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 Post subject: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Apr Fri 22, 2022 5:25 pm 
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Has anyone ever used a spray on Laquer finish on a cleaned bakelite cabinet ?

I have an Arvin 5Z22 that was really dirty and faded, so I have cleaned and buffed the cabinet out as best as I can, and wondering if I can spray on some Lacquer as a final top coat ?

Otherwise I was leaning to using a carnauba automotive wax on it..

Thanks Dennis.

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Apr Fri 22, 2022 9:50 pm 
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I have seen it done by others and they said it worked fine as long as the surface is perfectly clean and there are no residues of previous waxes or other treatments that may have been used over the years. Some of that stuff can be really hard to get off though.

Automotive wax also works really well. Surprisingly, I did a number of them with brown paste wax shoe polish and that works well too.

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Apr Sat 23, 2022 2:43 am 
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I've done it with one radio and quite liked how it came out. I've a 1946 Radiola bakelite radio that had a dull finish, and polishing it didn't help at all.

I lightly wet sanded it with 500 grit sandpaper, and wiped it down with lacquer thinner. I took care not to damage the Radiola decal. I sprayed two coats and let it set a few days. I lightly wet sanded it with 500 grit, and applied a 3rd coat. I saw some very slight orange peel when looking critically at it right after spraying. I lightly sprayed Mohawk No Blush plus Retarder, and the orange peel went away. Be careful as the retarder can allow the lacquer to sag and drip if too much is used.

I liked how it looked after the 3rd coat and stopped. The lacquer still looks good 2 years later.

Attachment:
1946 Radiola 61-6.JPG
1946 Radiola 61-6.JPG [ 862.41 KiB | Viewed 1255 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Apr Sat 23, 2022 12:22 pm 
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Looks really good Nash !

I wonder how shinny these radios were when new ?

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Sun 01, 2022 5:04 am 
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Many Bakelite cabinets were pretty shiny, but the appearance didn't have the depth you'd get from multiple layers of lacquer.

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Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
https://antiqueradio.org/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Sun 01, 2022 1:27 pm 
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philsoldradios wrote:
Many Bakelite cabinets were pretty shiny, but the appearance didn't have the depth you'd get from multiple layers of lacquer.

Regards,

Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
https://antiqueradio.org/index.html


Well I ended up spraying it with 3 coats of Watco Crystal clear Laquer, it came out much better than I expected. Cabinet had a few small chips that I did not fix but is it far far better looking now, plenty good enough for me :)

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Sun 01, 2022 1:31 pm 
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finished product, came out way better than I expected with a spray can :wink:


Attachments:
Adniral Z22 sprayed in Laquer 01.jpg
Adniral Z22 sprayed in Laquer 01.jpg [ 491 KiB | Viewed 1068 times ]
Adniral Z22 sprayed in Laquer 02.jpg
Adniral Z22 sprayed in Laquer 02.jpg [ 449.49 KiB | Viewed 1068 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Tue 03, 2022 4:50 am 
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That came out great! An excellent rattle can spray job! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Tue 03, 2022 9:35 pm 
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nash wrote:
That came out great! An excellent rattle can spray job! :D

Yes it kind of surprised me, the spray bomb can did not have the typical fan spray head, so I had to be really careful using it. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Thu 12, 2022 11:28 pm 
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I would never do this. Firstly I know first hand the folly in using lacquer on a 1968 Camaro I once did, just because that's what they painted cars with in the 60's. It's high maintenance and prone to deteriorate. Fast forward to today when they use basecoat/clearcoat on cars. Look at all the cars where the clearcoat has peeled off. The problem with clearcoat is that there is no pigment. And it's the pigment that give it its ability to last. Lacquer is lacquer. That's what they used then and look at the cracked up and ruined finishes we are now dealing with. Moreover, Most of those old radios had printed finishes with lacquer overcoat. Most of them are so bad now that the MUST be refinished. Then you realize it's just a printed finish on crap wood. If you strip it, you have crap wood. As for using lacquer on these bakelite radios, they may be pretty, but are being ruined one by one. In the year 2050 they will be cracked peeling crap. I say polish the bakelite as best as you can and leave it at that. I would NEVER spray one with a coating.


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Fri 13, 2022 1:39 am 
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GalaxyBeing wrote:
I would never do this. Firstly I know first hand the folly in using lacquer on a 1968 Camaro I once did, just because that's what they painted cars with in the 60's. It's high maintenance and prone to deteriorate. Fast forward to today when they use basecoat/clearcoat on cars. Look at all the cars where the clearcoat has peeled off. The problem with clearcoat is that there is no pigment. And it's the pigment that give it its ability to last. Lacquer is lacquer. That's what they used then and look at the cracked up and ruined finishes we are now dealing with. Moreover, Most of those old radios had printed finishes with lacquer overcoat. Most of them are so bad now that the MUST be refinished. Then you realize it's just a printed finish on crap wood. If you strip it, you have crap wood. As for using lacquer on these bakelite radios, they may be pretty, but are being ruined one by one. In the year 2050 they will be cracked peeling crap. I say polish the bakelite as best as you can and leave it at that. I would NEVER spray one with a coating.

Cars and radios are fundamentally different in that cars live outside, they freeze in winter, bake in direct sunlight in summer, get rained on washed, etc...All that is HARD on paint. Radios sit indoors in climate controlled buildings and probably don't see direct sunlight.
I have radios that were painted 1-6 decades ago that are still prefect condition because they were kept indoors in climate controlled buildings....If you expose a radio with minty original cabinet finish to the outdoors for a month it's going to look like crap by the end of the month.

I will say you have sort of a good point in NOT repainting painted radios after stripping... I've found the paint preserves the bakelite abnormally well... I've found on many bakelite radios that were offered as bare or painted that it's easier to get a perfect bakelite specimen by stripping a lousy painted cabinet than it is to find one that was originally bare bakelite that still looks perfect. I tend to strip and leave factory painted radios and paint factory bare radios that have gotten rough over the years.


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Sat 14, 2022 3:28 am 
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Electronic Memory wrote:
GalaxyBeing wrote:
I would never do this. Firstly I know first hand the folly in using lacquer on a 1968 Camaro I once did, just because that's what they painted cars with in the 60's. It's high maintenance and prone to deteriorate. Fast forward to today when they use basecoat/clearcoat on cars. Look at all the cars where the clearcoat has peeled off. The problem with clearcoat is that there is no pigment. And it's the pigment that give it its ability to last. Lacquer is lacquer. That's what they used then and look at the cracked up and ruined finishes we are now dealing with. Moreover, Most of those old radios had printed finishes with lacquer overcoat. Most of them are so bad now that the MUST be refinished. Then you realize it's just a printed finish on crap wood. If yeou strip it, you have crap wood. As for using lacquer on these bakelite radios, they may be pretty, but are being ruined one by one. In the year 2050 they will be cracked peeling crap. I say polish the bakelite as best as you can and leave it at that. I would NEVER spray one with a coating.

Cars and radios are fundamentally different in that cars live outside, they freeze in winter, bake in direct sunlight in summer, get rained on washed, etc...All that is HARD on paint. Radios sit indoors in climate controlled buildings and probably don't see direct sunlight.
I have radios that were painted 1-6 decades ago that are still prefect condition because they were kept indoors in climate controlled buildings....If you expose a radio with minty original cabinet finish to the outdoors for a month it's going to look like crap by the end of the month.

I will say you have sort of a good point in NOT repainting painted radios after stripping... I've found the paint preserves the bakelite abnormally well... I've found on many bakelite radios that were offered as bare or painted that it's easier to get a perfect bakelite specimen by stripping a lousy painted cabinet than it is to find one that was originally bare bakelite that still looks perfect. I tend to strip and leave factory painted radios and paint factory bare radios that have gotten rough over the years.

Thank you. My ideas I've settled with myself is to stay as original as possible unless extreme aging has rendered it impossible. I don't refinish a chassis other that simple non-destructive cleaning. Electronics are restored as close to original as possible, and cabinets are not clearcoated for beauty, unless the cabinet was at junk status. In other words, it is what it is and I clean it properly and do no more. Removing 50 years of filth on a 70 year old radio for instance, makes remarkable improvements. Getting fancy beyond that becomes the next owner's job all the more difficult, when your (my) job has deteriorated, which it will. I like bakelite. I contend that it can be made to look many years prettier without resorting to clear coat lacquer. Or poly either. It may be pretty to the owner and and handful of internet admirers. But as a buyer on an auction site I wouldn't touch it. Few of us here have museum-quality skills. Many of us are actually ruining the value and posterity of these beautiful pieces of vintage manufactured goods. That said, these photos really are pretty, I'll agree.


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Sat 14, 2022 5:49 am 
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I won't post on this thread any more. Sorry to be the voice of dissent. I've restored so many pieces of gear, and so often I find myself unrestoring previous restorations. And saying to myself "I wish they hadn't done that". By the time i'm done, the piece still bears its age I'll admit. But it's clean and it works properly and presents well. If I could make it new again, I would. Then I remember my own work from times gone by and realize some of my own work is now disappointing. I imagine some day somebody will deem my jobs as worthy of their better skills and knowledge, and my work will not have made it harder then. All my gear will certainly outlast me in proper order. I don't know if that makes sense. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: May Fri 20, 2022 12:10 pm 
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Well I am very happy with the way my radio came out, tried to clean and buff it but was still dull as a chalk board.

So for my instance the lacquer spray was my only hope of making a presentable radio .

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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Jun Wed 15, 2022 3:52 am 
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JukeBoxDenny wrote:
Well I am very happy with the way my radio came out, tried to clean and buff it but was still dull as a chalk board.

So for my instance the lacquer spray was my only hope of making a presentable radio .

As the big scoffer on this thread, that doesn't mean I didn't learn something. The thread gave me the push I needed to try spray lacquer on 2 refinishing jobs on mid-60's Ampex tape recorders with walnut veneer cabinets. I was able to do very fine work. Now I think the OP did what he had to do, and the posted photo is very pretty. Next dull bakelight table radio I get my hands on, I think I'll give it a go too. Regards.


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Jun Fri 17, 2022 1:41 am 
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JukeBoxDenny wrote:
tried to clean and buff it but was still dull as a chalk board.
Yes, it's possible for Bakelite to become so weathered or abused that no amount of polishing will bring back the shine.

Bakelite usually came out of the factory with a shiny finish, but the shiny layer was thin. If you attack it too aggressively with sandpaper or harsh rubbing compound, it's possible to dig through the thin shiny surface and expose the pulpy underlayer, which is not polish-able. I had a Philco cabinet that looked like it had sat in a sunny store window for about 100 years, terribly weathered. Or maybe some teenager decided to shine it up with Grandpa's sandpaper. I nearly lost my mind trying to polish it, until I did some research and learned that polishing simply wasn't going to work.

Not saying this happens often, but it can happen.

Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
https://antiqueradio.org/index.html


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 Post subject: Re: Using spray lacquer on bakelite cabinet ?
PostPosted: Jun Wed 22, 2022 4:46 am 
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philsoldradios wrote:
JukeBoxDenny wrote:
tried to clean and buff it but was still dull as a chalk board.
Yes, it's possible for Bakelite to become so weathered or abused that no amount of polishing will bring back the shine.

Bakelite usually came out of the factory with a shiny finish, but the shiny layer was thin. If you attack it too aggressively with sandpaper or harsh rubbing compound, it's possible to dig through the thin shiny surface and expose the pulpy underlayer, which is not polish-able. I had a Philco cabinet that looked like it had sat in a sunny store window for about 100 years, terribly weathered. Or maybe some teenager decided to shine it up with Grandpa's sandpaper. I nearly lost my mind trying to polish it, until I did some research and learned that polishing simply wasn't going to work.

Not saying this happens often, but it can happen.

Phil Nelson
Phil's Old Radios
https://antiqueradio.org/index.html

I think I can understand bakelite better now, compared to ordinary modern plastic. The best analogy I can think of is concrete. I had a neighbor once in a new (at the time) neighborhood. About 2 years after the house was built, he had a mind to pressure-wash his driveway. He hijacked a super-high power pressure washer from his job (as a construction man, believe it or not). He gave his driveway the old hose-down with that monster machine. New day and from then on I saw that driveway. He blasted it so clean i could see all the gray gravel that cocncrete is made of. It's just the "cream" surface, what a driveway is white.


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