DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

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redthundervert64
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:19 pm

DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by redthundervert64 »

Hi all. Has anyone been able to remove pits and scratches and restore the brushed aluminum look of the '64 console and dash? I'd appreciate some ideas on how this can be done to get the appearance reasonably close to the original (if that's possible!), including how to protect the final finish.

I'd prefer not to use vinyl wrap.

Thanks,
Bob
Cliff Rankin
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Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 12:24 pm

Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by Cliff Rankin »

Well , I’ll throw this out there. And I don’t show mine , they are drivers. The 64 I used steel wool. But the panels
On my 63 around the doors and dash just would not cooperate so I used duplacolor paint. If I remember correctly Chrysler silver. Looks good , holding up well.
Sometimes you just gotta play with it till it works for
“You”.
Cliff
stubbie
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by stubbie »

I just painted mine with some stainless steel fridge paint
redthundervert64
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:19 pm

Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by redthundervert64 »

Thanks Cliff and stubbie. I'll give your suggestions a try.

Bob
RAVEN
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by RAVEN »

As a follow up to the questioned post.
What or how was the centre consol "restored". I would think some would like to know.
Pls provide your results if possible, so others can benefit.
CDN Member since 1975 #2086
Flock: 1964 Landau Original Family Owned
1964 Sr Convertible "RAVEN"
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1964 Red Convertible
redthundervert64
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by redthundervert64 »

Hi Raven - I haven't finished the console restoration yet but hope to do so within the next 2 or 3 weeks and will certainly post the results. When I got the car it came with a beat up spare dash panel that had holes cut for some kind of gauge, so I've been using that to experiment with. I've also ordered a couple of vinyl samples just to cover all bases.

Bob
redthundervert64
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by redthundervert64 »

I finally got around to refinishing the brushed aluminum console and dash in my '64. RAVEN had asked for a bit of a "report" on the process, along with some photos. Sorry if this seems pretty long-winded but there were a lot of steps and different tests. I'm a novice at this and some of my methods are probably pretty clunky, but as Cliff said "Sometimes you just gotta play with it till it works for 'You' ".

Here's the condition of the dash and console before sanding. Very scratched and pitted! I tried using steel wool but the panels were way too far gone for that.
Center console before sanding
Center console before sanding
Center console before sanding
Center console before sanding
Dashboard before sanding
Dashboard before sanding
To do a proper refinishing job I removed the chrome trim pieces by chiselling/drilling the rivets on the backside of the panels. To be able to remount these trim pieces, I drilled out all the remaining rivet fragments (be careful, the trim metal is very soft), then drilled new holes in the aluminum panels (before refinishing) and used these holes as a template to JB-weld threaded studs into the trim pieces. I used M2 screws with nuts and washers and made the studs by cutting off the screw heads to leave a stud length of just shy of 3/8". When JB-welding the studs, I put the nuts on loosely to help hold them in the proper position while the epoxy was setting up, and then removed the trim piece before the epoxy was dry so that the panel wouldn't be permanently attached to the trim. Here's some photos of this operation
Chrome trim studs
Chrome trim studs
I think no matter which refinishing option is used, it's a good idea to remove the pits and scratches as much as possible. My panels were so bad that I had to use 40-grit sanding discs (with some hand work for the deep pits). Before doing this I tried to smooth any dents as much as possible by gently pounding them out with a wood block or with the round end of a small screw driver handle. I didn't seem to have any problems with the panels warping due to overheating during sanding - they certainly are a lot better than they were!

After the 40-grit discs, I worked progressively through several finer grits (60, 80, 120, 220, 320, and 400). I'm a novice with this kind of work, but there are several good Youtube posts showing how to do it. The key for me (after several epic fails) was to be patient and go over the panel thoroughly 3 or 4 times with each grit - that way you'll be sure to remove all the sanding marks from the previous coarser disc.

I wanted to try to get a brushed appearance so after some experimentation I found that after the 400-grit disc, a wet sanding using 400-grit sandpaper in only the direction of the "brushing" worked fairly well, although it was painstaking work to get a steady pull on the sandpaper for a continuous, straight brushed look (I used a thin foam pad as backing for the sandpaper). I tried following this up with a pass of 800-grit wet sandpaper but it made very little difference.

To protect the bare aluminum I tried a couple of different clearcoats and they both marked and scratched fairly easily, but these can mostly be polished out with a polishing compound. I settled on Rustoleum Painter's Touch Clear Semi-Gloss. Ideally re-anodizing the panels would be great, but....

Here's some photos showing the end results.
Console and dash after refinishing
Console and dash after refinishing
Console after refinishing
Console after refinishing
For comparison I tried a few different refinishing methods on a spare dash panel. Here's some photos of the results. It was difficult to get a photo representing the real life appearance, especially for the vinyl wraps.
From left of photo: metallic aluminum paint, 3M BR120 vinyl wrap, sanded/clearcoated panel,VViviD vinyl wrap
From left of photo: metallic aluminum paint, 3M BR120 vinyl wrap, sanded/clearcoated panel,VViviD vinyl wrap
From left of photo: metallic aluminum paint, 3M BR120 vinyl wrap, sanded/clearcoated panel,VViviD vinyl wrap
From left of photo: metallic aluminum paint, 3M BR120 vinyl wrap, sanded/clearcoated panel,VViviD vinyl wrap
My sanding method for a brushed look was a LOT of work, but I'm happy with it and think it gives the nicest appearance of the methods I tried. For the vinyl wraps I liked the 3M BR120 the best but in some lights it looks quite fake. Both vinyl wraps will scratch, but not as easily as the clearcoat. By far the easiest method is to paint the panels with a metallic paint after sanding (I used Rustoleum Painter's Touch Metallic Aluminum, which is a pretty good match). I prefer the painted appearance over a vinyl wrap finish. In prepping for the paint in the test I only went down to a 400- grit disc but the results would probably be better going to a finer disc and clearcoating the paint (you'd want to do this as the bare paint scratches very easily).

I hope this was helpful.
Bob
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Sierra John
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by Sierra John »

Wow! That's amazing. You did some great work there.
Last edited by Sierra John on Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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redthundervert64
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by redthundervert64 »

Thanks Sierra John - much appreciated.
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paulr
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by paulr »

Great job! This is the best work I've ever seen done by anyone. Congratulations! Restoring the original trim is the only practical option. Several years ago I experimented with various 3M vinyl wraps also and took the similar trouble with removing the riveted chromed rails and restoring them with tapped and threaded studs. The very best wrap I could pick turned out in time to be a poor substitute for the real McCoy, in my opinion. Furthermore, the black trim part had to be replaced on mine, so I did that with yet another 3M black vinyl wrap. Another poor substitute for OEM in my opinion. They look OK, until I looked at original factory cars in good condition; then they looked disappointing to me.

I was only passing time while I was slowly collecting OEM woodgrain trim because my car is a Landau and I wanted the wrong parts I had to look decent in the interim. My opinion is the the vinyl wraps are vulnerable to scarring and unless you go to the trouble that you did with removing the rails and tucking the wrap beneath them, the adhesive is likely to attract dirt in the crevices and lose adhesion, look messy and eventually prove dissatisfying.

Oh yeah, your comment about "in some lights" the appearance is fake. Absolutely true. The vinyl wrap I had was ok until really bright sun hit it. Then it turned from silver to blue... :roll:
photo 2-12.jpg
Paul
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redthundervert64
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Re: DIY Restoration of '64 Brushed Aluminum Console

Post by redthundervert64 »

Thanks paulr for your kind comments. Actually your console looks great in the photo - I guess you must have caught it in the right light!
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