"Vintage" Bonzini restoration

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Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2013, 09:58:30 PM »
I sent my rods and men to Alan to get the men's feet shaved and decided to dive in to the full-blown restoration.

Although I had polished up my goals before, I felt like they were about 85% of the way I really wanted them. Part of the reason was that before, I could not remove the scoring beads from the goal. The picture below shows the underside of the top half of my table. The nut closest to the goal screws onto the threaded end of the scoring beads; the other is a bolt that screws into the bottom of the ashtray and holds the goal assembly onto the table.

The threaded end of the scoring beads was REALLY stuck and before when I had unscrewed all of the nuts, I could not remove the scoring beads because the whole goal assembly would just come up with it.

So, the solution was to unscrew just the nut to the scoring beads and tap on the end of the threaded rod with a slender punch, which loosened the rod and pushed it up and out of the goal.

This allowed me to separate the goal from the beads and then I could really clean up the goal.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2013, 10:03:32 PM »
The red rubber/plastic rails along the sides of my table were pretty beat so I think I will replace these. The plastic is super stiff and no way were they going to come off in my cold workspace. I picked up a heat gun at Harbor Freight ($40 marked down to $30 and then I also had a 20% off coupon!) and put it on the middle heat setting. Heated up the strip and it became much more pliable. I was able to pry it up pretty easily by slowly heating and working my way along. Initially I needed a screwdriver to pry it up but then I could just heat and pull, heat and pull.

Another use for the heat gun is that it works really well at striping off the old finish on the cabinet. I'll post some pics of that process soon.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 10:31:29 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2013, 09:43:18 PM »
I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Cribbs in Raleigh today and he brought my men with freshly shaved feet. As part of my restoration I was hoping to retouch the paint on my men but Alan wisely advised that the paint was too far gone for a touch up and would need a whole new paint job, so that's what I started today.

I picked up some Citristrip paint stripper, which is less toxic and noxious than the old-fashioned paint removers. I slathered it on thickly and left it on for a couple of hours. The paint bubbled and wrinkled and 90% of it washed off while the remaining 10% came off with a light scrubbing with a steel-bristle brush.

I noticed that the paint seemed to be underlain by a coat of white paint, so I suspect there was a white primer underneath the finish paint. As you can see in the photo, the metal is pretty rough so a primer will also help smooth out these imperfections and hopefully make the finish coat smoother and shinier.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2013, 09:47:18 PM »
I've also been working on the cabinet. Stripping off the old varnish with a heat gun and scraper, and then sanding. The photo below shows one corner with the old finish, complete with cigarette burns. The next photo shows the same corner but stripped and sanded.


« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 11:09:59 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2013, 09:56:42 PM »
An interesting discovery during my refinishing of the cabinet. The serial number on the lower cabinet is 20877. I sent this number to Bonzini and they told me the table was built in 1972. When I popped off the goal I noticed a different serial number on the top of the cabinet. In pictures of other B60s that I've seen, these two numbers have been the same, so at some point my table must have gotten a new top. The second number, 22578, is from either late 1972 or 1973, so the newer top is not that much newer.

« Last Edit: February 02, 2013, 10:37:52 PM by kgstewar »

Offline Tyler Foos

  • 274
Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2013, 09:01:08 AM »
This is fun to watch and I appreciate you sharing the photos and commentary. Alan is as good of a friend as anyone can have. And following your progress on what truly is furniture construction is so much more enjoyable than watching someone replace formica.  :)


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2013, 10:20:58 AM »

The base color is flesh tone.
The other colors are applied on top of it.

I didn't leave Fat Daddy's till 4:30 pm on Saturday. 6 hour refurb job. And they still need a little fine tuning.
Nice seeing you and your son. Good luck with your project.


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2013, 11:11:23 AM »
Tyler, thanks for the encouragement!

Alan, good to know about the flesh tone base coat, that will save me some time. I like how the flesh tone paint is an auto touch-up paint...A beige Citroen must be one beautiful car :-)

I really enjoyed meeting you and Robert yesterday, and thanks again for the work you did on my men!

Six hours? Wow, I need to get over there and play on what must be some nicely performing Bonzinis while my table is still a work in progress.


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2013, 11:52:28 AM »
Dilemmas....This is a bit long, apologies in advance.

Problem #1 After removing the finish and sanding the ends of the upper cabinet, there remained some dark stains. These correspond to places where there had been scuffs and scratches that were deep enough that the finish was removed and bare wood had been exposed.

Attempted solutions: I thought they might just be stains, but bleaching the wood (using dilute household bleach as well as an oxalic acid wood bleach) did nothing. They did not easily sand out. Sanding may still work if I go deep enough, but I don't want to over sand and have visible valleys in the wood.

So what are these stains? I think I know.

Beech wood is naturally light colored. To achieve a darker color, some beech lumber is "steamed". Not sure what goes on in the wood fibers, but steamed beech is noticeably darker than raw beech.

I think the scuffs and scratches that removed the finish exposed raw beech lumber to 40+ years of North Carolina humidity (and cigarette smoke) and effectively "steamed" these areas, thus giving the darker colors. So what to do?

    1. I could try to steam the whole cabinet and maybe that would darken everything and even out the color. I fear this would warp the wood though and I don't know how I would even do this.

    2. I could sand a bit more and see if it comes out with a little more sanding.  Heavy sanding will damage the cabinet, so if that's what it takes, I don't want to go this route.

    3. I could simply varnish over it and live with the color differences as "character".

    4. I could try making the table a "rustic" finish. Perhaps the darker stain would hide these variations.

Although I'll try solution 2, I think 3 and 4 are more realistic. I've decided to go buy a piece of european beech lumber, steam part of it to get the dark color, and then apply a rustic stain to see if it colors the dark and light parts of the wood more or less uniformly. That should show me whether solution 4 is viable. If not, solution 3 it is.

Good thing my hourly wage is $0.00!


Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2013, 11:59:57 AM »
problem #2

The previous owner(s) had lost the key to the cabinet and had attached multiple generations (apparently) of crude padlocks to secure the cabinet. The damage done by these installations is pretty significant and wood filler and sanding probably will only minimally improve the appearance. My current plan is to rout out a rectangular depression and inlay in a new piece of beech lumber, hopefully with similar color and grain. If I go this route, I'm not sure how evenly a rustic stain will take in the two different generations of lumber so this may affect which solution I choose in the previous post.

« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 12:05:31 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2013, 08:18:27 PM »
It's been a while since I've had some time to work on my restoration, but finally got back to it this week. I've stripped the cabinet but was pretty unhappy with the damage caused by the crude padlock the previous owners had screwed into the cabinet front. Here's what it looked like when I removed the padlock latch:

So I stripped the cabinet, sanded it, and tried using some beech-colored wood filler to plug the holes. It didn't look too good and it also didn't repair the split wood caused by driving  big screws into the cabinet without pre-drilling the holes. Here's what it looked like after that repair:

I ended up cutting out all the damaged wood with my router and fitting in a piece of beech lumber. Brand new beech lumber is sure brighter than 40-year-old beech lumber! I may try to stain the patch to make it match better, but I actually don't mind the contrast all that much. I still need to drill and cut the key hole.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #41 on: April 02, 2013, 08:37:43 PM »
And now with keyhole. I drilled the hole with a 1/2" forstner bit and then used a coping saw to cut out the trapezoid.

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #42 on: April 06, 2013, 02:33:25 PM »
The original bottom of the table was particle board and it was disintegrating. I replaced it with a piece of 1/2" birch plywood, which fit nicely. Here you can see part of the refurbished interior with the new piece of plywood on the right-bottom.

The interior of my table was unbelievably filthy when I got it so it took a lot of work to clean it. The original ball ramp (where the balls travel when they get dumped from the coin-op mechanism) was a thin piece of hardboard that mice had decided was a perfect place to live under. I ripped it out so I could clean out all the mouse crap. The ball ramp has to slope in a couple of directions, so the way they did it at the factory was to put some tapered wooden braces under it and then fire about 50 staples into the hardboard to force it down onto the wooden braces. The end of the ramp that meets the aluminum ball tray really had to be forced down so that was solid staples.

I thought that was kind of ugly and inelegant, so I cut out a new piece of 1/8" hardboard and put just a few nails around the interior edges of the ramp to hold it firm. To secure the front lip, I squirted some heavy-duty construction adhesive along the lower edge and clamped it. Now the ball ramp is secure and has no visible staples.

before, the leading edge of the hardboard ramp here was marred by a bazillion staples.

Inside the ramp is a lot smoother now without all of the rusted staples protruding.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2013, 03:57:25 PM by kgstewar »

Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2013, 10:25:46 PM »
Working on my men. They started off pretty grungy (first pic) were a bit clean-upable (second pic) but the paint was rough. Alan Cribbs kindly ground the sides of the feet flat and so I went ahead and stripped the paint off (third pic) and repainted the men. I used Testors gloss black, red, and white and bought some official Bonzini beige and blue paint from Alan. For the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth I used the extra fine Deco color enamel paint pens. These definitely make the job simple. I started with the flesh color first, then white, then blue or red, then black. I had to go back and do a second coat of white, and then a little touch up of the other colors where I missed spots or flubbed it. Last thing was to draw on the eyes and mouth. I then baked the men in a 175 degree oven for about an hour, hopefully that will harden up the paint nicely.

« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 10:44:29 PM by kgstewar »

Offline alaris

  • 169
Re: "Vintage" Bonzini restoration
« Reply #44 on: May 06, 2013, 07:14:09 PM »
Thank you for posting your work of art in progress, Love it!!!!