By Chris Ritter
I finally made a trip to a local plating shop for an estimate to redo my chrome. Thankfully, many of the trim pieces on my car are stainless steel but the chrome pieces I want to have redone include the trim around my two vent panes, two vent pane to main glass pillars, front and rear bumpers and four bumper guards.
Before I could make the trip, however, I had to remove the glass from the window vents and dismantle the two pillars. According to the '37 Buick Shop Manual, the glass in the front vents can simply be slid out of the frame since all that holds them in place is some friction tape. While that may have been good instruction 77 years ago, decades and decades of thermo cycling, direct sunlight and general age turned that friction tape into cement. To soften the tape I had to soak the windows in gasoline ... for three days. On the third day I liberated the glass by placing it in a large vise and gently persuading the trim off. The original panes will be replaced with new glass since one pane was already cracked when I got the car.
Glass and frame are soaked in aviation gasoline.
With the glass clamped it was time to persuade the frame to release.
As the glass is released we get our first glimpse at the original friction tape.
These are the smaller pieces that were sent to Qual Krom.
The vent-to-main glass pillar is the piece of metal that divides the main glass from the vent. It is critical since it creates a seal for the vent but also serves as the channel where the main glass rides in. There is even a piece of woodgrained trim visible on the inside of the car. This piece had a bit more going on, so I took dozens of pictures to make sure that once I took everything apart I would be able to get it back together. Disassembly required me to remove a support bracket, window channel and a metal trim clamp. From here the woodgrained metal piece simply slid off revealing the bare pillar and the 1/2" X 13-1/2" face that needs to be rechromed.
This shows a close up of the pillar, woodgrained strip and retaining clamp.
With my pieces prepped, it was off to the plater for my estimate. This was the first time I was getting chrome work done for myself. I knew it would be expensive and I was hoping to get everything done for $1,200. Boy was I off! As my parts lay on the estimate table the "$150 here" and "$300 there" really started to add up. It wasn't long before my estimate totaled $2600. I managed a smile and said I had to think about it. Then I slowly backed out of the door.