Technical Article

Not So Technical Advice – Flocking & Nickel Plating

(as appeared in the December, 2009 TSR)

By Milton Babirak

The Square Rigger has a rich and long history of excellent technical advice. Our Chapter’s current Technical Advisor is John Wright. The depth and scope of his knowledge is extraordinary. He has been the “go to” guy for me whenever I had a problem I could not solve. John always had the answer. As for me, I have virtually no technical expertise. I have only restored one car, and that has been done with the assistance of several experts.

Nevertheless, I want to contribute a periodic column to our Newsletter. I propose to call it “Not So Technical Advice.” That’s because I am far from being qualified to expound on purely technical subjects.

My column is intended instead to discuss some of the things I picked up when I did my restoration. Most of these “things” are not technical in nature, but I like to think some of what I learned may be helpful or even interesting to others who have begun their restorations or are just trying to improve their cars. I intend to keep this column short, and I will always try to include a reference to assist readers in locating the information, service or product needed. I do not have any financial interest in such references, and I encourage you, our readers, to contribute other references you may have.

Flocking (No Jokes Please)

When I started to restore my dashboard, it was clear a number of things needed to be attended to. One of them was the glove box. It had a couple of holes and no brown flocking of the sort that was originally applied by the factory. Perhaps none of the glove boxes in any of our T-Series cars has any of the original flocking, since it is such a fragile coating material. Luckily, there is a simple and inexpensive solution to restoring a glove box interior to its original condition. Both Woodcraft and Eastwood make flocking kits. Woodcraft ( has an applicator (Item 127115) for about $5.50 and brown flocking (#14X11) for about $11.00. Both are listed in its on-line catalogue. Follow the very simple directions, and in about twen-ty minutes you are done. It’s simple to use and the results are terrific. The kit includes the liquid adhesive that is brushed on the interior. The flocking powder is blown on the surface with the applicator. There is enough material and adhesive to do a second glove box. So, when you are done, pass the kit along to a friend.

Nickel Plating

The hand crank for the engine was painted black by the factory, but it has a grip that is not supposed to be painted. Most grips you see are brass. When I removed the black paint from the grip of my hand crank, it was not brass-colored but looked like iron. I thought I had a crank that was not proper. Recently, I spoke to two vendors who specialize in MG and Jaguar tools, and they both reported that many of the grips on hand cranks were brass but were nickel-coated. Apparently, the nickel coating was quite thin, and today these grips are just brass.

Some believe the valve cover oil cap should also be nickel-plated, and some believe that some of the I.D.plates near the tool box should be nickel-plated. An excellent source for ascertaining proper finishes and colors of all T-Series car parts may be found at