Refinishing Aluminum Woodgrain Molding

Discussion in 'Woodgrain' started by Stormin' Norman, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    I don't have pictures, YET! So, I'll go through what I did.

    First of all, I have to describe the state of the molding.

    The car is from Mexico, where finishes fade, dry, crack up and react quickly to any chemicals that get dropped on them. BUT, inland cars don't rust, aluminum doesn't corrode, just like southern central US states (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas).

    Then, like most 28 year old cars, the molding did have a few dings, and one piece (Passenger rear quarter wheel well molding) was really crushed.

    I used to do copper art (stylus, wax, etc.), on thin copper sheet, but this stamped aluminum is much thicker. Still many of the same techniques can be used to get the dings out. I used the handles from old kitchen butter knives, and the round head on my small ball-pean hammers. I even restored the crushed piece. You can't bend and re-bend this stuff.

    Before I did the hammering/smoothing, I soaked all the pieces in the bath tub with warm soapy (liquid laundry soap) and scrubbed off all 28 years of road dust, tar and muck.

    I used regular Paint Stripper (Lepage's Super Stripper - 2 quarts). You need 2 boxes (50 per box) of rubber gloves, an old finger nail brush, and good, but not sharp, paint scraper (1 inch wide). And about 2 floor pails of warm water. Do it outside in the shade and out of the wind. It takes a good thick brush load spread on it. Let it sit for a few minutes and start gently squeegeeing it off with the scraper. Don't dig into the finish!

    Do it again and again until you get it all off, and rinse it right away. That Stripper is acidic and can eat into the metal.

    Don't do more pieces than you can clean off within the Stripper's drying time (about 10 minutes MAX). It gets very hard.

    Then use whatever you've got to smooth out the dints. The crushed piece needed the curved raised lines redefined, I had to use a wide blade flat screw driver and the small hammer (almost like a shoemaker's hammer, but a nail-setting cabinetmaker's hammer would do) and 'punch' the line back out. It won't be perfect, but the new finish graining will hide it. If you can't get parts right away, the 1/2 hour it takes for a really damaged piece is a cheap solution. Start with small dents to get the feel of it, then take on the tougher ones.

    Wash the pieces AGAIN in the tub, soaking out and scrubbing out whatever is left. Use a sharp pocket knife and scrape off any tiny chips or muck that you find inside and out. Mine had a factory clear coat on the inside (maybe overspray, but I think it was sealer). It didn't react to the Stripper, but it was flaky enough to scrap off. Then gently hand-sand off (220 or 280 grit) any sharp dings or edges, so that the paint doesn't chip later.

    Now, here's the key to getting a good finish. You have to use a DIY-friendly Aluminum Etch. POR-15 make one called Metal Ready. You brush it on really wet (use rubber gloves to keep you natural oils off the metal) I bought one quart and had more than half left over. I've soaked all the molding-clips with the rest and still have almost half left. They came out like new! After 10-15 minutes, you pour the excess back into your container (I used a cottage cheese tub) and wash the piece off, AGAIN.

    Leave it for 24 hours, then spray on your base coat (the background color) - 2 coats. I used Krylon's Fusion Plastic paint (Satin finish - Almond) to match the Fairmont's original color. Then leave them for the 7 days recommended by Krylon.

    Here's a friend's method for synthetic molding (1962 Falcon Squire):

    http://www.rickwrench.com/wood.html

    Here's the graining strategy I used:

    I tried the brush technique but it was too blotchy, so I used a small artist brush, and that failed too, then I tried an old bath towel: Perfect!

    Here's the US version of what I used: http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=130

    The color is: Leather Brown Flat # 7775402

    I used maybe 1/10th of a pint.

    1) Wrap small piece of towel (3" X 6") folded in half, around your finger.
    2) Dip it in Mineral Spirits wrapped around your finger, still.
    3) Dip into the paint, shaking off the extra drips.
    4) Do the back edges, first, then the ends, then the visible edges, then the flat surfaces, to get the paint on (as thin as possible, but a bit thick) on the whole visible surface of the piece. The idea is to get the paint loaded on the piece, which may require several returns to the Mineral Spirits container (I used a small bowl) and the tin of paint.

    5) Here's where the rubber hits the road. Use the same little rag and spread the dark spots out to thin them out, and get the graining effect. Don't press hard, Just 'float' your finger in contact with the surface.

    This paint dries darker than it appears when wet. I finished off with Rustoleum's Satin Clear Coat (also rust protective type).in Rattle Can format.

    Aluminum doesn't absorb paint, so I put two coats in case I might need to rub off drips/blobs. Well, I did get a couple of 'thin' spots from rubbing too hard, but the Krylon dries fast enough, that I could touch them up and try again an hour later. The Rustoleum needs 5 hours before you can add another coat. Not that you will, but you can't apply the Rustoleum Clear Coat until its dry (better with 24 hours or longer.)

    For Canadians, its called Tremclad - Leather Brown Flat -27091- finish. Any Canadian Tire Store should have it. The Tremclad Satin Clear Coat is the US equivalent.

    Here's the links for the Etch liquid and Canadian paint.

    Tremclad: http://www.rustoleum.com/product.asp?frm_product_id=541&SBL=5

    Etching liquid:

    US: http://www.por15.com/s.nl/it.A/id.1266/.f

    Canada: http://www.por15canada.com/can/metalprepdegrease.asp

    Tomorrow, 24 hours after applying the 'graining' color (Leather Brown), I'll spray on the Tremclad/Rustoleum Clear Coat. Satin finish, not flat (collects road tar too easily) or glossy (shows too many 'sins').:)
     
  2. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    My friend's technique used a Wood Stain with urethane. He did it last fall and mentioned that it is fading. Unless you can find an Exterior product that has UV protection, you should use a base-coat, grain coat, clearcoat line of products that are Exterior Grade. Otherwise, like him, you'll have to do it all over again within a few years.:whew:
     
  3. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    A couple of other tricks.

    Use an old piece of trunk carpeting under the molding when you're smoothing out the dents. Sometimes just pressing hard with a sxrewdriver handle while rubbing is enough.

    J.C. Whitney still has the dark vinyl woodgrain, but Avery-Denisson bought out the Spartan company that makes it. Avery still make it in 2 colors (burled walnut and Teak)

    http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/...&sku=wood+grain&searchbtn.x=20&searchbtn.y=13

    http://www.averygraphics.com/pls/av...?p_site_name=SIGNAGE&p_product_series_id=1038

    Also 3M Canada is just ramping up to sell their Di NOC exterior signage woodgrain vinyl (lots of colors) through this company. Someone on another forum said that 3M US was dropping it in the US. I don't know about that.

    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/...tchprint/Solutions/Di-NocFilm/ProductGallery/

    The new Canadian 3M Di NOC distributor:

    http://www.conveniencegroup.com/

    And molding suppliers:

    Get a molding removal tool. Those clips are expensive ($3 to 8 bucks each) The multi-clip tools are like $10 or less!

    The downloadable catalogs have cross-refs to original part numbers.
    http://www.oemhardware.ca/catalog_auto.htm

    Ford Only:
    http://www.dennis-carpenter.com/

    Good source for getting industry reseller part numbers:
    http://www.wesales.com/

    Recommended by many:
    http://www.gregdonahue.com/CONTENTS.html

    Seems to have good range:
    http://www.thefastenerwarehouse.com/page/page/584919.htm

    Good source for older cars, as well as postwar to today:
    http://www.northlandfasteners.com/

    Serves many industries but Auto seems to be the core business:
    http://srfast.com/

    The only thing is strippng the old vinyl. On old cars, don't waste your money on bodyshop stripper compounds. Here, a quart of 3M's costs $33 plus tax. Wood grade Lepage's Super Stripper costs $9.00. I didn't even get the 3M stuff to bubble long enough to take it off the tailgate section. When its that old, even a heatgun won't work.:slap:
     
  4. the Rev

    the Rev senior junior Charter Member

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    holy crap....aint you just fountain of info:yikes:
    Thanx a millenium!
    the link to your pals Squire is going to come in handy with my 64 merc Woodie:burnout:

    you sir are more than :Welcome:
     
  5. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Rick owns several cars, so you also want to check out his techniques for other types of car-tweaks. Just go to the main site page, then scroll down and have a gander at all the work he did on the 62 Falcon. His email is there too.

    http://www.rickwrench.com

    I usually frequent the FordSix.com website, because there's lots of good exchange and great questions and answers, as well as excellent 'Stickys' (Tech articles).


    But there's a couple of others I like as well:

    The H.A.M.B. (You'll see what the letters mean). Check out the Tech Archive (Upholstery Plus!):

    http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/index.php

    Moparts.Org (Home of the longest Roller Paint Thread):

    I downloaded and copied it from Page One to Page 43 on the first section (It got way too big, running since December 2005), then from Page 44 to 59 on the second section.

    Here's a few links to key pages, for the skeptics:

    Page 1 of the first section:
    http://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=2331682&page=0&fpart=1&vc=1

    Page 43 of the first section:
    http://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=2331682&page=0&fpart=43&vc=1

    Page 1 of the Second Section:
    http://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=2655425&page=0&fpart=11&vc=1

    Page 59 (and still going with over 100,000 comments)
    http://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=2655425&page=0&fpart=59&vc=1

    Now this page shows what kind of results you can get:
    http://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=2655425&page=0&fpart=41&vc=1

    Rick used this method on the Corvair. I'm using it on my utility trailer (for practice) and then on the Squire. Now the nice thing is that Tremclad and Rustoleum both launched a new 2007 set of colors. Unfortunately the stores are waiting for the spring-time flyers to launch the promotions. I've been told that Home Depot has them in Winnipeg, but they wouldn't be on display until this week.

    http://www.rustoleum.com/Product.asp?frm_product_id=541&SBL=5&dds=47

    My color is the Chestnut Brown.

    The great thing about using a premixed color is that you can get it in 5 or ten years. Again, its the UV qualities that I like.

    One other thing you'll find on that Roller Paint thread is a good debate about polishers/buffers. I will experiment with a 1951 GE Floor polisher, although I did buy a Hook And Loop 5" Canadian Tire Random Orbital Sander ($80). Porta Cable is the most popular and about 4 times the price. The author used one of those cheap $20-$30, units (10 inch diam).
    Ryobi (Home Depot) or Tooltown have them. 3M make the pads and sanding disks.

    Here's a picture of the GE Polisher I want to prove out (I have one)
    http://board.moparts.org/ubbthreads/upload2/3250980-51gefloorpolisher.jpg

    It doesn't turn as fast as the Cyclo (Link Below), but then you wouldn't have to press down as hard.

    Now if you really want to blow your brains out on polishers here are the Rolls Royces of Glitter land!

    http://www.orbitalpolisher.com/index.html

    Here's the Cyclo dealer in California:
    http://www.perfectpolish.com/Cyclo Polisher for Paint.htm

    Here's the company site: (US Prices!)
    http://www.cyclotoolmakers.com/

    Here's a sample with the Cyclo:
    http://www.russellw.com/planes/ryan/polishing.htm

    One or two more Car-Buff sites:
    For Fords but the Tech Archives are excellent! (Body work, floorpans, upholstery, etc.)
    http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/index.php

    Rolling your own fuel:
    http://journeytoforever.org/biofuel_library/ethanol_motherearth/me1.html

    What to use to roll your own fuel:
    http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/RENEW/Biomass/forum.shtml

    Good thread on workshop/Garage layout and tools:
    http://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/forum20/

    A 1982 Fairmont Wagon Hybrid:
    http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/076.html

    My six will get 40 MPG on a Canadian Gallon thanks to this tip!
    http://fordsix.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30894

    Chow for now!:banana:
     
  6. wagonmaster

    wagonmaster Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for sharing all this info Norm. :) I made your thread a sticky so it will always be at the top of the Cosmetic and Restauration forum.
     
  7. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Wow!:) Merci!
     
  8. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Done! I finished them yesterday. I learned a few things too. We're remodelling the entire second storie, so I set up to put the wood graining on the moldings up there, since my wife is really sensitive to the odors.

    Well, the lighting was all natural, but not as good as sunlight. When I went to apply the rattlecan Clear Coat (Tremclad Satin), I saw a few inside corners that I'd missed. I did those first to let them dry (5 hours).

    Then I applied it to the undersides (two light coats each piece) to restore the sealant that I removed (it turned flaky with the Lepage Super Stripper, but never bubbled).

    This stuff dries fast (like 60 seconds per light coat) in a nice warm day. Slight breeze of about 5 MPH.

    Then a friend came over to pick up my old 302 block. We had to remove everything because he was taking it in to get it acid tanked and get an estimate to rebuild it with flat top pistons, new bearings, etc.

    That allowed the touched up stained pieces to dry nicely, and finished by 8:00 PM.

    Nice satin sheen, just a bit shinier than the vinyl woodgrain from J.C. Whitney. I did get a couple of pin-head sized bubbles (it dries fast) but they'll come out when I wax the car.

    Still no pictures. He forgot his camera. I don't have a digital, just a good Pentax and a Canon film jobbies. Can't even trade them in for a cheap digital. Bah humbug!
     
  9. Dyna

    Dyna Active Member

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    Very nice postings -- will save it down on my local computer so I don't loose it :)

    Cheers Dyna
     
  10. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Dyna. I never did get around to posting a pic of the final results here:

    aug07finalpics04.jpg
     
  11. Stormin' Norman

    Stormin' Norman Well-Known Member

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  12. pilgrim

    pilgrim New Member

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    Thanks for the info.
     

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