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and very rarely ever needs repairs, once you fix them." - Dan/Panther

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Western Electric 20PC candlestick

Started by Sargeguy, December 16, 2011, 11:03:28 PM

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I had some spare parts laying around so I decided to convert my "Hershey's Kiss" 20-PC back to a screw-shaft phone.  I had a switch for a screw shaft (including the all-inourtant screw) and an old WE no date base.  I did not have the right shaft.  I decided to make on from a shaft in the parts bin.  Before I ruined a perfectly good shaft, I decided to experiment on one from the junk bin.  I had an old 20AL shaft that looked as if it had been in a fire then thrown in the ocean.  It was horribly pitted and gouged, covered with scratches and areas where the brass was rippled as if melted.  It was un-salvageable, so I had nothing to lose.  I drilled a practice hole and, to my surprise, nailed it.  The hole lined up perfectly.  I beveled the inside of the hole and filed it smooth.  Again I nailed it-a perfect match for the originals I compared it to.  Doubting that I would get this lucky again I decided to try salvaging the un-salvageable.  I started with 100 grit but soon realized I had to back it down to 60 grit.  There were some deep gouges and large rough patches, with ridges valleys and craters.  I sanded away for the better part of an hour, first using the sander then by hand after about 250 grit.  By the time I finished with the mirlon the thing was shining.  The gouges were small scratches and the rough patches were now minor pitting.  I brought over to Dennis Halliworth, who had it nickeled within a couple of days.  I had shown the shaft to Dennis before and he had declined to take on the job.  I have been bringing Dennis some real pieces of junk lately, and they all end up looking great, but I think this one was in a class by itself.   This time he nickeled it within a couple of days.  The scratches and pitting are still visible, but the plating has gone a long way in smoothing them over.  Dennis also did the base, the faceplate, and the hook (which is insulated).  Most of these parts were disasters to some extent and if you look you will notice the dents and gouges in the transmitter, as well as the base and shaft.  Dennis also did the number card holder.

The stem and the cup are the original finish. I will probably steel wool some of the nickeled parts to bring down the shine a bit.  The mirror-like finish  finish looks a little odd considering the beaten up condition of the parts underneath.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409


I'd say leave the finish as-is, even if the internals are more beat-up.  If the external parts looked that way when you got them and weren't re-plated or something, they're legit.  And the whole thing looks great as is (plus adding cords and a number card).