This month I wanted to discuss the chroming process and how to avoid the kinds of issues that can come up when you’re not properly prepared. Poor planning can stall your chrome restoration project indefinitely due to damaged or missing parts from a negligent chroming shop and though I could spend the next few hours discussing the chroming process, here are some simple suggestions to make your chroming experience as pain-free as possible:
Remove All Chrome
The first thing we do when a car comes in for a full restoration is to remove every single piece of chrome from the car. If you skip this vital step and procrastinate, your project will be remain on hold which will inevitably leave the car vulnerable to damage while you’re waiting for the chrome to arrive. Removing the chrome first will form a firm foundation for the rest of the work.
Taking photos of each piece, where it goes and the hardware that goes with it, is critical. More often than not a significant period of time will have passed before installing the chrome and figuring out where all those little pieces go can be a nightmare without photos to use as a point of reference. Remember that the chrome shop doesn’t care what goes where, that’s your job. For example if you leave the door handle push knob attached it most likely will be chromed and fused together which will be a major headache to deal with.
Once you have all the chrome taken off the car and all the pieces completely taken apart its again time for photographs, this is one of the most important aspects, when you show up to the shop you want to go over all the chrome and photos and have them sign off on each photo in case they lose or damage a piece you can show them that you had the piece before the process began and the condition it was in prior to delivery.
Choose the Right Shop
No doubt there are plenty of chrome shops to choose from in the Los Angeles area like Verne’s Chrome Plating and Sherm’s Plating and prices vary, but above all else you want to make sure that the shop you choose does a triple plating process and when it comes to pot metal pieces make sure that they use silver solder to repair them and that they do this din-house. Remember, its pretty basic to strip a bumper, repair it then chrome it, but its a whole other animal to repair all those small pieces that have detail.
Take a Look Around
In fact ask to see some of the other small pieces waiting for pickup that will give you a good idea what you are in store for. Pay close attention to the detail of the piece: does it have the original lines? Is the design still distinct or has it been stripped away by the polishing wheel? Do they have a lot of work? A chrome shop that is quiet is a good indication that their work is sub-par. And the last thing you need is to have them write down the prices for all the pieces as you don’t want any surprises when it comes time to pick up the chrome and they decide to tack on another charge for the privilege of allowing them to do the work.
And there you have it: five simple suggestions for a pain-free chrome restoration experience. Follow each of them and your ride will thank you for the all the beautiful chrome you’ve installed to it.