Straightening and polishing your own trim can be a daunting task, but we got some tips from George that will make your attempts end with better results. For a lot of us, it boils down to economics, both of time and money. If you're only going to do a couple of cars in your life, it's probably better to send the parts out and have them professionally done. If you can see yourself doing several cars, or you're one of those people who likes being able to handle every aspect of a restoration, it makes sense to invest money in equipment and the time to get professional results. Here's what we learned.

Safety First
Using a soft fuzzy disc on a spinning arbor doesn't seem like something you can get hurt with, but it's easier than you think.

First and foremost is a breathing filter. The polishing process puts a ton of dust and compound in the air, and it's just not good to breath it, so even if you're only doing a few pieces at a time, wear a filter. George uses very expensive full masks with circulating air systems that provides fresh cool air to breath and keep him cool. A good charcoal filter is all the hobbyist needs-the one George is wearing in the photo is a standard charcoal filter with face shield. Safety glasses are mandatory. George also wears a full head sock, just to keep his head clean.

Always keep the work going "with the grain"-make sure that if the wheel grabs the part and rips it out of your hand, nothing can get hung up as it leaves, and make sure it goes away from you if it leaves. Always use the "bottom" side of the wheel's rotation, and don't give the wheel any edges to grab on to. Also, hold the piece in such a way as to be sure you won't get hurt if it does fly. George once had a piece hit him twice before it was all over-the piece hit him in the head, bounced back into the wheel, was thrown into his knee, bounced back into the wheel again and was finally thrown across the room. He limped for a week, got several stitches in his head, and considers himself lucky that was all.

To insulate his hands from the heat, George uses the thickest leather welding gloves he can find, and also wears a weight lifter's glove inside them.

Hearing protection is a good idea, too. After the constant din of the motor and the parts on the buffs, your ears will ring.

Finally, he protects the pieces he's working on by using a large diameter wheel to do the polishing, but he has a smaller diameter wheel next to the steel collar, and a rubber cap on the shaft of the arbor. If the piece he's working on rolls off the side of the wheel, it won't get destroyed by the collar or arbor.

Iverson Automotive