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  #1  
Old 12-19-2017, 06:45 PM
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Default Bumper Modification

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To All ~

I have been running without front bumper guards for a couple of years and like the look and now I want to have my front bumper modified by smoothing out the indentations where the bumper guards mount. I am having trouble finding someone local who will do the job. I found a couple of old posts here from Dave D about getting repairs done to some badly beat-up bumper guards and I've seen plenty of stuff on the tube about that kind of custom work, so I know it can be done. I probably haven't found the right guy yet, and so I'm looking for some ideas. I have a spare bumper in decent shape but needing rechrome so that is the one I'm planning to modify.

I took the spare to a well regarded welding shop and explained what I wanted done. This place has been in business forever and I have worked with them before. They were afraid to take it on for fear of ruining the bumper (?) Next I took it to the only re-plater in town. His fabricator was only willing to fill in the bolt holes, which is not what I want. And his price for doing the chrome work was $850 which seems pretty high compared to those posts from 2009-10. So, what next? Anyone have any more recent experiences with bumper repairs or re-chroming work?

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2017, 10:09 PM
bird 60 bird 60 is offline
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I don't really care for them either. I wanted to change mine with the 1955-'56 Guards, or Bumperettes, but the price changed my mind.

Chris.....From OZ.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2017, 12:40 AM
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To All from the Dare Family as well...

Don, a bumper is nothing more than thick carbon sheet steel that was stamped in a press line, then polished and plated in a production line.

'Metal Finishers' only polished the tops and front face because you must stand on your head to see the bottom side. Ford used a two-plate process; nickel then chrome. This is quite different from 'show quality' which is much more labor intensive and consequently more costly.

'Show chrome' is a three-plate process after all imperfections are bumped, smoothed and polished. BTW, the polishing room is larger than the plating room.

They start plating with copper because copper easily sticks to and around everything. Any dents are then filled with lead and filed or sanded smooth. Next, copper again and a good polish to a mirror shine. Nickel comes next. This is the mirror-bright part. Any imperfection will show up here. If all is ok, a very thin chrome plate is last. Chrome is so thin you see right through it because its only purpose in life is to stop nickel from oxidizing and turning yellow or gold.

Any carbon steel piece can be plated. Certainly, holes can be welded-in then ground down and polished smooth. The end result will be perfect if you polish to a mirror finish. Plating shops have huge polishing machines and they use plenty of rouge. The key here is heat. Rouge is in a wax base. In order for the rouge to 'cut' the steel surface it must be melted into suspension. Polishing is tricky. It's hard for me to know when to quit consequently some detail gets buffed out. Sometimes bad polishing will leave a wave so I leave this up to pros.

Ford plated over a thousand bumpers per day, in racks, all the same part done exactly the same. you have ONE that needs alteration. That makes labor costs very high. Decide which type of plating job you want. Hexavalent show chrome costs the most but lasts the longest and looks the best. Trivalent chrome has a blue cast but is cheaper. The least expensive is the two-plate process (nickel and chrome), which is what Ford used on your bumpers. - Dave
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2017, 07:05 AM
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Default Bumper Modification

I'm with you as far as the bumper guards. I plan on doing the same with mine eventually. You might want to check with a hot rod shop or one that does custom work. As far as chrome work Dave pretty much summed up the process and cost. Also hazard regulations have also either driven up cost and also put some shops out of business. Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-20-2017, 09:47 AM
Joe Johnston Joe Johnston is offline
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Your changes are no different than the mods street rodders or custom car builders do every day narrowing and tucking bumpers or filling the bolt holes. Any of these guys or retired tool and die makers or pattern makers with a small home shop could do this for you. As stated: "probably haven't found the right guy yet". Ask around some machine shops, or guys who have street rods/custom cars at shows.
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2017, 12:32 PM
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I've found that there's a big difference between "won't do it" (we may cause damage that we don't want to be responsible for) and "can't do it" (we have other jobs that will pay us more money). I think you found the latter. There's nothing magical or dangerous about forming a couple pieces of metal and welding them to fill the gaps. The metal on those bumpers is so heavy that the chance of warping them is almost nil. As others have suggested keep looking.

John
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  #7  
Old 12-20-2017, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyconnected View Post
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays To All from the Dare Family as well...

Don, a bumper is nothing more than thick carbon sheet steel that was stamped in a press line, then polished and plated in a production line.

'Metal Finishers' only polished the tops and front face because you must stand on your head to see the bottom side. Ford used a two-plate process; nickel then chrome. This is quite different from 'show quality' which is much more labor intensive and consequently more costly.

'Show chrome' is a three-plate process after all imperfections are bumped, smoothed and polished. BTW, the polishing room is larger than the plating room.

They start plating with copper because copper easily sticks to and around everything. Any dents are then filled with lead and filed or sanded smooth. Next, copper again and a good polish to a mirror shine. Nickel comes next. This is the mirror-bright part. Any imperfection will show up here. If all is ok, a very thin chrome plate is last. Chrome is so thin you see right through it because its only purpose in life is to stop nickel from oxidizing and turning yellow or gold.

Any carbon steel piece can be plated. Certainly, holes can be welded-in then ground down and polished smooth. The end result will be perfect if you polish to a mirror finish. Plating shops have huge polishing machines and they use plenty of rouge. The key here is heat. Rouge is in a wax base. In order for the rouge to 'cut' the steel surface it must be melted into suspension. Polishing is tricky. It's hard for me to know when to quit consequently some detail gets buffed out. Sometimes bad polishing will leave a wave so I leave this up to pros.

Ford plated over a thousand bumpers per day, in racks, all the same part done exactly the same. you have ONE that needs alteration. That makes labor costs very high. Decide which type of plating job you want. Hexavalent show chrome costs the most but lasts the longest and looks the best. Trivalent chrome has a blue cast but is cheaper. The least expensive is the two-plate process (nickel and chrome), which is what Ford used on your bumpers. - Dave
Dave When you got the chrome work done that you wrote about back in '09 what type of chroming did you go with? Is the 2 stage process still available? Seems like that would have a better chance of "matching" - - or at least not contrasting too violently with - - the rest of the chrome on my car. As far as cost, sure I understand that one-offs are more expensive than production line, but if I recall your price was around $400 for both bumpers and some other pieces, while I got quoted $875 just for the front, so I need to do some more shopping around. Just found this place in Erie PA which looks promising http://www.advancedcustomchrome.com/
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  #8  
Old 12-20-2017, 08:45 PM
Deanj Deanj is online now
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I recall the spot chrome process used to repair small damaged areas on bumpers. I always thought it wasn't perfect. In fact the area seemed magnetized for life. I got to think body shops sublet these jobs out to a plating company or a jobber came to the shop.

Anyone know if this process is used still, and can be used on scraped bumpers?

Dean
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2017, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by del View Post
Dave When you got the chrome work done that you wrote about back in '09 what type of chroming did you go with? Is the 2 stage process still available? Seems like that would have a better chance of "matching" - - or at least not contrasting too violently with - - the rest of the chrome on my car. As far as cost, sure I understand that one-offs are more expensive than production line, but if I recall your price was around $400 for both bumpers and some other pieces, while I got quoted $875 just for the front, so I need to do some more shopping around. Just found this place in Erie PA which looks promising http://www.advancedcustomchrome.com/
It cost me NZ $1055 to get the two bumpers and the chrome strip above the windscreen chromed.
And that was on my 1964 105E Anglia! (Google one to see their size)

So your prices seem pretty reasonable.
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2017, 09:50 AM
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I have used thes guys to strip and straighten bumpers, but not replate because I was powder coating instead. Anyway they do a ton of other bumper repairs and their chrome on other bumpers looked real good. They must be doing something right, they have a contract to do the chrome on the new Indian motorcycles. http://aihchrome.com/
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