Hi. I proofread automotive copy for car catalogs. There is a phrase that we use that is under debate regarding the use of hyphens. Please review the two phrases and let me know which one is correct. They are as follows:

satin-aluminum-finish trim rings
satin-aluminum finish trim rings

Your answer will be most appreciated. Thank you.
Hello proofergal,

I think that of your two options, "satin-aluminum finish trim rings" looks better.

For example, I would say, "The car has an aluminum finish.", not "an aluminum-finish",
so I do not think that there should be a hyphen between aluminum and finish.


Why doesn't it say, "satin finish aluminum trim rings" or "satin-finish aluminum trim rings"?

They are aluminum trim rings. The aluminum has a satin finish,
so it makes more sense to me to say, "satin-finish aluminum trim rings".
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hey, thanks for replying to my query.
To answer your question, "Why doesn't it say, "satin finish aluminum trim rings" or "satin-finish aluminum trim rings"? " it's because the trim rings aren't made of aluminum. They are made of some other material. The finish on them is an aluminum color that is a satin finish, as opposed to a gloss or semi-gloss (think in terms of paint). That's why the words can't be rearranged as you suggested, although that was a good idea. Thanks for helping.
Yes ok, now I understand what it is about.

I did not have enough information to answer you properly yesterday.

This sounds to me like an industrial thing, so I think
that you can name the part in any way you like.

Many custom-made USA cars and guitars in the 1960s had a metallic flake finish.
I do not recall ever seeing any hyphens used there at all.

Good luck.