Author Topic: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons  (Read 4311 times)

Offline TelePlay

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Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« on: March 29, 2015, 05:19:20 PM »
Now, the tedious part, clean all the parts with soap, water, or whatever you use. Be careful with using solvent, as it will remove any date and code stamps. You can also use steel wool on the buttons to remove some discoloration.

Am working on cleaning smokers yellow crud off of a TT dial.

Looking at the buttons, it seems the numbers and letters are or have been attached in some way on top of the grey buttons. I worked slowly with weak solvents and mildly abrasive cleaners to get as far as the after photo attached.

I still have yellowish letters and numbers. I have two problems, whitened gray plastic and darkened lettering. If I use steel wool, do I run the risk of wearing down the text characters.

So, any suggestions on how to get the buttons darker grey and less yellow characters?

Click on the photos to enlarge them to see the before and so far after changes.

« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 09:49:28 AM by TelePlay »
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Offline Mr. Bones

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 05:52:10 PM »
The old folks where I growed up used vinegar & water to clean the tar out of ashtrays. Pretty strong mix, iirc. Sometimes straight vinegar, if they were really grubby. Seen the same done in many restaurants I worked in as a young'un. Maybe this will help.

I wouldn't think vinegar would have any adverse effect on the parts, but I could be mistaken.

Maybe a q-tip dipped in the vinegar, used to gently rub a key would be a place to start.

Best of luck, and best regards!
Sláinte!
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 08:21:20 PM »
Here is the method I settled on. Not the best results but better than it was. Came up with this after careful trial and error testing of a lot of different things and steps - started over 3 times before settling on this method.

All of this was done with Q-tips, quite a few, in fact.

1)  Cleaned each button with isopropyl alcohol three times to degrease the surface
2)  Used 3 or 4 applications of Brasso to get the grime off
3)  Used isopropyl alcohol three times to get the Brasso residue off
4)  Used straight vinegar three times to clean the surface of anything that was left.
5)  Used isopropyl alcohol twice to clean and dry the surface of each button
5)  Applied several (5-6) coats of Mother's Back to Black car surface treatment buffing between coats
6)  Applied several (3) coats of Turtle Hard Finish car wax buffing between coats
7)  Applied several coats of hard white Carnauba polymer paste wax buffing between coats

The purpose was to clean off the yellowing as best as I could without destroying the characters and then to darken the grey plastic without darkening the characters. The waxes went into the plastic but did not penetrate the characters. Would have liked to have ended up with higher contrast (lighter letters and darker plastic) but the dial is 45 years old so I guess it doesn't have to look NOS.

-------------------------------

EDIT: additional work


A few days, the buttons restored with the above process began to dry out leaving a white wax in the crevices as seen in the buttons on the left (surrounded in pink) at this link:

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14088.msg147153#msg147153

After reading the help I got from forum members, I first picked these flocked applicators ($1.90 for a pack of 24 in the beauty section of my local drug store)

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14088.msg147220#msg147220

and used just one to clean each button top 3 or 4 times with straight ammonia. This took off all of the wax I applied in the first process and also removed any dirt or grime that may have been on them. That got me back to clean and dry buttons.

I then applied a liberal coating of Avon Skin-So-Soft with a regular Q-tip. I let that soak in for about 6 hours and then removed the excess. I applied another liberal coating of SSS and let that sit another 6 hours. I again wiped the excess of and buffed each key with a soft cotton cloth. I let it sit for a few hours and then took the photo of the pad on the right. This photo is similar to the one in the center which was taken right after the first process above, before the waxes dried out leaving less than desirable results. In a few days, I will update this photo with what ever the dial pad looks like after it dries out, if it does.


A close up of the buttons is posted on the next page.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14088.msg147246#msg147246
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 02:23:28 AM by TelePlay »
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Offline compubit

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2015, 10:48:23 PM »
On a side note...

Any thoughts on a Princess Touch Tone that is missing the ink in several of the numbers? On those buttons, the numbers/letters are embosse, so there's some process to get ink/paint down into the crevices to make the characters visible again...

(picture added) As you can see in the picture, the 7 & 8 got lots of use, but the Sextile
  • and Octothorpe
  • are nice and dark (don't you love Bell System Engineering lingo ;-) )


Thanks!
Jim
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 10:54:02 PM by compubit »
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 10:52:03 PM »
On a side note...

Any thoughts on a Princess Touch Tone that is missing the ink in several of the numbers? On those buttons, the numbers/letters are embosse, so there's some process to get ink/paint down into the crevices to make the characters visible again...

Thanks!
Jim

I didn't go down and look at one to verify or see how they are made but if you mean the numbers are recessed, below the surface, then wouldn't it be quite easy to squeegee the slightly thinned out paint into the number and then wipe the surface clean?

If the numbers are raised, that would not work.
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Offline Contempra

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 08:08:37 AM »
I didn't go down and look at one to verify or see how they are made but if you mean the numbers are recessed, below the surface, then wouldn't it be quite easy to squeegee the slightly thinned out paint into the number and then wipe the surface clean?

If the numbers are raised, that would not work.

Hi teleplay... These are numbers carved into the plastic. So it could use of indelible ink. This ink is not crumbling when it is dry. Have a great day ;)
Denis

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 08:41:20 AM »
I didn't go down and look at one to verify or see how they are made but if you mean the numbers are recessed, below the surface, then wouldn't it be quite easy to squeegee the slightly thinned out paint into the number and then wipe the surface clean?

If the numbers are raised, that would not work.

Hi teleplay... These are numbers carved into the plastic. So it could use of indelible ink. This ink is not crumbling when it is dry. Have a great day ;)

One of the things I did when working on my buttons was to see if I could somehow dye them a few shades darker. I found out that the plastic will absorb some types of inks and possible paints depending on their thinners. So, I would be very carefull if using an ink to renumber the buttons, to not get ink on the plastic which if happens might be difficult to remove, depending on how deep the ink penetrated the plastic.

The photo provided above does show recessed numbers so there must be something that works, something someone else may have tried successfully in the past. Not much on the forum with respect to this type of work.
            John . . .

              

Offline paul-f

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2015, 09:54:10 AM »
Don't worry about damaging the button legends on most dials (or number plates on rotary sets).
 
They are "double injection molded" so the color goes deep.
 
The translucent buttons for illuminated dials use a different process, as described above, but the legends can be restored by carefully filling-in with paint or other dark substance.
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Offline Kenton K

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2015, 10:59:27 AM »
Yes, steel wool is no problem for the buttons.

Ken

Offline 19and41

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2015, 06:10:06 PM »
For surface coffee, tar and nicotine coatings I use either a curved hemostat with a folded 1" to 1-1/2" x 1/4" square of paper towel moistened with straight ammonia to use as a cleaning swab or a paper towel with ammonia using vinyl disposable gloves.  it removes most of those coatings.  If there is sugar involved, use the towel moistened with warm water.  I work with controls for radio communications equipment and they get plenty nasty and I use the old reliable ammonia from time to time.  Don't allow it to flow into the inner workings though.  just a cloth dampened with it should be enough.
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2015, 08:50:48 PM »
For surface coffee, tar and nicotine coatings I use either a curved hemostat with a folded 1" to 1-1/2" x 1/4" square of paper towel moistened with straight ammonia to use as a cleaning swab or a paper towel with ammonia using vinyl disposable gloves.  it removes most of those coatings.  If there is sugar involved, use the towel moistened with warm water.  I work with controls for radio communications equipment and they get plenty nasty and I use the old reliable ammonia from time to time.  Don't allow it to flow into the inner workings though.  just a cloth dampened with it should be enough.

Well, I'm going to have to start over so will try the above. Went down to take these pictures of the buttons today and was disappointed to see that the grey plastic was starting to lighten up on some buttons. Looking at these buttons up close, it's easy to see that some received more touches over the years than others. These deep creases will never be removed so I'll work on trying to lighted up the letters and find a way to get a uniform and hopefully permanent darkening of the grey plastic.

For comparison, a TT dial from 1975 is on the right. While it does not show the "age" marks, it does show stress cracks, possibly from the injection molding of the numbers, in the "1" "8" and "#" buttons.  Also, the buttons on the 1975 dial shows the lettering may not have been pure white to begin with so the yellowing of the 1965 dial may not be as bad as first thought.

I know this is tar and other stuff from a very heavy cigarette smoker. I will post a few pictures of the handset, specifically the inside of the transmitter which is, well, uh, describable picture to follow . . .
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 09:45:17 AM by TelePlay »
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2015, 10:06:21 AM »
I know this is tar and other stuff from a very heavy cigarette smoker. I will post a few pictures of the handset, specifically the inside of the transmitter which is, well, uh, describable picture to follow . . .

As promised, here is the transmitter end of the handset from which this TT dial was removed. And, yes, the threads on the handset cap are broken, half in the cap, half where they should be - junk.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 10:09:49 AM by TelePlay »
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Offline 19and41

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2015, 02:26:21 PM »
One thing I have had good luck with, moistening a cloth with it and rubbing all sides of the buttons, followed with a dry cloth, is this..
http://www.arrowmagnolia.com/productcart/pc/GLAYZIT-TELEPHONE-REFINISHER-56p953.
it gives a little lubrication to the buttons, without attracting dirt or dust.
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Offline TelePlay

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2015, 03:42:52 PM »
One thing I have had good luck with, moistening a cloth with it and rubbing all sides of the buttons, followed with a dry cloth, is this..

http://www.arrowmagnolia.com/productcart/pc/GLAYZIT-TELEPHONE-REFINISHER-56p953.html

it gives a little lubrication to the buttons, without attracting dirt or dust.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I found a new "tool" a few days ago and tried it out with ammonia. One stick lasted forever with ammonia. By that, I mean I used it to clean all of the buttons 4 or 5 times each to get the wax if put on each button off and anything that was still on the keys from years of use. These are a firm cotton tip on a plastic stick about the side of a Q-Tip but the cotton tip is more like a felt. My wife said they are used to apply certain types of lip and nail coatings in salons. The ammonia and rubbing did not deform or destroy the felt tip one bid.

The button tops are looking much better with the wax out of the crevices. Working on something new to apply to fill in the crevices. That Glaz-It looks interesting, don't have any, but noticed it contains silicone, something I've tried to keep out of my work area.

Here's the tool. I paid about $1.90 for a package of 24. I can see using these in many places I've used Q-tips where I found Q-tips did a poor job because they started to deform quickly. You can see in the picture it has a chiseled tip so it can be used 3 different ways on a surface. I got these from the make-up area of a local drug store.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 04:01:49 PM by TelePlay »
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Offline 19and41

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Re: Restoration work on 1965 TT dial buttons
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2015, 03:48:01 PM »
I'm going to be looking for some of those soon!  Good find!
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