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Projects Staining Alum wheels

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 383deuce, May 6, 2015.

  1. OK guys this may sound like I am off a few bricks from having a full load but I would like to know if anyone knows how you can take NEW ALUM WHEELS and stain them to be a darker shade, like they are old?
    Have some Rocket wheels in as cast condition"not polished" and would like to make them aged.
    Model T1 likes this.
  2. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,781


    Maybe rub on a MILD acid solution ?????
    Just a comment...not a recommendation...
  3. I have heard of using black shoe polish to get a dark grey affect like a unpolished Halibrand type look.
  4. Those wheel acids will do a doozie on them for you, guaranteed. Be prepared to white knuckle "Yikes!" as the smoke flies off the wheels' chemical reactions. It could be scary, but realistically it's probably easier to get the aged look then it would be to keep them clean. Sooo' good for you man ! Let us know your results. Good luck with whatever you find.
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  5. 32v
    Joined: May 20, 2007
    Posts: 920

    from v.i.

    try spraying them with graphite spray
  6. Put em outside form about 10 years, should look old by then !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Couldn't resist

    Sent from my wooden crank phone in my bathroom
    CajunJalopy and Model T1 like this.
  7. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 725


    Any kind of acid or base solution you put on an aluminum wheel won't make it look aged. More like it'll just look like hell.

    All decent cast aluminum wheels are cast from 356 aluminum. One of its characteristics is that it holds up well in outdoor exposure. I've got a pair of 15x10 slots that have been laying in the bed of a truck at my shop since the early 80's and they look the same today as they did when I put them there.

    Put simply, they don't age. If you want them to look like old magnesium wheels, your best bet is to paint them with the color you want. The ideal thing for color and long term freedom of maintenance would be to have them anodized and colored, but most castings tend to come out with a mottled look when anodized due to variations of the amount of silicon(not silicone) at the surface of the casting.
    wvenfield likes this.
  8. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 12,070

    from oregon

    Any coal trains run through Marquette
  9. LM14
    Joined: Dec 18, 2009
    Posts: 1,690

    from Iowa

    Spray some PB Blaster/WD40 on them, drive down a dirt road and don't wash them for a few weeks.

    Any acid wash is only going to make them white, not old looking.

    Model T1 likes this.
  10. MAD 034
    Joined: Aug 30, 2011
    Posts: 771

    MAD 034
    from Washington

    Chuck them up and spin them while using a wore old red scotchbrite with cutting oil. Gives a non-brite look and takes the "new" edge off of them.
  11. SimonSez
    Joined: Jul 1, 2001
    Posts: 1,629


    This has been recommended a few times on here before, so I tried it the other day.

    I have a magnesium Halibrand QC which is unpolished and had gone a typical Magnesium gray, but the rear cover is aluminum and has been sandblasted so looks completely different.

    I sprayed some graphite spray on the rear cover and let it dry and it is pretty much indistinguishable from the magnesium housing now. No idea how long it will last, as it does come off on my finger a bit if I run it but the colour is real good.

    This is the spray I used, but from what I have read here most of them work the same.

  12. AKGrouch
    Joined: Oct 19, 2014
    Posts: 208


    If you can decide on exactly what color of grey you want, have them powder coated that color. Won't rub off and will stay looking good with minimal care....just a thought from my tiny square brain.....:)
  13. I bead blasted my old aluminum torque thrusts with the round-style beads as opposed to the jagged beads. I thought they would begin to corrode as oxygen got to the bare metal. I didn't coat them with anything at all.
    A year later they still looked the same.The beads actually hammered the pores in the metal closed! If you like this look, bead blast the clear coating off them and leave 'em. Rockysdeliveryb_4paint.jpg
  14. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 5,894

    from Nicasio Ca

    Old slots not worth polishing. Sand blasted, clear rattle can.

  15. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,862

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Hit them with sodium hydroxide (aka Lye)as in oven cleaner, Castro; Super Clean, etc.

    It'll turn aluminum a dull, flat, slightly darkened gray.
  16. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 3,428

    rusty rocket

    And dont forget to read the instructions and do your test on an area that will be hidden. Just thought i would remind you of that because everything we buy today has to have that horseshit told to us.
  17. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,784


    Put brake dust on them. Works for me and I'm not even trying!
    Model T1 likes this.
  18. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,007


    If they were mine I would use that Dupont coating on them like they used to use on magnesium wheels. I can never remember what it is called but one of the more astute HAMBers will know. I have actually been thinking of using it for another non HAMB friendly application.
  19. Porknbeaner, I think you are referring to DOW 7 - not sure if it's still available or not but there are some coatings out there in the aircraft industry primarily for corrosion resistance that look like DOW 7 - Aircraft Spruce has some. I saw a set of wheels on a coupe at LARS that were nickel plated, makes them a very cool dark color.
  20. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 5,869

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I experimented with coloring aluminum..I tried ordinary gun black or bluing, black oxide...With some success...put some on a wiper and rub it on, doesn't act the same way as on steel...
  21. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,563

    Mike VV
    from SoCal

    Just let them sit the elements.
    I'm doing the same thing with a new set of Drag Lite, Weld Wheels. Don't clean them. It doesn't happen over night, but the "used" look will get there.
    Then you just have to be careful how you do clean them..!

  22. I was wondering how log it would take for someone to tell me to just set them out side for ten years.
    A few good ideas here though. The DOW7 was one idea I was thinking of but could not recall what it was called. Will have to check that out.
    Any more ideas???
  23. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,007


    That's it I knew it was a D word.

    I was reading some information on it the last time it came up and it seems that they make another that is more durable. I was thinking about using it on the cylinders of an air cooled engine. But I need to find out about heat transfer and resistance first.

    Anyway I knew it was a D word and that is probably why I can never find it when I go alooking Dow is a long ways off from DuPont.

    Oh I t just thought of it if you want to age some s aluminum wheels spray then down with salt water. I wouldn't leave it on there forever but I'll bet overnight will get them started well enough.
  24. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,658

    from Hampsha

    Sculpture people have a vast repertoire of "Patina" methods and matls.
    Most for bronze, but maybe some AL info too.
  25. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,007


    Yea those home improvement folks are always coming up with stuff too. I may want to experiment on a piece of scrap first.
  26. mrconcdid
    Joined: Aug 31, 2010
    Posts: 1,152

    from Florida

    Could you soak them in a tea or coffee ground bath?
  27. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,007


    We used to wrap motor cycle cases up on an oily tote sack and bury 'em to age 'em. Worked like a champ. Only took about a week if the weather was bad or you used a hose.
  28. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,658

    from Hampsha

    Beaner, You know how platers adjust their baths for acidity? :eek:
    (Worth a try?)
  29. there's a product called "brass black" that gun shops carry. It works well on copper if you want the copper to have that "patina" look. Not sure about aluminum though? Would probably have to experiment with it on aluminum. It's cheap, like $5 for a small can.

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