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Stainless Restoration #8, Pain and Discoloration

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  • Stainless Restoration #8, Pain and Discoloration

    Edited to include links to same subject postings:,restoration,restoration,restoration,restoration,restoration,restoration,restoration

    Pain and Discoloration
    Copyright 2008 Dale McPhearson, all rights reserved. Published with permission

    DUMB: The first few times I did headlight retainer rings. I was extremely careful. They are frought with danger of catching on the buffing wheel because of their protruding tabs, sharp edges and their shape. Things went well on the first two pair and I gained confidence. You might wonder why I would do such PA job -- but when they show up in a bundle of show car bound stainless, it became a matter of honor to do them.

    The third pair that I did ended up looking exactly like this. When they jettisoned across the shop and clanged against the wall -- I was a little surprised and almost unhurt. DUMB: Thinking that this was an one time aberration from my usual skillful handling -- I repeated the exercise with the second ring. Yes, I did the same stupid thing again with the same result. But hey, as Jack Nicholson would say, four out of six ain't bad.
    Then I hung them both rings on the wall as a constant safety reminder.
    (I had a good substitute pair that I didn't even charge him for.)

    For those that haven't used a strong buffing wheel the force of the wheel can cause the operator to get cut and also create stainless projectiles.
    The smallest pieces are the most dangerous. My body shop mentor once showed me a piece of wadded up Ford drip rail stainless that he did. It wrapped around the buffer shaft with his hand trapped. He made it to the switch and leather gloves saved him from severe damage.
    The safest way to refinish light rings is to mount them on a board with three wood screws. The board provides a safe way to handle it and also blocks the buffing wheel from the ring's edge.
    I have done drip trail by inserting and holding a strip of somewhat sturdy metal inside the stainless. A strip about three inches wide gives you something to hang onto.
    For my own cars, in general, I would not refinish either the light rings or the drip rail. The gain in appearance is doubtful for the risk of damage to the pieces involved. For the drip rail this includes the removal and reinstalling process. Some have been done successfully, but probably not by a bodyman going to his first prom. You might want to reconsider those pieces you might be taking on as a learning ground.

    Always wear gloves when buffing. Using the electric sanders (described in an earlier section) requires a glove on the hand that holds the stainless piece. You can get away with a Michael Jackson act here as the hand grasping the sander is pretty safe. There will be times when the sander will "jump" sideways and put a nice dirty cut in an ungloved holding hand. People are not as impressed with the blood on the stainless as you were when you put it there.

    While dodging richoceting stainless missiles and avoiding losing finger pieces during spontaneous happenings is reason enough to wear gloves, most of the injuries I incurred (before learning to be safer) were burns. Gloves are a must. Either the sanding or the buffing can both heat the stainless enough to bliste
    Lark Parker --Just an innocent possum strolling down life's highway.

  • #2
    Hi Lark,

    Thanks for continuing these episodes on stainless restoration. Yes, making something out of wood to retain small, long and odd sized pieces takes time, but it pays off. Luckily I only had to learn that once.

    Henry Votel, Editor
    North Star Wheel
    North Star Chapter SDC
    Henry Votel,
    Forest Lake, MN
    Buying & Selling Studebaker Parts in MN & WI


    • #3
      Another GREAT one as usual, Mr. P. [8D]

      I'm lovin' your posts. [^] Gives me some incentive to do something with the not-so-bad stainless on my Daytona.

      Matthew Burnette
      '59 Scotsman
      '63 Daytona
      Hazlehurst, GA


      • #4
        I don't know which I enjoy more- the valuable info or the entertaining writing style![8D]

        Thanks for this! Are you going to combine all this in a book for us and sell it, or do we have to print it all out ourselves?

        Robert (Bob) Andrews Owner- Studebakeracres- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys!)
        Parish, central NY 13131


        • #5
          Is someone collecting these posts and HTML-izing them? They really deserve to be collated and archived somewhere (with Dale's permission, of course.)


          55 Commander Starlight

          55 Commander Starlight


          • #6
            quote:Is someone collecting these posts and HTML-izing them? They really deserve to be collated and archived somewhere (with Dale's permission, of course.)
            I have all of them collected and saved on Frontpage. Of course, I have no way to put them on the net, but I do have them 'archived'. [8D]

            Matthew Burnette
            '59 Scotsman
            '63 Daytona
            Hazlehurst, GA


            • #7
              The closest thing I can find to catfish saliva is doe urin. It does have a funny smell tho.

              53commander HDTP
              53 Champion HDTP
              61 Cursed Purple Hawk
              64 Champ long bed V8
              64 Champ long bed V8
              55/53 Studebaker President S/R
              53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe


              • #8
                'y'all country folk have discovered that things like coyote piss and catfish saliva and doe urin really do have a place in our shops and garages......when push comes to shove, there's product thats usable without jumping inta da rig and driving down to the flaps......

                Brian K. Curtis,
                1925 Duplex-Phaeton ER
                1949 1/2 ton pickup
                1963 GT Hawk custom
                1966 Daytona 2dr