Thread Number: 14200
Chrome and cloth......
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Post# 150161   9/3/2011 at 08:46 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

In the process of a restoration. Thought perhaps some may enjoy seeing what can be done with these old machines.

This is the first time I have had to do metal work that doesn't get covered with paint, so it had to be perfect. This vacuum hood had several pings and dents in it, as well as being covered in rust.


Post# 150163 , Reply# 1   9/3/2011 at 08:47 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        


Post# 150164 , Reply# 2   9/3/2011 at 08:49 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Body work done by me. Re-chroming by my motorcycle shop guy.


Post# 150166 , Reply# 3   9/3/2011 at 08:51 (4,554 days old) by KirbyLover (Louisville Kentucky )        

that looks AMAZING! How much does chrome plating normally cost? I'd almost like to chrome plate one of my Kirbys as it is such a pain trying to maintain bare aluminum.

Post# 150167 , Reply# 4   9/3/2011 at 08:52 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

This is the bag to the same machine. Obviously, could only be used as a "sort" of pattern.


Post# 150168 , Reply# 5   9/3/2011 at 08:56 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Measurements made as best as possible, considering this machine had to have sat in a flooded basement.


Post# 150169 , Reply# 6   9/3/2011 at 08:57 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        


Post# 150170 , Reply# 7   9/3/2011 at 08:58 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        


Post# 150173 , Reply# 8   9/3/2011 at 09:00 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Selection of fabric and dying to match what little of the original color was present. The light colored patch is the "before" color:

Post# 150174 , Reply# 9   9/3/2011 at 09:01 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Being that the fabric was a polyester blend, it required special dye and procedures:

Post# 150176 , Reply# 10   9/3/2011 at 09:05 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        


Post# 150179 , Reply# 11   9/3/2011 at 09:07 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Sewing, installing zipper, etc:

Post# 150180 , Reply# 12   9/3/2011 at 09:09 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Making the badge strip:

Post# 150182 , Reply# 13   9/3/2011 at 09:11 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Went with all-white lettering. The machine has no red on it, and thought I would simply make it match the headlight lens.

Post# 150184 , Reply# 14   9/3/2011 at 09:13 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Manufacturing the bag's flexible tube and paper bag attachment snout:

Post# 150185 , Reply# 15   9/3/2011 at 09:14 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Testing inflation:

Post# 150186 , Reply# 16   9/3/2011 at 09:16 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Completed items side by side:

Post# 150188 , Reply# 17   9/3/2011 at 09:17 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Back-side view:

Post# 150194 , Reply# 18   9/3/2011 at 09:32 (4,554 days old) by kenmore81 (Warwick, RI)        

kenmore81's profile picture

Wow, amazing Rick. It looks original. I wish I had that kind of talent.

Post# 150195 , Reply# 19   9/3/2011 at 09:34 (4,554 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

That is incredible!

I cant WAIT to see the completed machine!

You really have the most meticulous attention to detail when restoring these machines! They always come out looking better than new.

Post# 150199 , Reply# 20   9/3/2011 at 09:53 (4,554 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Well sure, twin Brother by another Mother...

But do you have these?

Post# 150200 , Reply# 21   9/3/2011 at 09:57 (4,554 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Not to give too much away but:

Post# 150201 , Reply# 22   9/3/2011 at 10:06 (4,554 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
Stunning - looks like a 2nd Prize winner!

aeoliandave's profile picture
Looking so forward to shaking your hand as we accept our First Place Ribbons. :-)

Seriously Rick, I know precisely what you're going through.

I had only one original red motor filter and it was rotted away from mouse pee and nestings, as was the metal screen underneath.

So I made them from spare found parts as close to original as feasible. There's not one out of period modern part on my entry. Unless you count the gold lid inlet...and that's sheet tooling brass.

Post# 150202 , Reply# 23   9/3/2011 at 10:11 (4,554 days old) by revooh ()        
Gee Golly Gosh !!!

I knew you were talented Rick but good grief, I had no idea how much talent you. You did a beautiful job on that bag buddy. Ever thought about starting a home business making replacement vacuum bags? LOL. I am totally amazed at what you did and do. Best on your next project !!!!!!!!!!!!


Post# 150203 , Reply# 24   9/3/2011 at 10:15 (4,554 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Oh, the lengths to which we'll go for a scrap of shiny Rayon Ribbon...

Post# 150206 , Reply# 25   9/3/2011 at 10:36 (4,554 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
The lid insert panel was completely delaminated, warped, bent and deformed from moisture.
Fortunately the gold foil label and gray paper backing was mostly intact, though somewhat crumpled having fallen away from the lid.
I reglued the torn sections, steam ironed it as flat as possible then went to work re-laminating it's layers. The section over the vent holes was torn away so a new look was needed.

Post# 150209 , Reply# 26   9/3/2011 at 10:55 (4,554 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        

Thanks for the compliments Kenneth, Brandon, and Jim. It's not talent. It's patience, and I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to a lot of different things in my life to help me complete these projects. I worked in the coatings industry for many years, knew people that owned automotive body shops, etc. I can sew - as long as things are not garments, but can - and have made seat covers for cars. Plus, I've collected a lot of tools! LOL!

Dave(KirbyLover) - E-mail me and I will share with you the answers that I know about having things re-chromed.

Dave (Aeolian). Best of luck on your machine. I can tell you've put a lot of hours and hard work into your project. I won't be bringing any machines for any contests this year. I let time slip away from me, and was ill for about three weeks. I just got the upright hood back from the chrome shop and was so impressed by the job he had done, I wanted to share. But, I am pretty proud of the bag - and since the bag holder was part of the rechroming - what the heck! My machine is months away from completion. It's really the first one that I have documented all steps on digital media and hadn't posted in a while and actually had time to do it today.

Looks like you've got a winner there!!!!


Post# 150213 , Reply# 27   9/3/2011 at 11:11 (4,554 days old) by Air-WayCharlie (USA)        

air-waycharlie's profile picture
Very, very impressive. You have got a knack and a talent. Bet you could make a few bucks doing restorations for members.

Dave, (Aeolian)
Ditto as you are the twin! I'm looking forward to finally meeting you.


Post# 150215 , Reply# 28   9/3/2011 at 11:22 (4,554 days old) by VAC-O-MATIC (Saint Louis, Mo.)        

Wow, you guys are amazing! Absolutely incredible talent, yes Rick, talent!

Post# 150222 , Reply# 29   9/3/2011 at 12:28 (4,554 days old) by westingman123 ()        

Well, I am speechless!

Both those restorations are breath-taking, even "in progress"!

I so admire a man who can work with his hands.

Post# 150230 , Reply# 30   9/3/2011 at 14:55 (4,554 days old) by luxg ()        

Amazing!  I saw this Universal when Rick had it all taken apart.  I thought it was in hopeless condition!!!  The hood and chroming is just beautiful.  I am sure that the original bag didn't look as good as you new one Rick.  You can say what you want but this takes more than patients Rick!


Dave the Lewyt is going to be fantastic as well.  You have really gone all out on this one.  


Way to go guys!!



Post# 150238 , Reply# 31   9/3/2011 at 16:31 (4,554 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Oh shucks Rick, I was just funnin' atcha. But shirly there is some machine you have restored that you can toss in the van that has not won a ribbon yet? The machine, I mean...the van is notorious enough.

"and I have been fortunate enough to have been exposed to a lot of different things in my life"

Same thing with myself and I work at a live Theatre complex with full shops where techniques can be asked about and learned. I took great care to do everything myself after advice was given.

"It's not talent. It's patience"

True words and I wish I'd had a bit more of it...and time...when I mustered the courage to dive into my project. Had I known how the paint was going to cure I'd have taken more care with the floor nozzle case to smooth out the corrosion imperfections and under-paint flaws - the pn was my first piece and it was too late to strip & do it over.
Assorted hammers, prybars, Sandpaper, Kurly Kates, grinder, steel wool, various metal files...and wrist aching patience did a bang up job on the main vacuum cans but still, in order to preserve the ink-stamped serial number I had to leave the rear caster casting's corrosion bumps and lumps as is under a fresh coat of paint. With the tools on board camouflaging and distracting perhaps the glaring flaws will be forgiven...

Ah well, it looks a dang sight better than what I started with and it was well deserving of every effort to resuscitate.
I too, took many pictures of the before, during and after and in the end, it is a vacuum restored to actually be used as intended, subject to the wear & tear that inevitably results.

This ain't no Trailer Queen. But for her Convention Debut she shall be beautiful.


Post# 150245 , Reply# 32   9/3/2011 at 18:31 (4,554 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        

portable's profile picture

Rick and Dave -


Beautiful work. Just stunning.

I am looking forward to meeting both of you in MPLS...John L.

Post# 150315 , Reply# 33   9/4/2011 at 11:10 (4,553 days old) by HooverCelebrity (Germany)        

Wow... Fabulous thread!  I'm sorry to hear that Miss Universal won't be making an appearance (the vacuum cleaner that is) this year.  Should we all hope for a miracle?  :-)


Dave-  What's the story with those unused UL, Good Housekeeping, etc... decals? Those are too fabulous!  You'll have to share all of your dirty secrets! 



Post# 150316 , Reply# 34   9/4/2011 at 11:14 (4,553 days old) by HooverCelebrity (Germany)        



Are you going to be painting the lower half of the hood like it was originally?



Post# 150322 , Reply# 35   9/4/2011 at 11:48 (4,553 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
A Labour of Love & Devotion.

aeoliandave's profile picture
What I started with: dents, gouges, paint blister corrosion and rust clear through the sides. And a giddy delusional sense of hopeless dismay tempered with pluck...lots of pluck.

The link is what Dr Crevicetool has to contend with.

Oh Rick, please, please, please, pretty please bring something to drool over.


CLICK HERE TO GO TO aeoliandave's LINK

Post# 150323 , Reply# 36   9/4/2011 at 11:58 (4,553 days old) by Crevicetool (GA )        
Fred -

I know. It seems a shame, and I'm going to sort of hate to do it, but yes - I will be painting the lower half as it was originally. What is worse - I'm going to have to SAND that beautiful chrome plating to roughen up the surface so that the coating will stick. My guy said that he could save me a little money, and not prep and plate the "painted area" - but could not guarantee that in the many hands that handle these items someone would miss "which spots not to chrome". Better safe than sorry - and decided to have the whole thing done. I can mask off which area will get sanded and painted. A different year of production had the whole hood painted - and I could have done that too. But miss an opportunity to have something chrome? uh uh. Luv shiny too much

Thanks, Fred - can't wait to see you!

Post# 150332 , Reply# 37   9/4/2011 at 13:03 (4,553 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Fred - high rez photos and scans of originals (and from magazine adverts for the specific Red Star Good Housekeeping), doctored up in Paint Shop Pro 6, scaled down to exact size through many draft test prints, final print with Photo cartridge in my nasty old HP All-In-One on Best DPI setting (15 minute print) on bright white paper, then sprayed with Glossy Fixer spray to duplicate the shiny decal look. Carefully cut out and apply with thinned rubber cement.

The oval Demother label massively doctored and printed on glossy 3x5 Photo blanks I had lying around. Since I couldn't get the damaged original off to scan and it was impossible to get a straight on flash photo without glare washout, there is a perceptible angle taper to the text printing. But the 3 5/8" x 2 7/16" size is exact and I'm not trying to pretend it is a pristine original label. In fact I left behind some yellow age mottling and colour shift fading effects left to right as I selected colour samples to paint in individual pixels under high magnification. Sounds tedious and it was but the new label is as clean as I can get it retaining the aged look.

The less satisfactory alternative would have been to flood fill the entire background in a solid yellow, which would have further degraded the black text making black pixel restoration of the lettering a monumental undertaking. Ugh...Dear Lord, it's only a vacuum label...stop obsessing beyond reasonable sanity, Davy. The clock is ticking...

Since the replacement motor for the original seized one is from a Canadian Lewyt I decided it should have a Canadian Standards Seal as well and that I will place in the round dimple on the back that is always blank on every Big Wheel I've seen.

Post# 150337 , Reply# 38   9/4/2011 at 13:35 (4,553 days old) by rickenbacker ()        


I've been thinking about having a Hoover Constellation chromed for some time now. As soon as I see a grotty one and I have the money, that can be my next project! :)

Post# 150486 , Reply# 39   9/5/2011 at 15:51 (4,552 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Rick & the Universal, Dave & the Lewyt...

a007kirbyman's profile picture
Hello Rick.

You're doing an incredible restoration on the Universal. All I will say is, WOW!!!

Hello Dave.

I will say you are doing a fantastic restoration with your Lewyt. I L@@K forward to talking with you.

Cheers & hagd/n all,


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