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License plate restoration

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by willowbilly3, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    I need some tips, searched threads and found a few good ideas. I am pretty good at hammering the characters back out but can only get so far. The metal in between gets stretched too and I'm wondering if there is a trick to shrink it. Also I got to thinking about a mini english wheel to get the numbers real flat after straightening. Is there such a thing?

    Here's a few I've re done. The 2 top ones were pretty bent up and are hand lettered, and the 27 isn't even the right color. The 2 bottom ones were straight, just a repaint and I did them by laying down the letter color first and then block sanding down to it.
    My hand lettering looks like something shakes the clown did when you get up close. Also the spray paint is too shiney. Another word of caution, spray can clear doesn't always play well with regular spray paint.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Gerg
    Joined: Feb 27, 2006
    Posts: 1,827

    Gerg
    Member

    Personally I think your plates look pretty damn good as far as the numbers were they ever perfect when they were first made?
     
  3. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,504

    19Fordy
    Member

    Those plates look very nice. I have attached a photo of a plate I bought that that has NOT been restored. Two questions. 1.) Does restoring a plate increase its value? 2.)In order to use a YOM plate in FL it must be original and cannot have been restored prior to its being registered to a vehicle. Knowing this, is it legal to restore plates AFTER they get them registered? Thanks. (Click on pic to enlarge.)
     

    Attached Files:

  4. InPrimer
    Joined: Mar 10, 2003
    Posts: 778

    InPrimer
    Member

    Can't say for FL but here in AZ I have a restored plate and I showed it to the DMV before I registered the car and they looked up the #s and looked at the color, which matched bright yellow for that era,and so I got a "go". call your local DMV for an answer.
     
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  5. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,735

    GassersGarage
    Member

    Most states have a law which states, "License plates cannot be modified". One of the guys around her had a pale yellow Nova which had black plates. The numbers are close to orange, however, this guy used the same pale yellow has his car and he was "busted". My wife boss had a blue plated sports car. Being an Art Director, he re-painted the blue to match his car, "busted" also.

    However, those 2 incidents, it was obvious the plates had been modified.
     
  6. If they ask, you bought them that way. If they don't ask, don't tell them. That solves that problem, as long as if you do restore them you get the colors right. Which, may not be that hard, someone told me supposedly for New York black and yellow someone, I forget which paint manufacturer, makes the colors apparently. So other states may be available as well.

    The metalworking I'm not knowledgable on, though.
     
  7. psychopathic51
    Joined: Nov 6, 2005
    Posts: 63

    psychopathic51
    Member

    I recently bought a STACK of old Ohio plates, Some go back to the 30's. Most of them are the same or close to the same number all the way up the the years, I think they used to issue you a plate and you carried that same number or close to it throught the years. The plates were in a way linked to the owner because i found a slip of paper in the box with owners name and the first two letters on all the plates were "BN" same as the owners initials. Even found some old North or South Carolina plates that look to be like CAB plates or something there is a stack of them and they all saay "METROPOLITIAN" and each one was re-issued with a new date for the next year. Also some old trailer tags as well. Was a neat find and will make for some nice garage wall art some day.
     
  8. ALWAYS-ALWAYS-ALWAYS register the plates BEFORE you restore them!!!! I've known quite a few guys who paid to have theirs restored then found out they couldn't register them.....Just A word of caution.
     
  9. When I got this plate you could not read the numbers or date it was so rusty and bent. I blasted it and painted it with 3 coats of primer and 3 coats of orange then hand lettered it. Even though I have pinstriped cars, it was very hard to do the lettering as then are rounded. Turns out after I was done I cannot use the plate on my car as Florida does not allow any alterations to a plate. I then purchased an unrestored plate to use on my car. I used a punch and small hammer to remove dents and straighten the letters. on the roounded edges I used a piece of wood that I had cut on my router to match. I also found that the clear reacted with the blue, but not the orange. The blue color I had to hand mix, the orange was straight from a rattle can. The blue now needs to be wet sanded and clear coated.
    "FOR DISPLAY PURPOSES ONLY"
     

    Attached Files:

  10. farmergal
    Joined: Nov 28, 2010
    Posts: 2,074

    farmergal
    Member
    from somewhere

    word of advise also: register them before you lay a finger on them. They can be very fussy screwballs at the DMV and if they want to give you a hard time they will. Take the orig plates with you, register them and then restore them. That way no questions will be asked and it'll make your DMV encounter a quicker one
     
  11. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    So, no tips on straightening? I am thinking a small english wheel using sealed roller bearings the right width. I think if you get good enough they shouldn't be able to tell the plates are restored. I only use rattle cans and it is more shiney than original plates but I'm not trying to fool anyone. All the plates I have done were mostly junk before I started anyway. I just like doing it.
     
  12. BCR
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,263

    BCR
    Member


    The e wheel is mainly a stretching tool. You can straighten with it but you use almost no pressure. Looks like they were already stretched (dented) a little

    I would think that a shrinking disc ran across the back of the plate would get rid of alot of the extra metal.

    If it is not stretched then just hammer and dolly it straight.

    Use a small hammer like a tac hammer with a nice radius ground on the edge.

    Like the others said get the plate registered before you mess with it. The local dmv is pretty funny about this.
     
  13. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,437

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    plates can not be restored? bullshit. if you restore them right, how does some angry bitch at the DMV tell the difference between NOS and restored?

    as for getting out the dents, I'd rather use a small hammer and an anvil that a english wheel.
     
  14. BCR
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,263

    BCR
    Member


    Bullshit you say!!!! Should have been there on Friday when I registered the 54. She looked the plate over and lectured me on all the plates they reject because they have been altered.

    I knew better because I did a set of plates for a customer and they were too nice, now he can not run them.

    Take your chances I guess.:D
     
  15. R A Wrench
    Joined: Feb 4, 2007
    Posts: 428

    R A Wrench
    Member
    from Denver, Co

    A friend restored a pair of plates to very good condition, the DMV clerk denied them as they were too nice. He got disgusted & gave them to someone else. That guy took them in & got registered with no problems. Luck of the draw? This was in the Denver area, could have been different counties.
     
  16. Altered and restored are different beasts. And....it varies by state as well as the individual DMV and employee.

    In CA you're allowed to restore plates, but the colors need to match what's in the books. I actually had the YOM expert at the big Sacramento DMV smell my plates ('cause they were freshly painted), bang 'em on the table to check the metal type, and then say, "Nice job." She even noted on the paperwork they'd been restored.

    I found using a 3/8" extension works well to hammer out letters and body hammers with a flat pick work well to define the edges.

    Bryan
     
  17. COOP666
    Joined: May 8, 2007
    Posts: 701

    COOP666
    Member
    from Burbank!

    My YOM plate was already restored when it was registered, apparently with no problem.
     
  18. BCR
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,263

    BCR
    Member

    Ok good enough.

    If you are gonna register a yom plate with Gwynn in the Ellis Co Kansas court house don't f@#% with your plate ie. restore, paint, hammer out dents ect...... She gets pleasure from the power to yank your chain.
     
  19. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,437

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    NOS or restored?

    [​IMG]
     
  20. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,437

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    if you bring a pair like this in and they give you shit your next sentence should begin with "listen you smelly cunt...." :cool:
     
  21. BCR
    Joined: Dec 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,263

    BCR
    Member

    You have met Gwynn?

    Damn why didn't you stop by the shop. Ha Ha
     
  22. the metalsurgeon
    Joined: Apr 19, 2009
    Posts: 1,239

    the metalsurgeon
    Member
    from Denver

    use an aluminum hammer (will not stretch the metal but can move the metal around) and flat dolly.
    A shrinking disc on the back of the plate will also help.No mini English wheel etc as will only stretch the metal.

    my metal work blog site www.themetalsurgeon.com
     
  23. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    The 2 plates at the top were really screwed up. lots of stretched metal before the work began. I have a brass tack hammer I like pretty well, one side is round and the other is a broad flat, like round with 2 sides ground off. I also use a couple body hammers but the pick end will stretch metal if you use it much. I can get them pretty straight but not perfect. I was thinking the roller thing like an english wheel, would flatten the letters, which are already stretched. I did one really mangled plate and got it back pretty good but the metal was stretched enough to make a bow in the plate that I can't get out. I even tried clamping it down, heating and quenching with a wet rag but to no avail. I think some of them are just too messed up and can't be brought all the way back.
    If they are still straight and just need a repaint that is a whole different deal, like the 2 bottom ones. They might not fool a blue haired sniffing clerk at the DMV but they still show pretty well.
     
  24. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    willowbilly3
    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    FWIW, I ran YOM plates on my pickup in Texas. I started out with an un-used set of 1969 Plates and after 3 years they looked like shit, especially the front one. It was on a daily driver though. I think Texas will allow repaints, used to any way.
     
  25. otas
    Joined: Aug 9, 2007
    Posts: 183

    otas
    Member

    I am so loving this. I am a dealer and used to go several times a week to the tax office. Thank goodness I have a lady working in my office now and she can get er done. I would def wanna use the cunt word every time I went up there. I just stay away now days. But that is really funny.:)
     
  26. A Rodder
    Joined: Jul 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,477

    A Rodder
    Member

    In Oregon, they can be restored they just have to be correct in color. I bought a set it 33the plates and they were a little to light yellow versus the correct yellow. What is frustrating here is you can run for the most part any plate the yom or later.
    I believe the more correct plate would nbe the year after the yom. As that would be the plate the dmv would have issued originally.
    About 80% of the time the counter person will shoot me down, then I have to proceed to tell them what chapter and page in the counter catalog I am right.

    For those that have had problems, have you tried going to a small town dmv or just another dmv in your area? Your bound to find one government worker who doesn't care.
     
  27. jazzfidelity
    Joined: Sep 19, 2011
    Posts: 371

    jazzfidelity
    Member

    nice pair, they look NOS but are probably restored, I don't think the DMV would hassle you on these.. side note: a 1957 vehicle plate would probably have an earlier letter than "S", like maybe F or G..
    "S" plates are more for 1959 or 1960.. they're OK legally but anal plate buffs like me are more discerning..
     
  28. In illinois, you register antique vehicle plates with the state and carry then inside the car. Then you can display the YOM plate. No where does it say it has to even be an Illinios plate, original, restored, or reproduction. It is for display use only. The actual AV plate is not displayed. Only needed if pulled over.

    I am going to buy a custom reproduction 1953 Illinios plate and mount that.
     
  29. Hot Rod Elvis
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 607

    Hot Rod Elvis
    Member

    Better you restore them than pay someone to do it. I know for a fact that most people that do that is usually a charge of anywhere from $85-$125!!
     

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