Cleaning '57 dash knobs

Has anybody come up with a good way to clean out the small slots in the dash knobs? I need to pull the radio and when I pulled the knobs the slots were full of 65 yo grit. I was thinking of using my wife's sonic jewelry cleaner with some Mr. Clean solution. Any other thoughts?
 
I get lots of these radios for conversion. The 57 is odd because one knob shaft is slotted while the other is D shaped.

My cleaning method: remove the knobs. For the rear knobs, I keep ammonia in a spray botle -- spray a little on the knob, clean with a toothbrush. This gets into the crevices. If the chrome is really dirty, I use wheel cleaner -- the kind that says caution, corrosive. Yep! That's what I use. Toothbrush, then go over it again with the ammonia so there's mo residue. The plastic knob, Bleche-Wite. Spray on, use a paint brush. The bright usually comes clean, but if not use the ammonia. Finally, if really bad, Novus fine plastic cleaner will shine it up.

Let me know how it turns out.
 
I was in a hurry when I wrote my last response, so I'll clarify. The ammonia does a great job of shining up the chrome. The wheel cleaner is better for CLEANING the chrome if it's really dirty. Rinse with water. I also use this for the pushbuttons, remembering that I disassemble the radio and clean up the tuner in the sink. You can carefully clean the buttons on the set, using a toothbrush, and if you really need to clean them you can remove them from the radio -- except the on-off switch. The others you can unscrew -- long shaft but you can do it. Other cleaners may work, but the ammonia and wheel cleaner are what I use. Toothbrush is great for all the crevices. Bleche-Wite does a good job of cleaning plastic -- knobs, buttons, dial glass, etc. Two cautions -- first, be careful when cleaning the inside of the dial glass, as it will melt the white paint from the markings. This is actually good if you want to restore the dial. Clean with Bleche-Wite and a toothbrush, rinse, repeat as needed. For the Conelrad marks at 640 and 1240, I use Testors Fluorescent red paint. Wipe off the excess immediately with your finger. Let dry. Then I use acrylic white paint for the numbers -- again, wipe off the excess. Let it dry completely, then polish the plastic which will clean off the excess paint. Use either Novus scratch remover or Simichrome -- both work well. Follow up with Novus fine. Now for the other caution: Bleche-Wite is great for all these plastics, Delco, Ford, you name it -- EXCEPT Studebaker. I know we're talking Thunderbirds here, but letting you know, Studebaker plastics and Bleche-Wite don't mix. Use Windex instead -- REAL Windex, not other brands -- they can be bad too. Novus polish is fine on these.

Again, let me know if you have questions.
 

57tbird57

Well-Known Member
Has anybody come up with a good way to clean out the small slots in the dash knobs? I need to pull the radio and when I pulled the knobs the slots were full of 65 yo grit. I was thinking of using my wife's sonic jewelry cleaner with some Mr. Clean solution. Any other thoughts?
toothbrush and castrol super clean
 
Well, I went on a hinch. Tried it and they came out beautifully. No work, no scratching and the serrated knurls came out sparkling.
I'm not going to try to mess with the back glasses as I like the original patina. This is no trailer queen but want it to sparkle on first look.
 
Good for you!

I've thought about sharing some tips from my "Bag of tricks" on my website, but haven't had the time to do so. When you do this every day for decades, you learn what works.

Enjoy!
It looks like you have a 60's bird. I had a '66 landau which I loved. Then kids..Sold it to get a minivan. Still kept my '57 bought as a bachelor still have it even after divorce.
If you ever have the time write down what you know as it will be invaluable to collectors. Much like Gil Baumgartner who specializes in '55-'57 baby birds for CTCI. The wisdom NEEDS to be passed on.
 
My car is a 1964 Hardtop. It's a LONG running project, but it's special to me because it's the car that got me into the radio business. Since then, it has been the first car to see many of the stereo products available today -- it's the guinea pig of sorts.

Some years ago, I had two articles posted as part of my website. How to shop for a radio, and how to fix your own radio, both of which were written at a time when I was still offering original service. These articles brought in a lot of business -- especially the second one, where someone would try, get frustrated, and send it to me. What's also interesting is that someone posted these articles in a club newsletter, then a publisher took the newsletter articles and published them in a magazine, giving the club the credit, and now they're sorta kinda in circulation. Whatever. I'd still like to update them somewhat and repost them in a slightly different form. But right now I'm REALLY busy!
 
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