Aluminum Care and Restoration For Your Imperial

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Has anyone reproduced the aluminum medallion or centers? Can an existing one be cleaned and re-anodized? I would need to get this done on the one I have. 


From Tim:

Wahoo!! Finally I can help someone else. As a collector of aluminum, I have had many pieces re-anodized. I simply take it to my local silver re-plating vendor.

Actually, I collect "Hammered Aluminum Gift and Hostess Ware". It was very popular from the '30s thru the '50s. My collection is well over 1,700 pieces and growing!! I also collect anodized aluminum, although this is a much smaller collection containing less than 300 pieces.

I know you think this has nothing to do with Imperials, but you're wrong! Restore your aluminum pieces to their original brilliance:

First gather these things:

- 0000 steel wool

- "Mother's" aluminum and magnesium polish (You may use a different aluminum polish if you prefer. After much experimentation, I chose this brand.)

- a can of "Never-Dull"

- "S.O.S." pads

- a whole mess of terry cloth towels (Old cloth baby diapers also work very well, as do old T-shirts.)

- RUBBER GLOVES! (Wear these for steps two and three)

First wash and dry the aluminum. If your piece is really dirty, start with the S.O.S. (WET) and GENTLY rub across the surface. Do not use a circular motion!! Keep wetting the S.O.S. as this acts as a lubricant.

Here's where the rubber gloves come in handy. When the piece is fairly clean and free of most corrosion, dry it and using half a loaf of 0000 steel wool saturated with "Mother's", repeat the first step. You may use a firmer hand here. As the "Mother's" dissipates, slather more on. As the corrosion is lifted, a black slurry will appear. Don't let this dry!! Just keep rubbing and adding more "Mother's" until you feel the piece is clean. (If the goo does dry, wash the piece in soap and water, dry it, and start again with more "Mother's".)

Once the piece is pretty well clean as you can get it, buff the piece with the towel. By this time you will have really worked up a sweat and probably are using language not suitable for print, but you're not quite there.

Now, taking the "Never-Dull", take a wad of the packing from the can and again polish the surface of the aluminum. Use straight across motions. Again, a black film will appear. Let this one dry and then buff with a clean, dry cloth.

Your aluminum will be as bright and shiny as it came from the factory!!

May I suggest that you first hone your technique on a less important piece of aluminum. It takes a few tries to get the pressure and technique down. But the end result is most satisfying!!

From Dick:

When I was restoring my wife's 62 Studebaker Hawk, I face the problem of redoing the anodized molding on the car, some of which are ribbed deeply and about 8 feet long. I took them to a plating shop in Santa Monica and had them stripped, then I polished them (what a chore!) an took them back for a re-anodize. They came out beautiful, but what a lot of work. I can't believe the manufacturer put that much effort into the process when they were first made.

From Wylie:

I own a couple of Airstream trailers which require major aluminum servicing about every 10 years.

The secret to getting rid of the black tarnish, is regular white flour.

Use your Mothers or whatever chemical you like then clean it off with flour, works like magic.

The procedure is buff, flour, wipe with lacquer thinner then recoat with a plastic coating. Airstream sells a product called Plasticoat which works better than regular clear lacquer.

The biggest problem with aluminum is buffing without leaving swirl marks.

This page was last updated February 14, 2003.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club