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Dial Restoration Technique

Started by Ktownphoneco, June 23, 2018, 03:07:42 PM

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Hi All  ...  I thought I'd share this dial restoration information.      I recently acquired a Western Type 702-B Princess telephone set.    The case and handset are turquoise, and I'm in the process of doing some light sanding to remove some minor scratches an some areas on the case where the plastic has started to discolor.     
The rotary dial, a type 8, had a fair amount of dirt and grime on the top and underside of the plastic finger wheel, and on the clear plastic number plate, plus a lot of finger nail scratches.      The paint used on the engraved reverse side of the plastic number plate was starting to disappear from the letters and numbers.       So I decided to remove the finger wheel, plastic number plate retainer, light diffuser and the white plastic background disk and clean everything.     Cleaning went well, but it also tended to remove more of whatever type of paint was used to coat the plastic on the inside of the letter and number engraving on the reverse side of the clear plastic number plate.   
Since the original color was a sort of brown with a redish tinge to it, I decide gold might be a good replacement.    So I used a small bottle of "Testor's" gold model paint.   It worked well, and produced nice results.     It also provides the opportunity to color match the number and letters on the number plate to that of the case and handset if someone were so inclined to do that.

The attached pictures will give you an idea of the number plate set up with the background of a white plastic ring, the plastic diffuser and the clear plastic number plate and retainer ring.
Here's an over view of the process, which isn't in any way complicated.      Remove the finger wheel and sand and polish if so inclined.    Remove the retainer ring (counter clockwise).    At this point you'll need to play with the retainer in order to get up and over the finger wheel support assembly.   If you work the retainer ring around, it will come off.    The clear plastic number plate comes off in much the same manner, but it's a lot easier.      The light diffuser as comes off fairly easy as does the white plastic background disk.

Once you have the number plate removed, flip it over and using a small cheap paint brush with the bristles cut to about an inch, wash the plate with something like Spray-Nine or rubbing alcohol, making sure you get into the engraving and wash out the existing paint or ink until the letters and numbers are free of the paint or ink.

Dry the number plate and makes sure there's no cleaner left inside the engraved letters and numbers.        Using a small artist's style paint brush, dab small amounts of whatever paint your using to refill the engraved letters and numbers.    Using a lint free cloth, wipe away the excess paint and let dry.      Once dry, you can remove any remaining paint sitting on top of the plastic by simply rubbing the plastic fairly vigorously with the lint free cloth stretched over your index finger.     Once all the excess paint has been rubbed off, everything is ready to go back together.
This method also offers the ability to color match the dial numbers and letters with the case and handset

Just double click to enlarge.   

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

Jeff Lamb


Thank you, Jeff, for your time and effort in posting this restoration process!  Your work is always top notch!


NICE WORK! The numerals look fantastic.
Thanks for letting us know what you did to restore it.


Thanks for sharing, great job. Please post the finished phone when your done.


Thanks to all, and yes Gary, I'll post pictures of the finished set.


Butch Harlow

In my younger years. I would have been way to impatient to accomplish this. Also, my headstrong approach would make me cut corners. Not these days. I really do appreciate your attention to detail. Thanks Jeff, for the ideas here. I will find this all very useful going forward.
Butch Harlow


Your more than welcome Butch.