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 Post subject: Decal removal and cleaning anodized aluminum
PostPosted: Apr Sun 09, 2017 12:29 am 
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Joined: Dec Thu 29, 2011 8:45 pm
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Location: York, PA
I bought a RCA 8BX6 from a member a while back that had an old waterslide decal on the front of it. I was concerned about getting the decal off and also about how to go about cleaning the silver anodized aluminum case without destroying the finish.
I tried to dissolve the decal with lacquer thinner and acetone, but that didn't work very well. Then I decided to try soaking the decal with a damp cloth for a while, then applied a piece of wide, clear packing tape. I was surprised to find that the tape pulled off most of the decal on the first try. I had to repeat this several times, but eventually most of the decal came off. The rest came off with acetone and some mild rubbing.
Once the decal was off, I was left with the inevitable shadow where it once was. I needed something to deep clean the metal.
I thought about trying cleaners like Bon Ami, Barkeepers Friend, ect, but I was afraid of marking up the aluminum or making shiny spots.
What I ended up using was Liquid Drano (drain cleaner). This worked extremely well to deep clean the anodized aluminum without marring it in any way. After applying the drain cleaner all over the case, I followed with a wet rag. The dirt that came off on the rag was surprising as I thought it was clean already. The case is now clean, and the decal "shadow" is essentially gone (I can still see it a little, but I doubt anyone else will). I did mask off the painted area in the middle as I didn't know what effect the drain cleaner would have on the paint.
I'm happy with the results:


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Bill W
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 Post subject: Re: Decal removal and cleaning anodized aluminum
PostPosted: Apr Sun 09, 2017 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3952
Location: Charleston, W.Va.
Hi Bill W,
Thanks for the tips on cleaning the anodized aluminum. I also own an RCA 8BX6 and know how difficult this can be, without damaging the anodized finish.

But I must add this: Living in my part of the country, if I had owned that 8BX6 I would never have removed that vintage Kentucky "Wildcats" decal which probably dates from the 1950s or early 1960s. If sold around here in WV or KY, it might even have added to the radio's value. But as they say: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". :)

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Poston


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 Post subject: Re: Decal removal and cleaning anodized aluminum
PostPosted: Apr Mon 10, 2017 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 12, 2011 1:32 am
Posts: 882
I have used that as well. The anodized aluminum is a coating applied to the aluminum to keep it looking good. After time it will dull and look milky like. I have used draino to clean aluminum many times. I have also found that oven cleaner can work well to clean. I have restored old woodworking tools until I had what I needed in my workshop. I also used this to clean the aluminum trim on my truck I restored. But when using this Protect yourself from the fuses and acid by using gloves and a good chemical mask. Its relatively safe if done correctly. Also wash off the cleaned item with water good or it will continue to eat the aluminum. The aluminum will eventually get dull again. After I clean the aluminum I follow up with some of the silver wadding compound found in walmart or other stores then use auto paste wax to protect it. If aluminum has dents you can use a brass hammer to tap them out then polish with a 600,800 or better grit wet or dry sandpaper then follow through with the wadding compound and auto polish. But by using the sandpaper it will bring out the shine and can be a mirror finish almost.


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 Post subject: Re: Decal removal and cleaning anodized aluminum
PostPosted: Apr Mon 10, 2017 5:52 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
Once the anodized finish has been worn away by chemicals and abrasives the raw aluminum will be exposed. This will oxidize rapidly. Consider the consequences in aggressive cleaning.


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 Post subject: Re: Decal removal and cleaning anodized aluminum
PostPosted: Apr Tue 25, 2017 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Jun Sun 12, 2011 1:32 am
Posts: 882
Chas brings up a good point. It will oxidize but with a lot of anodized aluminum after decades that coating many times turns white. At this point you have three options I know of. You can clean and wax when it does and another is to clear coat the object. I have heard you can put the anodizing back on but I am not familiar with how. I got into restoring old tools from the 20s to the 50s for my workshop. I restored a delta scroll saw that I polished the aluminum belt housing. I polished it up and it has dulled but it is a uniform dull and not bad. It looks a lot better the the milky looking pattern that was on it. Here is a picture of my truck.I was pulling out sharply from a stores parking lot when the steering went out. I wound up in the ditch. When I redid the truck I polished all the aluminum trim on it and the grill was bent to about 45 degrees on one side. I was able to hammer out its dents and area that it was warped to straighten it. I then cleaned it as I mentioned. It does get dull but a few minutes of polishing with car wax makes it shine again.

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