Bakelite polishing

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Bakelite polishing

Post by bill57 on Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:29 pm

Looking for advice on a method that works to polish up brown bakelite. Picked up a G.E. 115 today in great shape but case is dull. Tried various methods such as rubbing compound, then Mequires products(glaze, scratch remover, wax) Even wet sanded with 2000 grit first but still can't get shine back. Actually has a milky look to it on the top so I would say over the years it has been sitting in the sun. Also tried the Brasso on it as I read somewhere to try that. The only thing I haven't done is use a power buffer on it. Really want to do it by hand as there are many tight spots to get into.
.....Any ideas??

bill57
Member
Member

Number of posts: 85
Age: 62
Registration date: 2009-01-21

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by TexMac on Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:00 am

Don't use a power buffer. You'll go right through the outer glaze into the core which will never polish out. I've had a couple of pretty dull ones that I used Minwax on. Let it dry thoroughly then brush and buff like you would a pair of shoes. You can work up a pretty bright shine with a long shine rag and it seems to hold up well, but will need frequent dusting.

TexMac
New Member
New Member

Number of posts: 5
Registration date: 2009-02-20

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by Eliot Ness on Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:26 am

My thoughts are the (very thin) glossy outer surface of the bakelite has been removed. I'm not big into bakelite sets but years ago I ruined a set of knobs (bakelite) by soaking them in a strong cleaner (I'm thinking something like 409, which at the time I thought would be safe). Sure, they came out clean, but the gloss was gone. That's when a collector who was into plastics and bakelites told me that harsh and/or abrasives cleaners will remove that gloss and explained the manufacturing process of bakelite.

Since then when I run into crud encrusted knobs I give them a good spray with a furniture polish like Pledge and let them soak. The oils in the polish soften up the crud and makes for easy removal with a soft toothbrush, plus they come out already shined up. For an entire cabinet, depending on how dirty it is, I might try a gentle soap and water first. Remember, once you remove that glossy outer layer it is gone forever and will never look the same, unless there is a new technique for restoring it that I haven't heard about. I'm sure other collectors will chime in with their favorite products to clean bakelite, but below are some sources of information I found by doing a quick search:

http://www.radiolaguy.com/clean-shine.htm

http://www.radiophile.com/aldens.htm

http://www.philcoradio.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1715

The last post (# eight) in the last link mentions one method of machine buffing. I included that only as a reference since I have never done that to bakelite. Be very careful if you eventually explore this method since it'd be very easy to destroy a cabinet or harm yourself.

Back to the G.E. 115 case; it may have been dull from an improper cleaning or just aging before you ever got your hands on it. I would think that an oily glaze (like Meguiar’s #7) followed by a nice hard carnauba based wax to seal in that glaze might be your best bet.

Hopefully a member with more knowledge on bakelite will chime in with a better method to restore that gloss once it is gone.

One word of caution here as you seek/search out advice on this subject. You will find hundreds of suggestions and a lot of them will work, but a few could be more harmful than helpful. My advice is to always test a product on an inconspicuous area first. I'd also start with the least aggressive/abrasive methods first.

John


Last edited by Eliot Ness on Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:11 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : added additional links)

Eliot Ness
Member
Member

Number of posts: 50
Registration date: 2009-02-15

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by Timaaay! on Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:35 am

Many believe, as I did, that once the outer surface of Bakelite is remove, all is lost. This is not true at all. I read a thread on ARF about this about a year ago. A few people recommended using, of all things, sandpaper to restore them. I could not believe this would work until I saw photos of the results.
I have now used this method dozens of times and every time come out with a beautiful finish. On cabinets with deep scratches, I start with 100 grit. That's right 100 grit not 1000 grit. And use finer and finer grit until the cabinet looks better than new.
I too was a skeptic until I tried it. I've never had a single problem with sanding into this magic layer where the finish can no longer be saved. Believe me, I've sanded DEEP gouges with amazing results. It takes some time and elbow grease, but it does work.
Another method that requires very little effort and yields great results is to completely clean the case with a cleaner that will remove all the old wax, silicone, and oil that been put on the case in the past. You'll wind up with a dull-looking case, but fear not. Once the cabinet is completely dry (I usually wait at least 24 hours) spray the cabinet with automotive clear coat. I use what was recommended to me, which is Duplicolor (available at any auto store) I've been using this method on bake;lite knobs for years with great results. Automotive clear coat is unbelievably durable (it protects cars from rain, sunlight, etc.) and bonds very well.
I've sprayed bakelite cabinets with simply stunning results. If you don't want a glossy finish, you can rub it with 000 steel wool (after it dries for a while) to remove some gloss. The clear coat fills scratches, makes those "dry spots" completely disappear and will not show any fingerprints. I've never needed to wax a cabinet once sprayed, the shine is great and I've had MANY, MANY compliments on these cabinets.
I don't think I'd spray a very rare or expensive bakelite cabinet because I'd like it to as close to original but, just like me, I'll bet that once you try this, you'll be sold on the idea.
If you want to try a very conservative approach, I've heard that dark brown, paste shoe polish does a nice job. I've never tried this but know that some people swear by it.

Timaaay!
Member
Member

Number of posts: 142
Age: 50
Registration date: 2009-01-20

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by geno on Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:36 am

Timaaay, thanks for the tips on Bakelite. I'd never thought of sandpaper.

Gene

geno
Member
Member

Number of posts: 52
Age: 67
Registration date: 2008-03-13

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by bill57 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:35 pm

Thank you all for the responses. The years of experience all of you have is invaluable. Seems like there are many opinions and methods out there so I will be experimenting on the bottom and see what may work. I prefer the wood cabinets but I couldn't resist this one and it is my first Bakelite so I'll play around with it. If one method works well for me, I'll post the results.

bill57
Member
Member

Number of posts: 85
Age: 62
Registration date: 2009-01-21

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by VANT on Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:04 pm

I HAVE USED A PRODUCT CALLED "GLAYZIT" AND IT WORKS WONDERS.
http://www.radiotiques.com/forsale.asp?Tab=Tube
I GOT IT FROM JEFF AT RADIOTIQUES.
----VANT

VANT
Member
Member

Number of posts: 57
Age: 54
Registration date: 2009-02-06

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by bill57 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:55 pm

Played around with quite a few methods on the radio bottom. Sanding from 100 grit to 2000 was very impressive. I will probably try this on one that is in worse shape. I did end up just a good soap and water cleaning, 2000 grit wet sanding on a few spots, Mequires 7 glaze and a couple coats of good wax. End result was very good in my opinion. I do want to try spraying one with clear and also one with Glazit. Soaking knobs with pledge also worked great. This was one cruddy looking radio, but now it looks new. Thanks to all.
By the way, the Radiotiques website is great. What a radio heaven!

bill57
Member
Member

Number of posts: 85
Age: 62
Registration date: 2009-01-21

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by jayoungs on Thu May 28, 2009 12:17 pm

I've tried many ways, my best results are from a 3M product called "3M Imperial Hand Glaze". You can find it at a variety of places, but CarQuest Auto Parts is where I buy it. Two coats -- apply/lightly buff, repeat. I also use it to polish my hand-rubbed lacquer finishes. Works amazingly well.

jayoungs
New Member
New Member

Number of posts: 1
Registration date: 2009-05-28

Back to top Go down

Polishing I wash with soapy water and use shoe polish

Post by pacha 73 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:37 pm

bill57 wrote:Played around with quite a few methods on the radio bottom. Sanding from 100 grit to 2000 was very impressive. I will probably try this on one that is in worse shape. I did end up just a good soap and water cleaning, 2000 grit wet sanding on a few spots, Mequires 7 glaze and a couple coats of good wax. End result was very good in my opinion. I do want to try spraying one with clear and also one with Glazit. Soaking knobs with pledge also worked great. This was one cruddy looking radio, but now it looks new. Thanks to all.
By the way, the Radiotiques website is great. What a radio heaven!

pacha 73
New Member
New Member

Number of posts: 7
Registration date: 2008-10-08

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by bill57 on Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:54 pm

Thanks , Pacha 73, I'll try the shoe polish also. Always open to more methods. I have also tried using a brass cleaner which worked quick and followed that with a polish or wax.

bill57
Member
Member

Number of posts: 85
Age: 62
Registration date: 2009-01-21

Back to top Go down

bakelite polishing

Post by SUELEGG on Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:05 pm

I USE SPRAY ON AUTO TIRE SHINE

SUELEGG
New Member
New Member

Number of posts: 1
Registration date: 2010-02-17

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by bill57 on Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:44 pm

Never thought of trying the tire shine. So I did try it and it can't get any easier than that. Really darkened up the brown color and had a good shine. But will it dry and not leave prints? A day later it was still leaving smears. Maybe I need to try a different brand. This was Mequires that I tried.

bill57
Member
Member

Number of posts: 85
Age: 62
Registration date: 2009-01-21

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by andreatanic on Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:31 am

Never tried it but if not bad I would get it clean and try armorall

andreatanic
New Member
New Member

Number of posts: 6
Age: 63
Registration date: 2010-02-21

Back to top Go down

Re: Bakelite polishing

Post by nytuberadio on Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:50 pm

Im told Brasso works wonders on bakelite or plastic anyone try it?
Lone Ranger

nytuberadio
Member
Member

Number of posts: 19
Registration date: 2010-07-26

Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum