Restoring a TeI3 Long Neck

March 16, 2011

Those who frequent the PF know how much I appreciate the ability to perform your own customization and repair work. Especially given the winter weather, I’ve spent a lot of time indoors and have had time to work on equipment (and posts about that work). Today’s post is no different.

I recently got a wild hare when I saw a post on GolfWRX about restoring a Scotty Cameron TeI3 putter (in 2 hours!). The pictures are gone, but the instructions still hold:

Following this advice, I got out the sandpaper (from the repainting thread, and purchased Birchwood Casey Super Blue and Alex Ultra (for elastomer). The B/C cost me about $9 (which was overprice–it should have been under $6, but it was convenient) and the elastomer cost me $4. I also purchased Sally Hansen Hard As Nails fingernail paint to do the paint fill ($2).

The instructions do an excellent job of laying out what to do, but I also got some personal attention from the OP. I purchased a TeI3 with a problem and decided to set myself to work. Here is what it originally looked like:

As you can see, there are rust spots and a few dings, including one on the rear flange and a pretty significant one on the face.

I started by taking a single bastard file (that’s what it’s called…really) which is basically just a flat file with only one line of “cutters.” As stated in the WRX post, I left the insert in the cavity while filing to make sure they were at least planed with respect to each other. The difficult part is getting it consistent without making big scratch marks. I found that the dings came out pretty easily, but the file itself left scratch marks that I had to massage with light pressure on the file and progressive grits of sandpaper to get smooth.

Once I had the dings out, the KEY is to make sure you POLISH IT with sandpaper–and do it EVERYWHERE. Don’t skimp. All the little crannies, all the surfaces, make sure each of them SHINE with at least 800 grit. I went up to 1000 or 1500 (cant remember which) just to be sure. It hurts. It takes forever. At this point, I was thinking “why the hell did I do this.”

Then, you blue it with B/C. In my experience, this was awful. I could never get it dark enough to make it look like either (1) original or (2) how the OP on WRX did. You have to put the gun blue on, then wait 30 seconds, wash with cold water, then smooth with steel wool, then rub with degreaser (I used Simple Green), then wash the degreaser off with cold water, then dry with a hairdryer until bone dry, and then reapply until the color is as dark as you want. However, I got to the point where I would put the blue on, work with the steel wool, and the color would come right back off with the steel wool. I finally resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to get any darker and it looked OK as a light brown finish. After some more smoothing with steel wool, I cleaned it, oiled with baby oil, and degreased to make a nice clean surface. I put in the elastomer (as per the WRX post), screwed the insert in, and cleaned off. Then I applied the white “paint fill” (nail polish) and the gold paint fill (gold instead of copper because I had some gold lying around). The result is below:

Practice pointer here: if you’re using gun blue, WEAR THE GLOVES like the OP says. Otherwise, your hands end up smelling like cat piss for about 3 days (I know), and you can’t wash it off. Further, do the sanding outside/somewhere ventilated. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to take your time. The project is kind of complicated (especially the first time). In fact, I’d recommend you don’t do it, but, then again, I did it, so I can’t prevent you from it. Hopefully it will turn out better for you. I just didn’t know how to gun blue. All in all, though, I’m actually pretty happy.

What it costs/what I needed:
1) a TeI3 putter (anywhere from $70 to $170 depending on how bad it is)
2) gun blue ($6)
3) elastomer ($4)
4) “paint” (about $5)
5) sandpaper (already had from previous postings, but about $10)
6) steel wool (about $3)
7) a hair dryer (you should probably have one)
8) paper towels (minimal)

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