"Vintage" Bonzini restoration

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Offline Tyler Foos

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Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2012, 06:50:33 AM »

I wonder if you could freeze the ITSF-B balls and use them to cool drinks! Just thinking about Christmas gift ideas. Or would some of the material leech out and give you an uncontrollable urge to spin your wrists, expecting a thud sound right afterwards.....Humm.....will test it out, film at 11:00.

Tyler  :)

PS. The restoration work is awesome and I really appreciate you taking the time to share it with all. It is amazing how durable Bonzini tables are.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2012, 08:05:43 AM »
I had a nice conversation with Alan at BonzinUSA yesterday. He and his wife Gloria, as many of you know, are great folks and simply having them around is enough reason to own a Bonzini in itself! In addition to giving me many great tips on how to proceed with my restoration, Alan inspired me to do a FULL restoration including cabinet refinishing, etc.

I am definitely going to do this but my restoration had gotten to the point where I could actually put the table together and play on it. I stayed up til 1 am last night and got it all together and I was very pleasantly surprised at how great it feels. Rods all spin nicely (my bar straightening actually worked!), metal is all shiny, Gerflex is clean, if not pristine, and the cabinet has been thoroughly cleaned, inside and out. This table was a complete mess and unplayable when I bought it and now it looks nice and plays great!

So, I regard this point in the restoration as the end of Phase I. I envision Phase II including rehabbing the coin op mechanism (it works, it's just dirty and the coin box is missing), rehabbing the cabinet latch and hinges, replacing the red siderail strips, and possibly repainting the men.  Phase III will be sanding and refinishing the cabinet and legs. Not sure when Phases II and III will be completed but I'm delighted to have a  nicely working Bonzini B60!

« Last Edit: December 05, 2012, 10:58:10 AM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2012, 03:46:28 PM »
Kevin, Looks like new.   Tyler, good idea-first I'll drill a hole in it,I like those ice cubes with holes.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2012, 10:23:26 AM »
Looking good Kevin for 40 years+.
Welcome to the Bonzini table owner family ;D


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2012, 11:17:36 AM »
Thanks Alan and others for the encouraging words! I played my 8-year-old son on the Bonzini last night. His first words were "this feels weird" (as compared to the Tornado) but his last words were "I like it!". I have been amazed at how easily I can grab the ball with the toe as compared to the Tornado.

I've noticed  that most modern parts fit my B60, but there have been a few minor changes over the past 40 years. Kind of fun to document when these happened. A short list:

- Sometime between 1972 and 1974 they started engraving the word "Bonzini" into the side of the cabinet

- Goal/ash tray has changed at least three times. Not sure the date of the changes. My 1972 has round ash trays with cigarette troughs that run parallel to the rods. This seems to have been superseded at some point by ashtrays that are more square with cigarette troughs that run perpendicular to the rods, which differ from the most modern ones I've seen which also have little "vents" cut out in the aluminum. Sometime in the 70s there were also ashtrays with holes in them, perhaps so the butts would drop down into a metal container inside the table? I wonder how many of these B60s went up in flames.

- cabinet lock went from skeleton key to modern key sometime between 1987 and 1990

- coin mechanism on my table takes one quarter (how quaint...) and looks a lot like the modern european coin mechanism which takes one euro. Modern USA B60s have the larger tray mechanism for multiple quarters.

- Top connected to base with three hinges at least until 1976. Modern B60s use two hinges.

- Beginning in 1987 there are 4 cabinet tie rods, before that there are only 2 cabinet tie rods.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 08:35:16 AM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2012, 11:28:39 AM »
I need some help with a couple of issues  :).

Issue 1: The locking mechanism on my ancient B60 uses this skeleton key:

I have found these to be available on several French sites but the cost with shipping is ~$60. Does anyone know of a USA source for this key? Does anyone have an extra they'd like to sell? Does anyone have one they would be willing to send me so I could make a copy? :-)

Issue 2: Because the previous owners didn't have a key, I think they removed the parts that the latching mechanism slides into to secure the top. Would someone be able to snap a pic of the latch catch on the inside of their B60 so I could see what my table is missing?



« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 11:33:50 AM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #21 on: December 14, 2012, 10:47:48 AM »

Really interesting project. Great job!

I am curious what serial # your table is? Mine is around 6000, which places the manufactured date of 1966. This is supposed to be before any Bonzini tables were ever imported to the U.S., I really wonder if this is correct.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2012, 10:55:46 AM »
Hi John,

Thanks! My serial number is 20877 so if your's is only 4 digits you must be significantly older than 1972. Did you send your number to Bonzini? They'll give you the manufacturing date, although it sounds like you may have already done that.

And actually I just saw that a 1974 table has a serial number of ~25600. So, doing some Bonzini backwards math, 6000 sounds about right for 1966.

And while I've got you, do you have the skeleton key to unlock your cabinet? They are hard to find in the US!

« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 01:07:18 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2012, 01:50:41 PM »
I have a B90 so unfortunately I have no key. I assume you already asked Alan.

I wonder how a Bonzini got here in 1966. The first cargo container known was 1972 which might be the one your table is out of. I guess it was a private owner that brought it.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini maintenance
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2012, 02:50:06 PM »
From what little I've read I think the first big shipment came in ~1970, so mine may have been in the second or third. Must have been very few Bonzinis in the US in 1966! Do you know the provenance of your table?

Alan mentioned to me that those keys are very hard-to-impossible to find around here. I may just splurge and get one from France. If I do, I will definitely make copies!
« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 12:45:25 AM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2012, 08:56:01 PM »
The particle board bottom to the table was disintegrating and had sagged enough that the ball ramp was below the level of the ball tray. I pried and chiseled the piece out (it broke into many cookie-sized chunks) until I had a nice clean hole. I cut a piece of 1/2" birch plywood (which is slightly thinner than 1/2" so was very close to the original 10 mm thickness of the particle board) and nailed it in with 18 gauge brads. Put a coat of shellac on it and the inside of the table looks pretty spiffy now. I'll post a pic soon.


Offline PatRyan

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  • 383
Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2013, 10:38:05 AM »

While I was in France for the World Cup, I spoke with Mr. Gerard Bergaglia (president of Bonzini) about a key for your table.  Short story is, good luck finding a key.  The factory doesn't have any, and the company that was making the keys, is no longer making them.  And since they are no longer in production, any key you find will be very expensive.  Sorry for the bad news :(

Pat Ryan

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2013, 10:43:20 AM »
Pat, Wow! Many thanks for your efforts on my behalf.

So it turns out, I ended up brushing off my middle school french and did a search for "bonzini clef" on the french ebay and found one! Price plus shipping ended up being about $25 so not too bad. Key arrived a couple of days ago and works like a charm. Now I am going to take it to a locksmith and see if they can make duplicates (one in Raleigh swears they can so I'm hopeful). If I succeed I'll be happy to provide old-style Bonzini skeleton keys to anyone who needs one for the cost of duplication.

Thanks again Pat!


Offline alaris

  • 169
Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #28 on: January 15, 2013, 08:34:08 PM »
Sweet table, Bonzini is a work of art! ... glad you found a key.  :)

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2013, 08:39:21 PM »
Thanks! And I've now decided to start the full-blown restoration (refinishing the cabinet etc.). I'll post photos and details along the way.