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Technical straightening stainless trim

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by spiders web, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. spiders web
    Joined: Jan 16, 2011
    Posts: 384

    spiders web

    Well its been a long time since I've been on here as getting older you start to value time more and have less time to waste time on the computer. I recently added a new (to me) mistress in the garage and realized that there will be many challenges as this is a one year body and even more limited model. What is it you ask, a 1960 Mercury Monterey hardtop. Fords answer to Chevrolet's bubble top. The trim is ok on one side and not so nice on the other, what to do as your not going to find new. Years back I attended a metal working class at the famous and talented Mohave Cal shop of Gene Winfield. The man is a legend and I learned so much my brain hurt for a week after the class. He taught us that every day is a school day and something should be learned. Gene taught us how to make new trim and some tricks for straightening old stainless. Thinking outside of the box I came up with a great hack for this chore. I bought a hard plastic cutting board as these are very tough but also soft. My stainless that runs down the side of the car is 1 3/4 inches wide so using a table saw I cut a strip of the cutting board that wide and then cut it in half. Now using a dremel and carbide bit I draw on the plastic a profile of the outside of the end of the stainless trim. On the other piece I draw the profile of the inside of the stainless trim. After carving the plastic to the proper form and testing it to the trim I sand the form with sand paper (course to fine). Now that you have these made cut another piece for the cutting board the width of the thickness (ie if the board is 1/2" thick, cut a 1/2" wide piece). Now if you have access to a lathe you can chuck up the square piece and turn it to a 1/2" dowel. Then while in the lathe using a file or die grinder you can make the tip pointed or narrow chisel end. You are finally ready to straighten some precious and obsolete trim. Put one of the bucks in a vise and using your dowel punches you can dink the dents out and the plastic is hard enough to strike with a hammer and yet soft enough to not mar the stainless. After you have it straight take it to the polisher and walla, driver quality or better trim to reinstall on the car. I hope this helps you to make your pride and joy look better and make your job easier. I would have done some pictures but I'm old and not very savvy with integrating pics to the computer then putting them here, sorry. Happy motoring
    Blurt177, ned5049, Chucky and 10 others like this.
  2. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,816


    loudbang likes this.
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 1,705


    It'd be great to see some pics of the tools you made to do this. I have some stainless that will need some TLC down the road.
    loudbang likes this.
  4. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,340

    jimmy six

    Fords “bubble” top came out in 1955 as a Crown Victoria and my 56 Victoria trim was a pain on the back window.
    J. A. Miller and loudbang like this.
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  5. egads
    Joined: Aug 23, 2011
    Posts: 691


    Cool idea, Pictures? ( btw, it's spelled voila :):):) )
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  6. I like it. I use phenolic too for pushing the dings out.
  7. MecGen
    Joined: Jun 23, 2018
    Posts: 9


    Great idea !

    Would you hammer your trim strait or squeeze it between the plastic pieces (outer profile and inner profile) you made?

    I would also like to see pictures


    Sent from my SM-T590 using Tapatalk
  8. uncleandy 65
    Joined: Jan 14, 2013
    Posts: 2,863

    uncleandy 65

    I'm glad I woke up this morning an read this, I learned something today before breakfast.
  9. Mopar Tony
    Joined: Jun 11, 2019
    Posts: 240

    Mopar Tony
    from SE Iowa

    Very interesting, I'd like to see some pics or maybe a video as well if you can get it done.
  10. ol-nobull
    Joined: Oct 16, 2013
    Posts: 1,440


    Hi. Wondering about doing hub caps? I have been thinking about taking a ball out of a large ball bearing and welding a handle on it to push around on inside of hubcap with hubcap laying on a piece of leather or other material. Anyone got any opinions of this. Jimmie
  11. I've done similar tools with wood but the cutting board sounds better. I'll look for one. Restoring s/s trim is a job I can love to hate but it is so rewarding.
  12. Whatever you do with stainless steel, WEAR GLOVES WHEN BUFFING! It is VERY easy to lose a finger or two with a sharp piece of stainless trim getting loose and flying out of your hand.
  13. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 2,022

    from ohio

    Some great tips! I have tried to make all kinds of tools, wood, brass, plastic etc. to work on stainless trim and hubcaps. Some do pretty good but I still suck at it, it takes lots of practice. Some of my repairs turn out OK, but some of them look like a third grader done it:(
  14. The upside is that you are learning at the same time. The time invested is worth it in my humble opinion.
  15. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,816


    For me, the combination of the words stainless trim and cutting board were enough. I have stainless rocker moldings for my '47 Plymouth but the mounting clips were the problem. I could make them out of cutting board since that would have enough spring back and they wouldn't rust. The HAMB to the rescue once again.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  16. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 14,402


    Those plastic wedges from auto lock-out kits (to force the door open) work really good as a dolly for stainless and aluminum molding work.

    Some trim is super soft, you can almost push dings and marks out by hand, or require only a light tap, and others need a piece of steel behind them and have to get hammered to push them back into shape, often with pick and file work afterward.
  17. Fortunateson
    Joined: Apr 30, 2012
    Posts: 3,112


    I was taught to damn up a section in the good area of the SS trim and pour molten lead into it and insert a bolt before it cools. Remove the damn (lol) material and now you have a custom Dollie to tap along the inside of the trim to work the shape back into it. When finished melt the lead to use next time. Always have a backing piece of wood when polishing longer pieces and make SURE you polish with the wheel spinning downwards!
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
    acme30, elgringo71 and Country Joe like this.
  18. elgringo71
    Joined: Oct 2, 2010
    Posts: 2,911


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