How To: Stainless Steel Trim Restoration

  1. waggin
    This will be an ongoing thread with how to pics and some words typed to make the pics interesting (kinda like playboy magazine) but for stainless trim restoration LoL. First you need a beat up old crusty piece of stainless steel trim that you actually want to put on your car. For this I got lucky and just happened to have a set of stone guards that dartnewbie wanted for his car,he offered to buy them from me after sending me some free headlight rings for my 64 dart convertible,but I felt it would be better to trade him for the rings.so anywho for mr I sent waggin some free headlight rings dude of the dart this Bud's for you!! and I guess you guys will want a how to with pics on dart headlight ring restoration next? for that trick i'll have to pull a rabbit out of my hat but that's gonna be later. Here are some pics of the crappy old crusty dented up scratched ugleeee nasty gnarley bent up cruddy stone guards (we'll use these as the example so you guys can see what can be fixed). Here's a pic of them before the magic begins. Stay tuned for further installments. Just remember nuthin up my sleeve and presto chang-o hee hee hee the suspense is killin ya isn't it.

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    You will need
    1. a freestanding bench grinder 3/4 hp or better with buffing wheels
    2.buffing compound (I use the white)
    3.d/a sander with various sandpapers 120,220,320,800,1000,1200,and 1500 grit papers the last 4 grits are for use with light amounts of water ( I dip the d/a in pan with water and a lil soap)
    4.wet or dry hand sandpaper in 320,400,800,1000,1500 and 2000 grit
    5.hammers dollies chisels flat and pointy and a vice to mount a dolly in
    6.Beer
    7.gloves (so your hand don't freeze while holding the beer) and so you don't burn yourself while polishing the stainless
    8.time and patience
    9.probably my address to ship your stainless to cuz this sure looks a lot like work! .......It
    is!
    10.small hand held grinder for the ruff stuff

    Without further adooooooo, here is some pics of the tools needed. The reallyyyyyyyy big hammer is just in case you don't get the desired results, the old bent up dart wheel cover is for the water for wet sanding with the d/a sander. The angle grinder is for removing the high spots after using the chisels and punches to remove the low spots from the backside. The hammers and dollies are for knocking the dents and dings out and the rest of the stuff is for smoothing over your handy work with the grinder and hammers and stuff like that. I didn't post photos of the beer because you may prefer a different brand.

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    Here is some pics of the work in progress. You will notice some nasty hammer marks, grinder marks, etc looking at the pics (not for the faint of heart) so be brave and look on. The process starts with cleaning the piece with a scotchbrite and soap & water so you can see the highs and lows. Then breaking out the hammers and dollies and pounding the living (censored) out of the nasty old pile of (censored) till it looks straight again....I may have exaggerated that A BIT(lil' bit)anywhooooo, gently attack with the hammers and dollies and punches and chisels till it starts to look like something out of a frankenstein movie, then with the d/a and 320 scuff the areas you have worked so that you can see the low spots and work them out and d/a again till you see most of the low spots are gone,there will be dimples and such sticking up on the purty side but that is what the angle grinder with 80 grit is for.so take the angle grinder and wield it like a sword and attack all the high spots on the purty side till it starts to or does look like you have removed all the low spots. more later gotta do some "hunny Do's"

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    Well finally back from the swap meet,the sun and the customers were brutal.but here I am to write the next chapter for you guys. It's hard for me to take pics while I am hammering and dolly'in so use your imagination ( kinda looks like a monkey tryin to(censored) a football. here are some more pics the first one is the d/a sanding after the grinding work and the second one is d/a/sanded with 800,1000,1200 and the 1500 grit on a d/a wet.

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    Well I somehow lost the pics of me hand sanding the beastie with the 1500 and the 2000 grit sandpaper and nobody to shoot the pics of me polishing these out so I guess it's time to pull the rabbit out of my hat and show ya'll the "bunny" hah! I found it the first pic is with the 2000 grit sanding scratches and the last ones are the finished product and for my last trick I have made them disappear. They are in the trunk of the duster ready for shipping to their new owner and a place they can call home! :cheers:

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    Here are some pics of the rear window trim for a 72 dart that was on the cover of Mopar Muscle. When working with small dings such as the one in the pic you can use a small blunt punch to tap it out gently, to completely remove it you may need to press it out to the point it becomes a small dimple and grind down the high spot, then d/a then wetsand and polish. After you play with this a while you will get the feel for what needs to be done to achieve show quality. What I have found is that once you have it looking awesome with the d/a sander it is best to go back to the hand wet sanding the length of the piece and to buff the opposite direction of the grain from the sandpaper. While wet sanding with the fine grits of paper look over the part for any grind marks and you may have to go back with a coarser grit paper to remove them but the effort is well worth it. You can take junk quality parts and bring them to show quality if you put the time and effort into it.

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