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 Post subject: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Feb Sun 24, 2019 7:29 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA
I am restoring an RCA Victor Special Model M for a client, and the seller used masking tape to hold down the tone arm, even though the buyer specifically told the seller not to use tape to hold down the tone arm. Naturally, some paint flaked off when the tape was removed. The seller has apologized and refunded the buyer a portion of his purchase price.

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More paint is starting to flake from the original damage so the bare spots are growing. Touching up may help stabilize the paint.

I took the tone arm to NAPA and they color matched a bottle of touch-up paint for me, but the buyer is still hesitant on touching up the bare spots as it may negatively affect the value of the machine.

I did a couple trial spots, and I think the color is an excellent match, but up close, it is obvious that touch-up paint has been used as you can see the margins of the chip as the paint thickness is not the same.

I would like to hear some pros and cons on touching up the tone arm. Here are some photos; I apologize for the poor quality of some.

First touch-up experiment:

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Second touch-up experiment:

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The bottom photo shows the worst damage from the masking tape. I'm sure that touching up the larger bare spots will be much more obvious than the smaller chips I touched up on the back side of the tone arm.

The RCA Victor Special M was designed by John Vassos circa 1938. The machines are rather rare and quite valuable.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Feb Sun 24, 2019 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 978
Location: Southwestern,Ontario Canada
If it were mine I would probably remove the tonearm, strip the paint, mask off and repaint. The trouble with touching up is,.. you don't know if it is lacquer based or enamel based. The 2 are not compatible. If you try to spray enamel over lacquer it usually wrinkles up. Same if you go the other way. You could use either acrylic enamel, gun mixed to respray. It might take less coats to cover if the tonearm is stripped, and you are applying over what looks to be a gold (brass colored) finish. You could also go with a lacquer based paint , although you might have the same adhesion problem in the future. Most modern car paints are enamel based with a clearcoat finish that has some "hardener" usually a small percentage in it. That means it is usually toxic to spray isocyanate. Most body shops that spray "iso" have the proper filters in their respirators.
Using a hardener usually eliminates the effects you see with the masking tape being able to peel the finish off.
Something of that "age" was probably lacquer (if it is still original) most "modern" automotive paints are "enamel based", except the small "rattle cans" that you can buy in the "touch-up" section of the automotive store. Custom matched will be the only way to do it properly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isocyanate -- read under "Toxicity"

Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Feb Mon 25, 2019 7:15 am 
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The original paint has thickness, so just touching it up will leave ghost makes at the edges of the damage. I think the best way to deal with this sort of situation is to sand the chipped spots to feather out the edge, then airbrush paint over the section, feathering out the edge of the paint. After letting it set up for a few days I'd do a light rubbing out to match the sheen of the original and the patch.

If you have reservations about compatibility of the new paint on top of the old paint, use a wash coat of shellac in between them.


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Feb Mon 25, 2019 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
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Location: Southwestern,Ontario Canada
It looks like the tone-arm had a very smooth and polished surface to begin with. They then masked off the areas and sprayed paint over top. By chemical stripping you, won't have to sand any areas and have to worry about accidentally sanding a nice polished exposed surface. This is part of the reason the paint came off so easily with the tape. Other than the fact that the paint is now 80 + years old, it did not really have a sanded surface to adhere to.
If you were to paint it. Use pin-stripe tape, paint the tone-arm and remove the pin-stripe tape while it is still wet and NOT once it has dried. You will be assured of a nice clean tape line, from the polished areas to the new painted areas. If you wait until the paint drys , when you remove it, you end up with a ragged tape line. You can do this by leaving a little extra pin-stripe tape and create a little "pull handle" at one end. Do this for the 3 areas. The piece down the middle, and the 2 areas on either side of the wide needle and cartridge area.
Hope this helps...
Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Feb Thu 28, 2019 12:29 am 
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Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
I use fingernail polish for touch up. It is lacquer and dries quickly. It comes in an infinite variety of colors, and it is fairly thick so it can fill chips well.
After the polish dries it can be wet sanded smooth and buffed.

I have not had paint compatibility problems with it, lacquer over lacquer "burns in" and lacquer over enamel simply dries without softening the enamel.
YMMV

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Feb Thu 28, 2019 6:18 am 
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Thanks for the suggestions. After some hesitancy, the owner has asked me to go ahead and use the NAPA touch-up paint. I thought I would try another bare spot and see how doing a coat, letting it dry, then adding another coat or two to even out the depth to match the original paint. I may pick up some small pointed brushes at the arts & crafts store so I can work with more precision.

Stripping and repainting the entire tone arm would look better, but that isn't an option for me. I'm primarily doing the electrical and mechanical restoration. If the owner wants to repaint the entire tone arm, he can take it to someone with the tools and expertise to do it right. I might try it on a machine of my own, but not on someone else's rare and valuable player.

I'll post some photos when I finish. Thanks again for sharing your opinions.

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 Post subject: Re: Opinions Wanted on Tone Arm Touch-Up Paint
PostPosted: Mar Mon 04, 2019 1:22 am 
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Location: Richmond, VA
I found that the touch-up paint just did not do a decent job on the larger bare spots. It's great for tiny pits and scratches, but on large areas, it's too thick and dries too fast to get it to flow smoothly over the larger areas. I tried flat brushes and spotting brushes, but just could get acceptable results. Plus, as I would touch-up, and remove paint I didn't like, more of the original paint would flake off.

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So I gave up on the touch-up paint and went back to NAPA to have them make up a can of matching aerosol paint. I used 2000 grit paper to wet sand the damaged areas, trying to feather the margins of the bare spots while minimizing damage to the good original paint.

I masked off all good original paint on the tone arm and just touched up the damaged areas on the tone arm head, lightly misting coats until I got fairly even coverage blending in with the original paint.

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I think the results are acceptable. From a foot away, you can't tell that the paint has been retouched. Up close, if you know where to look, you can see faintly the edges of the damaged areas.

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