"Vintage" Bonzini restoration

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"Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« on: November 17, 2012, 08:29:01 AM »
I recently acquired a "vintage" B60 Bonzini table (early 70s, perhaps? I'm sending the serial number to Bonzini in hopes of discovering the actual manufacturing date). It clearly was a well loved table and now is in need of a little TLC. First thing I want to do is give it a thorough cleaning and was wondering if there are any particular tips or tricks to disassembling the table.

Do the men slide off easily once you loosen the bolt holding them on? Removing rods, etc. is fairly intuitive?

Also, am I correct that to maintain the value of such a table I should clean and lube but not try to refinish the cabinet, etc?

The Gerflex is not bad but there is one fairly deep scratch. Has anyone ever tried replacing this?


« Last Edit: December 18, 2012, 08:52:08 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2012, 12:04:58 PM »
Well I discovered at least one thing the hard way :-). Not sure if there are many Bonzini people here but once I finish this project I'll post a how-to on Bonzini cleaning and disassembly for newbies like me.


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 02:44:10 PM »
And let me also put in a plug for bonzini usa. They have been really helpful!

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2012, 02:36:40 PM »
The one-man thread continues...

Three of my rods (both two-mans and one three-man) were bent enough that it really hampered their function. I debated about buying new ones (and may still eventually) but thought I'd try unbending them. I cooked up a scheme that really worked well!

The rods are 14 mm in diameter. I bought a 9/16" drill bit which is ever so slightly larger than 14 mm (by about .01"). I drilled a hole in two identical blocks of wood and clamped these into a vice so they were about 7" apart and the holes lined up (so imagine you could now slide the rod through the holes and the rod would be parallel to the jaws of the vice)

I removed all the men and hardware from the rods and rolled them back and forth on a flat surface and was able to identify the spot on the rod where the bend was. In all cases my rods were bent at a single spot: not a smooth arc but rather a straight segment, then a slight kink then another straight segment at a slightly different angle. I could even see a barely visible line on the rod where the bend was located. I suspect these are places adjacent to a man since the sharp edge of the man would concentrate the bending stress and tend to localize the deformation.

I marked the bend with a Sharpie and then slid the rod into the two clamped blocks. I positioned the mark so that it was right at the outer edge of the hole in one of the blocks. I then gently pushed the rod down to unbend it. I tended to push a little, let go, push a little, let go, and then would check my progress. It worked like a charm! I was able to get out ~95% of the bend in each rod. Not perfect, but WAY better than they were.


P.S. I sent my serial number to the Bonzini factory and they told me my table was manufactured in 1972. Looking forward to playing on this 40-year-old table soon!

« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 11:46:56 AM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 06:39:02 PM »
Hi Kevin,

You've possibly been talking with Gloria at Bonzini USA. I'm the other half.
Where are you located?
If you need any help let me know, I love to refurb Bonzini's in my spare time.


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2012, 11:28:50 PM »
Hi Alan,

I have indeed been talking to Gloria. She has been great help!

I'm located in Raleigh, so not far from you at all. I definitely acquired an old Bonzini, lol, but even though it was built in 1972, as you well know, all the new parts are the same as the old ones. I'm trying to refurb it so it's clean and plays nicely but trying not to "over" restore it, if that makes sense. I don't want this great old table to lose its vintage character. Unfortunately, someone must have lost the cabinet key at some point and screwed a big padlock latch onto the front. The latch came off easily enough but now there are a bunch of ugly screw holes. Still trying to decide how to deal with that. Certainly won't affect how the table plays.

I've already ordered two batches of parts from you and no doubt will be ordering more. It's great to have you guys near by!

« Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 11:36:42 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2012, 01:39:24 AM »
Kevin, it's always great to find Bonzini enthusiasts in the area. I'm trying to restore an old Rene Pierre myself, and Alan's definitely the man to hook you up when it comes to Bonzini. Just to let you know, we have a group of players that play Bonzini Friday nights at Fat Daddy's on Glenwood Avenue. We have a DYP(draw your partner) starting at 9. We have players of all levels and are always looking for more. If you're interested in playing some, come on by.


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2012, 07:01:26 AM »
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the invitation. On a scale from 1-10 my skill level is a solid 1. Once my table is operational and I can raise that level to 1.5 I'll be there!


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2012, 11:19:58 AM »
Thought I'd post a few pics to show the work in progress. When I picked up the table, it looked like it had not been cleaned in 40 years. And not just grease and grime - SMOKE! A lot of the dirt was really hard to get off, almost like the nicotine and tar from the cigarettes had combined with the other dirt to form an incredibly durable filth shellac. Here is a man before and after. I tried soaking and scrubbing with a toothbrush but that only got off the surface dirt. Real success came after plunking the man into an ultrasonic cleaner with a splash of Simple Green in the water. The paint is a little rough but at least they are clean now!


« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 01:04:20 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2012, 12:58:53 PM »
Clearly too much time on my hands today, so another post....

There are several pieces of aluminum on the Bonzini B-60 including 8-sided nuts that screw onto the bearings, the goals/scorekeepers/ashtrays, and the ball tray. Like the men, these were all really dirty and dull. I wanted to bring these parts back to the mirror shine that I've seen in photos of new tables.

I tried Nevr-Dull polish and some other liquid polish and those helped but the finish was still a ways from mirror-like. Then I picked up the "aluminum polishing kit" from Harbor Freight ($20 - 20% coupon, what a deal!). This has several buffing wheels that fit into your electric drill and three sticks of polishing compound in various grits. I started with the black, then moved to the brown, then finished with the white. It actually went pretty fast. First pic shows the original dull finish on the left and the polished finish on the right. Second pic shows the whole thing polished up and the score beads cleaned and Armor-all-ed.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 11:03:58 AM by kgstewar »

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Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2012, 01:15:28 PM »
^^^^'solid 1'^^^^.........ROFLMAO


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2012, 02:12:52 PM »
The aluminum ball tray was filthy but I could see that the outside of the tray was smooth and likely was once shiny so I took some sandpaper (400 through 1500 grit, wet sand) and then started to polish and it looks like it will shine up nicely (first pic). In contrast, the underside of the tray and the inside of the tray (second pic) are rough and full of casting marks, etc. This clearly never had a high polish. So, I have two questions:

1. Do modern B60s have a completely polished ball tray, inside and out?  If so, I COULD sand and polish my ball tray so that it was completely shiny, but I'm thinking that would not match how the ball tray looked when it left the factory in 1972.

2. Does anyone know if any early 70s-era B60s had a completely shiny ball tray?

I know, I know...I'm overthinking this, but I like the idea of historical accuracy :)


« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 04:41:53 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2012, 08:18:18 PM »
That's a great project, and for my money, those beat up--but now clean--men are just great as is. So much character and history. Keep the photos coming!

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 08:53:19 AM »
Cleaning the chrome...

The outer rods were in pretty good shape: no rust, a little bent, but I straightened them somewhat. The inner rods were straight, but the flange that screws to the table wall was very rusty. I don't have a "before" pic but I've attached an "after". I was able to clean these up using a buffer. Once again, Harbor Freight came through! I bought their 6" bench top buffer, normally $60, on sale for $40, and then I used my 20% coupon to get it for $32. The brown polishing stick that came with my aluminum polishing kit (see earlier post), followed by the white stick, cleaned them up nicely. I then followed with Blue Magic metal polish which cleans, polishes, and supposedly leaves a thin protective silicone film on the metal.

More chrome..The insides of the goals are thin sheets of chrome-plated metal that are nailed to the cabinet. These were dirty AND rusty. I didn't want to remove them because I thought I'd mangle them, but getting my electric-drill buffing attachment into the narrow opening was really not going to work. What to do?

A quick search of the internet turned up a GREAT way to clean rusty chrome: 1. Wad up a small ball of aluminum foil. 2. Run a little water over the ball.  3. Rub the chrome with slightly wet ball.  4. Stand back and look at the shiny, clean chrome in amazement.

(NOTE: some people recommended using Coca-Cola as the liquid for this technique. Apparently the small amount of phosphoric acid in Coke helps with rust removal. For me, plain water worked just fine and then I didn't have to clean up a bunch of sticky liquid after. If you try this, use water first, it may be all you need.)

I cannot believe how well this worked. Took all of about 20 seconds to clean up the chrome! I've attached a "before" and an "after" shot. Hard to see but there was quite a bit of rust before. After, chrome is clean and shiny and still retains all the dents, which give the table "character" :).


 Also used this to clean up the coin-op face plate ("after" pic attached). In this pic you can also see the damage done by the padlock latch that was attached to the cabinet :(.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 10:59:33 AM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 11:05:17 PM »
kgstewar,    Beautiful work on your vintage B-90 renovation. If you want the '72 autheticity ,you may want a couple of white painted cork balls-probably more for show than for go. The Rene Pierres of those days played white cork & were copys of Bonzini. I think Alan &/or Gloria would know. For modern play, you'll need the yellow ITSF-B balls.  That's what you'll find at the DYP Mark Anderson mentioned,at BonziniUSA tournaments, & in Europe. They play great & will be easier on your Gerlex table top. Also, I just found out the B balls are dish washer safe.   John