Cufflinks Made From Fordite




About: Just starting to learn how to make things! mostly out of wood and mostly badly.

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In the 60's and 70's cars were painted in a much more wasteful way than they are today (not to mention the lead in the paint!). The cars would be wheeled into the paint booth and sprayed, as well as covering the car there would be run off onto the skids. The car would then be baked to harden the paint before being wheeled out and replaced by another car. The process would then start over again. Over hundreds of cars the paint on the skids would build up to form fordite.

At the time this was thought to be a waste material and much of it was thrown away, until some bright spark realised how beautiful it could be with a little bit of work (ok a lot of work).

In this instructable I will show you how to cut, shape and polish the fordite to give stunning results.

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Step 1: Choose Your Fordite

I have been making items with fordite for a couple of years now and have managed to build up a decent stock of various shapes and sizes. For these cufflinks I chose a long and thin piece to enable me to make a few pairs of cufflinks.

Step 2: Cut Your Fordite

I use a small bandsaw for cutting the fordite. This is a relatively soft material so the band saw goes through it like butter. For smaller pieces I use a junior hacksaw because I quite like my fingers and dont fancy putting them that close to the bandsaw blade!

Due to the lead in this paint and the amount of dust that is created when working with it always wear a good quality dust mask. I cannot stress this enough, this is not the kind of material you want in your lungs!. A good pair of safety glasses are always helpful as well as bits can break off whilst being cut.

Step 3: Shape the Fordite

Once you have selected a nice piece of fordite you need to shape it into the right size to fit into your cufflinks. To make things easier I use a circular cufflink blank which enables me to use a circular cutter on a drill.

To make sure the fordite doesn't move when being drilled secure it to a small piece of wood. I do this with standard packaging tape or duct tape. Once secured mark out where you want to cut and then use the drill to cut out the pieces.

Step 4: Sanding, Polishing and Waxing

This is probably the worst part of this project. Using a coarse sandpaper sand the fordite down to the exact required thickness. Once you have this you can then work your way through the grades. I went upto 800 to get a good polish on these.

Once you have a good smooth and scratch free finish on the fordite its then time to wash and wax them. I use standard car wax for this and it gives the fordite a wonderful wet look.

Step 5: Place Into Your Cufflink Blank

Once you have everything to size you can place them into your cufflink blanks. I use a good quality epoxy resin to secure mine into the cufflinks.

You can leave the fordite like this if you wish, the epoxy will hold them into the cufflinks without any issues, I however prefer to add an additional coating of clear epoxy resin over mine to give a protective dome, this also makes the colours really pop out.

I have also added some additional photos of other pairs that I have made from Fordite.

Step 6: If You Don't Feel Like Making Them .....

I appreciate that not everyone has access to Fordite or the tools required to make these cufflinks. If you would prefer to buy them ready made I have a selection for sale in my Etsy shop.

Here's a link to my Etsy shop

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    14 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Local body shops have tons of it! They hang various parts like fenders on easel looking racks and spray car parts with spray guns like the old days and bake the paint. The racks get painted along with the car parts and you just break it off.

    OffthecuffDon H.

    Reply 2 years ago

    the person I bought mine from hasn't any left now but there are a few sellers on the well known auction website.

    jimvandammeDon H.

    Reply 2 years ago

    You can substitute Chryslerite instead.

    My dad worked at Dodge Truck in Warren, and has a bunch of the stuff somewhere. He prefers agates or Petoskey stones, though.


    Reply 2 years ago

    your dad's a lucky guy! keep hold of the stuff it's harder and harder to find now. Has your dad made anything with his, love to see any photos


    2 years ago

    My Father has a small quantity of Aston Martinite, he also made a few objects with it in the 60-70 when he worked there. A couple of pieces have flecks of gold paint, so saving those for a special project thanks for jogging our memories about possibilities.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    that really would be some special stuff. love to see some photos if you have any of what your dad made.


    2 years ago

    to really polish them up to a shine, get some micromesh sanding pads. they go up to 12000 grit, or about 2 microns. glossy smooth.

    1 reply