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 Post subject: How to repair scratches in Bakelite?
PostPosted: Nov Tue 21, 2006 12:12 pm 
Member

Joined: May Wed 17, 2006 9:07 pm
Posts: 80
Location: N.E. Georgia
Hi,
Have a brindle brown Bakelite cabinet that has a few scratches on top that I would like to get rid of with out harming the shine.
It was covered with gunk and paint drops when I started on it. After washing with hot soapy water follow by scrubbing with Mineral Spirits and then Lacquer thinner, I've got it clean and ready to polish.
I polished the sides with Kings Ransom (a paste car wax that I've had for a while) and they shined up good. Wanted to try and remove the scratches from the top before I polish it. The surface still has a shine.
Any ideas on how to remove the scratches?
Thank, Roy

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will reduce you to their level and defeat you with experience"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Tue 21, 2006 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1964
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
I am an advocate of Brasso. For really deep scratches, auto rubbing compound and a lot of patience.

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Mike Koste
Gobs of Knobs
Ambler, PA


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Tue 21, 2006 3:11 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1198
Location: Jim Thorpe, Pa., USA
Doesn't Bakelite have just a thin hard skin on it. Don't you have to be careful not to go through it and get into the granular material below, or am I thinking of another type of plastic? I have a couple of dull Bakelite sets and have been reluctant to try to polish them too heavily for fear of ruining the cabinet altogether.

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Tom Lager
My web page http://lagert.undrground.org


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Tue 21, 2006 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1863
Location: Houston Texas USA
Roy, Tom, et al...

If you are somewhat new to removing blemishes from plastic materials including Bakelite, a few observations may be helpful to get you started...What follows is an approach I learned many years ago and has worked well...There are others who have their "pet" methods and those can be found among the archived postings here at ARF...Search "Bakelite" and you will find enough material to fill a book nearly the size of "Big Red". <grin>

Scratches in Bakelite or any other plastic material have to be evaluated in terms of severity...That is, their depth into the material...The simple fingernail test is a decent starting point and the "feedback" you get from running your fingernail across the scratch(es) can guide you as to your starting point without a lot of needless effort...Work in a well-lit area...A headband magnifier may be of help...I use one often in scratch repair and polishing routines.

Here are three suggestions as to how to proceed based upon your test results...They are presented in worst case -to- best case order:

(1) If you feel a definite interruption to the progress of your fingernail as it is lightly moved across the scratch, then wet sanding the area will give you the quickest and most effective action in the removal process...Using two, perhaps three grades of silicon carbide abrasive paper (aka wet-'n-dry) having the characteristic black or very dark green abrasive mix, you might begin sanding the Bakelite across the scratch at a near perpendicular angle with grade 1000...This sanding routine should be done wet with water...As the yellowish-brown or green sludge appears, stop at frequent intervals to look for evidence of the scratch...It will be plainly viewed within the dulled area now surrounding the repair site....If gone, or barely visible and not detectable with the fingernail test, then repeat the wet sanding routine with 1500 grit abrasive paper...Again, this will be the wet-'n-dry type...Be sure to use this finer grit paper over the whole area previously sanded, and feather the routine out slightly beyond the boundary of your 1000 grit routine...Clean the sludge away and proceed to (2) or (3) below...Or, it may be suitable to begin at the 1500 grit level for less deep scratches.

(2) If you can barely feel an interruption to the progress of you fingernail across a scratch then an automotive type rubbing compound applied with a damp cotton cloth under firm pressure may be the starting point...The usual method is to move the cloth in a small circular pattern about the size of a quarter atop the scratch from one end to the other, concentrating more effort where the scratch is deeper into the material...At regular intervals, clean away the excess compound and view the scratched area which has no shine at this time...If you detect the scratch line(s), continue with the compound until the lines are no longer visible...Then proceed to (3) below.

(3) If you see scratches or mars but they are not detectable with the fingernail test, you might try polishing the surface with a plastics polish or automotive type polishing compound...The suggestion was made to use Brasso...That seems to be a favorite among several members here at ARF...I can recommend Novus 2 Plastic Cleaner/Polish...It works well and is water soluble leaving no chalky residue to contend with...Whatever your choice, you want to be sure to polish the scratched or marred area sufficiently with firm pressure atop a cotton cloth (T-shirt material) to remove the scratch(es) and achieve a uniform lustre or shine by moving the polishing action out and away from the scratches to the surrounding area...Again, small circular movement with firm pressure atop the surface works well...You may want to polish the whole cabinet to achieve a highly uniform lustre.

There are some cautions to observe...Some scratches that are really deep cannot be removed but only diminished...It is possible in some cases where applying an abrasive paper to the surface too aggressively or too long in one spot can permanently ruin the lustrous surface of the Bakelite...Frequent interruptions with careful observation will be instrumental in avoiding this result...No amount of compound or polish will restore such damage...Therefore, there are some cautions to observe and some judgements to be made as to the severity and the remedies as outlined herein...And furthermore, not all Bakelite has the same quality or depth of its lustrous "skin" which can complicate matters...However, having said that, the one, two or three step process above has worked nicely for me for many years and is offered as a suggested method to restore your cabinet to a scratch-free appearance.

FWIW

Bruce
WC5CW


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Wed 22, 2006 2:09 am 
Member

Joined: May Wed 17, 2006 9:07 pm
Posts: 80
Location: N.E. Georgia
Hi,
Thanks all.
I checked the scratches and they are very minor so some rubbing compound should do the job.
I printed the suggestions off because I have some other radios to do.
Thanks again, Roy

_________________
"Never engage an idiot in a battle of wits. They
will reduce you to their level and defeat you with experience"


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