Author Topic: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide  (Read 1338 times)

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« on: September 10, 2017, 04:11:45 PM »
While I think that using abrasives alone on Tenite to get it back to a nice glossy finish is nice, I have found that chemical polishing is cheaper, more effective, less time-consuming, and leads to a much nicer, richer level of gloss with less room for error than using high-grit sandpaper. It also gives a much more even and glossier finish than polishing alone.

This method is effective for old, dull finishes, or after major projects involving sandpaper (once you finish with 800 grit or higher). If you are polishing a phone before using Peroxide or Bleach to remove nicotine staining or discoloration, it's best to use this method prior, since it's removing the most heavily stained layer of plastic which won't have to be bleached.

NOTE: This will NOT work on ABS or Bakelite, and either may not work on or will damage other types of plastic. I have only successfully experimented on Tenite made by Western Electric and Automatic Electric. You also should not use this method for dial bezels on WE500s or AE80s.

Before trying this on a valuable phone, you might want to experiment on a scrap piece of soft plastic first...this method takes some practice and getting-used-to.


You'll need:

-Denatured Alcohol, preferably a gallon jug

-Paper towel

-Liquid polish (I use Meguiar's Ultimate Compound, but Novus #2 should work

-CLEAN microfiber towel
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 05:12:53 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian

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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Short Guide
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2017, 04:21:07 PM »
You can see how the plastic looks beforehand. It looks decent, but pretty dull, scratched, and oxidized.
Christian

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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Short Guide
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2017, 04:36:57 PM »
Saturate a piece of paper towel in Denatured Alcohol, but only enough to cover the area of your fingertips. Any more than that, and you'll start rubbing parts of the plastic with Denatured Alcohol-soaked paper towel that you don't want to! I polish with my index and middle finger, but that's just me. Don't chemical polish any area that has lettering or sharp edges, as these may be removed or dulled with this method. Leave these areas for liquid polish.

Find a specific area of the plastic that you want to polish (without any sharp edges that you want to save, like lettering or mousehole edges), and start polishing in circular motions. If you stop with the paper towel on the plastic for more than a second or two, the paper towel will bond to the plastic, causing fuzzy pieces to get stuck in the plastic. If you have to stop, immediately lift the paper towel off the surface.

Keep polishing the same area repeatedly until the Denatured Alcohol feels like it's almost completely evaporated from the towel. If you stop polishing while it's wet, you end up with deep swirl marks. Letting it dry out while in motion will result in a very smooth surface.

If the finish doesn't look quite right, or you rub through the towel while polishing, simply wet another piece of paper towel and start again. The smoother the surface is, the less the Alcohol will remove.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 10:35:59 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian

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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Short Guide
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 04:42:31 PM »
Wait a minute or so after using Denatured Alcohol, as the plastic is still soft. When all of the alcohol has evaporated from the surface, hit it with liquid polish on the microfiber towel, using the same motion you used for the Alcohol. You can see the difference between Alcohol alone and Alcohol followed by polish.

You may end up with white hazing around the edges of the plastic you polished that were hit with the paper towel. That can either be removed with polish, or some light touchup Denatured Alcohol work, followed by polish.

« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 10:37:32 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Short Guide
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 04:50:00 PM »
There you have it! It wasn't very short, but I tried to explain everything the best I could. :-[

Results may vary slightly depending on plastic color, age, manufacturer, condition, etc. Oxidized plastic is usually much faster to polish than 800 grit, but the rules apply just the same.

I hope someone finds this useful! :)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 04:55:48 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
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Offline dlvh

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 07:41:36 PM »
^ A very nice tutorial, and if I get another Tenite phone in similar shape, I will try this method. Mine was in quite a bit worse shape, and a similar process didn't touch it, but this is a very good alternative.

Do I see on the phones right side, that you have a bit of a Flaking issue also, or is it just a "pimple" in the Tenite?

Nice Work Again!

David

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2017, 09:50:11 PM »
^ A very nice tutorial, and if I get another Tenite phone in similar shape, I will try this method. Mine was in quite a bit worse shape, and a similar process didn't touch it, but this is a very good alternative.

Do I see on the phones right side, that you have a bit of a Flaking issue also, or is it just a "pimple" in the Tenite?

Nice Work Again!

David

Thanks!

That was actually a spot of dirt that didn't come off when I polished that side. What you see is a bump that was caused by the dirt shielding the plastic underneath from melting. The surrounding plastic melted, but that didn't. I'll have to touch it up with some sandpaper, then redo it with Alcohol.
Christian

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Online RotarDad

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 03:39:30 AM »
Christian - This is really great!  I've lost count of the soft plastic 500s I've polished, and sanded in places, to get results that aren't as good as your very-efficient approach.  Thank you for developing this technique and sharing your methods.  Question - You state that this does not work on Bakelite, yet I see an awesome G-1 in your pics.....
Paul

Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 10:04:09 AM »
Thanks Paul!!

My iPad camera isn't very good with accurately portraying color--that's the Tenite Mahogany Brown G3 that goes with the housing. It was getting dark outside when I took that picture (all of the lighting is from the windows directly behind me), so it looks black in that picture.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 10:08:06 AM by WEBellSystemChristian »
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Offline oldguy

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2017, 04:22:34 PM »
Regardless of the color, the results are amazing. Thank you for sharing Christian.
Gary

Offline Pourme

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 10:56:58 AM »
I bought this very dirty, '58 all numbers matching WE 500 some time ago in one of my regular haunts (It's a rescue). I tucked it back on a shelf.  Today I had some time and thought it would be the perfect candidate to try out Christian's chemical sanding technique on. The results are amazing!

I also had to improvise with what I have to do the buffing. I have a hand held Roybi buffer that works great but, it don't reach into the curvy recesses well at all. I had a small buffing wheel I used on my drill and attached the drill to a old B&D table top Workmate. I used a small bungee to hold the drill trigger in the on position. I was in business! I used Meguires compound just like Christian did and finished it off with Novus 2 & 1.

If you hate sanding & have a Tenite case you would like to restore you have to try this technique!

Now I need a similar effective technique for Bakelite!

Thanks Christian, for the tip!

Benny
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 11:00:30 AM by Pourme »
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Offline Pourme

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 10:58:14 AM »
couple more pics...is that one of the infamous "fat" cords?
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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2017, 08:54:48 PM »
Thanks for posting that, Benny!

Wow, that looks great! I like your creation for a housing polisher!

I'm glad the technique worked for you! ;)

BTW, yes that looks like a genuine fat cord to me! What is the date on the strain relief?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 09:00:36 PM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian

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Offline Pourme

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2017, 09:13:01 PM »
Interesting thing about the cord, take a look. It has two strain reliefs on the phone end. No dates on either end. Could this be a after market product?

I am eyeballing two more housings for the chemical treatment as well..

Benny
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Offline WEBellSystemChristian

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Re: Tenite Chemical Polishing--My Guide
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2017, 12:23:19 AM »
Interesting.

It looks like cord was designed for use with both a 500 and a 302 or older. This would have made swapping the cord to one type of phone to the other much easier. They had strain reliefs that served double-duty for use on 5302s, but it looks like a refurb center did this one.

Post pictures if you decide to get those housings polished!
« Last Edit: September 16, 2017, 11:32:04 AM by WEBellSystemChristian »
Christian

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