Author Topic: Bakelite Polish  (Read 34533 times)

Offline NYFED

  • *
  • Posts: 57
Bakelite Polish
« on: July 10, 2009, 03:15:42 PM »
I am interested in how some people get their bakelite phones to such a high shine.  I have used/am using brasso, novus and then carnuba with a ryobi and hand buffing.  Here are some questions:

1) Anyone have a method that they swear by?
2) Anybody have any luck with Glayzit?
3)Is elbow grease the main ingredient?

I have no problem dedicating myself to working long tedious hours, but I don't want to waste my time if there is a 'foolproof' method.  BTW, I wear a uniform everyday to work and spit shine my boots and brass - everyday. Patience is not new to me.  Thanks in advance.

Offline Dan/Panther

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5326
  • Kaw-Liga, I will NEVER forget you. 8/4/98--9/20/10
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2009, 01:36:47 AM »
I use brasso, but I've never gotten the spit shine some exhibit. A finish coat of Turtle wax F-21, will give you a ice finish, but because bakelite is a closed ended polymer, nothing soaks in, so a coat is all you will get and needs to be reapplied. I almost wondering if some spray a clear coat. I've rubbed my butt off on bakelite and never got the like new finish except once on a Philco Hippo radio case.
D/P
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 01:38:58 PM by Dan/Panther »

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • SC from 1973
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2009, 02:15:20 AM »
I use Novus 2 with a Ryobi RB60 hand held polisher, like the one shown in the picture.

You can buy them at HomeDepot for $20-22. Buy the pads at Walmart, about $3 each. The original pads are worthless. I modified mine by cutting off the bottom half inch so it is easier to install the pads.

Vintage bakelite has a jet black, piano like finish. The shiny plastic is a thin layer over a thermoset plastic. If damaged by years of neglect or exposure to the elements, you may be out of luck or get some presentable finish depending on the damage.

After washing the part with hot water and soap, I polish it with Novus 2, until the part gets very warm. If the bakelite is good, it doesn't take long to bring back the original finish.

The pads will get dark green or black after a polishing session, but they clean nicely in the washing machine. Half hour minimum on a handset is OK with me.
Jorge

Offline NYFED

  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2009, 10:25:48 AM »
Jorge and Dan-
                      I have the Ryobi (thanks to advice on this forum!) and started using the Brasso and robi last night.  I did get the green/black stains on the pad.  I will be buying more this week. I think I am going to get a can of Glayzit and try it on one of my 'part phones' and see how it works.  On one of my Kellogg pyramid projects I did actually spit shine (shoe polish/water) the  outer surface.  Not quite the results I was hoping for but definitely better than buffing alone.  I will be taking some pictures. Thanks, again!

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • SC from 1973
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2009, 01:30:13 PM »
NYFED, Dan:

I have gone through three of these machines because the pad tends to wear out after repeated used. They were designed to be used in very large panels like car doors, hoods, etc, where the pad flexes little.

When polishing a phone, (handsets, housings, gongs, etc) the foam in the pad flexes a lot and they don't last too long. Once I found a nice piece of foam and was able to make a pad out of it.

The motor lasts forever. The ball bearing in the transmission will last through 20-35 phones and will begin to rattle and show a lot of looseness. What I have done in the past is to move the ball bearing from one with a busted pad into my well cured favorite. In this one I used a hacksaw to cut off the bottom 1/2 inch so installing and removing the pad is easier.

Mine seems to improve with age: when new, the pad was easy to stop from rotating. As the ball bearing "ages a bit", it needs more pressure to reduce the pad rotational speed. That is the "zone" in which you want to operate this machine.

With a clean pad and Novus 2 on it, apply some pressure to get the Novus spread over the part you want to polish. I hold the part to shine between my left hand and upper torso and guide the Ryobi with my right hand. After 5 minutes or so of moderate pressure, increase the pressure so you can hear the machine slow down. This will increase the bakelite or plastic temperature and help bring the shine out.

Apply some pressure from the other side so you don't break a housing. I wear a leather glove in my left hand, because the direct vibration from the machine makes my hand tingle a bit if I do this for more than an hour. A few minutes into this will dry the Novus and you should have a shiny part, if the bakelite is good to start with. With a bakelite housing, I stuff a rag or two inside and apply pressure from the inside with my left hand, while the machine applies pressure from outside. Plan to spend sometime doing this; usually 30 to 40 minutes per pass per housing or handset is OK.

You can do ringer gongs with this procedure and they come out with a nice mirror like finish, but gongs are tougher to hold with my left hand because of the small size. Definitely use a leather glove when doing gongs. I usually do these with Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound (the reddish type), but Novus 2 is OK also.

Lucite finger wheels, caps and number wheels can be done with this machine, but I use extra care to make sure the smaller parts don't fly away.

In less than ideal results, you can end up with a handset like in my AE40 shown below, not perfect, but presentable. If the stars align perfectly, you end up with a finish like in my Galion, shown below. This one turned like this in just 3 to 5 minutes.

Good luck!
Jorge

Offline Dan/Panther

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5326
  • Kaw-Liga, I will NEVER forget you. 8/4/98--9/20/10
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2009, 02:46:19 PM »
Jorge;
Can you post a before and after photo.
D/P

The More People I meet, The More I Love, and MISS My Dog.  Dan Robinson

Offline Brinybay

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4361
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2009, 03:02:29 PM »
The shiny plastic is a thin layer over a thermoset plastic. If damaged by years of neglect or exposure to the elements, you may be out of luck or get some presentable finish depending on the damage.

I wonder if that's what happened to a red 500 I have.  When I brought it home, I dismantled it and washed the plastic parts in plain dish soap and luke-warm water.  I noticed the sponge I was using turned reddish, and the housing lost it's shiny finish.  Here's a before and after picture:

« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 03:07:39 PM by Brinybay »
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
 - Mike Rowe
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 - Anonymou
s

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • SC from 1973
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2009, 03:05:58 PM »
I think the red phone is painted. Check the inside of housing, caps and handset for over spray. What kind of soap did you use?
Jorge

Offline JorgeAmely

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2162
  • SC from 1973
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2009, 03:12:50 PM »
D/P:

For the AE40, I have before and after pictures at this location:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Amelyenator/AE40#

For the Galion, I found four "before" pictures that I added to:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Amelyenator/Model8H6FromNorthElectricCompanyFromGalionOhio#
Jorge

Offline Dennis Markham

  • VintageRotaryPhones.com
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5613
    • VintageRotaryPhones.com
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2009, 03:17:50 PM »
Brinybay you're not confusing Bakelite with the plastic, are you?  I wouldn't use Brasso on plastic, either soft or hard.  On both of the examples Jorge posted and his Bakelite tips are for Bakelite. 

I agree with Jorge that the red phone may have been painted at some time in its life.

Offline Brinybay

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4361
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2009, 03:19:18 PM »
I think the red phone is painted. Check the inside of housing, caps and handset for over spray. What kind of soap did you use?

The housing doesn't appear to have been painted, but the handset cord looks like it was.  I just used regular dish soap, I don't remember the brand because I always buy whatever's cheapest at the time.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 03:22:54 PM by Brinybay »
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
 - Mike Rowe
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 - Anonymou
s

Offline Brinybay

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4361
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2009, 03:22:11 PM »
Brinybay you're not confusing Bakelite with the plastic, are you?  I wouldn't use Brasso on plastic, either soft or hard.  On both of the examples Jorge posted and his Bakelite tips are for Bakelite.  

I agree with Jorge that the red phone may have been painted at some time in its life.

Although the thread is about Bakelite polish, I assumed that this sentence by itself was referring only to plastic and not bakelite. If I misread it, my apologies for confusing the issue. 
Quote
The shiny plastic is a thin layer over a thermoset plastic. If damaged by years of neglect or exposure to the elements, you may be out of luck or get some presentable finish depending on the damage.



« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 03:26:15 PM by Brinybay »
The idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane.
 - Mike Rowe
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
 - Anonymou
s

Offline bingster

  • Contest Director
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2945
    • OTRplus Classic Radio
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2009, 05:42:36 PM »
Actually, Brasso (particularly old Brasso) is a wonder for all manner of plastics.  It's frequently used for polishing plastic watch crystals, CDs... the list is endless. 

Brinybay, you could take a pen knife and scratch the INSIDE of the phone's case, to see if the case is painted.
= DARRIN =



Offline McHeath

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3349
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2009, 07:37:41 PM »
I've seen some of Ma Bell's paint jobs that are pretty hard to tell that it's been painted.  My Franken554's beige handset was painted the same color beige at some point, and it's so good that you really have to look hard. 

Some of the info in this thread is very useful and maybe ought to be moved to the technical info section. 

Offline foots

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 670
Re: Bakelite Polish
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2009, 12:44:57 AM »
Brinybay you're not confusing Bakelite with the plastic, are you?  I wouldn't use Brasso on plastic, either soft or hard.  On both of the examples Jorge posted and his Bakelite tips are for Bakelite. 

I agree with Jorge that the red phone may have been painted at some time in its life.

The black mostly 1960 Signal Corps (WE 500) is hard plastic. It was dirty and after a very thorough washing it still didn't shine very much. I figured what the heck and passed some brasso on it, buffed it,  then used some Nu Finish car polish on it. It now shines like a mirror.
"Ain't Worryin' 'Bout Nothin"