December 2001
The first exterior trim items I restored were the emblems.  If you read episode 8, you may recall that the studs on a couple of the emblems were broken.  Before doing anything else to the emblems, I first wanted to repair these studs.  I worked on the Sierra Grande bed emblem first.  Here's how I repaired the emblems:

The first step was to use the bench grinder to grind off the remaining piece of the broken stud so it was flush with the emblem.  I then used a center punch to mark the center of this area. 
Using the drill press I drilled a 5/32" tap hole into the center of the ground off area.  I was careful to set the stop-depth on the drill press so I didn't drill all the way through the emblem. 
I threaded the hole using a 10-32 tap.  Because the hole was shallow I couldn't create a very large threaded area, so for additional insurance, I placed a dab of epoxy in the hole before inserting the new  threaded stud.
 I created the threaded stud by cutting the head off of 10-32 stainless steel screw.  Before cutting the head off, I screwed on two 10-32 nuts and jammed them together.  I then used a wrench on these nuts to screw the threaded stud into the hole, making sure the end that was not cut off was the end exposed.
After repairing the Sierra Grande emblem, I used basically the same procedure to repair the broken stud on the letter "G" hood emblem.

With all the mechanical repairs complete I turned my attention to the cosmetic restoration of the emblems.  Again, I started with the Sierra Grande bed emblems.  The first thing I did was remove the sticky tape adhesive on the backside of the emblems.  I removed the majority of the tape with a razor blade window scraper.  I removed the remaining residue with lacquer thinner.

Next, I repainted the black accents on the insides of the letters.  The paint I used was Rustoleum satin black.  I used a brush to apply the paint because the areas would be impossible to mask off.   Rather than "brush" the paint in the detail areas, I loaded paint on the end of the brush and then sort of dragged it around the areas until they were filled.  I didn't bother trying to keep the paint off of the non-painted areas.   Because they were chrome, the paint wiped off easily, as long as didn't dry first.  Even those few areas where the paint dried, it scraped off easily.   The detail was easy to paint, it just took a little patience. 

After the paint dried overnight I polished the chrome with Autosol.  The hard part was getting into all of the nooks and crannies between the letters.  I found that a buffing wheel on the Dremmel tool worked well.  As you can see in the photo, the lettering on the emblem at the bottom of the photo really stands out compared to the one at the top that hasn't been refinished.  The emblems came out pretty nice.  There are a few very small pits and a tiny spot or two where the chrome has flaked off, but at $50.00 apiece for reproduction emblems, I can live with it.

The next emblems I worked on were the GMC-1500 front fender emblems.  These emblems mostly just needed repainting and polishing, but I noticed that the metal tag that is imprinted with "1500 Sierra Grande" was coming unglued from one of the emblems, so I decided to remove it to reapply some adhesive.  VERY BAD IDEA!  I inserted a a utility knife  under the end of the tag that was lose thinking I could just pry the rest of it off.  Turns out the part that was still stuck was stuck VERY good.  Before I had enough sense to quit, I succeeded in bending the tag.  The tag is very thin, not quit as thin as tin foil, but close.  I finally decided to leave well enough alone and just re-glue the end that was loose.  I mixed up some epoxy and spread on the area, then used a spring clamp to hold it down will it dried.  That worked, but the area I bent is still noticeable.  Guess I'll just have to live with it. 

To paint the GMC letters on the emblem, I decided to use my air brush.  This meant I had to mask off the letters.  I found it was easiest to put tape over the entire letters and cut out the parts to be painted.   This is tedious, but it works well.  The secret is to make sure you use a really sharp razor blade.

After cutting out the letters I masked off the rest of the emblem and sprayed three coats of Floquil's Poly Scale ATSF red.  This was paint left over from painting my grandson's model train caboose.  The color seemed about right and I liked the flat look of the paint.  Also, if you use a hair dryer, you can spray on the next coat in just a couple of minutes. After painting, I polished the chrome with Autosol.  I think they look pretty good. 

The last emblems to restore were the G-M-C hood emblems.  I used the same masking tape technique I used with the GMC-1500 front fender emblems -- mask off the entire emblem and cut out the letter to be painted.  After masking I air brushed the emblems with three coats of Floquil's Poly Scale Steam Power Black.  Again, this was paint I had left from painting my grandson's model train.  This paint is a little flatter than the Rustoleum satin black I used on the Sierra Grande emblems, but the because the emblems are separated by the length of the pickup, the difference will never be noticed.  The finished emblems actually look much nicer than they do in this photo.

That takes care of the emblems.  In the next episode I will describe how I restored the grill, headlight bezels, and fender eyebrows.



Copyright 2001-2006 by Johnny M. Patterson
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