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StevenGuthmiller

Refreshing Old Kit Chrome

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I just picked up a very nice unbuilt 1967 Ford Galaxie & I was wondering if anyone has ever tried refreshing slightly dulled old chrome plated parts.

The chrome is in rather nice shape, but is a bit "dulled" from age.

It's not marred in any way, no scuffs or scratches, but I was thinking if I could shine it up a bit, I could dispense with re-chroming.

I wondered if a light polish with some fine liquid polish would do the trick, or possibly shooting the parts with a coat of clear.

I'm a little concerned that polishing would either scratch it up, or take off the plating, & I'm unsure whether clear coating would do anything.

Anybody ever tried this or have any other ideas?

 

Steve

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can only speak to what has worked, or hasn't worked, when I tried it - Believe me I was surprised it is possible to shine up the old chrome and not take the chrome off the parts. Kind of best to go into it with the idea that the parts will have to be replated anyway.

Liquid automotive cleaner wax - love it on some things because it has a very mild polish/abrasive -  probably about the mildest abrasive available - it worked well on model master enamel which is very soft - but even with light pressure, it went through the chrome

The Treatment model car wax - was expecting the same result - subject was the moon hubcaps on an old early issue AMT double Tee kit- had minor loss of shine but no scratches - they cleaned up like new with a couple of light passes - stopped when I got shine but before damaging the chrome.

What you are polishing with can also be important - the abrasiveness of paper towels varies from brand to brand.  Micro fiber towels are safe. I have photographer friend who swears by very well used (but clean) baby diapers for his camera lenses, but he would never use a new piece of cloth because the new fibers can scratch the lens.

hope there is something here that helps...

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Make sure whatever you use does NOT contain ammonia. It will take the chrome right off.

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I just picked up a very nice unbuilt 1967 Ford Galaxie & I was wondering if anyone has ever tried refreshing slightly dulled old chrome plated parts.

The chrome is in rather nice shape, but is a bit "dulled" from age.

It's not marred in any way, no scuffs or scratches, but I was thinking if I could shine it up a bit, I could dispense with re-chroming.

I wondered if a light polish with some fine liquid polish would do the trick, or possibly shooting the parts with a coat of clear.

I'm a little concerned that polishing would either scratch it up, or take off the plating, & I'm unsure whether clear coating would do anything.

Anybody ever tried this or have any other ideas?

I've tried shining up old chrome and it was a disaster - the chrome was so thin, the polish just literally ate right through to the bare plastic. 

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Steve, all the aforementioned  comments ring very true.  The chrome does not with stand any polish that I have tried.  However the treatment wax sounds promising.  I haven't tried that wax yet.  I got some so I will go try it now and let you know.

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I tried the treatment wax, with pretty good results.  It did not take any chrome off or dull it.  I would say that if you have this wax, go ahead and try out on some scrap chrome, and see if that works for you.  I tried several coats on the chrome, all with consistent results.

 

 

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Thanks guys.

I was afraid that the polishing idea was most likely not to be a good idea.

I know a lot of this old kit chrome is very thin.

I'm thinking the "Clear Coat" idea might be a better option.

I know Testors clear is probably mild enough that it won't harm the chrome, so I may just try shooting some on one of the custom parts I won't be using to see if it works.

If not, I think the chrome is probably good enough where I'll just use as is.

I plan on sending a bunch of other parts to the chromer for replating, But I think this looks good enough that it just seems a shame to redo it.

 

Steve

 

 photo DSCN4423_zpsrqdrnpxz.jpg

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That chrome does look nice, especially those wheel covers.

Most of the smaller parts are perfectly fine.

The larger bumper expanses are a little easier to see the dullness.

 

Steve

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Steve,

have you had chrome parts replated?  recommendation? contact info?

Thanks, Steve

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Steve,

have you had chrome parts replated?  recommendation? contact info?

Thanks, Steve

I have it done all of the time.

I restore a lot of old annuals & they usually need fresh chrome.

Plus, it's nice to remove mold lines from the bumpers.

I have all of my rechroming done by "chrometechusa.com" in Madison Wisconsin.

They do nice work & I can usually fit most of the parts for as many as 8 kits on 2 trees for $23.95 per tree.

For about $50.00 I can get brand new chrome for enough kits to keep me busy for most of a year. :)

 

Steve

 

                                                                                                                                 http://chrometechusa.com

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Thanks Steve 

I appreciate the information - have some projects with parts that need to be sent in...

Steve

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Would it be possible to rub a little of that Kosutte Gin San powder (or the Uschi stuff) on the dull chrome to brighten it?

Edited by ChrisBcritter

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Would it be possible to rub a little of that Kosutte Gin San powder (or the Uschi stuff) on the dull chrome to brighten it?

Vacuume platting is usually so thin that any rubbing on it will remove it.

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Vacuume platting is usually so thin that any rubbing on it will remove it.

Yeah, I'm not sure I'd chance it.

I'll probably leave as is, or re-chrome.

 

Steve

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ALL plastic model kit chrome was, and still is, THIN, by its very nature!  In a 3-step process,  the "chrome parts trees" are first coated with a high-gloss non-pnetrating lacquer, which provides adhesion, as well as (ideally!) a "wet look" shine to the parts.  Next, the parts trees are racked up, and the rack placed in a very large vacuum tank, where the air is drawn out to the maximum mechanically possible vacuum.  Now,  a jolt of high voltage electricity is literally "shorted" through strips off pure aluminum strategically placed all over the place in the vacuum tank.  The electric charge literally vaporizes the aluminum, which very nearly intantly bonds to the surface of those parts trees.

Once the vacuum is released, the tank gets opened, and the parts trees are coated with another layer of clear non-penetrating lacquer, which seals the otherwise very vulnerable aluminum plating (which is only a few molecules thick, so that the surround air doesn't just erode it away.

The dull finish seen on a lot of model kit chrome in older kits generally happened when the clear lacquer "blushed" in humid weather, something which seldom happens with today's model kit chrome parts.

A clear lacquer coating may, or may not clear up that frosty look, but I would polish only at my peril, as the lacquer top coating is micro thin most all the time.

Art

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ALL plastic model kit chrome was, and still is, THIN, by its very nature!  In a 3-step process,  the "chrome parts trees" are first coated with a high-gloss non-pnetrating lacquer, which provides adhesion, as well as (ideally!) a "wet look" shine to the parts.  Next, the parts trees are racked up, and the rack placed in a very large vacuum tank, where the air is drawn out to the maximum mechanically possible vacuum.  Now,  a jolt of high voltage electricity is literally "shorted" through strips off pure aluminum strategically placed all over the place in the vacuum tank.  The electric charge literally vaporizes the aluminum, which very nearly intantly bonds to the surface of those parts trees.

Once the vacuum is released, the tank gets opened, and the parts trees are coated with another layer of clear non-penetrating lacquer, which seals the otherwise very vulnerable aluminum plating (which is only a few molecules thick, so that the surround air doesn't just erode it away.

The dull finish seen on a lot of model kit chrome in older kits generally happened when the clear lacquer "blushed" in humid weather, something which seldom happens with today's model kit chrome parts.

A clear lacquer coating may, or may not clear up that frosty look, but I would polish only at my peril, as the lacquer top coating is micro thin most all the time.

Art

I tried the laquer clear coat Art.

Didn't change it at all.

As I said, I don't feel that it's bad enough to justify spending the time & money on re-chroming.

Chances are very good that I'll just leave well enough alone.

 

Steve

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