Author Topic: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.  (Read 5715 times)

unbeldi

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Re: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 07:08:28 PM »
I had exactly what Unbeldi is talking about happen to me. I did my usual overnight soak in hot water & Oxiclean with a very nasty 302, when I pulled it out the next morning it was dull and covered in silver specks. A lot of polishing brought it back. I had the same thing with several old Black 500's only they added a slimy surface to the specks. Again a lot of polishing to bring back any luster, I had to use rubbing alcohol to remove the slime! I also had the specks and a greyish tint at the bottom of the bucket when I emptied it.
Hmm, a 302 made from Bakelite?

But indeed I have seen something similar when water washing black plastic housings from a 302. It seemed to have developed a greyish coating.  But I am sure the chemistry of that is different. It doesn't produce the brown substance that comes off again with polishing.
I was thinking that the 302 plastic effect actually is more of an adhesion of water, rather than chemical reaction, a very thin film of water sticking to the surface very tightly, producing an optical effect of greying.  It seemed to get better just with thorough drying, IIRC. 
« Last Edit: December 30, 2013, 07:15:29 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2013, 10:31:39 PM »
I absolutely ruined a Bakelite F1 handset once by running It through the dishwasher.  It really came out very dull, almost pitted.  Live and learn.  Since then I have stayed away from any washing of Bakelite at all. 

When polishing any Bakelite, the polishing rag always has a brown spot, as if I had been polishing with brown shoe polish.  I think it is as unbeldi says and is the resin compound coming off and not so much dirt.
-Bill G

Offline Bill

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Re: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2013, 11:41:39 AM »
In the antique radio community, the difference between bakelite and plastic is important but often misunderstood. To identify bakelite, as opposed to plastic, the common test is to put a bit of Scrubbing Bubbles on a Q-tip, and rub it gently along the surface to be tested (in a non-visible area if possible). If the Q-tip turns brown, it is bakelite. In other words, something in the Scrubbing Bubbles cleanser dissolves and removes something from the phenol coating on the bakelite - and you don't want to do that very much! In other words, pulling up a brown color on a polishing cloth is probably not a good thing.

Bill

unbeldi

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Re: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2013, 12:14:32 PM »
In the antique radio community, the difference between bakelite and plastic is important but often misunderstood. To identify bakelite, as opposed to plastic, the common test is to put a bit of Scrubbing Bubbles on a Q-tip, and rub it gently along the surface to be tested (in a non-visible area if possible). If the Q-tip turns brown, it is bakelite. In other words, something in the Scrubbing Bubbles cleanser dissolves and removes something from the phenol coating on the bakelite - and you don't want to do that very much! In other words, pulling up a brown color on a polishing cloth is probably not a good thing.

Bill
Well, Bakelite is certainly a plastic. No other way to put it. Bakelite was really a trade name, the first, for a particular kind of phenol formaldehyde polymer. The two major groups of plastics are thermosetting plastics and thermoplastic types, a classification made based on their behavior under reheating.
Perhaps the radio community has similar misunderstandings as the telephone collecting community about the types of plastics they deal with.

The cleanser helps remove the thin layer of phenol alcohol that often forms on the surface of Bakelite. I like to use metal polishers. But on large outside surfaces that are still shiny, it may be best not to use any water-based product. Often, especially on dull handsets on can see some brown deposit on the surface, small speckles often than come off with polishing. I think on handset, this may come from the constant contact with skin moisture when holding the handset.

I am beginning to believe that the best treatment is a very hard wax someone gave me, it has accomplished miraculous results with a very ugly looking old-style Leich handset recently among others, that I thought was just too far gone, but now makes a very nice appearance on my Beehive. Kiwi shoe polish finished the job!
 
« Last Edit: December 31, 2013, 12:33:17 PM by unbeldi »

Offline david@london

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Re: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2013, 08:24:07 PM »
...the gpo bakelite phone i've been using the greygate no.5 on was in pretty good condition, with a smooth, unworn surface.
the greygate has given it a deep, piano-black shine after an hour's polishing - using sparing amounts on a soft cotton cloth. a pea-sized amount is enough for one side of the housing.
i would think that greygate no.5 is a renovating paste.......not a polish to be used often, and perhaps not suitable for worn bakelite.
i've heard that hard pure beeswax is a good way to maintain the shined surface.

Offline Mr. Bones

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Re: Arghh! Trying to find a recent discussion on bakelite restoration.
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2014, 01:13:32 AM »
Just a thought here, and since I so rarely have them, thought I might share...

     Has any body tried distilled water? Brita pitcher water? Commercially available drinking water? to soak any 302, etc. bodies? (Or bakelite handsets?) They all certainly seem more chemically neutral. I can't abide the tap water here, but a Brita makes it great for coffee, cooking, etc. Tremendous difference in taste and smell, and I'm not even fussy, or finicky about things.


     I was just curious if the lack of chlorine, flouride, lime, calcium, etc. might be less degrading to the phone shells, or the bakelite of an F1 handset, etc.
     I have a couple of 302 shells with broken horns, etc., that I might sacrifice to this cause, if it has not already been attempted/documented, though I hate to... gonna repair them, at present.

Best regards, and a Happy New Year to all of you, and your loved ones, etc.
Sláinte!
   Mr. Bones
      Rubricollis Ferus