!
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:34 PM   #14
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Well , I am about 3/4 of the way through the job and the results are amazing .
I soak the trim with oven cleaner for around 45 minutes and then hit them with an S.O.S. pad . In most cases the anodizing comes right off , but sometimes a second run through with the oven cleaner is needed .
At that point I can push out and file down any dents or surface imperfections .
Once they are down to raw aluminum and straight it is easy to buff them up .
I will give them a clear coat to protect them once they are all finished .
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Old 01-25-2008, 10:46 PM   #15
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Glad to hear this method is working. I have toyed with the idea since I saw it on Trucks several months ago. I have a great deal of factory trim and Custom Cab sails from '60-'66 Chevy trucks that could use some attention. Please keep us posted with your progress and pictures. Thanks for your efforts.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:38 PM   #16
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Re: polishing stainless trim

you got any pics of how it looks befor and after?
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Old 01-26-2008, 03:15 AM   #17
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by 65 on 24's View Post
you got any pics of how it looks befor and after?
I kick myself for not taking any pictures before because these pieces were rough . I don't mean junk rough , but each piece needed to be straightened out one way or another .
I can certainly post after pictures .
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Old 01-26-2008, 07:28 AM   #18
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg63 View Post
I kick myself for not taking any pictures before because these pieces were rough . I don't mean junk rough , but each piece needed to be straightened out one way or another .
I can certainly post after pictures .
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:56 AM   #19
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Here are a couple of sample pics .
The wide piece has been filed in some area's , but you can see the finish on it .
The thin piece has been completed (except for clear coat) . Please excuse the greasy fingerprints .


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Old 01-26-2008, 12:32 PM   #20
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Re: polishing stainless trim

http://www.caswellplating.com/buffs/buffman.htm

I am not an agent for this company, nor am I selling anything. I purely offer this link as a resource I have forund helpful.
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:28 PM   #21
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Re: polishing stainless trim

i second this Micmac that caswell place is awesome!!! i have bought a bunch of stuff from them and they are very helpful and know there product they are about 20 miniutes away from me great place!!
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:12 AM   #22
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Well, I have got all the pieces straightened out and installed on the truck.
Considering what they looked like prior to my efforts, they don't look too bad. I will get some pictures up shortly.
I was unable to get one of the front fender pieces sorted out though. It has about 200 small pits in it. Does anyone know where I could get a good used fender trim piece? (the long one, not the end spear)
A new piece would stand out next to my refurbished used pieces.
Greg
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:56 PM   #23
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Here are a couple of pictures from the drivers side;



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Old 04-14-2008, 11:39 PM   #24
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Re: polishing stainless trim

WOW!! looks nice!!
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:27 AM   #25
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Re: polishing stainless trim

Good job on the trim....Very nice '63

I have never seen those type of wheels before...what brand are they?
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