DIY Custom Scotty Cameron Select Roundback Project – Torching Stainless Steel

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The Project

For some reason, I’ve fallen in love with my Scotty Cameron Select Roundback but felt like I wanted a little extra “something” for my gamer.  My first thought was to actually go with a murdered out black look with a black shaft, grip, mostly black paint, etc.  That would have made for a cool putter, but the aluminum sole plate makes that look a bit more complicated.  I ended up stumbling across an $8,000 Scotty Cameron GSS Timeless putter that was “chromatic bronze” (read, “torched a little bit”) with translucent red paint in a big Tour dot and said, “That’s it, that’s the look I want in my bag.”

The Process

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Tear Down

There’s no perfect science for order of operations but inevitably a project like this requires taking the putter apart and stripping it down as much as possible.  My first step was to remove the head from the shaft to make working with the putter much easier.  The second step was to remove the sole plate and the weights.  Heed this warning, you must make sure you use the right size allen wrench and are extra careful with these screws.  The screws are extremely easy to strip, and if you end up stripping them, you’re going to have a heap of headaches.  If you find that the screws don’t want to budge with a bit of careful force (and the allen wrench is snugly embedded), hit the screws with a little bit of heat (heat gun, blow dryer) and try again.

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Removing the weights is easy, but you need the right tool.  Scotty sells a weight removal tool, but, frankly, it’s overpriced and kind of a piece of garbage.  I prefer the aftermarket weight “wrenches” you can find on eBay for a fraction of the cost that are easier to use.  DO NOT try to rig something up with tools you have around the house.  I’ve seen a few people successfully remove weights this way, but many more completely trash their weights to the point that the $10 eBay purchase would have made more sense.  Once the weights are out, you’ll want to remove the rubber O-rings around them.  I use a metal pick and just stretch them out over the weight.  It’s not tough to do, but it’s important you don’t trash them during a later step.

Last bit of advice: get a small plastic bag and keep all of the small loose parts in them.  These screws, O rings, and weights are super easy to lose and will not be fun replace.

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Preparing the Sole Plate

Everyone that buys a Roundback off the rack has the same slick red sole plate.  I think it would have looked cool on this project, but I wanted something unique.  The red is an anodized finish on the aluminum plate, so your options for removal are chemicals, sanding, or media blasting.  I wanted to maintain the mill marks, so chemicals it was.  After doing some research and talking to some other DIY’ers, I landed on Heavy Duty Easy-Off being the solution.  After removing all of the paint fill with acetone, I was ready to remove the anodized red finish.  (Note: if you don’t remove the paintfil, the Easy-Off will not remove it or the anodized red underneath.)

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Given its reaction to metal, it was suggested to use a plastic container for the Easy-Off.  I cut the bottom off of my daughter’s empty apple juice bottle, put the sole plate in, and sprayed away until the plate was completely covered.  Pro tip: wear latex or rubber gloves and cover your arms.  Also work in a well ventilated area.  I wore latex gloves, but did the work in my basement utility sink.  The back-spray didn’t hurt or cause any damage, but was uncomfortable on my arms, and it’s certainly a “fumey” spray.

At this point, you just let the plate soak for a bit and you can see the red coming off.  You can also use a tooth brush or something similar to help it along.  Others suggest a 0000 steel wool.  I was overly cautious worrying about the Easy-Off eating away the aluminum, so I let it soak, work the red off a bit, rinse in water, then repeat.  I also used a metal pick to help scrape away the finish in the stubborn areas around the letters and such.

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The bottom of the sole plate is nice and clean, but you’ll notice I left a lot of red and didn’t put a ton of effort on the top of the plate.  The reason being is that the only part you’ll see on the top is the pop-up cross alignment aid which is clean.  The one area I would have liked to have cleaned up a bit more is in the area around the screws.  I had read horror stories of the Easy-Off eating away at the aluminum with too much exposure, so I was hesitant to let it sit long enough to get that last bit, and apparently the screws don’t cover enough area!  Lesson learned for next time, or when I get bored.

Torching

Apologies in advance for not having many “in process” pictures here.  I’ve torched a couple of putters that are posted on the site, so I’ll just speak to the process a bit.  Your finish is only going to look as good as the effort you put into preparing it and your level of patience.  To prep, you made need to file out dents and dings or sand out scratches.  It’s important to make sure you get a nice uniform finish if you want the torch job to look good. This is important because you want to get “fresh metal” exposed that the torch finish will “absorb” into.  If you have a poor surface, the finish will not be very deep and will wear off much quicker.

This putter was in relatively good shape so the only prep work I had to do was paint removal and cleaning.  I cleaned the putter by using dish soap and a toothbrush to remove as much oil and grease as I could.  After that, I used a solid degreaser and a toothbrush to get anything the dish soap may have missed.  Some people like to follow this up by using acetone to clean the surface as well.

I’m a sucker for torching the weights, too.  You should prep them the same way, and then screw them back into the putter for torching, but don’t put the O rings back in.  I would do it after you do all of the cleaning and drying so there isn’t any water trapped in the holes.  If you want to leave the weights as is, simply don’t put them in for torching!

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It’s not often you look at a putter sans-imperfections and this one is no different.  Part of it was a decision – I would possibly game this so I didn’t need it to be flawless – but one imperfection on the sole came from pure carelessness.  Rather than going back and fixing it (would have been the second major redo of the putter), I decided to leave it for this writeup to highlight the risks in torching and why proper preparation and being careful is so important.  When I torched the putter, I set it so it was sole down.  When I finished, and flipped the putter over, I saw the spot highlighted in the picture.  This could come from some sort of oil or grease from my hands, something I accidentally set the putter in, water residue from not drying enough, or just a flat out poor cleaning job.  The point is, you need to make sure to take all the proper care when torching a putter to avoid spots like the one pictured.  Had I torched this to a deeper color like purple or blue, this spot would have looked ever worse.

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Another important point for torching is that you need to keep the flame moving.  You want to consistently heat the whole head and keep the heat as uniform as possible.  This can be difficult with different areas, thickness, and shapes.  I ended up torching this putter one and a half times.  Since the flange area is so thin, the section where the cross is heated up very quickly and turned white/blue and purple very fast.  This was not a good look. I left the part that would be covered by the sole plate so I could post a picture for reference.

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I ended up having to sand down that spot completely which left me with an inconsistent finish on the top of my putter.  I sanded the top of the putter down to a pretty smooth finish, and rather than re-blast to a matte finish, I decided to go with a brushed stainless look, which I like more anyway, so this was a blessing disguise.  To do this, you’ll want a nice consistent and clean surface again, but then you take a green scotch-brite pad and rub the putter down going in the same direction.  This scotch-brite pad will put marks in the stainless so it’s important to be thorough and consistent with your direction.  Once this was complete and I liked the look, I went back in the garage to torch the problem areas again, and I paid special attention to actually avoid the thin flange.  In the finish product you will actually see a little purple popping out by the cross, but I decided to leave it for more of a 1/1 vibe.  To some extent, I encourage a little bit of human error in these projects.  I think of it like seeing a band play live and they don’t play the songs exactly the same as the album.

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Crossing the Finish Line

(UPDATE: See latest update on this putter at the end.)

I was pretty pleased with the torch job (minus the one spot on the sole) and the look of the raw sole plate and alignment cross.  I couldn’t come up with any other colors I wanted to see on the putter so I just went pure trans red.  I couldn’t be happier with that decision.

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The high-polished cherry bombs with the translucent red paint and gold torch finish really pop.  It’s interesting how the light interacts with the different finishes on the putter.  For instance, the trans red paint over the polished metal in the bombs reflects the gold color back like a mirror.  You can really see this if you look closely around the edges of the circles.

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Never Finished

After gaming the Roundback pictured above, I decided it just didn’t feel quite finished and all that original to me.  To change that, I stripped the paint again, shipped the shaft out to get finished in black, got a blue Scotty Cameron Matador grip, and went to work.  Below you will find pictures of the finished product which currently holds the gamer spot in my bag.

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Bill Bush

Co-Founder, Director of Technology at PluggedInGolf.com
Bill is a true golf gear nerd by definition who loves making custom club creations in his garage with tools like sledge hammers, blow torches, and his bare hands. When Bill isn't working on PluggedInGolf.com, or in the garage, he is a technology manager living in the Chicago suburbs with his wife and kids.

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