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 Post subject: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Fri 07, 2020 11:40 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1160
Location: Hartford, KY
I have a Warrick radio who's Bakelite cabinet could use a bath. It's in reasonably good condition but I need something to clean off the haze and give it a brighter look. I am looking at using Magnolia glaysit telephone refinisher after I clean it. Anyone use this before? Any other suggestions for cleaning and polishing?

LLOYD


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Fri 07, 2020 11:55 pm 
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Joined: Feb Wed 12, 2014 4:25 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Southeast Kans. - KA0HCP
Wash bakelite in warm water, with mild dish soap, using a soft rag or sponge.

Bakelite can be damaged by most strong cleaners, abrasives and solvents like alcohol, etc. The shiny surface layer is only a few thousands of an inch thick. Once you wear through the surface you are down to the filler and binder which will never shine.

Glaysit is good for final touch. It has silicones so don't use on anything you are intending to paint soon. It is a bit oily, most of which evaporates in a few days/weeks. It works well on wrinkle paint finishes that are hard to wax without leaving white residue.

I often use Flitz polish, with cotton makeup pads to lightly, lightly polish and buff with a soft cloth when bakelite is dulled. Again, be conservative. A good paste wax like J-wax does a nice job too.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 12:23 am 
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Posts: 35910
Location: SoCal, 91387
I use Acetone to clean Bakelite, and then Metal Armor Polish to shine it.

Here's one example, but of course the original condition will have a say in the outcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 12:56 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1160
Location: Hartford, KY
I will need to careful as there is a decal of the brand (Belknap) on the front that I want to keep and protect. That for the suggestions so far. Actually washing in warm water and dish soap is something that I think would be very beneficial.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 1:26 am 
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Joined: Feb Wed 12, 2014 4:25 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Southeast Kans. - KA0HCP
Use masking tape to tape over the wood ornament.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 4:35 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1160
Location: Hartford, KY
I would be afraid the masking tape would pull of the decal. I could consider using blue painters tape. Will have to think about that


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 9:07 pm 
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Location: SoCal, 91387
Yes, blue "Frog Tape" might be your best bet; it's not too sticky but seals well around it's edges.

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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 11:56 pm 
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Joined: Feb Wed 12, 2014 4:25 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Southeast Kans. - KA0HCP
Blue painters' tape IS a masking tape. shrug.

For larger areas or odd sized things that need masking you can use food film (Saran), plastic sheeting, etc. or aluminimum foil and masking tape. Aluminum duct tape is more rugged and provides and excellent seal, while pulling off with no problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Apr Sat 27, 2019 3:30 am
Posts: 137
Glad someone else made this topic already.

So mildly warm water with dawn soap should be fine to clean it? I used windex on more modern plastics to clean tough dirt and grime and it’s never gave me problems, but I didn’t want to attempt that on bakelite since I knew it was completely different from modern plastics. I’ve also been trying to read up a bit and some places were saying brasso is ok to polish it and bring it back to it’s shine?

What about repainting? I got a rca 551x yesterday, with a body that is virtually perfect, just a bit dirty, but the gold painted streak on the top and bottom needs some touching up. I know there’s spray paint that is safe on modern plastics, but idk of what is safe on bakelite.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Nov Thu 11, 2010 6:03 pm
Posts: 1383
Location: Pewaukee, WI
KB4QAA wrote:
Blue painters' tape IS a masking tape. shrug. .

Technically yes, but a lot of folks think of the white masking tape when they hear 'masking tape' and the white stuff tends to have stronger adhesive than the blue... suggesting the blue is a way to suggest the weak adhesive version.


Keeta wrote:
Glad someone else made this topic already.

So mildly warm water with dawn soap should be fine to clean it? I used windex on more modern plastics to clean tough dirt and grime and it’s never gave me problems, but I didn’t want to attempt that on bakelite since I knew it was completely different from modern plastics. I’ve also been trying to read up a bit and some places were saying brasso is ok to polish it and bring it back to it’s shine?

What about repainting? I got a rca 551x yesterday, with a body that is virtually perfect, just a bit dirty, but the gold painted streak on the top and bottom needs some touching up. I know there’s spray paint that is safe on modern plastics, but idk of what is safe on bakelite.

Bakelite is pretty much the most chemically stable/chemically immune plastic out there. It can withstand chemicals much harsher than any paint and temperature much higher than nearly all other plastics. There is no paint you can buy that will harm it.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Mon 10, 2020 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Feb Thu 28, 2019 7:48 pm
Posts: 616
Location: Lawrenceville, Illinois 62439
If you're talking about an RCA X-551, the top and bottom 'strips' are painted Lucite, I believe. And the feet / balls are a thin plastic.
I would try and brush on hobby paint before I used a strong rattle can type of paint.
Dan


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Thu 13, 2020 1:47 am 
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Joined: Apr Sat 27, 2019 3:30 am
Posts: 137
Sorry to bump this again but can i use mr clean magic eraser wipes to clean some stubborn spots off? I’ve read some folks using very fine grit sandpaper to buff out and smooth bakelite, and magic erasers are essentially like super fine grit sponges.


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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Thu 13, 2020 6:46 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 35910
Location: SoCal, 91387
Keeta wrote:
Sorry to bump this again but can i use mr clean magic eraser wipes to clean some stubborn spots off? I’ve read some folks using very fine grit sandpaper to buff out and smooth bakelite, and magic erasers are essentially like super fine grit sponges.

Anytime you are unsure of what a cleaning or polishing agent may do to a cabinet of any type, remove the chassis, and try it in a small area on the inside bottom. If it messes things up, it won't be seen once the chassis is back in place.

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 Post subject: Re: Need ideas for Cleaning a Bakelite Cabinent
PostPosted: Feb Fri 14, 2020 4:08 am 
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Joined: Nov Tue 15, 2011 11:19 pm
Posts: 535
Location: Woolwich Twp (Swedesboro), NJ
I had a Bakelite that was infested with nicotine. I cleaned it with Krud Kutter. Melted any nicotine away. Came off looking like diarrhea. But so did the finish. So now I had a clean but dull finish. I had to lacquer it if it is smooth with no ridges. If it has grooves and ridges, then I used wipe on polyurethane.


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