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: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
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.