What girl doesn’t like shiny things? I admit to being drawn, somewhat unexplainably, to anything that sparkles. So as the steering wheel horn ring of the Falcon sat on my workbench, it mocked me with it’s un-shiny surface. Although I knew some of it’s pock-marks were uncurable, I suspected it’s tarnish could be rubbed away. A perfect job for a day when I didn’t feel particularly active – this one called for slow and steady commitment.
Off to the hardware store I went to get some #0000 steel wool. Don’t try this with the super-abrasive stuff you might purchase at a 0.99 cent store – that will do nothing but scratch. This big pack of #0000 cost about $4.00. You’ll also want to have some of the best metal polisher on the planet (in my experience at least), Never Dull. A good pair of gloves also came in handy, as you don’t want those small bits of steel wool digging into your flesh – as well as a little screwdriver or similar gadget to help press the steel wool into hard-to-reach corners.
I began by taking apart the horn ring – as I didn’t want to scratch the plastic center button. Three screws held the piece together. The plastic ring shown in the upper-right of this picture, had broken off and caused it to land on my workbench to begin with. You’ll notice one of the three tabs is missing above. Those tabs lock the horn ring onto the steering wheel. While having it apart, I managed to super glue the broken tab back on, which seems to be holding fine so far (I have doubts that this little plastic part can be replaced, but I haven’t actually searched for it yet.)
After the horn button is apart, you’ve got just the chrome to deal with – hit it with the steel wool until it’s as shiny as you think it can get. Some spots took a fair amount of elbow-grease before the persistent boogers disappeared. In hard to reach corners, I placed the little screwdriver over the steel wool – making sure not to end up scratching the surface with the actual screwdriver. After I was satisfied with the surface, I went over it with the Never Dull and once more with a clean cotton cloth.
When I was satisfied with it’s shine, I put everything back together and “wah-lah”, a steering wheel that looks much closer to new then when I began. It’s just a little thing, but it makes a BIG difference. Looking around the car now, I see a number of other chrome bits and pieces that are candidates of a good shining…one of the reasons that this project is taking longer than expected! But, that’s okay… I’d rather take my time and do it right than throw together something I wouldn’t be proud of!