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  • potmetal grill repair

    I recently purchased a 1952 Studebaker starlight coupe. We are having a ball driving this thing around. The front grill is badly pitted and looks very bad. I removed it and sent pictures to several different chrome restoration company's. They are giving me quotes of about $1500.00 to repair it. That's half what I paid for the car. Anyone out there know of a reasonable priced company? Do I have any other options? I just joined the Studabaker drivers club yesterday so Im not sure how this works. Thanks Glen Thompson

  • #2
    Originally posted by Glen Thompson View Post
    I recently purchased a 1952 Studebaker starlight coupe. We are having a ball driving this thing around. The front grill is badly pitted and looks very bad. I removed it and sent pictures to several different chrome restoration company's. They are giving me quotes of about $1500.00 to repair it. That's half what I paid for the car. Anyone out there know of a reasonable priced company? Do I have any other options? I just joined the Studabaker drivers club yesterday so Im not sure how this works. Thanks Glen Thompson

    Beware of discounted platers for the Stude pot metal. There are a few here that know how to work this stuff and many who think they do. I recommend Forresters out of Douglasville, Ga. Jerry Forrester is a regular poster here and does first class work. I had several pieces ruined by a local guy before ponying up a few more $$ and having it done right. Save yourself a lot of greif and skip those steps in the middle and just have it done right the first time. Steve
    sigpic

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    • #3
      I too have a badly pitted 52 grill and for that matter all the chrome but one piece is in the same condition so you have my sympathies. Recently I saw a TV show which had a chrome shop guy explaining how these pitted items are repaired. It involved drilling each pit to a depth sufficient to reach clean base metal, than filling each spot with a solder like material, then hand filing, sanding all before the re-plating begins. Based on the number of pits in the trim I have I fear the cost will exceed all of the other repairs/restoration combined. I am considering try to learn how to do the pit repair myself and then turning it over to the platers. The work did not look hard, just tedious. Best of luck; hopefully someone will jump in with better help.

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      • #4
        The Korean era chrome is the bane of all 52 owners. Even the NOS pieces I have are not that great. I had hoped to get a member from up in Missouri to try some of the spray chrome on mine, but his partners bailed on him.
        sigpic

        "In the heart of Arkansas."
        Searcy, Arkansas
        1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
        1952 2R pickup

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        • #5
          Take it some chrome shop and have the chrome striped first. Then decide. I had a grille striped and they charged me $10. If nothing else paint it the same color as the car.

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          • #6
            A "quality" repair of ANY brand of cheap cast metal isn't going to be cheap. To just plate inexpensivly, it might look ok from across the street, but pitted pot metal looks terrible if "just" replated.

            You have to live with it, you have to decide cheap and not nice looking, or more expensive and nice to look at...OR...leave as is.
            A good cleaning and leaving it as is might be the best solution for now.

            Mike

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            • #7
              You really do get what you pay for in this realm. I've gotten shafted thru the years with "deals" in brightwork repair. Last time was thru a long-time and respected vendor. Lost my hindquarters on that one, but..... I figured - how could one Stude guy - a vendor no less - screw another Stude guy. Right!

              And even if you DO pay alotta bucks.... make sure you get references before you commit. There ARE unscrupulous sorts out there that'll take your cash and give back trash.
              No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

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              • #8
                I agree with ST2DE5. Strip if first and see how deep the pits are and if they are all in the potmetal or surface zits on the chrome and then decide how far you want to go. If this is just going to be a daily driver or fun car and you aren't entering shows then consider filling the pits and having the surface "chrome" powder coated. I have seen some powder coated wheels that are so close to real chrome you have to look really close to tell the difference. Won't be near show quality but might be a lot closer to what you want to spend.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by fatboylust View Post
                  I too have a badly pitted 52 grill and for that matter all the chrome but one piece is in the same condition so you have my sympathies. Recently I saw a TV show which had a chrome shop guy explaining how these pitted items are repaired. It involved drilling each pit to a depth sufficient to reach clean base metal, than filling each spot with a solder like material, then hand filing, sanding all before the re-plating begins. Based on the number of pits in the trim I have I fear the cost will exceed all of the other repairs/restoration combined. I am considering try to learn how to do the pit repair myself and then turning it over to the platers. The work did not look hard, just tedious. Best of luck; hopefully someone will jump in with better help.
                  Check out this video to see what fatboylust was talking abot seeing on tv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utmgHTdlKBU
                  Dave Hugo
                  Duncan, SC
                  sigpic 1959 Silver Hawk 1955 President

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                  • #10
                    To: Glen Thompson,---How about 'converting' Your '52 into a '51 by finding and installing a '51 nose on it.......a LOT less chrome to deal with....and the 'bulletnose' look everyone seems to like!

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                    • #11
                      As others have stated, if you are going to get it re-chromed, you want someone who specializes in doing pot metal. I had a family member who sent off a set of door top and quarter window chrome for a '64 hardtop. The chrome place ground off the corners and took almost a half inch off each side - needless to say - my cousin was pretty sick when he saw what they had done...

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                      • #12
                        This video is very good. Thank you for posting this. Any one with hand eye coordination, the time and willpower can do this. Just take your time and do it right. At least you will know what you are sending off to the chromer. Could save you massive amounts of money. cheers jimmijim
                        Originally posted by duncan1951 View Post
                        Check out this video to see what fatboylust was talking abot seeing on tv http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utmgHTdlKBU
                        sigpicAnything worth doing deserves your best shot. Do it right the first time. When you're done you will know it. { I'm just the guy who thinks he knows everything, my buddy is the guy who knows everything.} cheers jimmijim*****SDC***** member

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                        • #13
                          Thanks to everyone for the advice. Sounds like the best bet is to patch the pits myself. Then it it re-chromed. Glen

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                          • #14
                            The best thing is to send it to a professional if you want it done correctly, and you are welcome to send your pieces for a quote. "muggy rod" is best for larger repairs but not very practical for small pits. Pros counter sink each pit, then copper plate, and solder the imperfections, file & polish, re-copper plate, and then apply nickel.
                            For a driver, using a chrome substitute may be the way to go.
                            Last edited by TX Rebel; 01-16-2013, 09:19 PM.
                            Barry'd in Studes

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Glen Thompson View Post
                              Thanks to everyone for the advice. Sounds like the best bet is to patch the pits myself. Then it it re-chromed. Glen
                              I'm not a chrome plater; don't even play one on TV. If I were, and someone brought me items they had cleaned, silver soldered and smoothed themselves, I suspect I would not offer any guarantee on the finished product. Perhaps I wouldn't even take on the job. Do yourself a favor and communicate with Jerry Forrester on this Forum, if only for advice. We can provide a couple dozen recommendations for quality chrome shops if that is what you want.

                              You should expect to pay in excess of $2000 for quality plating on all the pieces of a '52 grill; quite a bit more if significantly pitted. A friend of mine got his fairly straight pieces done by Todd LiBrandi eight years ago to the tune of $2600. Qualified platers will examine your pieces and quote a price beforehand.
                              If you are aiming for a show car you have no choice but to pay the piper. Perhaps attend the Swap Meet in South Bend first weekend in May and find a super assembly already done.
                              If you are not looking to get a trophy, media blast them, fill and sand and spraychrome.
                              "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

                              Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
                              Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
                              sigpic'33 Rockne 10, '51 Commander Starlight, '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée"

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