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Joined: Nov 2009
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Hi again,

I am trying my hand at restoring a non-valuable phone (a early '70's rotary keyset) that is "moss green". Supposedly, it came from Kirtland AFB, but it was an e-bay purchase, so it might have come from Timbuctoo for all I know.

Anyway, as I said, I am trying to learn how to properly restore phones on this before I attempt such a thing on a valuable phone, and need some advice.

First, how do I properly clean the cords? specifically the coiled handset cord. Is there some sort of cleaner and or technique that I should be aware of?

Second, the shell of the phone and the handset have been discolored over the years. I believe that UV light from the flourescent lighting that is ever present in offices did this, as the under side of the handset looks new, as well as the areas that were shadowed by the pedistals that hold the handset on the phone.

The Novus # 2 did not cut the discoloration, but # 1200 waterproof sandpaper does with some difficulty (I have been 'wet sanding' the handset)I am thinking about going one grit courser to see if it would work more effectively, then work up to 1200 then 2000 before polishing with Novus #2 and the finishing protector. Does this sound like a good plan or am I screwing this up?

Thank you for any input on this matter.

Best of the season!

Joe


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
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I know that when we used to refurb an item that had handsets, we used various grades of rouge and polishing wheels. A lot faster than hand work. BUT, you can burn the parts with just a LEETLE too much pressure and you can get the polish all over the place, as well as inadvertently launching the polish/rouge stick while loading the buffing wheel. And you CANNOT mix rouges/polish on the same wheel. You MUST have separate wheels for each 'level' of grit. Is it "Sandman" that has an interesting article on-line about setting up a cosmetic refurbishing system? The net result was that you have to create a separate space to contain the mess in the air! Cleaning cords starts with a soak in dishwater, then follow with wipedown with ethanol alcohol. NOT rubbing alcohol, the stuff you buy in the paint store as varnish thinner (?). It's a labor of love! When we found out how little we could buy new handsets w/cords for, we filled trash bins with discards!


When I was young, I was Liberal. As I aged and wised up, I became Conservative. Now that I'm old, I have settled on Curmudgeon.
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An update:

I took the handset of this phone, washed it in warm soapy water, then wet sanded it (carefully by hand) with 1000, 1200 and 2000 grit waterproof sandpaper. I could not find 1600 or 1800 even at the car paint shop.

It took me around three hours all together to cut through the discoloration to get to the original plastic color. After that, I hand polished with Novus #2, which did a great job of polishing the plastic, but when I look at it under a strong light, I can still see some microscratches. I think that I will order a small bottle of Novus #3 and use that, followed again by #2. It should be perfect then.

One question now... Is there anything that I can do other than keep the phone out of sunlight and flourescent lighting to prevent it from discoloring? I want to preserve these for future generations if possible.

Thanks again!

(Photos to come...)

Joe


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
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I've always had good luck using Magnolia Glayzit and a soft cloth to clean phones. It does a great job.


Jeff Moss

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Hi all,

Got the coiled handset cord looking new. Seems that the soak in hot soapy water not only cleaned it, but relaxed the coils, so that it looks like a new cord, not an old stretched out cord. I will get some ethanol tomorrow from the hardware store to soak it in.

I have the handset almost polished to my liking, but am waiting on some Novus 3 to arrive. I will re-polish with Novus 2 after the three, and it will be finished.

Is there anything that I need do to clean the transmitter and speaker? I figured a shot of canned air will get the dust out of the transmitter, and then I will polish the metal contact area with 2000 grit waterproof sandpaper. I guess what I need to know now is if it matters what terminal on the transmitter is red and black (assuming I am correct that the two white wires go to the speaker).

I have also cleaned and polished the plastic 'keys' as well as the switch hook buttons. I am about half way finished with the shell of the phone, and will hopefully have it finished by next week. (the discoloration was deep, but fortunately, one side was as green as the interior of the shell, so I have a comparison to go by)

Now here is the biggest question. The interior is dusty and has that "old time, dirty electronics smell" if you know what I mean. I am going to send the dial to the gentleman in Arizona to be cleaned and adjusted, but Should I take everything else out to clean? I am thinking that after forty years that the switch contacts need to be burnished, (just ordered a burnishig tool for this). Will I be able to get it back together if I do take it appart?

Any suggestions at this point are most welcom. This is not a "rare" (despite any e-pay sales pitch) or valuable phone, but I do want to learn how to do this sort of thing.

Thank you very much in advance!

Joe


Real comms took 200lb teletypes, hand keys, sounders, operators and cranked phones!
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It would be interesting to try "Retr0bright" on a plastic phone housing - https://retr0bright.wikispaces.com/

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If I remember correctly, if you remove the lamp assembly, you'll have full access to the button contact stacks. No need to dis-assemble, unless you like crying! Ditto the H/S stack, just remove the cover, don't dis-assemble it.
Have you tried emery cloth? If you 'break' the emery tooth across the back side of a hacksaw blade, it won't hardly touch the flesh on your backside. smile


When I was young, I was Liberal. As I aged and wised up, I became Conservative. Now that I'm old, I have settled on Curmudgeon.

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