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Once again, a very long time has passed since I last posted any updates. Truth be told the car is making very slow progress - at least it hasn't regressed.

Sharing the pictures of the restoration of the wood cappings, front and rear window surrounds and rear vanity mirrors (centre console and dashboard were in really good condition).
The tools required were;
  • Heat Gun
  • Scraper
  • Fine Steel Wool
  • Aerosol cans of Polyurethane Finish (Rust-Oleum, Clear Gloss Finish)
  • 1000 Grit Foam Pads
  • Polishing Pads
  • Polishing Wheel
  • Carnauba Polish (Recommended by a friend for is anti-UV properties)
These were all done over the course of a year as I’ve been slowly working my way through my other jobs on the list. They’ve had 24 coats of polyurethane varnish in total. Flattened off with either fine steel wool, or 1000 grit foam pads. Finally hand and wheel polished using carnauba wax.
I removed the old lacquer with a heat gun and a scraper, you need to take great care not to damage the laminate finish under the old laquer, but it’s not as difficult as I imagined it to be. I gave them a good clean down to remove dust etc, and a light rub with a fine steel wool. I didn’t take the chance of rubbing down with any grit paper as the laminate is supposed to be very-very thin.

I started adding a few thin coats, mainly as I wasn’t too confident in my ability to get the desired finish from an aerosol can. Initially I was using the fine steel wool between coats. Once I got a bit more confident with the spraying and the coats were heavier I used 1000grit foam pads to flatten off between each coat (and to remove the runs when I managed to get them all over). I gave as much curing time as possible before flattening (minimum 3 days, sometimes over 4 weeks due to work).

Once I was happy with the amount of varnish on the wood work I then started the polishing phase. Initially polishing up with the carnauba wax, hand polishing and then bringing to a shine with the lambswool wheel on a drill. Concentration is needed here so your hands don’t wonder and the drill chuck batters off the door capping. The finish is quite tough, as when I did it (twice) there wasn’t a mark on the capping surface!!

Once I get these fitted to the car I’ll share more pictures. Until then I continue to polish when I have a spare moment.
Before (1).JPG Before (2).JPG Before (6).JPG DSC_0063.JPG DSC_1424.JPG DSC_0527.JPG DSC_1444.JPG Spray Can.JPG DSC_1445.JPG DSC_1447.JPG
 

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Thanks for sharing and a great job. I've read before how important it is not to sand the veneer as it is so thin, so the heat gun and scraper that you have used is the way to go. I'll be interested in the pics when you've refitted the cappings back on your car.

Geoff
 

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Thanks for sharing and a great job. I've read before how important it is not to sand the veneer as it is so thin, so the heat gun and scraper that you have used is the way to go. I'll be interested in the pics when you've refitted the cappings back on your car.

Geoff
Having done a few restorations, I found the heat gun is the only thing that will touch the RR finish. I've had others tell me an industrial stripper (methylene chloride) will take it off, but I think it would have to be a very concentrated solution, the off-the-shelf stuff, doesn't work at all.

When using a heat gun you want to keep the putty knife and the old finish between the heat, don't ever let the gun come in contact with the wood, it burns quite easily.
One precaution to take is to double over some heavy duty aluminum foil and use that as a heat shield to protect any exposed wood that may be getting to close the gun.

It should be done very carefully, let the gun soften the old finish sufficiently so it can easily be removed with the putty knife.
The finish will either soften and/or come off in large pieces, or small crumbly ones.
You want to allow the gun to easily release the finish, it should not have to be forced.
Forcing it may tear the veneer.
 

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Thanks Jeff

I'm keeping these notes for when I need them.

I have seen photos of cappings where the amateur restorer has heavily sanded them, stained and then varnished. The results are awful. I know the pitfalls. Your and Scott's advice is really good.
 

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A friend redid the wood in his W109 Mercedes Benz 300SEL. He used acetone to strip the lacquer by soaking it completely in a tub full of the stuff. He said that it took about 5 minutes before leaving it out to dry and it was stripped completely.

Anyone try this method? I have a silver shadow parts car and I'm thinking of giving it a go now that the weather is heating up and I need to find projects that involve sitting in an air conditioned room.
 
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