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Lancemb's 57 Roadmaster Facelift


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It varies greatly, depending on condition and size.

These drip rails, for example, (also the rear window moldings) have a chrome plating on them. Underneath, they are stainless. Buick did this on their upper series cars to keep the shine durable. Chrome plating cannot be polished, as opposed to popular thinking. It is too hard. To eliminate scratches, it must be stripped and rechromed, or if it is stainless like these parts, they can be polished like any other stainless trim piece.

To polish the stainless, I use several steps. First step is to tap out any dents. Tap out the dent so that it's high on the front side. I then use a fine file to cut the high spots down flat. After that, I use a DA sander with 320 grit to remove the file marks. To remove those scratches, I use 800 grit wet sand paper. You can go to 600 to make it easier to get rid of the scratches from the DA, but then you have to still use 800 to go further. I normally go to 1000 grit on skinny parts like the drip rails. But on large flat pieces, I will go to 1500 grit. Once the sanding is done, it's time to move to the polishing wheel. I used to use 3 different wheels, and in doing so, I wasted a lot of time. I go straight for the loose cotton wheel with white compound. It is a slow process to completely remove the sanding scratches, but the result is a mirror...just like chrome.


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Can you show the work room and the wheel that you use to do this fantastic work? Inquiring minds want to know....:)

Jim, it's just a corner in the garage where I have my pedestal and wheels. Nothing special :) I am going out there in a bit to organize the rest of the stainless, so I may shoot a photo...but it's a complete disaster right now.

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The sweepspear trim is ready to be polished, for the most part. Hopefully, I don't run into many big dents or scratches. After a quick inspection, they look pretty clean. I stripped the lovely tangerine paint off the pieces this evening. I did a quick polish on the two small pieces that make the upsweep in front of the rear tires. They look pretty good. I can't wait to get some blue paint on these! I did find some traces of the original blue paint on the trim, and it looks just like the trim I used to match the paint. Cool.:cool:

OK Jim: Here's a quick tour of the process...

First photo is where I knock out dents and do my general persuading of trim that has been tweaked. Second photo is where I stand for hours on end with a piece of wet/dry sandpaper, rubbing out the previous grit's scratches. The third photo is of the "polishing station." All that grey crap you see on the walls has to be wiped/vacuumed off after every project. It is a real mess.




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I imagine you need a lot of space so as to handle the long pieces of trim. Is it possible to rig up a cheap blanket on a shower curtain rod hung from the ceiling to prevent the overspray from landing on your compressor? That could then be discarded after the job at hand.

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Adam, Thanks. Harbor Freight is usually not too bad regarding basic things like that.

JohnD, you are a process magician! I suspect that you have done process improvement in an earlier life...:)

Edited by 1957buickjim (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after 5 days in Cancun, it's back to reality...

I pulled the car out to clean up the garage a bit and hose off the dust. I made the decision to re-clear the front left fender and roof, due to a couple spots that bugged me every time I walked by. Tomorrow, I will cut and buff those panels.

The photos don't do the car justice.



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Lance, you're going to have a really hard time leaving that "other" stuff alone once you start digging in :) I had to hold myself back on the engine compartment. Those nice clean bolts look really good!

I reinstalled the two passenger side door panels tonight. I have to take apart the drivers vent window to replace the glass, so that panel will have to wait. Projected date of completion - February 7!!

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I replaced the drivers vent window yesterday and installed the two passenger side door panels. Today, the other two go back on before the "big game" party.

I took some photos yesterday before the weather took a crap, and took it down to the gas station for a fresh tank of good stuff.







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