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 Post subject: Best Cleaner/Polish for Bakelite
PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 1:26 am 
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This has probably been asked here before. But, who has the best cleaner/polish for bakelite cabinets? I have a few unremarkable sets and want to make them remarkable.
RadioWizard

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PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 1:57 am 
Silent Key

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Location: Amarillo, TX 79102
Brasso is the best.....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 2:01 am 
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As in Brasso brass polish? And what is the best material to spread it and buff it...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 2:10 am 
Silent Key

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Apply it, let it dry, then buff with 000 steel wool or a coarse cloth.
Works well, as I brought a Clockette K25 'back to life'. Takes some rubbing and several coats. Worth the effort!

Gene

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PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 2:37 am 
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K...will try it during Christmas week.
RW


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PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 3:52 am 
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WOW!
What a unique, original, question (laugh here). Brasso does a great job of cleaning and smoothing. For that like new shine, I prefer to finish with GLAYZIT.
BOB


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PostPosted: Nov Sun 18, 2007 5:21 am 
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Bakelite responds extremely well to an electric buffing wheel and a mild polishing compound like jeweler's rouge - although you must be careful and not let the wheel yank the cabinet out of your hands and onto the floor. Do not try this on other plastics - it will melt them.

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PostPosted: Nov Mon 19, 2007 12:08 am 
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http://www.antiqueradios.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=77989

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Mon 19, 2007 1:17 am 
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No matter what you use you have to be careful not to buff the finish off the Bakelite. When you see wood fiber, you've ruined it.

I tried Glayzit once and hated it. After that I went with a combination of Brasso, Johnsons Paste Wax and Pledge.

The Brasso does a great job (though someone reccomended Toothpaste the other day, I haven't had a chance to try that yet).

The Paste Wax gives it the shine (but fingerprints really bad afterwards) so after waxing, I use

The Pledge over the wax helps control the fingerprints. :)

Of course I learned from one of the best, Gary Rabbitt.

Check out his work in this thread Nevr-Dull. Scroll down to the photos about half-way down. :)

Raven


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PostPosted: Nov Mon 19, 2007 1:50 am 
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No matter what you use you have to be careful not to buff the finish off the Bakelite. When you see wood fiber, you've ruined it.

A little trick is to dye it with black india ink. Makes it look good as new.

I'm a little leery about buffing bakelite as some use asbestos as a filler. Buffing it will free the fibers form their encapsulation and the fibers will float around in the air for weeks.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Mon 19, 2007 2:42 am 
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I used toothpaste on a Motorola am-fm set I repaired a month ago..removed dirt from the fine scratches on the cabinet, and a bit of a shine. The owners were really impressed. I have a couple old brown bakelites...might as well play with them and see what happens.
Oh, yeah...for the hard to reach places, I used a teledyne waterpik with hot water...does real good.


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PostPosted: Nov Mon 19, 2007 3:19 am 
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I kept thinking about the toothpaste, and have some junk Bakelite laying around, so I thought I'd try it, but the only toothpaste in the house has no grit, all we have is that gel stuff.

So instead of toothpaste, I put some water in one cup and some baking soda in another. I dipped a cloth in the water, then into the baking soda and scrubbed.

The result? Not bad really.

I got quite a nice shine after a couple of applications, and then topped off with just Pledge (the paste wax smells too loud to apply indoors and it's dark out right now :D).

There are a couple of fine scratches that need to be buffed out with Novus, but I may try this on my next Bakelite restoration. :)

Raven


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PostPosted: Nov Fri 30, 2007 1:22 pm 
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I use a mixture of water, dish detergent, and toothpaste. I first give it a good scrub in soapy water, and then I use straight toothpaste and really rub it into the cabinet. I then wash this off and then polish it with vaseline. The vaseline needs to be thoroughly rubbed in (I use paper towels for all cleaning and polishing of plastics) until the cabinet looks shiny, but has no visible vaseline on it. If it feels greasy, you need to rub more.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Fri 30, 2007 3:04 pm 
Silent Key

Joined: Feb Thu 08, 2007 2:32 pm
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Hi,
I use Dupont #7 rubbing compound/polish, there are to blends. I use the mild blend for initial cleaning. I never use a buffer, all done by hand. After that its up to you whatever wax you desire.
hoffie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Nov Fri 30, 2007 3:41 pm 
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Location: Lexington Kentucky
I've used Brasso and Novus #2. The Brasso seems more aggressive. The Novus has the nice squeeze bottle and may polish better. Incidentally I found my Novus by accident at Dixie Industrial Supply and got a great deal on a medium size bottle. They considered it an industrial maintenance item.

For plastics I use a Harbor Freight loose rag buffing wheel in a drill press. The individual rag layers get into tight corners very well. For knobs it is SO MUCH easier than hand polishing!

Two nights ago I used my buffing wheel and Novus to fix a scratched CD! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sat 15, 2007 11:37 am 
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raven21633 wrote:
No matter what you use you have to be careful not to buff the finish off the Bakelite. When you see wood fiber, you've ruined it.

....
Of course I learned from one of the best, Gary Rabbitt.

Check out his work in this thread Nevr-Dull. Scroll down to the photos about half-way down. :)

Raven


I've been looking over many old and relatively new posts concerning the restoration of bakelite before posting a question. And that first line pretty much answers my potential question. My present bakelite subject has this peculiar erosion on its upper surfaces. It is somewhat porous looking and there are tan colored specks in the surface. I'm hoping these are wood fibers, as opposed to asbestos, but it is obvious that the glaze has been lost. I remember another post where bakelite was compared to concrete. I guess the rubble is showing to me. I assume that I will have to add some kind of surrogate for the lost glaze, although my assumption was that bakelite is homogenous and if I work enough it will shine again. So there is a certain 'sandwich' quality after all?...Oh, the set is just an Emerson 543; black w/red dial pointer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sun 16, 2007 2:31 am 
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[quote="kenwquote]. I remember another post where bakelite was compared to concrete. I guess the rubble is showing to me. I assume that I will have to add some kind of surrogate for the lost glaze, although my assumption was that bakelite is homogenous and if I work enough it will shine again. So there is a certain 'sandwich' quality after all?...[/quote]

Its not really a sandwiched type of material. The outer glazed surfaces were simply what was up against the mold in the manufacturing process. I'm sure you are familiar with phenolic like is used for tube sockets and terminal strips. Same family.

Once that slickness has worn away there's no bringing it back. However one cure is repeated applications of tung oil that can eventually smooth and fill the "rubble" allowing it to take a shine. Its a long slow process though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Fri 21, 2007 11:28 am 
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Thanks!..I'll give the tung oil approach a try. Can you describe the process further?. Or is it simply a matter of applying the oil and letting it dry between coats.

I've never seen bakelite in such an eroded state. I don't know what evil things the previous owner subjected it to. The rest of my bakelite sets are not so bad and in their case the Brasso, or Glayzit, treatment worked just fine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sat 22, 2007 6:23 am 
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I just did a couple of black bakelite sets. The most of the problem was quickly removed with rubbing alcohol. I am thinking it might have been tobacco smoke residue. Before you go crazy with polishing try a good bath.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Dec Sun 23, 2007 10:53 pm 
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Location: Silver Spring, Maryland USA
For worn Bakelite with a rough finish, I use appropriately colored shoe polish. After several buffed coats, the cabinets look new.


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