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topic 59256

What is this brownish gold finish on glove box latch?

April 24, 2013

Q. While restoring an old car I came across a brownish gold finish on the glove box latch. It appears to be a conversion coat over CAD or zinc but I can't say I've ever run across this in the past, or anywhere else on the car. I've attached a couple photos in the event someone can identify the finish correctly.

finish on glove box latch 1 finish on glove box latch 2

Appreciate the help,


Lew Bisbing
Plating Hobby - Mesa, Arizona, USA

April 29, 2013

A. Lew,
I've had similar results to that finish using an rubbed oil finish, but considering the application I think it's more likely to be a paint.

Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Boone, North Carolina, USA

April 29, 2013

A. Hi Lew. My bet is that the component is a zinc die casting and that it has received a yellow/gold colored chromate conversion coating. In those days it would have been a hexavalent chromate. These days you'll want to go to a trivalent chromate conversion coating.

I find the shininess of this old part a bit surprising; it may be that either originally or as part of a previous restoration, it may have been sprayed with a clearcoat. Just my guess -- not to say that Marc is wrong with his guess about it being paint.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 29, 2013

Thanks for helping.
Q. I have trivalent yellow, clear, blue and black -- even know there is an OD available. Is it possible there may have been a hexavalent brown color years ago?
Don't believe it's paint, and considering the application, paint would chip off too easily.

Lew Bisbing
- Mesa, Arizona

May 1, 2013

Q. Mr Mooney, I've been thinking about what you said, believing the part may be "zinc cast". So between the textured surface finish and no brighteners, once cleaned, if the part were dipped into a yellow chromate do you believe the bronze finish can be achieved?

What comes to mind is aviation high strength bolts that get plated less brighteners due to hydrogen embrittlement concerns, they tend to look more gold, but the finish and starting material is much better.

I may try doing this over the weekend.

Lew Bisbing
- Mesa, Arizona, USA

May 5, 2013

Q. I tried a portion on the latch with yellow trivalent chromate, not even close . . . .
I have to believe there must have been a bronze hexavalent chromate used, but have not gotten a solid confirmation from the restoration sites either.

Lew Bisbing
- Mesa, Arizona, USA

October 16, 2013

A. It almost appears to be cadmium with an olive drab over it. It's hard to tell as I've only seen CAD with olive drab once. We had a plater ask us to olive drab some parts that they had plated.

Jose Bustamante
- Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

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