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 Post subject: Removing Paint from Bakelite
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 2:36 pm 
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Location: Mackinac Island
How should I remove white baked-on paint from a Crosley Bullseye?

Before I get some nasty comments I'd better add that the original paint is mostly badly scratched or was removed by some former owner.

I'd rather clean it down to its original black bakelite than to repaint it white.

How would I do this without hurting the bakelite?

Thanks

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Last edited by realradios on Apr Thu 24, 2008 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 2:44 pm 
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Location: Düsseldorf/Germany
I should try at first a supersonic bath over a longer time.
But the cabin has to be complete under the water!!!!!
A friend of mine used a too small bath, result was a 2-tone
Volksempfänger cabin. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 2:58 pm 
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Location: Mackinac Island
Hi,

Ah, what's a supersonic bath?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 4:13 pm 
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A solvent based paint stripper can be used. The solvents that are O.K. with Bakelite are, Alcohol, Toluene, MEK, Acetone, and to a lesser degree Methylene Chloride. There are various strengths and brands of solvent strippers the percentage of these solvents is varied. Generally, the more Methyl, the more expensive, more aggressive, more important to test first.

Always test the stripper by putting a puddle of it inside where the chassis sits.

Bakelite IS decomposed by alkaline based strippers, those that contain strong alkaline solutions, such as ammonia, the carbonates, hydroxides of soda or potash. These strippers are usually less expensive.

The very nature of Bakelite molding causes a thin opaque layer to migrate to the surface, leaving the fillers on the interior. Ultraviolet rays or sunlight decomposes this surface. Once decomposed, the surface is far less resistant to alkaline household cleaners such as 409 and even Windex w/ammonia. Using these cleaners puts into solution the outermost surface of the Bakelite leaving a smelly brown phenol solution. Often it is this decomposing with an alkaline cleaner is confused with tobacco residue. The restorer feels as if they have vanquished years of grime only to be greeted with a dull, burned looking finish to the surface after it has been rinsed and dried. This damage is difficult to polish out, if at all.

Bakelite that has NOT been exposed to UV or Sun will fair somewhat better under an alkaline assault, but why take the risk?

Some have used an Orange based "Environmental" stripper with claimed good results. I cannot say with out trying that material myself and carefully reading the label AND the MSDS.

FWIW, you may find a handsome brown Bakelite cabinet under that paint with attractive darker swirls. Use hard Polyethylene scrapers to remove stripper residue at least initially until you determine the appearance of the cabinet.

A word to others who read this, be extremely cautious when using even solvent strippers on 1920's radios and other devices. Bakelite was used sparingly on radios of the '20's. What is found is a mud material that is shellac based with coal as a filler, not only will this material melt and deform at slightly elevated temperatures but is destroyed by solvent and alkaline strippers and household cleaners. The two other difficult materials are hard rubber and cellulose acetate. All three of these materials can be cleaned with a commercial hand cleaner that does NOT contain grit or "Orange" ingredients. A product such a Go-Jo, a gelled mild surfactant with Stoddard solvent has been used successfully. Hard rubber often oxidizes to a kacki green or develops sulphate flowers. It is at the restorers discretion to buff off the sulfur, it will, in time grow back. As far as cellulose acetate, very soluble in acetone and explosively flammable, use caution if power buffing. This material is often used in coil forms, re-soldering leads to cellulose acetate forms can cause the form to aggressively burn.

Good Luck with your project.

Best,

Chas

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 6:07 pm 
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Thanks much, Chas.

I've read a lot online about this and comments often contradict one another.

I'll try a solvent based stripper like you mentioned.

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Last edited by realradios on Apr Thu 24, 2008 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 6:37 pm 
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edit


Last edited by PaulP on Sep Tue 22, 2009 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 7:21 pm 
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Location: Mpls, Minnesota
Realradios,

First I must ask, why do you use a large style bold font for your normal text, it really seems out of place.

Now to answer your question, spray your cabinet with old fashioned Easy -Off oven cleaner, put it in a plastic bag overnite and the paint will usually rinse off the next day. No toxic chemicals to deal with. Easy-Off is caustic so use skin and eye protection.

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Thu 24, 2008 11:19 pm 
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Location: Mackinac Island
easyrider8 wrote:
Realradios,

First I must ask, why do you use a large style bold font for your normal text, it really seems out of place.

Now to answer your question, spray your cabinet with old fashioned Easy -Off oven cleaner, put it in a plastic bag overnite and the paint will usually rinse off the next day. No toxic chemicals to deal with. Easy-Off is caustic so use skin and eye protection.

Dave


Sorry about the bold font. I can barely see the small font. But I'll change it if it bugs people.

I read your tip about Easy-Off when I did a search on this subject here before posting. So it's one option I'm looking at.

Anyone else here ever use Easy-Off?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Fri 25, 2008 12:32 am 
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Location: Mpls, Minnesota
realradios wrote:

Sorry about the bold font. I can barely see the small font. But I'll change it if it bugs people.



No problem, I understand

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Fri 25, 2008 1:26 am 
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edit


Last edited by PaulP on Sep Tue 22, 2009 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Fri 25, 2008 3:11 am 
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Location: SOUTHLAKE, TX, USA
CHAS:
What a great ,informative, comment about removing paint from bakelite. In my experience, there is not a paint stripper that will harm bakelite. To those reading this, I recommend using the most potent stripper you can find. Avoid the current "environ friendly" ones, as they will just not work to remove factory paint. Often, stripping the paint reveals a beautiful "raw" bakelite cabinet.
BOB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Fri 25, 2008 2:32 pm 
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Dave, Bob & realradios,

My comments in regard to the use of caustic strippers is based on the reactions of ammonia containing household cleaners. NH3, ammonia pH 11, oven cleaner if it contains NaOH, pH can be >12. Since I had bad results with Windex on the sun struck surfaces, my conclusion is the the higher PH of "oven cleaner" would be devastating.

Not wanting to find out or take the risk I held that information as valid. Dave has shown that Bakelite, painted at time of manufacturer AND not being exposed to UV resists caustic attack and removes stubborn OEM paint coatings.

I have worked in an industrial environment and have seen what accidents with NaOH, or KOH can do. So caution is advised.

I have an RCA I believe a 6X6, that was Ivory painted, badly scratched, despite expensive petroleum solvent strippers I have been unable to remove paint residue in some tight areas. After initial stripping I discovered the marvelous chocolate swirls in the Bakelite and vowed not to re-paint. However, the remaining paint has held up completion. I shall try Easy-Off!

Dave, Bob, thanks for you enlightenment.

realradios, Good Luck, let us know what is hiding under the paint...

The pie was good...

Best,

Chas

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Fri 25, 2008 8:54 pm 
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Location: Mackinac Island
Thanks much Chas! You're a nice guy...how did you get on here??? (just kidding).

Anyway, I spent some time last evening reading the plastic model builders sites. I found them very interesting.

See, the plastic model people also need to remove paints from plastics due to a fouled paint job or whatever.

True, they're working with modern plastics but still their comments are revealing.

Many of them use Brake Fluid to clean the paint off plastic parts. Easy-Off also rates high with them.

Brake fluid doesn't dry so many of them prefer it.

Covering stripper with plastic sheet so it can work longer is common on the modeler sites.

I won't reprint it all here but check out some of those sites sometime.

Let us know how the Easy-Off works for you.

dale

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Last edited by realradios on Apr Sat 26, 2008 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sat 26, 2008 1:58 am 
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Location: SOUTHLAKE, TX, USA
Hi All:
I've used brake fluid to remove paint from plastic cabinets, after an ARF member suggestion some time ago. Works great, but is very messy. Does not harm the plastic. Have not tried it on bakelite.
BOB


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sat 26, 2008 4:58 am 
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I bought a 526 Bendix Bakelite radio from an ebayer that had the most beautiful looking shiny new-looking brown Bakelite case.

I asked the seller about it and he said it had been originally painted white from the factory and that he stripped it off using Eazy-OFF (blue-can) Lemon scented oven cleaner and it worked nicely.

It seems the original white factory paint must have protected the underlying brown Bakelite and helped preserve that original surface sheen.

Since then I too have used Eazy-off many times with good results.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sat 26, 2008 6:17 am 
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Location: N. Vancouver B.C. Canada
Although I haven't used it on Bakelite I have used brake fluid ($ store variety) with very good success on many different plastics. As others have said, a goodly amount of caution is in order whichever method is used.
best regards,
Sandy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sat 26, 2008 10:37 am 
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Location: Düsseldorf/Germany
A supersonic bath is when a box (has to be filled with water)
is powered by a supersonic generator.
Things in the bath lost dirt etc. because of the fast "moving"
by the frequency.
:?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sat 26, 2008 1:54 pm 
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Location: Mackinac Island
For removing paint I guess it'll be the Easy-Off for my first test.

Wish me luck.

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Sure I have a lazy eye, but the other one is a real go-getter!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sun 27, 2008 12:39 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 4127
Location: Berkley, Michigan
I repainted this Bakelite radio without stripping. I wet sanded it with 400 and 600 grit wet or dry paper, feathering all of the chips and scratches in the paint. I primed it and sanded again before the top coat.

This might not be so easy in a more complex cabinet design.

Image

Image


Last edited by Doug VanCleave on Jan Tue 14, 2014 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Apr Sun 27, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314, USA
Doug VanCleave wrote:
Image



Very, very nice !

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