I recently bought a 1913 T Touring, that came with the original 1913 License Plate. It is approximately 16 inches wide, and 7 inches high. It is made of thick metal, that is enameled on both sides, but a couple of areas are showing rust. I am not sure that I want it "restored", since I don't want it to look like it was brand new, but I do want to prevent any further rusting. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Neutralize the rust with naval jelly and put on a polyurethane clear coat.
A '13 Dealer tag? WOW!
Lowes sells a product called JASCO. It is a metal/cleaner for new/rusty metal and is a Phosphoric acid base. It will convert rust to an Iron phosphate and prevent further rusting. The good news is it only costs $6-7. Nice plate.
Coat it with a product called "Fluid Film" that will hold it in check and not alter it in any way.
I would do a Molasses dip and then clearcoat the plate afterward.
I wouldn't recommend dipping anything in a sugar base that is porcelain enamel, I've been in the appliance industry for 20 plus years and worked in porcelain coatings we found blisters forming on parts and upon closer testing with our investigation of what was causing this issue we found it was sugar. next question was how's it making to our finished goods? After a month of this on going relentless search we traced it back to our assembly dept where we found our workers eating candy and only wearing one glove on one hand. They were using the other hand off and on breaking pieces off their sugary treats then handling the parts.
After a stay in the warehouse then a shipment to our RDC distribution locations then on to the customers these blisters would show up. Moral of the story sugar rots your teeth and it will affect some porcelain in the same manner. I wouldn't chance it but as Fred stated Molasses it is a great cure for the rusty metal......
Evapo-Rust doesn't smell like it has any sugar in it. I'd use that, then prep with DuPont 5717S and clear coat.
That is a nice plate. The dealer plates were actually never registered to a specific car but it is a nice piece to have with yours. Regular issue plates from 1913 had an aluminum keystone on the left that had the serial number of the car stamped directly into is and marked as "not transferable".
I'll describe the way that I clean all of my porcelain plates. First you want to remove any oxidation from the remaining porcelain. Use 0000 steel wool with rubbing compound (I use 3M Perfect-it II) to get the "haze" off. Despite what you may think this will not scratch the porcelain. If the porcelain hasn't been badly weathered over the years it will end up very shiny. When that is done, Thoroughly clean the plate with soap and water and let it dry. Wipe the entire plate with a thin coating of boiled linseed oil. This will help maintain the shine (and bring it up on the porcelain if it has irreversible surface damage) and protect the bare metal. I have every PA porcelain regular issue plate and quite a few of the dealer plates and this process has worked well on them.
after cleaning my porcelain plates or porcelain signs, I always touched up the rust areas with shellac to seal it.
I would say anything you do is going to change the looks of the plate. If you use the derust products, they usually have some form of phosphoric acid in them. the acid changes the rust color to a light grey color. If you use a rust converter, they usually change the rust color to a black color. The "patina" is correct as it is now. So unless you "opt" for a full restoration of the tag. I suggest to just oil it with a light oil, like three in one, or even Boiled linseed oil thinned with mineral spirits (aprox 80% linseed and 20% mineral spirits) Do a test on something else that is rusty to see if you like the looks. Its not like the plate is going to be setting outside in years of rain and snow storms. It will probably spend its old age retirement inside, on your car. The oil will be plenty of protection for it... Submitted with respect, Donnie Brown ...
I agree with Donnie -- Any kind of "clear-coat" such as lacquer or shellac put over the plate will not only change its appearance, but also devalue it.
I haven't tried what Justin H. recommends above, but it sounds as if he knows what he's talking about from experience.
Unless you plan to bury this plate or toss it in the ocean, you will not live
long enough to see any appreciable rust occur if you put it on your car and
drive it like most T owners do .... good weather, car kept in a garage, etc.
I'd leave it cleaned up as you show it and just enjoy. Fussing with it only
devalues it, but also invites a more rapid rate of decay.
I agree with Burger. Leave it alone unless you want to devalue it.
This may or may not be useful for the conservation of the license plate.
The rust isn't going to get worse if you keep the plate in a nice, dry place.
My dad is a collector of early license plates so I've spent plenty of time around them and done my own share of conservation.
Porcelain plates are what they are. If they're mint, that's fantastic. Any other condition - there is really not much than can be done with them except give them a good cleaning. Any attempts to restore a porcelain plate (such as filling in the missing areas with body filler and paint) always end up being amateurish.
Justin H has the best advice. However, I would wash the plate with soap and water first, let it dry, then follow Justin's procedure. As a matter of personal taste, I wouldn't brush linseed oil on it but doing so certainly won't hurt the plate.
Note that there is a small house paint splat on the plate - looks like a teardrop. If you can't rub that off with your fingernail or rubbing compound, just put a little paint remover on it - it won't hurt the porcelain.
Also, to elaborate on what Justin also wrote, that plate would not have been the actual 1913 plate that was originally registered to your car. Most likely, it's just something that one of the previous antique car enthusiasts that owned your car picked up "along the way."
You can tell folks that your 13 is a leftover