Author Topic: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554  (Read 7374 times)

Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« on: April 03, 2011, 11:19:15 AM »
I am in the process of restoring a badly discolored Western Electric blue 1554. The second picture shows the shell with the color restored, the handset remaining for initial sanding. I had to step down to 240 grit wet-dry to removed the discoloration in a reasonable time. I followed with 320, 360 and 400 grit. After getting the color restored on the handset, I will sand both with all grits of micro-mesh using a detail sander, followed by buffing.

Chuck

Offline JimH

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 11:40:33 AM »
What a difference, Chuck!  Does anyone know if there's a method of restoring the buttons from the "dried out, faded" look?  I've tried armor-all but it doesn't seem to last.  Perhaps sanding with a dremel type tool?
Jim H.

Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 12:32:18 PM »
I polish them with a Dremel tool.

Chuck

Offline paul-f

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2011, 01:52:48 PM »
Does anyone know if there's a method of restoring the buttons from the "dried out, faded" look?  I've tried armor-all but it doesn't seem to last. 

Unless they're really bad, I usually give a damp cloth with rubbing compound a try before using the rotary tool.  Usually works well.
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Offline Brinybay

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 02:22:21 AM »
I am in the process of restoring a badly discolored Western Electric blue 1554. The second picture shows the shell with the color restored, the handset remaining for initial sanding. I had to step down to 240 grit wet-dry to removed the discoloration in a reasonable time. I followed with 320, 360 and 400 grit. After getting the color restored on the handset, I will sand both with all grits of micro-mesh using a detail sander, followed by buffing.

Chuck

Nice job!  Gawd, I hate sanding, but on something that has mostly flat surfaces it looks a lot easier than a desk 500 with all it's curves, but then you have the handset.

BTW, what is a "detail sander"?  I'm always looking for tools that will make restoration easier, especially when it comes to sanding.
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Offline GG

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 06:38:11 AM »


What's the chance of using retrobright for a light blue phone with a handset in that condition? 

I'm inclined to avoid sanding if at all possible since it reduces the thickness of the plastic thereby weakening it. 

However, you got a darn good result there with the housing.  Just treat it carefully after that. 

Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 10:02:30 AM »
Brinbay:

I purchase micro mesh sandpaper in 3" H&L discs. I use a Bosch detail sander. The sander has a triangular H&L foot pad. When I attach a disc, the sides of the disc overlaps the foot pad, which is handy for for inner corner sanding (e.g., the shoulders on a 500 set). Using the detail sander, I can sand in a few minutes something that would take 10X or more to accomplish by hand sanding. I use hand sanding on parts not reached by the detail sander (e.g., between the cradle ears of a 500 set). If I had to sand a phone entirely by hand with all 9 grits of micro mesh, I am not sure I would have the patience.

GG:

Sanding does not remove enough material to noticeably change the thickness or the plastic.

Chuck

Offline JimH

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 11:39:36 AM »
I wonder if 50 years from now die-hard collectors will be sanding away the yellowing a second time on some of these. :o
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 02:17:37 PM by JimH »
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Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 02:15:07 PM »
Here are both sides of the handset with the top rough sanded. So I would not spend my life sanding, I stepped down to 220 grit. Even with that, it took a while to cut through the discoloration.

Chuck

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2011, 05:12:41 PM »


What's the chance of using retrobright for a light blue phone with a handset in that condition? 


Phonesrfun tried it on a blue Princess shell with disappointing results. http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=3706.0
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Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2011, 03:47:13 PM »
Here is the restored blue 1554. For purposes of my display I put a standard length cord on it, but I restored the original cord. With some residual discoloration, the cord came out pretty good.

Chuck

Offline JorgeAmely

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2011, 04:01:30 PM »
Job well done Chuck! Can you snap a picture of the Bosch sander with the triangular foot?
Jorge

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2011, 05:08:51 PM »
Wow! Chuck that is a beauty!  Nice job on the restoration.

Offline cihensley@aol.com

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2011, 05:38:16 PM »
Jorge:

Here are pictures showing the detail sander. You can see the accumulated plastic sanding dust on it. The triangular foot is H&L. I buy micro-mesh in 3" H&L discs. I show the front and back of a couple of the discs. Because the edge of the disc overlaps the sander foot, you can sand into corners and get both sides at the same time. This is what the last picture is trying to show.

Chuck

Offline Brinybay

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Re: Restoring a WECo Blue 1554
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2011, 05:39:10 PM »
Here is the restored blue 1554. For purposes of my display I put a standard length cord on it, but I restored the original cord. With some residual discoloration, the cord came out pretty good.

Chuck

What method did you use to restore the cord with?
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