Hello all, I am currently restoring the steering wheel (Wheelsman) from my 1957 MFG Cambridge. I am wondering if someone knows the best way to clean the pitted center cap without ruining the emblem. I believe it is stainless.
Any help is appreciated.
Before you do anything take very good pictures of it. If the graphics get damaged you can have a decal made.
It looks like black printing on a brushed metal color base would be nearly identical. This could then be applied to your center disk. A good sign shop can do this easily.
If it is stainless although I'll bet it's aluminum there is a printing process used on aluminum that is most frequently seen on capacity plates etc.
So you need something that won't etch the aluminum and not take off the printing.
A spray with auto brake clean always seems to be a good way to get oil related gunk off, I have had great luck in it not effecting graphics. Then I would just soak it in some simple green or similar washing in very hot water. This gets off the water soluble grime.
I think best case is you'll be left with a clean but not shiny base with minimum effect on graphics. It will look good and have some vintage patina.
If it does not clean up well, the decal route it would look nearly as new.
My 2 cents,
Good luck. Nice you are keeping the original wheel, new wheels always look out of place on older boats.
I took your advise & took better pictures. I had reached out to someone that does vynal lettering for signs & he said he would not be able to do it because it is so small & intricate. I am going to reach out to a few more people & hopefully I can find someone. I will take your advise on the cleaning procedure & see what happens. I am trying to keep it all as close to original as possible but the interior paint scheme is proving incredibly difficult. Spoke to a few people at the Wooden boat show in Mystic Ct. but no luck.