Re-juvenating a cast metal badge

This example is from a 1978 GS1000 Suzuki.

This is what I started with. Both sides were in similar condition

Undamaged, other than being weather-beaten.

First step is to strip all old paint from the metal base.

I used an old toothbrush to apply the paint stripper, taking care to get into all the corners and cross-hatching. After the paint was removed, I ran the 'outlines' over the polishing buff just to give them a bit of a clean-up. Then I wiped them down with some thinners to clean off any residual polish.

Using double-sided tape, I stuck the badge on to a piece of aluminium I bent to match the curve for some support, and to make it easier to handle without touching the badge itself.

Masked and painted black.

I masked to the outer edge of the raised outline, then sprayed on a couple of thin coats of satin black. It's important to spray from as many angles as you can to get the most even coverage. The cross-hatching between the letters makes it difficult to cover with straight passes. you also have to make sure to hit all the egdes of the casting.

Once the paint has dried, you can peel the masking off.

For the white mask, You need to cut from the inside edge of the raised outline. This will leave the outline the unpainted chrome finish.

Masked for white coat.

The masking material I was using was a low-tack film, and there was some faint bleeding on the outline. This was easily removed by 'tracing' the outline with a cotton-tip dipped in thinners, then left to become semi-dry. You don't want pools of paint thinners at this stage. Just enough to shift a bit of overspray.


All done, and looking pretty good.


The camera hasn't picked it up very well, but the white is a gloss finish like the original.


Not sure if the screws are still available or not, so I painted them anyway :-)

So feeling confident that nothing could go wrong (!), I attempted to rescue the sidecover badges as well. While one of these was OK, the other was fairly beat-up. Most of the chrome had gone-along with the paint-and there were some scratches on the metal. This is the best of the two, with the chrome in a 'servicable' condition:


So I started the process again by stripping all the paint, then masking up and painting the black background. While I was doing this I thought that a brushed finish might look good on these, because the sidecovers themselves are finished in a satin black.


Stripped of paint, and first try at a 'brushed' finish on the raised section


I also figured that I could finish painting the internal space of the GS lettering, then hand paint the red DOHC, and if I were to sand back the raised outines to a brushed finish, it would neaten up any messy fills.

So that's what I did. The red and black are both satin finishes, which sits niceky behind the brushed silver outlines. I'm going to cover it all with a coat of satin clear to protect the 'exposed' metal, but I'm wrapped with the finish as it stands.


It's not stock, but I reckon it's what they should have done ;-)

And here's the finished side cover, with the factory satin finish