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 Post subject: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue...
PostPosted: Jun Tue 28, 2011 4:22 am 
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After many years of wanting one I finally got a trade deal on a nice brown bakelite 49-501 Philco, the Boomerang. Sadly I had to take the deal on an as-is since the set I traded had some damage I got a set in return that also had damage.

There were two cracks in this case, one running inside the arch on the left side by the grill about three inches long and another on the right side from the end of the arch at the top of the cabinet all the way down and across the dial area to the right side of the radio on the corner of the cabinet.

I debated long and hard about whether to take the trade deal but this was a one shot deal to get a set I had wanted for nearly twenty years so I took it and with all the commotion around here lately with the wife's illness and then the news of us having twins :shock:, I never got started on the repair of the cabinet.

Last night I decided I needed a break and saw the Philco calling me from the shelf downstairs by my bench. It was dirty, cracked and looking pretty sad so I cleared a space on the bench and disassembled the set. I boxed the chassis and knobs for safe keeping and set them aside for a later time and got down to seeing what I could do to save this cabinet as the cracked area was causing the case to flex and I was afraid it might get worse since it already had a gap of about 1/32nd of an inch when the case was pressed in any direction. I knew clamps would not work on this case due to the odd shape it has and the fact that I lost my web clamps in the sewage flood in February. This time it was going to be all hand held and hold on till the glue set up so I decided to use my technique of wet flowing the bakelite using Super Glue (cyanoacrylate for you chemist types out there) and sandpaper to help it set up quicker and fill the small chips that had developed on the edge of the crack.

Starting from the inside of the cabinet I cleaned it thoroughly with ammonia and a toothbrush making sure to clear the inside of the crack of all dust and debris. Next I got my 400 grit sandpaper at the ready cut into strips about an inch wide for easy use and control.

I started first on the arched area of the grill for this process as it was more flexible overall due to the thinner nature of the material there and finished the process on the dial side area.
Image

After making sure the crack was dry and clean I held the crack open as far as possible without creating so much stress as to make the crack worse and ran a good solid bead of Super Glue in from the inside of the case allowing it to ooze out the other side to the front of the cabinet where I immediately hit it with the 400 grit paper and began sanding it back into the surrounding bakelite as I held the joint tightly together.
Image

The bakelite dust that the sanding generated mixed in with the wet glue and began to solidify into the crack and around it to form a new surface that filled in the gaps and got hard quickly from the heat of the sanding. After the first coat I immediately laid down a second bead on the outside of the case over the same area and repeated the process moving to fresh sandpaper as I went along to keep the surface smoothed out and level as I continued to hold the joint tightly together, making sure to get a good three coats on all areas before calling it done.
Image

There was a small chip in the case next to the dial area to the right that was about 1/8" long and the process completely filled the chip and the sanding made it level with the surface of the good bakelite so the chip isn't even felt when you run your fingernail over it now.
Image

When I finished after a few minutes of sanding the area looked like the crack was completely filled in and I still held it secure for another two or three minutes to let it set up solid. Taking a paper towel I wiped off the inside of the cabinet of any still wet glue that had not begun to set up.
Image

I then began to sand lightly on the outside to smooth off the area I had just reworked using a light touch with clean 400 grit paper .

I then set the case aside for the night to let the Super Glue set up completely overnight.

Tonight the case was solid as a rock and the crack was gone save for the line where you could see the filled section of the SuperGlue/bakelite mix. A final sanding with 2000 grit finishing paper and a clean and buff out with Mothers Mag Wheel polish made the case look like new and ready for the primer/paint process to come.
Image

The crack is solid now, the case no longer flexes like it did and the only other thing I plan is to paint the inside are of the crack with epoxy resin to give it more material to bond with over the years. I have repaired several of my painted sets like this in the past twenty years and not one has ever developed any new damage. I know a lot of guys like to use the epoxy resin with the fabric but this seems to work fine for me and never a failure...yet :wink:

I have also used this technique to make a "bakelite spackle" to fill larger gaps and chips by using a scrap piece of bakelite to sand into dust and just add a few drops of Super Glue to the dust to make a filler that works great for small surface chips and voids that would otherwise mar a nice paint job. Just lay the sanded dust into the chip and apply the glue and start sanding right away. Practice makes perfect but this does work. And while there are some very good costly brands of Super Glue out there (even a black type that is SUPER strong!) my technique just uses your average dollar store three for a buck squeeze tube type. It works fine for this process as the bakelite dust acts as a binder and strengthens the repair.

BTW, one word of caution if you try this process, USE LATEX GLOVES! The dust and Super Glue mix is going to stick to your skin otherwise and it is a pain to get off and make sure you have a source of moving air (fan) by your work area to move the fumes out of the way as the Super Glue gives off cyanide fumes (that burn like all get out) and the bakelite dust will get into your nose and eyes and make you feel like you inhaled a camel otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jun Wed 29, 2011 6:41 am 
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Dan - as I have been working on cabinets lately, including some troubled Bakelites, I found your post quite interesting. I'm due to pull another B'lite out of my 'ebay grab bag', and have been thinking about trying to paint another one... maybe two-tone. Now I will give your technique a try (or two or more). How-some-ever did you develop such a technique? It's great!

Looking forward to your paint picts...

- divad

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Last edited by divad41 on Jun Wed 29, 2011 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jun Wed 29, 2011 6:11 pm 
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Hi Divad, the technique developed out of reading about the composition of bakelite and how it was originally made. I got to thinking that since bakelite started out as a powder and Super Glue is dependant on granular structure for strength in adhesion I wondered if it would work as a means of rebuilding bakelite. Originally heat and pressure was the way bakelite was formed in the manufacturing process.

I got to thinking it might work on a smaller scale to facilitate repairs with the heat of sanding friction as well as the fact it gave up new material to work into the void and the pressure of clamping the joint during the process. I tried it out on some scrap pieces of cabinet I had lying around and was amazed at the results. I then tried it out on a cabinet that had a large crack and after several applications the crack was gone and ready for painting and I've used the technique ever since. It takes some practice to get the results you are visualizing but it becomes easier the more you do it. By the time you get to the priming stage before painting the repaired area can be completely invisible if you have been patient with your efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Fri 01, 2011 3:41 am 
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Excelent post, I agree with divad on it. I have worked where bakelite was made and its nasty,hot and messy. Its a real fine powder if I remember. I am going to try this method with one I have. I was wondering could you use this method and instead of painting could you polish it with a high grit wet or dry sandpaper and water then polish and buff it out?


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Sun 10, 2011 6:18 am 
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DD - had my first go with this technique today on a Little Nipper... amazing. As you say it takes a while to get the intended effect... but I did get one crack glued and filled, and virtually invisible.

I wondered about adding glue to a very small void where dust had collected... the glue doesn't like that at all - it doesn't soak into the dust, but runs off elsewhere. I tried using sg as a filler... it shrinks pretty drastically, so that's a no-go.

I'm surprised at how partially-set, or semi-hardened sg can be worked with with sandpaper. I had in mind in the past that it was a hard as could be and unworkable; not so, and is good to learn that. Even when still 'wet' it can be smeared around with sandpaper, then worked down to original surface quite easily. My 'shack' is the back lanai (porch) of our house, so have good ventilation.

Another thing I leaned is make sure you have plenty of sandpaper on hand. This technique requires a bit of it. I used 400 grit on all my efforts today.

I'll keep at this... this cabinet needs a bit of bondo as well. I'll post about it when I get some more progress, and a few picts, especially of the sanded superglue technique.

Thanks for this idea! divad

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Mon 11, 2011 2:20 am 
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Someone was telling me about a method where you could tint superglue with instant coffee to make it brown, I will have to experiment with this to see if it works. I'm guessing that they grind it up into a fine powder first, but what I don't know is if the coffee would dissolve into the glue or just be suspended in it. I've never used cyanoacrylate glue to repair a Bakelite cabinet I've always used two part epoxy since it's theoretically more resistant to heat, fills well, cleans up with lacquer thinner, and can be sanded and shaped if the need arises.
Regards
Arran


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Fri 15, 2011 3:04 am 
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I found that using superglue on bakelite does a nice job holding and filling cracks and gaps and sands well...but I also learned that bakelite was composed of resins, sawdust and asbestos.....so I tend to wet sand it to keep the dust down and also the sandpaper lasts a lot longer as long as you keep ptting water as a lubricant...

That was a superb job you did on that crack decotronix by the way....

I'm having trouble matching the color of bakelite brown...I found an old radio that was smashed to pieces where some of the pieces were missing...those missing pieces were replaced with fiberglass and resin for strength and finished with body filler....
I found that minwax dark mahogany stain matches the bakelite brown almost perfectly " except the stain never dries, it gets tacky no matter how long you let it sit...I tried to clear coat it but the clear coat just ate up the stain so I had to remove it..." real messy job"
any ideas out there what paint will match brown bakelite...I've tried mixing a few acrylic colors with no success
Thanks people!


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Sat 16, 2011 9:28 am 
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Welcome to the forum, RADIOFIX. Bakelight is a multicolored substance, so you would have to spray multiple colors/shades to get something close, kind of a mottled effect.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Mon 18, 2011 1:23 am 
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Thank you glasdave
the radio I'm working on is a RCA Victor...I looked up the color for the model which was made in 1952...they specify "maroon" it looks like a solid color
I found a color that comes pretty close...made by colormatch " dark cherry" It's a little lighter but I might go with it...
The minwax mahogany stain was sprayed on via air brush and blended well to the point where you couldn't see where the bakelite ended and the stain began...it was that close in color..
I do have a philco that is multicolored as you said " marbleized" did I spell that correctly???...I won't even attempt that...I'm talking a whole world of aggrivation....
I used superglue to fill the cracks..I multilayered the glue up to five times until it beveled over the crack...it smoths very nicely when let dry for a day...


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Mon 18, 2011 7:22 am 
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Hi all - I am working along on my Little Nipper... did a little bondo work, and decided to spray the repair areas with a bit of primer yesterday as a 'check coat' to see how they looked. The result was the usual mixed bag to be found at the beginning of this kind of work... BUT...

One of the cracks I worked at with sg and 400 grit is completely invisible under the 1st coat of primer. Crack glued, filled with DD's technique... and it is gone. I have looked again twice, and the crack is 'no more'.

once again I say, amazing.

divad

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Tue 19, 2011 7:19 am 
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RADIOFIX wrote:
Thank you glasdave
the radio I'm working on is a RCA Victor...I looked up the color for the model which was made in 1952...they specify "maroon" it looks like a solid color
I found a color that comes pretty close...made by colormatch " dark cherry" It's a little lighter but I might go with it...
The minwax mahogany stain was sprayed on via air brush and blended well to the point where you couldn't see where the bakelite ended and the stain began...it was that close in color..
I do have a philco that is multicolored as you said " marbleized" did I spell that correctly???...I won't even attempt that...I'm talking a whole world of aggrivation....
I used superglue to fill the cracks..I multilayered the glue up to five times until it beveled over the crack...it smoths very nicely when let dry for a day...
We need pictures.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Tue 19, 2011 4:25 pm 
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I use boot dye put out by Feiberling, can mix black, with browns to get the color correct. A bit of shellac mixed in gives a hard finish. I paint over cracks using a toothpick.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2011 10:27 pm 
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As you can see...just under the glare from the flash there's a thin crack..I used superglue to bond the two halves together...then I used a two part resin with fiberglass gloth for strength " not shown in pic"...I built up layers of superglue and wet sanded the area...after I used 1,000 grit sand paper the crack was extremely smooth.

As far as the RCA Victor...I contacted the Zinsser shellac company...they told me the minwax stain and shellac are compatible.....I sprayed " in thin layers with an airbrush" the mahogany stain. After a couple days the stain was just tacky...I then prayed a faint layer of Zinsser Shellac over the stain. After several thin layers and hours it seems to have worked....when I'm done with the radio I will set up pics of the results.

I might try the same technique with the marbleized Philco that has the crack.
Hope this helps


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Jul Sat 23, 2011 6:07 am 
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divad41 wrote:
Hi all - I am working along on my Little Nipper... did a little bondo work, and decided to spray the repair areas with a bit of primer yesterday as a 'check coat' to see how they looked. The result was the usual mixed bag to be found at the beginning of this kind of work... BUT...

One of the cracks I worked at with sg and 400 grit is completely invisible under the 1st coat of primer. Crack glued, filled with DD's technique... and it is gone. I have looked again twice, and the crack is 'no more'.

once again I say, amazing.

divad


I'm glad to hear and see that the technique is working for others as well. I have done it now for years and never had a crack reappear or break at all. The repaired cracked area is probably stronger than the rest of the cabinet much like a glued joint in a wood repair.

The idea of the instant coffee mixed in with the superglue as a tint is intriguing and now I wish I had known/thought of that before I did the Philco to see how it works as that set has a very plain brown finish and is not mottled at all so it would have worked great if it does tint the glue. I see no reason why it wouldn't even if it just suspended the coffee in the mix to blend the color into the crack with the bakelite dust generated by sanding. There is a very strong black superglue made by Loctite (I think it is called 386?) that might even work in that way.

Another way to hide the repairs on a brown bakelite set is to use the stain markers used for furniture repair to lightly go over the repaired area and blend the repaired area into the surrounding cabinet.

Radiofix, your repaired cabinet looks very nice! It always feels good to save one like that, congratulations on an excellent effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 3:20 am 
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Today I decided that since it was dry and low humidity outside to try to get a quick coat of primer on the cabinet to see if my work would hold up to a finish coat. I know time is flying and the twins will be here soon so my chances for getting a finish coat on this set before winter are quickly disappearing. I did my usual tack cloth prep and set about doing the primer coat. It was very windy but the house acted like a wind break for me and after some fast and furious spraying I had a smooth prepped radio. It came out nice I think.

Image

The repaired area where the crack was is no longer visible and once the primer sets up a few days I'll do a light sanding with 2000 grit to level off the high spots and get it ready for the color coat. This one is going to be a sweet looking peach/salmon finish with red accents and I'm even contemplating a flame job to make it a "rat rod" look. I have to see if there are any sources for waterslide flame decals such as those used in model kits available. I just know I'll get "flamed" for that idea :shock: :lol:

I'm curious to see if anyone else has completed repainting any of their sets using the superglue repair tip with photos of the finished efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 3:56 pm 
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I just sold one of these that I filled a crack using a toothpick with tinted super glue and normal wet sanding and polishing. I use dark brown boot dye to tint. It came out perfect, why did you paint the case??


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Oct Sun 16, 2011 8:11 pm 
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hoffies2 wrote:
I just sold one of these that I filled a crack using a toothpick with tinted super glue and normal wet sanding and polishing. I use dark brown boot dye to tint. It came out perfect, why did you paint the case??


Since I have always wanted one of these sets and this one needed a full restoration to make it viable I decided to do one of my custom "hot-rod' paint jobs on it and decided that it would look great in the light peach/salmon color I have available. I never have cared for these in the plain brown and rather liked them in the ivory finish they were made in from the factory but since this one started out as a brown betty I just decided to do the color version I see in my mind's eye when I look at it.

It will be a part of my permanent collection of repaired/repainted sets so seeing as how some people have painted them in odd color combos (as seen on some obscenely priced auctions on a certain website) this one was open game for me. The hardest decision I have to make is how to strip the dial knob of the ivory/brown combination and do it in ivory/red as I picture it. I'll wait to see how it looks once I get the cabinet color on before I go there though as I might change my mind and like the brown dial markings with the peach/salmon color.

BTW, using the brown boot dye in the super glue is a great idea. I've often wondered if instant coffee would work as well since some are a very dark brown. Did using the dye affect the drying time of the glue at all?

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Oct Mon 17, 2011 1:59 am 
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decotronix wrote:
hoffies2 wrote:
I just sold one of these that I filled a crack using a toothpick with tinted super glue and normal wet sanding and polishing. I use dark brown boot dye to tint. It came out perfect, why did you paint the case??


Since I have always wanted one of these sets and this one needed a full restoration to make it viable I decided to do one of my custom "hot-rod' paint jobs on it and decided that it would look great in the light peach/salmon color I have available. I never have cared for these in the plain brown and rather liked them in the ivory finish they were made in from the factory but since this one started out as a brown betty I just decided to do the color version I see in my mind's eye when I look at it.

It will be a part of my permanent collection of repaired/repainted sets so seeing as how some people have painted them in odd color combos (as seen on some obscenely priced auctions on a certain website) this one was open game for me. The hardest decision I have to make is how to strip the dial knob of the ivory/brown combination and do it in ivory/red as I picture it. I'll wait to see how it looks once I get the cabinet color on before I go there though as I might change my mind and like the brown dial markings with the peach/salmon color.

BTW, using the brown boot dye in the super glue is a great idea. I've often wondered if instant coffee would work as well since some are a very dark brown. Did using the dye affect the drying time of the glue at all?

It dried normally, only one drop of the dye goes a long ways.
I also make my own trim colors using shellac, alcohol and the Feiberling boot dyes. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Nov Sun 06, 2011 4:32 am 
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Well, with the advent of the last few days of warm weather this past week I started to try to get the paint job done on this Boomerang before winter sets in. I already had the primer on it so I shot the first color coat last week and promptly goobered it up with two bad runs in the finish from getting too hurried with a color that was too thin to lay on a heavy coat. I forgot from previous experience that Krylon has some colors that are just thin, Ivory is one and this tangerine is obviously another.
Image
I had to let the paint set up a week so I could cut back the runny areas and clean up the mistake. I got it all ready for a quick primer touch up which I did on Thursday of last week before I went to work. The biggest problem area to get right on these sets is the corner of the arch on the right side:
Image
Image
as it will run in a heartbeat since the paint will pile up there if you try to get it all in one fast coat. You literally have to fog the color in there over several coats and having the adjustable spray head on the new Krylon cans is the key since you need to alter the angle of spray that hits the cabinet to prevent the runs from occurring.

After several coats at different intervals of time over about a half an hour I finally got a color base I was happy with:
Image
Image
Image
The first town photos are closer to the actual color as the last one was taken inside on the bench

Now all that is left is to clean up the tiny dust specks that settle on the cabinet as I waited between coats and then a few coats of clear to seal it all off. The grill screen will need to be painted but I'm not sure whether to do it in black or ivory and to do the knobs in red trim. And I'm still debating those flames as I found lots of great waterslide flame decals available online. This should be a standout set when it is done and I already have a spot for it in the display case

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 Post subject: Re: Philco Boomerang, Wet blending bakelite with Super Glue.
PostPosted: Nov Sat 12, 2011 10:01 pm 
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Impressive and inspiring

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