Zenith Express 3 group

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dizzyant97

Postby dizzyant97 » Apr 17, 2019, 4:38 am

Just bought this 3 group Zenith Express lever, think its about 1950s French.
In full working condition, but i am going to strip down and fully restore.
Not sure whether to re chrome or replenish and leave a vintage patina.
What do you all think.
Thanks

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Markant

Postby Markant » Apr 17, 2019, 5:35 am

Nice find! Seems in good condition, clean it, buff it up and leave the vintage feel! Don't re-chrome.....

My 2cents....

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grog

Postby grog » Apr 17, 2019, 9:43 am

Agree - clean and polish. I would only rechrome if there were significant areas of failure on the chrome, and it looks like it's all in very good shape on your machine.
LMWDP #514

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drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » Apr 17, 2019, 11:34 am

There's a great old post by master restorer Paul Pratt, where he addresses this exact issue. Here's the link. Scroll down and look for the subhead: "When restoration becomes 'over restored.'"

My preference might be to repaint or powder coat the black side panels, to leave the chrome alone, and to try and clean up the gold trim. If a piece of gold trim is badly corroded (can't see in your pix), I might re-plate or refinish that part, matching it closely. Otherwise I agree with the others, clean and polish. Polishing on a big buffing wheel can also be overdone for a mirror-like shine that wears away the surface. For polishing my emphasis would be on good clean-up while retaining the original texture of the surface.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

dizzyant97

Postby dizzyant97 » Apr 17, 2019, 11:52 am

Thanks all, think thats the best way forward, ive stripped it down today. Its a beast but in its total original condition, never touched even had asbestos
boiler lining which ive disposed of carefully.
Will post pics later
cheers

dizzyant97

Postby dizzyant97 » Apr 17, 2019, 11:59 am

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paddygarcia

Postby paddygarcia » Apr 17, 2019, 3:40 pm

That's just great as it is. In the car world it'd be called a survivor, with the same advice given here: carefully clean it up, refresh mechanicals as needed, and enjoy.

I'd bet the metal will clean up well just by hand.

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drgary
Team HB

Postby drgary » Apr 17, 2019, 4:22 pm

That really is a wonderful find and if memory serves, this is one of the best lever groups ever. Now that we're able to see the chrome more closely, I'll be interested in the method used to clean off the corrosion. I can also see some scratches from a scrubby. Those should be reduced with some Simichrome and elbow grease.
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

OldNuc

Postby OldNuc » Apr 17, 2019, 6:07 pm

Cleaning up well aged chrome and other bright work should be approached in stages with great care or it will all end in tears. This post gives a clear description of how to proceed: Gaggia Tipo America 1960 2 Group Lever Rebuild

Chrome is quite hard and requires a very high polish and all polishes are abrasive and remove material. If you do not have the equipment and experience to handle those large panels a professional metal polishing company can do the job quite economically.

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arcus

Postby arcus » Apr 17, 2019, 10:18 pm

Great acquisition! I'd definitely try to clean it up as best as you can and leave the patina.