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Username Post: polishing stainless trim        (Topic#355520)
dsacton 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1119
dsacton
Loc: Boulder, CO
Reg: 11-01-11
03-06-19 07:47 PM - Post#2761490    

Does anyone know just how shining we should make the stainless trim? If I keep buffing, will it continue clean up, or will it eventually become dull? Is there a plating on the trim, or is it solid stainless? My concern is that I could polish through a plating. But I've got quite a few scratches

Thanks.

Scott Acton
1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-door
http://www.my54chevy.com


 

Chevs of the 40s

RAM_51 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5131
RAM_51
Loc: Yakima, WA. USA
Reg: 12-28-02
03-06-19 08:07 PM - Post#2761492    
    In response to dsacton

The stainless trim is solid stainless....no plating. If it is polished properly, it will get to the point of almost resembling chrome plating. The trick is to make the scratched smaller and smaller and get them lined up in the same direction. On the left, polished stainless belt-line trim. On the right stainless that had not been touched for 67 years. If you work it too hard, get too aggressive, and / or get it too hot, you can burn it. You have to get comfortable with knowing what grit to begin with and using the proper wheels in combination with the proper rouge. Light to medium pressure is all that should be needed to bring a good luster to the piece. Metal / trim straightening would be another topic as a whole other set of tools are required for that.

Attachment: IMG_1051.jpg (2.83 MB) 5 View(s)




1951 Fleetline
'51 Fleetline DeLuxe 2 DOOR SEDAN (Fathom Green)
'51 Styleline Special BUSINESS COUPE (Shadow Gray)
'53 6500 Dump Bed (Oxidized Red)
'50 Styleline DeLuxe 4 DOOR SEDAN (Mist Green)


 
dsacton 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1119
dsacton
Loc: Boulder, CO
Reg: 11-01-11
03-06-19 08:54 PM - Post#2761500    
    In response to RAM_51

Holy smokes! Mine are much duller than that. I've got a bench grinder that I think I can put a buffing wheel on. I've working on one piece for about an hour with fine steel wool, and it is nowhere near done.

Is there a place that will polish the chrome for a fee?

Thanks



Scott Acton
1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-door
http://www.my54chevy.com


 
RAM_51 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5131
RAM_51
Loc: Yakima, WA. USA
Reg: 12-28-02
03-06-19 09:10 PM - Post#2761501    
    In response to dsacton

Most chrome platers will also polish stainless as they need to get any metal piece that they plate pretty much to this state before the plating process. I decided to buy a buffing motor, rouge, and associated wheels to polish my own as I knew that it could cost a small fortune to have someone do it for me.

1951 Fleetline
'51 Fleetline DeLuxe 2 DOOR SEDAN (Fathom Green)
'51 Styleline Special BUSINESS COUPE (Shadow Gray)
'53 6500 Dump Bed (Oxidized Red)
'50 Styleline DeLuxe 4 DOOR SEDAN (Mist Green)


 
50 sport coupe 
Poster
Posts: 1

Age: 50
Loc: Mohnton , Pennsylvania
Reg: 02-15-19
03-07-19 01:58 AM - Post#2761511    
    In response to dsacton

Using a converted bench grinder , several different buffing wheels and rouges I have been able to return several trim pieces that might otherwise been discounted as unuseable to quite a serviceable condition especially for a “ driver “ car , saving myself quite a bit of money and gaining a fair amount of experience in the process ! - 50 sport coupe ( Rob)



 
eplantage 
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 2171

Loc: Southern MN
Reg: 03-15-04
03-07-19 05:51 AM - Post#2761514    
    In response to dsacton

I went over all the stainless trim from my sedan delivery with very fine sand paper first to remove any oxidation. I sanded in a straight line. Even if you stay in one spot too long while polishing and "burn" it, it will turn dark, sort of blue, you can let it cool and it will rebuff easily. Any dings can be tapped out lightly with a small hammer and a small piece of wooden dowel. More serious dents or gouges can hammered out and filed with a fine file, sanded and buffed. It is almost an art with what can be done with them. Wear gloves as the pieces can get quite hot. Be careful also as the buffing wheel can grab the piece and toss it across the shop. I purchased a buffing kit from Eastwood, worked great.

Age: 65 at the moment
1950 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery
1953 BelAir Convertible Project
2002 Heritage Springer FLSTSI
1930 Model A Standard Coupe


 
2blu52 
"18th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 18738
2blu52
Age: 85
Loc: Montana
Reg: 03-12-02
03-07-19 06:42 AM - Post#2761515    
    In response to eplantage

About 10 years ago we had a club member who polished stainless, he worked fairly cheap but did excellent work. Made many a car look good.

"PEACE IS THAT GLORIUS MOMENT IN HISTORY WHEN EVERY ONE STANDS AROUND RELOADING"

THOMAS JEFFERSON


 
rrausch 
"15th Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 13966
rrausch
Loc: L.A, Cal. & St. Louis...
Reg: 04-07-03
03-07-19 10:59 AM - Post#2761533    
    In response to 2blu52

I found a vintage Craftsman buffing motor at a swap meet for $25. It runs at 1725 rpm, so no problem with burning. I polished all the stainless for my 210 with it. Worked great.

1953 210 Convertible, 261 with dual Carter YF 966S carbs, P.S., Remote Bendix P.B. Booster... shade-tree restoration about done.




 
dsacton 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1119
dsacton
Loc: Boulder, CO
Reg: 11-01-11
03-07-19 11:51 AM - Post#2761538    
    In response to rrausch

That's my concern--a bench grinder runs awfully fast.


Scott Acton
1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-door
http://www.my54chevy.com


 
RAM_51 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5131
RAM_51
Loc: Yakima, WA. USA
Reg: 12-28-02
03-07-19 09:01 PM - Post#2761572    
    In response to dsacton

  • dsacton Said:
a bench grinder runs awfully fast.


What I learned while taking an economics class years ago is that there is an up side and a down side to everything. There are three ways to generate heat which will burn the piece. Higher RPM will do it as will bearing down on the piece, or a combination of the two. I happen to own the lower 1725 RPM motor. If no metal work or straightening needs to be done, it is fairly easy task of working your way through the wheel types with proper rouge. Metal work of course requires more finesse and metal working skills; the use of hammers, dollies, picks, files, sanding blocks. etc. You however never want to try to skip steps...for instance trying to get rid of deep sanding or file marks with more pressure or by over working one area trying to remove medium to large anomalies with the wheel. Buffing a piece is doing just that and nothing more. John Novak in the article below also makes a good point in keeping the wheel free of build up...another important thing to remember. He does however skip though talking much about metal working. Any wheel or rouge combination will never remove waves or dents. I've also tried to use the cornstarch / talcum powder step that he describes. I've sort of learned not to waste my time with that step.





1951 Fleetline
'51 Fleetline DeLuxe 2 DOOR SEDAN (Fathom Green)
'51 Styleline Special BUSINESS COUPE (Shadow Gray)
'53 6500 Dump Bed (Oxidized Red)
'50 Styleline DeLuxe 4 DOOR SEDAN (Mist Green)


 
dsacton 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1119
dsacton
Loc: Boulder, CO
Reg: 11-01-11
03-08-19 10:43 AM - Post#2761597    
    In response to RAM_51

This is great! Seems like whatever I do, I am going to need three different wheels. I saw a video where they recommended using a hand-held sanding wheel with up to about 1500 grit sandpaper, starting with whatever you need to remove the scratch or residual of a dent. I took out a small dent last night, finishing with wet 600 and will need to find a source of the rest of the materials. Thanks for posting this.


Scott Acton
1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-door
http://www.my54chevy.com


 
RAM_51 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5131
RAM_51
Loc: Yakima, WA. USA
Reg: 12-28-02
03-08-19 04:41 PM - Post#2761616    
    In response to dsacton

  • dsacton Said:
they recommended using a hand-held sanding wheel with up to about 1500 grit sandpaper



If you end with 1500 grit sandpaper before taking the piece to the wheel...buffing will be a "kool breeze".


1951 Fleetline
'51 Fleetline DeLuxe 2 DOOR SEDAN (Fathom Green)
'51 Styleline Special BUSINESS COUPE (Shadow Gray)
'53 6500 Dump Bed (Oxidized Red)
'50 Styleline DeLuxe 4 DOOR SEDAN (Mist Green)


 
belairbob50 
Contributor
Posts: 286

Loc: OH where rust never sleep...
Reg: 03-17-13
03-08-19 05:55 PM - Post#2761620    
    In response to RAM_51

I just finished polishing most of the S/S on my 1950 Belair Hardtop. So far a total of 1,506 inches with 154 inches to go. I never did any polishing before but with some good information , patience and a little more patience, you can make your S/S look good again. The equipment I that I used is as follows: an Eastwood 1/2 hp buff motor with stand; a sisal buff wheel, a sewn buff wheel and a loose buff wheel. The compounds used are a S/S emery with the sisal wheel (this is the most aggressive combo), next would be a S/S compound with a sewn wheel, last would be a white rouge with a loose buff wheel. With the sisal and sewn wheel, you make two passes. The first pass is against the wheel's rotation (this is called the cutting motion) and the second is with the wheel's rotation (this is called the polishing motion). The last pass is with the white rouge and the loose buff wheel. BUT you only go with the wheel's rotation in a polishing pass. The amount of pressure I used is more with the first two passes a little less on the middle two passes and light pressure on the last single pass. Always, Always, Always clean your buff wheels with a rake. You thinks that you are destroying them when you do this, BUT, dirt just keeps scratching and you make very little progress.

Go to caswellplating.com and look for Polishing at the top. Look for Get Our Free Polishing Booklet. Also online, look for Tips & Tricks for Polishing / Buffing Stainless Steel Trim Part 1, 2 and 3 by a guy named Cuda Cody. Watch all three videos. Lastly, get a spray bottle from the dollar store and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. In between EVERY step, clean your work. It does make a big difference.

Dent removal: you are on your own. Just think how the dent was made and figure out how to reverse it. A screwdriver, a punch, a piece of oak that fits the "boo boo" and a SLOW approach worked for me.

Sandpaper: I start with 600 grit to see if that takes out the scratches. If not, 320, then fine emery cloth, then medium emery cloth, and the most aggressive is a flat fine file. REMEMBER, the scratches you put in removing a dent, will have to come out with a lot of hand work. When you get back to 600 grit, I then start wet sanding with 800, 1000, 1200 and finally 1500. In the picture showing sandpaper, I eliminated the 400 grit and the 220 grit and used emery cloth instead. NOW you can start buffing. Good luck!









 
RAM_51 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5131
RAM_51
Loc: Yakima, WA. USA
Reg: 12-28-02
03-08-19 06:33 PM - Post#2761622    
    In response to belairbob50

  • belairbob50 Said:
Dent removal: you are on your own. Just think how the dent was made and figure out how to reverse it. A screwdriver, a punch, a piece of oak that fits the "boo boo" and a SLOW approach worked for me.


Great work! As you mentioned, patients [truck load, 1 ea.] helps.


1951 Fleetline
'51 Fleetline DeLuxe 2 DOOR SEDAN (Fathom Green)
'51 Styleline Special BUSINESS COUPE (Shadow Gray)
'53 6500 Dump Bed (Oxidized Red)
'50 Styleline DeLuxe 4 DOOR SEDAN (Mist Green)


 
40grit 
Contributor
Posts: 455
40grit
Age: 73
Loc: Chattanooga, Tn
Reg: 07-08-13
03-08-19 10:08 PM - Post#2761628    
    In response to belairbob50

Good stuff Ram. They now make wet/dry 3000. You can finish with it along with a few drops of WD40 and almost skip the buffing.

To find the 3000 locally, you will probably need to go to a auto body supply store.

John

Just Slightly Abrasive


 
dsacton 
"2nd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 1119
dsacton
Loc: Boulder, CO
Reg: 11-01-11
03-10-19 03:27 PM - Post#2761756    
    In response to 40grit

Hi guys,

I did some polishing today as well. I used the black for rough polishing, finishing with green. I should probably go up one higher to make a mirror finish, but it looks pretty good as is.

I tapped out the dings and then sanded flat, using the highest grit that I could get away with. I finished with 600 and 800 and then 1000; all wet, before going to the wheel.

I'm just using a 6-inch bench grinder which runs at about 3500 rpm.

I also tried, based on some advice in a video, using 1000-1500 sand paper with a hand-held grinder. That was a complete failure, as it put in more scratches than it took out.

Thanks for all of your help and advice.



Scott Acton
1954 Chevy Bel Air 2-door
http://www.my54chevy.com


 
RAM_51 
"3rd Year" Silver Supporting Member
Posts: 5131
RAM_51
Loc: Yakima, WA. USA
Reg: 12-28-02
03-10-19 04:52 PM - Post#2761765    
    In response to dsacton

The idea is to get any extremely small scratches that remain going in the same direction so that the light reflects from them at the same angle. When they are going in a multitude of directions this is what causes the dull finish that occurs with wear. Yeah, even though I quoted you above, I was focused more on the grit being used instead of what type of equipment was being used. A grinder or DA will leave small scratches going in about every conceivable direction.

1951 Fleetline
'51 Fleetline DeLuxe 2 DOOR SEDAN (Fathom Green)
'51 Styleline Special BUSINESS COUPE (Shadow Gray)
'53 6500 Dump Bed (Oxidized Red)
'50 Styleline DeLuxe 4 DOOR SEDAN (Mist Green)


 

Chevs of the 40s

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