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    Exterior door handle restoration

    After searching in vain for a good quality second hand exterior door handle I started asking around to see if there was a restoration process that I could take on myself.
    A classic car restoration company local to me advised that there was a company called Silvabronz (in Alton Hants) that might be able to advise, so I took my handle along to them and they said it was possible for them to re-chrome a part after first being prepared using the normal car body repair process of sanding, filling and priming. The cost of plating would be around £88, so I decided to have a go.
    First step is to strip the old chrome from the part - Silvabronz did this free of charge, the first picture shows the result;

    Next step is to rub down the handle to remove any lumps and bumps, I used varying grades of emery cloth, the next picture typically show what was revealed after this process;
    Unrestored Door Handle Front showing typical pitting.jpg
    Next stage was to make good the damage - holes were backed with thin steel plate bonded using Araldite and the remaining pitting filled with knifing putty. This was then rubbed down using fine grade wet and dry paper.
    Three coats of etch prime was then sprayed on, rubbing down between coats using scotchbrite, here's the pictures after completion;

    The handle was then passed to Silvabronz for plating, here's the finished result;
    Finished Door Handle Front view 2.jpgFinished Door Handle Front view 1.jpg
    Not a particularly cheap process but the end result I'm sure you'll agree looks fabulous and gives the car back a bit more of its 70's bling!
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Robmsharp; 7 June 2017, 19:40.
    I love deadlines - I like the whooshing sound they make as they pass by!

    #2
    It certainly looks good but is it plating or a type of painting? I was not aware that you could plate over Primer or any filler material. - Alan
    Last edited by alan_thomas; 8 June 2017, 10:16.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by alan_thomas View Post
      It certainly looks good but is it plating of a type of painting? I was not aware that you could plate over Primer or any filler material. - Alan
      I suspect it is some form of Vacuum Deposition process, (I might be wrong!), Not a conventional "metal" plating process. Basically the part is placed in a Vacuum Chamber and the plating material is vaporised (there are many differing methods of doing this from simple heat - to plasma discharges onto the source) the vapour then condenses onto the target piece (and most other surfaces in the vacuum chamber). It used to be commonly used to "sputter coat" a thin conductive layer on samples so they could be viewed under electron microscopes but in recent years the technique has been developed to produce much thicker "Plating" on a commercial basis. One of the drivers for this is environmental concerns over the toxic chemicals used in conventional plating - they are both carcinogenic and also extremely poisonous for the environment. Hexavalent Chromium being one that has been effectively banned.

      Another term used for this process is Vacuum Metalising" which is the process I believe is being used to apply the "shiny" aluminium to the "STAG" in the badges currently being re manufactured.
      White TV8 BW35 no mods and now a Dolly Sprint to keep it company
      So many cars, so little time!

      Comment


        #4
        I don't know whether this part has ever been considered by SOCTFL but these guys seem to remake items that only relatively low volume of sales could be expected and for vehicles that do not have sky high values, meaning they must be competitively priced.

        http://www.ashwater-classics.co.uk/

        Look at their catalogue

        No connection with company etc.

        - Alan

        Comment


          #5
          Seems like my NOS handle was a bargain after all ....

          Stag Door Handle eBay.JPG
          The answer isn't 42, it's 1/137

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by alan_thomas View Post
            I don't know whether this part has ever been considered by SOCTFL but these guys seem to remake items that only relatively low volume of sales could be expected and for vehicles that do not have sky high values, meaning they must be competitively priced.

            http://www.ashwater-classics.co.uk/

            Look at their catalogue

            No connection with company etc.

            - Alan
            Our club Archivist lives in Dunkeswell and, until he retired, operated his business and SOC Accessories from a unit on the estate. He may well know the company. I'm not too far away and have a couple of used handles to show them if this avenue hasn't been explored by SOCTFL.
            Dave
            1974 Mk2, ZF Auto, 3.45 Diff, Datsun Driveshafts. Stag owner/maintainer since 1989.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by DJT View Post
              Our club Archivist lives in Dunkeswell and, until he retired, operated his business and SOC Accessories from a unit on the estate. He may well know the company. I'm not too far away and have a couple of used handles to show them if this avenue hasn't been explored by SOCTFL.
              I too went down this road with Silvabronz, but thought it a bit expensive. The process Robosharp talks about is a method of dipping the component into a silver based liquid which makes it conductive so it can be chromed, this is how plastic parts are chromed. I did have some success with restoring Stag handles by stripping, sand blasting with fine sand, filling with a lead alloy, (bought from the USA)
              smoothing down and then having them Chromed. (ie copper, nickel, Chrome) The problem with the Stag door handle bowls and many classic car parts of that era they are made from Mazak, or pot metal
              and when it corrodes it is a job to get it all out. I did discuss the problem with a local chrome plater and he suggested having the handles remade in zinc as this takes well to chrome plating, which is commonly used in making bath and sink taps. Now I am sure the SOCTFL have looked into investing in a pair of injection moulds for this process. I do hope one day we will be able to buy good quality door handle bowls again at a reasonable price, like the Stag badges. thank you SOCTFL.
              Alan.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Alanmax View Post
                I do hope one day we will be able to buy good quality door handle bowls again at a reasonable price, like the Stag badges. thank you SOCTFL.
                Alan.
                Stay tuned, as I mentioned at the SOCTFL AGM, we are having a prototype produced to check fit, form function at the moment.

                KR

                Paul
                Paul - 3 projects, 1 breaker - garage built and housing 2 white Stags. One runs, one doesn't

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