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Polishing aluminium windscreen frame and cockpit cappings

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Jerram Avatar
Jerram Silver Member David Jerram
Reading, Berkshire, UK   GBR
I am certain that this must have been discussed before, in which case I am sorry for bringing it up again, (I did search but couldn't find a thread).
My bugeye is about to get painted after months of bodywork. I want to restore the cockpit finishers and door cappings, along with the windscreen frame and support. They are all scratched and pitted.

I believe they were hard anodised from new, but I am really struggling to find anyone that wants to polish and re-anodise them. Most industrial anodizing places here just don't want to know about fiddly one off jobs.

If I simply use wet n' dry to remove the pitting and scratches, then buff it with metal polishing compounds by hand, then finish with a lacquer - will it look ok and last? Have those people that have been through this process got any advice or ideas that might help avoid making a mess of these important finishing items?

Thanks in advance.

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pixelsmithusa Avatar
Hi David,

If you sand them, you will need to sand all the anodizing off because anywhere you sand through to remove pits or scratches will leave bare aluminum, which will leave a different color/finish than the anodizing. That means you need to remove all the anodizing. I have found the process to be quite tedious, but the reward, in the end, is quite good. Keep in mind that a high polish (chrome finish) can be blinding in sunlight, so surfaces in your field of view, like the trim over the dash, should still be covered with matching vinyl. I've not tried it before, but recall reading somewhere that oven cleaner will remove the anodizing. If that works, it would make the job a lot easier.



Gerard

http://gerardsgarage.com/


westburn70 Eric Flack
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, UK   GBR
I would leave windscreen pillars. They are hard anodised. The cockpit trim comes up great with Solvol Autosolve.
Brasso works but is more abrasive. Spray the trim with Ciit Bang. Leave. Wash off then polish with Solvol. Incidentally
the screws and bolts that hold the trim on the rear deck were used on a Ford car as I got a "handful" years ago
from a Ford spare parts place. I think it was an Escort or Cortina. Might not have been identical but did the job.

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petnatcar Avatar
petnatcar Silver Member Peter Carbone
Watertown, NY, USA   USA
David,

I sanded all the aluminum on my car then polished it with the appropriate buffing compounds.
I'm not sure why you would ever want to paint over the aluminum when it looks so beautiful when it's polished.
You want to start with a coarse sandpaper (120 - 220 grit) and go continually finer (400 - 1,000 grit).

I use Mother's Aluminum Polish to bring out the shine but I never clear coated anything because a simple rub with Mother's
brings back all the shine every time. The clear will have a tendency to crack and chip so why bother clearing it?

You can get 3" to 6" cotton discs for your drill and/or grinder which makes quick work of the polishing.

Here's a link for the polishing compounds:
https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-buff-compound-set-6-different-compounds.html?SRCCODE=PLA00020&gclid=Cj0KCQjw3v3YBRCOARIsAPkLbK7DfByqZk3SxRdUrP1vtThguDKW-fzkb6XUXyk0Zg1nJqjBxMEC08IaAvSeEALw_wcB

Anodizing and/or Clear Coating will never look as authentic as polishing.
It's aluminum, it was made for polishing.

Good luck,
Peter



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018-06-16 03:17 PM by petnatcar.


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Perdido Avatar
Perdido Gold Member Rut Rutledge
Tuscaloosa, AL, USA   USA
David,
I went thru this process on my Bugeye last year and after hunting for a company to reanodize and striking out every time, I found an industrial company about 30 minutes from me who would ‘take a look’ at my project. They tested the thickness of the anodized ‘coating’ and found it to be thick, as thick as a normal paint job. They ran all of the aluminum thru their stripping tanks to remove the old anodizing and tested a piece of trim in one of the tanks for reanodizing. Unfortunately, the aluminum used on our cars is of an alloy that is not pure enough to be reanodized by modern methods and the aluminum will pit while in the tank. I opted for stripping, polishing, and clear coating and the finished product is beautiful, but not the oem look. I ended up getting the side curtains, cockpit trim, and windshield done for about $100 and I’m very happy with the results.
There is an old ‘Wheeler Dealer’ show that features a Bugeye having its aluminum polished and you might be able to locate that company thru the show.
Good luck, Rut

thodav Avatar
thodav Thomas Davis
Owings Mills, MD, USA   USA
This might sound dumb but I’m considering having my cockpit surround powder coated silver. There’s a motorcycle shop close by that does good work and the silver looks great. I haven’t decided but I’m definitely considering it.

Gambit Avatar
Gambit Gareth Goodchild
Indian River, ON, Canada   CAN
A company called EB Engineering ON 01684 577564 advertises in the MGOC magazine. They refurbish and fully reanodise windscreens and SU carbs. I dont know where they are located but somewhere in the UK. They say they do 250 screens a year. Good luck!

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Jerram Avatar
Jerram Silver Member David Jerram
Reading, Berkshire, UK   GBR
Wow, thanks for all the replies and excellent ideas / experience guys.

I will try EB Engineering, but will probably end up polishing by hand (I kind of like doing the process of refurbishing where I can, and I am sure a polished finish will look good on the car). I did think about the powder coating route, and I have seen some fantastic chrome finish powder coating that looks amazing. My local powder coating place did my wheels and they came up really well.

Right, I am off to buy some Cilit Bang...

rem959 Paul Ross
Stalbridge, Dorset, UK   GBR
Hi Guys,
going to purchase some special Anodic Silver powder that's very close to the original anodized finish. I've had frames re-anodized and the finish is poor as indicated by others in the forum, I'll post the results later on in the week. Luckily
I own a powder coating company, so we can experiment to get the results required.

Cheers for now.

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MartinWeb Avatar
MartinWeb Martin Webster
Guildford, Surrey, UK   GBR
David, I see you are in Berkshire. I had my windscreen frame ( without glass) , the cockpit surrounds and the side screen frames ( minus Perspex) , all beautifully polished by Russ Jones at Silvabronz, platers and polishers near Alton in Hampshire. It really isn’t necessary to anodise the components they can easily be buffed up once a month with an impregnated Silver polish cloth from Sainsbury’s or Waitrose. Silvabronz do a first class job for a reasonable price.
Martin Webster

Jerram Avatar
Jerram Silver Member David Jerram
Reading, Berkshire, UK   GBR
Thank you very much Martin - that is an excellent recommendation.
My Frog is currently at Bill Rawles shop in Alton getting the bodywork and paint sorted, so I will definitely contact Russ Jones at Silvabronz about polishing (and plating the grille and bumperettes).

RLWard Rodger Ward
Tollhouse, CA, USA   USA
David,
The sole purpose of the anodize finish was to prevent pitting as a result of exposure to the weather. You know the weather in the UK can be harsh and even a garaged car can have issues. That being said, the trick to a successful refurbishing job on the alloy trim is pretty simple although no necessarily easy. If you know of a chrome shop in your area, take all the bare trim to them to polish to a very high shine, the cockpit surround, windscreen surround and the windscreen pillars (unless you are going to pait them to match the car). The polishing in itself will remove the old anodize. Now the parts could be used as is with careful attention. However the windshield surround will over time pit because it is impossible to protect the alloy in the tiny crevices adjacent to the rubber weatherstrip. Same with the pillars. The best is to immediately after the polish, take them to be CLEAR anodized at a shop that does industrial anodizing. This will result in all the surfaces, every nook and cranny will be protected against the weather and will look as new, not a shiny finish, but a mat satin finish that will dazzel any judges eye. An expensive program, but well worth the effort. I have used this process on many bugeyes and big Healeys and they absolutely outshine (PUN) the polished finishes as they are too shiney; the painted finished, just not correct; the clear coat finishes, they yellow; and any other solution that is not as original.
As I said, this will result in the finish being correct as supplied on the car originally, will protect from the ravages of the weather, and will save many countless hours of unnecessary polishing waxing, polishing, waxing, polishing, waxing......
Good luck

AN5L Ken G
Oklahoma City, OK, USA   USA
I use a three step process;

1) trip to anodizing shop to have old anodizing stripped

2) trip to plating shop to have pieces polished and buffed

3) trip to anodizing shop to have pieces reanodized

I’ve done one set of windscreen frame and cappings and am midway through having a set of side screens and another set of cappings done.

BlueMax1 Avatar
BlueMax1 A G
?, ?, USA   USA
Polish mine in 2015 still look like new..


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