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Technical Polishing Chrome

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by johnfin, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. johnfin
    Joined: Apr 11, 2008
    Posts: 59

    from auburndale

    I would like to polish the chrome headlight housings on my 61 imperial with a 6" wheel and white polishing compound but am worried about going thru the chrome. I have done this on other parts in the past. Polishing cream just isnt working well. Any thoughts?
  2. White is fine so it won’t cut too fast...are you sure they are chrome or are they stainless?

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  3. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 18,926

    Staff Member

    anything abrasive and a machine will go thru pretty quick if it is chrome. Chrome plating is very thin. usually about .005 of an inch
    Nicholas Coe and lothiandon1940 like this.
  4. True, I certainly have polished chrome in the way he is talking but it requires a gentle touch and only if it’s bad.

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  5. primed34
    Joined: Feb 3, 2007
    Posts: 1,084


    Try Windex and aluminum foil. Worked great for me.
  6. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 2,889

    Dick Stevens

    Mark, you need to move the decimal point over to .0005 and that is about maximum for decorative chrome plating, it is a bit thicker when hard chrome plating for wear purposes.
    Moriarity and seb fontana like this.
  7. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,516

    seb fontana
    from ct

    My '49/'50 shoebox headlight trim rings were chrome plated stainless steel? Once I went through the chrome I had to sand all the chrome off [could see a color difference] and buff the SS, came out very nice. Got no clue why the plating over the SS..
  8. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,520


    You'll get a zillion back yard answers. Be careful. Here's a professional polishing book to get you started.
    Years ago, there was a fine member on the HAMB, English as I recall, POLISHER -who would share his polishing book with anyone. Not sure where my copy is, but perhaps someone could re-post his work. He died of cancer quite a while ago.
  9. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,520


    pitman likes this.
  10. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,959


    Chroming Stainless,
    Might be where "Guilding the Lily"
    came from.
    Chromers talked of 'color' of finish,
    Ni, Chr, Polished Al
  11. johnfin
    Joined: Apr 11, 2008
    Posts: 59

    from auburndale

    sounds like I need to stick to a cream or paste
  12. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 930

    Joe H

    I cleaned up old bicycle parts using aluminum foil and Brasso. It leaves very fine line if you don't keep turning the foil. The rust is what is scratching, the Brasso acts as a lubricant. I had pretty good results on pretty rusty wheels. Good chrome looked even better and felt much smoother.
  13. Try "Never Dull" and some elbow grease.
  14. John, I've had good luck doing this on really grungy motorcycle exhausts. One reason it works well IMO is it 'blends' any pits better, something hand polishing doesn't do. You can also buff out minor scratching sometimes. You do have to be careful about going through the chrome, I'd do some experimenting in a 'less seen' area to see how thin the plating is. The main thing is don't get heavy-handed; 10 minutes of light-pressure buffing is better than 5 minutes of heavy pressure.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2020
  15. HunterYJ
    Joined: Jul 2, 2010
    Posts: 119

    from Buda Texas

    My dad flipped a lot of 60s and 70s cars in the 80s and as a teen I went through a lot of Dupont No. 7 chrome polish assisting in cleaning them up. It made easy work of all but the worst pitted chrome.
    Found this bottle advertised, but don't think it is still Dupont:
  16. Since there seems to be some interest in polishing techniques, if I get some time later in the summer I have a set of aluminum slots to do. I’ll put together a step by step if I remember.

    And no, I’m not some backyard guy, I’ve polished thousands of wheels and countless other stuff, including show trucks in the past. I had my own company doing just that. IMG_1676.JPG

    With the risk of getting off topic, a before and during, the shiny one is half done in that picture, I forgot a completed picture.

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  17. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 4,534

    from red oak

    Soak it in a bath of citrus acid. Scan0491.jpg
    51box likes this.
  18. Nicholas Coe
    Joined: Jul 5, 2017
    Posts: 1,624

    Nicholas Coe
    from Tontitown

    For me it's usually aluminum foil for the rough stuff and then Flitz polish with some elbow grease.

    Anyone use steel wool?

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using The H.A.M.B. mobile app

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