Need some tips on cleaning products

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Post by Ed in W. PA on Fri Feb 28, 2020 6:24 pm

Hello everyone. I am in the process of restoring a Hickok model 209A. The meter is in very good condition except for the fact that it had been exposed to cigarette smoke for sever al decades. Usually a cleaner like Formula 409 or Mean Green will take most of it off but not this time. Does anyone have knowledge of something I can use to clean the front panel without damaging the finish and markings? Regards, Ed

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Post by Spivey on Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:58 pm

I am assuming that this is a metal front or cabinet?

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Post by Ed in W. PA on Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:43 am

Yes, it is the front panel of a Hickok 209A vtvm, the light colored one. I have other Hickok gear that also suffers from the same problem and damaging the finish is my concern. Anything that is even slightly abrasive seems to be too harsh. I don't know if this is actually dirt or if the finish just dulls over time. Regards, Ed

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Post by Spivey on Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:09 pm

I was going to recommend FLITZ metal polish and fiberglass cleaner. I have used it to polish up some painted cabinets and chassis. Google it and read more about it. It has worked well for me. Your mileage may vary.

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Post by Ed in W. PA on Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:17 pm

I have tried Flitz for this and found it a little too aggressive. I agree that it does do a nice job on chassis and cabinets. It is also great for tube shields, plastic and metal knobs and i.f. cans. Thanks, Ed

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Post by Chas on Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:48 pm

If the panel and Bakelite meter housing have been cleaned with a product like 409, finish damage is likely to have happen. Strong caustic cleaners attack Bakelite and lacquer coated (the panel) finishes. Some sort of plastic polish is required to remove the oxidized surfaces.

Something like Novus plastic polish.

https://www.amazon.com/Novus-7100-Plastic-Polish-Kit/dp/B002UCYRZU

The panel probably has silk screen lettering so great care has to be taken not to "polish off" the lettering. Cleaning the polish remnants then applying a dense carnauba auto wax is about the safest long term preservative after the polishing.

Choose any of your favorite brand but do not use anything with silicone's in any form. Silicone contamination is a cause of refinishing failure from "fish-eye". I would suggest hard furniture wax over auto wax...

The wax will fill any remaining micro scratches and leave a hard film behind. Dusting with a micro fiber cloth will keep the shine. Any future dust can be gathered using a micro-fiber cloth from the auto shop or household...

May have to remove wax smears from the meter glass with a cloth dampened in rubbing alcohol.

YMMV
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Post by Ed in W. PA on Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:29 pm

I do have Novus products on hand, having used them primarily on plastic surfaces and sometimes on brass. Never thought of using Novus for this purpose. Good idea, I will try it and report the results. Thanks, Ed.

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