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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being well versed in 1911/Glock handguns, don't have any first hand experience with the J-Frame Smiths. A lady co-worker asked if I could give her some advise on getting her 1998 (purchased new) S&W 642-1 back in original condition. Seems she shot it a few times, then went through a divorce. Put it away in the original foam lined case, and now wants to put it back into use.

My research found that it has an anodized aluminum frame and stainless cylinder and barrel. Appears that over the years, the anodizing has become corroded as I've not seen this before:

Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol

The stainless cylinder, crane, and barrel look fine. Removed the side plate, and internals look fine also. But, I'm thinking the frame will need re-finishing.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
 

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You might be able to polish it out on a buffing wheel. It is hard to tell the color from the picture. Was it colored or polished aluminum.
 

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The "6" denotes "stainless", so, I'd put money on the aluminum frame was a brushed aluminum to match the finish on the barrel/cylinder. I'd have to agree on taking the buffing wheel to it.
 

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The "6" denotes "stainless", so, I'd put money on the aluminum frame was a brushed aluminum to match the finish on the barrel/cylinder. I'd have to agree on taking the buffing wheel to it.
That is the way Smith and Wesson Performance center does it.
 

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i have one, i believe the frame is aluminum on the airweight, and scandium on the airlight, never seen that type of corrosion before either.
 

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i have one, i believe the frame is aluminum on the airweight, and scandium on the airlight, never seen that type of corrosion before either.
I think discoloration is probably more accurate description. It doesn't look like the metal is etched at all so I wouldn't really call it corrosion. A good polish job and it would look like a new gun even if it didn't look like the original.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All:

I appreciate all the feedback.

During a brief search, I saw some posts on various forums that the earlier models had an anodized aluminum frame with the stainless cylinder, crane, and barrel. Later models had a paint & clear coat frame that would fail if Hoppes, or other harsh solvents were used.

Plans are to take it to a large "service center" for various firearms in the Louisville, KY area this weekend to hopefully get some first hand knowledge. Haven't pursued the S&W forum, but that's a good idea as a last resort.

I've not seen this type of discoloration, corrosion, etc from any anodized/aluminum gun part I've ever had; but it doesn't appear to be just bare aluminum. If I don't find out anything this weekend, I'll call S&W in an attempt to at least get a straight answer on what, if any, finish was used. And go from there.

Again, I appreciate all the help!
 

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All:

I appreciate all the feedback.

During a brief search, I saw some posts on various forums that the earlier models had an anodized aluminum frame with the stainless cylinder, crane, and barrel. Later models had a paint & clear coat frame that would fail if Hoppes, or other harsh solvents were used.

Plans are to take it to a large "service center" for various firearms in the Louisville, KY area this weekend to hopefully get some first hand knowledge. Haven't pursued the S&W forum, but that's a good idea as a last resort.

I've not seen this type of discoloration, corrosion, etc from any anodized/aluminum gun part I've ever had; but it doesn't appear to be just bare aluminum. If I don't find out anything this weekend, I'll call S&W in an attempt to at least get a straight answer on what, if any, finish was used. And go from there.

Again, I appreciate all the help!
I have a recent performance center 642. I recall as you say to avoid many different cleaning solvents because the coating would break down. I had forgotten that til now. I usually clean my guns with mineral spirits and use clp afterwords. Hopps or additional bore cleaners if needed.

Sending it to the performance center for a complete overhaul and tuning would be a good thing.
 

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I have seen that type of corrosion on anodized aluminum in the marine environment (like on sport fishing boat outriggers.) There is no fix except re-anodizing.

However, a good polish with Maguires metal cleaner or Collinite no850 will knock off a lot of the corrosion. The Maguires needs a wax coat after application, ircc, the Collinite has wax and will protect the aluminum with an additional coat of wax. We used Collonite and it worked very well. Several applications over time will really help the appearance.

JPK
 

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My 642 looked much worse from sweaty pocket carry. Get it painted and use it. Even if you spend the time to get it back to factory pretty. Carrying it will beat it up again.
 

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My 642 looked much worse from sweaty pocket carry. Get it painted and use it. Even if you spend the time to get it back to factory pretty. Carrying it will beat it up again.
This is my vote. I've got one of these and one 442. I'd not have a problem using one of the bake on finishes on either. Hell, they're no fun to shoot anyway, stay in a pocket holster all the time, and have nicks on the trigger guards, but they always, always go bang every time. I'd spend the money on a pair of Crimson Trace laser grips and buff it or rattle can it and be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update:

The consensus so far after showing it to a couple of Gun stores, is to send it back to S&W for refinishing. Talked to S&W a couple of days ago, and to refinish with current paint then clear coat is $250! IMO, not too cost efficient on a pistol that cost less than $400. It sold for $350 when new.

Hillbilly223 said, after seeing the pics, no problem to Cerakote it for $135 which includes return shipping.

I decided today to take some Mothers and rub out a small area at the rear side of the grip frame that would be under the grips. Immediately noticed a surface coating come off along with the finish. Took the small dremel stainless wheel brush, and lightly touched the area behind the main spring and at the lower left corner:

Scissors Cutting tool Fashion accessory Tool Silver Finger Fashion accessory Tool Metal Silver

I now think this pistol was painted along with a clear coat just as current models are. The cleaned area does indicate some slight etching; but if this frame was cast aluminum, then this may be from the casting.

Have sent all my pics to Victor at US Anodizing, and we're supposed to talk tomorrow concerning having it anodized. He wants me to check with S&W to see if the aluminum was 7075 or not.

If anodizing is not an option with reasonable costs, will probably go the Cerakote route.

Thanks for all the feedback! Truly appreciated!
 

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Who is this Hillbilly 223? I am looking for a new cerakote applicator.
 

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http://www.hillbilly223.com/

Saw some of his work at NRA Louisville......some of the best I've ever seen. BAD had several of his renditions on their rifles!

Easy to talk to.........
Thanks. i will give him a call. The guy I was using seems to have vanished. Won't answer his phone or return calls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update:

Happen to find a Cerakote dealer that was a bit more "local"; and after sending him the pics above, he felt confident we could get a satisfactory finish. Sent it to:

http://tomscustomguns.com/

He received the bare frame on Tuesday, and shipped it back a week later. The owner decided to go with a simple Sniper Grey finish:

Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol

Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Starting pistol

She was perfectly satisfied with the results given the condition as shown in the OP.

Price was very reasonable; and his service was EXCELLENT!

Highly recommended!

Thanks again for all the help/feedback!
 

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The owner made a good choice, that piece looks good.
 
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