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Old 01-03-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
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Experience with Alodine?

In the 1963 Airstreams (and perhaps other years) the International trim had gold frames around the Airstream nameplates and ss# plates. Due to fading you won't see this till the plates are removed.

I'd really like to recreate this. I've tried numerous paints and "anodized look" paints...nothing comes close.

Today I tried using alodine and it didn't work. I prepped everything with alumiprep and scotchbrite but the alodine simply washed right off.

And then I noticed that the alodine worked on the cut edges that were exposed for the first time (see picture below) so I've come to the conclusion that it's not my solution or prep. Maybe something that has been anodized (which I am assuming was the original process) cannot be alodined?

Any suggestions?

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Ok, the pictures not that great but it really did only "take" the alodine on the edge.

The frames

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Old 01-03-2013, 07:52 PM   #2
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Hi Shelly,
I don't think Alodine would give you the look you are going for even if it did convert the surface to an even gold color. It would wear off fairly quickly. You could give it a bath in Alodine for a few hours to see if it will convert the surface. Have you looked into having it anodized gold? Of course gold $$$ plating would be the best choice
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:01 PM   #3
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Hi Shelly,
I don't think Alodine would give you the look you are going for even if it did convert the surface to an even gold color. It would wear off fairly quickly. You could give it a bath in Alodine for a few hours to see if it will convert the surface. Have you looked into having it anodized gold? Of course gold $$$ plating would be the best choice

I was hoping I could clearcoat it and stop it from wearing off . Yeah I looked into anodizing it but it was $$$ and I didn't get a great vibe from the shop. I'll look into it again at a different place!

Gold plating ....very funny Top Might as well have the whole trailer done too!
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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You might try this place.

Waco Metal Finishing

If you need local support, I'm just down the road.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
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Alodine is a chemical process that reacts with the raw aluminum. Any pretreatment that leave the aluminum in the oxided state will prevent the alodine from working. Anodize convert the surface to completely oxidized and so prevents the alodine from reacting.
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:01 PM   #6
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Hey Aerowood! Can I re-anodize without problems?
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:09 AM   #7
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In the aerospace industry, we used Alodine to touch up scratches in the anodized coating on aluminum parts. Alodine was a temporary coating and was just used to protect the touched-up bare metal for a day or two until it could be painted. Alodine is soft and can be rubbed off, and the stuff we used didn't have much color in it.

Dye was used in the anodize solution so that people could see that the surface had been treated. Gold (dark yellow) dye was used most of the time, but I think I recall seeing blue, green and clear on some parts. The color used to vary a lot, but the shade is not necessarily an indication of the thickness of the anodized coating. We didn't inspect for shade, but only for the presence of color to indicate that the part had been anodized.

In addition, you can tell if the surface of a part is anodized by lightly touching it with volt-ohm-meter probes, with the meter set to measure resistance (Ohms). Bare aluminum is conductive and will indicate a direct short between the probes, while an anodized surface will show high resistance.

As an aside, gold plating isn't terribly expensive; but the process requires special equipment and some very toxic chemicals.

Have you considered gold leaf? This is gold in extremely thin sheets that is applied using a brush and static electricity. After it is applied, I think you can use clear lacquer to keep it in place, although I have not worked in this medium before. You can get gold leaf at hobby stores and other places, and it is sometimes used in making fine pastries (it is edible, though gold isn't actually digested). You may wish to investigate further to see if this would work for your application.

Also, I would look more into clear, gold-colored lacquer or paint, as this may be the least costly way to restore these frames. Antique and hobby shops may be able to provide leads to products that might work.
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:54 AM   #8
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Wally's Gold Trailer is still down at Jackson Center. It is stored outdoors and the Gold Alodine has deteriorated badly. Alodine contains a transparent dye and most organic dyes degrade when exposed to the sun for long periods.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:11 AM   #9
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Gold high gloss aerosol paint with a flat clear over it will give you virtually the same effect you seeking. I have used this technique on trailers of our era numerous times and it works very well.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:58 AM   #10
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Hey Aerowood! Can I re-anodize without problems?
Yes, but the original anodize will need to be removed first. I'm not sure if it can be done chemically, electronically, or mechanically. Generally we just remake the part.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:41 PM   #11
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I think there may be some confusion between a anodize coating as found on the infamous Gold Trailer, belonging to Wally Byam and the gold frames found on Reinergirl's frames versus alodine coating which is used to prevent oxide on metals. Very similar sounding words, very similar color finish, very different use and longevity.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:49 PM   #12
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Franks right, my intention was to alodine to get the color and then clearcoat it.

The pieces were originally anodized however, anodizing is not very do-it-yourself friendly. And surprisingly expensive to have done.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:05 PM   #13
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Franks right, my intention was to alodine to get the color and then clearcoat it.

The pieces were originally anodized however, anodizing is not very do-it-yourself friendly. And surprisingly expensive to have done.
How true you are. I wrote up a proposal to Airstream to restore the Gold Trailer. The anodization stopped me dead in my proposal. It was a mere pipe dream. Gloss metallic spray bomb with flat clear will create a near close effect you seek. I have experimented with his extensively...
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Old 09-05-2014, 02:01 PM   #14
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I see that this is an old thread, but has anyone had experience with Alodine 1132 Touch-N-Prep Pen for "surface protection"?
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