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Need formula to bring out metal stamped letters

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#1 tharpforge



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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:05 AM

Hi there
I have an old camper from the late 1970's. I located the VIN number on the trailor tongue, but due to years of weathering on it, the number is very light and almost not readable. Is there anything that I can put on it to make it easier to read or bring out the numbers better. Many thanks to all.


#2 bigfootnampa


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:41 AM

Try rubbing chalk powder into the surface first... it won't hurt and is surprisingly effective. A good strong raking light is also often useful.

#3 teenylittlemetalguy


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:16 PM

I don't remember the process, but the state used to bring stolen cars to my dads shop to recover Vehicle Id numbers that had been ground off. I know it involved a strong acid. Maybe ask an old mechanic. Sorry, that's about all I remember of it.
I'm just looking for one divine hammer. -the Breeders

#4 rthibeau


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:41 PM

Much care must be taken while doing it, but yes...to raise worn numbers stamped into metal use strong acid, be prepared to neutralize the acid as soon as the numbers show or you'll lose everything. The acid will eat away the less dense material leaving the denser compressed areas of the numbers.
Richard Thibeau, blacksmith and creative metal recycler www.dancingfrogforge.com

#5 pkrankow



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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:19 PM

Try a crayon or pencil rubbing on thin tracing paper. You can try chalk or flour directly on the metal. The acid treatment is last resort.

Your brain is the most powerful tool you own.

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