When Clay at www.marvin3m.com first wrote his white paper he was
somewhat of a novice at clear coating. I believe he would agree and
should probably update his white paper to save newbie's a lot of
Remember Bruce's 1st rule of clear coating, "VARATHANE IS FOR
When I restore a pin, I spend roughly 80 hours, striping the
playfield, sanding, touching up, polishing and reinstalling. You hate
to spend that much time and then put a cheap $5 product on your work!
Sure it's the best $5 product out there, but it's still a $5 product!
Friends the pinball machine supply is dwindling, despite the well
meant efforts of Gary Stearn. I feel it's imperative to preserve this
piece of Americana!
Procedure is as follows;
Raise the playfield and number both ends of any cables going through
the playfield (to ramps, coils, lights etc.) After they're all
labeled, unplug all. Lower playfield and proceed to strip off parts,
have 2 jars for small metal hardware, 1 jar for screws etc. that come
off the top of the PF and 1 jar for the bottom, this cuts your chance
of getting the wrong screw in the wrong hole by 50%. The logistics of
separating them further are more trouble then its worth. I also find
it's nice to tumble the metal post and odd shaped metal, don't bother
with under playfield parts or screw and nuts, since I think the screws
and nuts pick up more dirt and look worse than not tumbling (Unless
they're heavily corroded etc.) Use Walnut media and Novus 3 in the
After you have the major components off, flat plastics ramps etc.
(Very Important) Take a video camera and make a video of all the post
types and locations. If not, it'll be impossible to figure out where
they go, you'll add 20 hours to your project when its time to
re-assemble and you'll never get them all right!
Put ramps, plastic posts, Bumper Caps, (No corroded wire forms,
otherwise they'll rust more and you'll hate yourself) in the
dishwasher. DO NOT PUT FLAT PLASTICS IN THE DISHWASHER!! You'll get
hard water spots of them, no matter how fast you pull them out and dry
them and no amount of Novus will fix it (trust me on this)
There should be nothing sticking up through the playfield at this
point! You can take any remaining leaf switches, coils, kickers etc.
and push them through and wire tie them to something to get them out
of the way and secure. Ball up masking tape and place it in the light
sockets also mask off any big holes to the other side of the PF.
Forget about using Novus. Dry dust (rub) as much dirt off as you can.
The less wet dirt the better since it will get stuck in cracks of the
paint easier. If I'm going to replace the factory Mylar (around pop
bumpers etc.) I take a rubbing, by placing a white sheet of paper over
the existing Mylar and taking a pencil and rubbing the outline (Don't
trace! It's not as accurate or as easy) Now you have a template for
making a perfect replica of your Mylar after it's all done! Remove the
Mylar using a heat gun on high. DO NOT hold the heat gun in one spot
too long, wave it over a corner and wedge a razor under that corner
and lift, gently apply heat and lifting as you go, if you're feeling
to much tension while lifting the Mylar, apply a little more heat, if
you don't soften that glue, you could rip off the artwork, especially
around the lamp inserts. Immediately use Naphtha to remove glue before
it gets hard. Forget lighter fluid (It's just expensive Naphtha).
After you've scrubbed the PF as clean as it gets with Naphtha, take
600 grit sandpaper and dry thumb sand entire surface until you have an
even flat matt finish, use a little extra effort on the ball trails
etc. go VERY light on the plastic inserts. If you have any depressions
in the PF, now's the time to fix them! No..... clear coating won't
make up for a rough PF, if anything it will make it worse, I find
these usually around worn PF plastic inserts. I touch up the paint,
and then lay some water thick super glue on top of it to raise the
depression, I can't emphasize this enough. Let me repeat CLAERCOATING
WILL NOT FIX THIS!!! After it's all done put some 600 grit on a
sanding block and smooth out the entire PF. The reason I thumb sand
first is a sanding block doesn't get the uneven areas as well, but
does a better job of smoothing. Next use an air compressor and blow as
much sanding dust out of the cracks especially plastic light inserts
as possible, then get a clean rag and wipe down thoroughly with
Naphtha, up, down all around, MAKE ABSOLUTLY SURE THERE IS NO Sanding
dust or grease on the PF, THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME TO CLEAN!!! Now
touchup the paint with a water base acrylic, make sure to color match
or all your efforts will be for not!! Clear coating will not fix a bad
color match! Put a clean rag down to rest you hand on (You don't want
oil from you hand on the PF since there will be no more cleaning and
any oil will fisheye when you shoot the clear coat and that SUCKS!)
Now take the PF to and auto paint shop and pay $50 to have them clear
coat it for you (make sure they only wipe it with a tack cloth one
final time to get rid of dust, Tell them not to use any liquid or
they'll remove your water based paint, often they do this to remove
oil, but, you've already done it.) They have the equipment and
expertise and Automotive clear coat is a much harder material than
Varathane, The difference is NIGHT and DAY. You will only need 2 or 3
coats and it will be fully cured in a couple of days versus a month
for Varathane. "VARATHANE IS FOR AMATURES!!!!" I mean no disrespect
for those who have done it, I have too. It does look better then
before, but not as good as it could and with no additional effort.
When you get your PF back it will look awesome!! Don't be tempted to
stop there, (It gets MUCH better!)Take some 2000 grit sand paper and a
spray bottle of water and lightly wet thumb sand the entire PF (Don't
over wet!), especially areas where you see imperfections (hairs, dust,
orange peel etc) then use a sanding block and 2000 grit and wet sand
everything LIGHTLY!! Now your PF is going to lose its shine and look
like crap. Don't worry, it's only temporary! Get a (preferred) high
speed circular buffer with a new (Or very clean) simulated wool pad,
(but an orbital buffer and wool pad will work in a pinch) and some
very fine rubbing compound, I use "McGuire's Swirl Ease" but any Fine
compound should work. Not all rubbing compound is the same, some is
courser than others. Don't use Novus 2 or 3. Novus 3 is too course and
Novus 2 has no cutting agent! Also be very careful, there may be
splinters sticking up (around the plastic starpost holes etc.) If a
high speed circular buffer with wool pad catches a splinter it could
rip a strip of wood right off!!!! It's generally safe to do the main
areas without fear. WHEN YOU FINISH YOU'RE PLAYFIELD WILL LOOK LIKE
Just a couple of other notes, since you have the bottom part of the
pop bumper removed, now is a good time to rebuild them, just put in
new sleeves and replace any broken metal armatures (Common problem, ya
know the piece that mates in a horseshoe fashion with the Bakelite and
connects to the rods) Do the same thing with the slingshots. Also I've
always had a hard time stapling the pop bumper light to the underside
of the playfield, so I just cut the metal light straps off and leave
enough from the old one to re-solder the new one to it. This actually
works very well and looks very clean. You can make the metal ramps
etc. look like new by sanding with 220 grit sand paper, go with the
grain! Then follow with 600 to lightly smooth and 1200-1500. you want
to start with a course paper and let it do the work, if you start with
600 grit, you'll be doing a lot more work than you need to. I seldom
use a high speed buffer with the following exceptions, pop bumper
rings and high profile metal (Ya know big pieces that are in well seen
Now some may argue that this is too much work. Yes it is a lot of
work, but it's no more work then you would do spraying Varathane and
only cost about $30 more. (You don't want to be pennywise and pound
foolish) My first project took many more hours and didn't look nearly
Please feel free to email me if you would like clarification on the
bruce9090 (at) hotmail
NF, ToM, Corvette, Getaway, LW3, T2, STTNG, TZ, FT, RS an others...
"Bruce" <bruc...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
Hit that Print button ;)!
From: Herb Schanke
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 6:06 AM
Subject: Automotive clearcoat vs. varathane
Read your post and had a few questions I'm hoping you could answer.
I've done 3 playfields with varathane and have been happy with the
results, but I'm considering having my next one done with auto
clearcoat. My question is: When I call or go to a body shop/auto
painting place what specifically do I ask for? I'm assuming the term
"automotive clearcoat" can mean several different things.
Any details you can give would be appreciated.
No just tell them you want it clear coated, there are several
different brands which all do the same thing, and so you should be
safe with whichever brand they use. Depending on the brand and amount
of reducer they use generally determines how many coats. Tell them you
want a decent thickness of film for protection (There is such a thing
as too much, so don't go crazy) If they use too much reducer 3 coats
is not enough, if they shoot it too thick, 3 coats is too much.
Ideally it should have a little thicker film then you would use on a
car and the consistency of the mixture should be slightly thicker too
(slightly less reducer than they would normally use, not too much or
you'll have trouble with the clear coat leveling properly). The
shooter is a professional although he doesn't know pinball. Try to
convey what you want and rely on his best judgment.
Let me emphasize the prep work you will do, this is very important.
Like the ole saying goes, "You can't make chicken salad outta Chicken
S**t!" So make sure you sand and color match and level any depressions
first, clean thoroughly with Naphtha to remove wax and oil etc.. Might
be a good idea to take this Email and let the shooter read it that
should give him a good feel for what we're looking for. Also read
Clay's White paper on automotive clear coats at www.marvin3m.com it's
fairly new, he only added it a couple of months ago.
One other point, I should have put in the post, in addition to a
superior material being used, it's being shot with a professional
sprayer not a 2 cent white plastic sprayer with a 3 inch spray pattern
(Much harder to get even)
From: Karl Dubendorf
Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 3:00 AM
Your mother was a wise woman!!!! Thanks so much for your excellent
response. It was far more than I hoped for but you've saved me a ton
of time and I'm sure a playfield or two.
The darker areas I'm seeing turn out to be very small crescent shaped
dark cracks in the surface of the playfield. Rubbing compound and
Novus 3 have not been able to remove them. I know from my friend in
the autobody business that you have often have to sand to get rid of
surface flaws, exactly what you've said here.
Has your experience been that these marks are on the top of the finish
and that they go away when you sand? I know I'll have to use a
Again, I can't thank you enough for the time you put into the
What you're describing is called "Half-Mooning" and is caused by a
chipped pinball, running over the playfield repeatedly, sanding should
fix it or at the very least greatly minimize it.
bruce9090 (at) hotmail
NF,ToM, Corvette, Getaway, LW3, T2, STTNG, TZ, FT, RS an others...
But one thing i do completely disagree with is film thickness
(mentioned in a later post). I feel there only needs to be
"just enough" clear put on, no more! (Remember home use games
aren't going to wear out like operated games.)
For example, Bill Davis is spraying WAY TOO MUCH clear on
his playfields. Yea sure they look good, but i see problems
down the road with this approach.
Too much film means anywhere there is an edge (outholes and
upkickers and saucers), the clear can chip *easily*. As the
balls rolls down this edge, the finish wear fast here. And
it only takes a bit to make a "lip", and start the chipping
process. if the film thickness is kept to an absolute minimum,
this problem is avoided!
Williams experienced this problem on some playfields. The rumor
is all those Champion Pub playfields at Pinball Expo that were
selling for $10 had a problem; too much film thickness!
So Williams would not install them on games. That's the rumor
The other problem with a thick film is this; we're painting
WOOD not metal! Auto clears are designed for metal, and
hence their elasticity is somewhat limited (metal does not
require the finish to be very elastic). But wood is
very elastic, and needs a somewhat elastic finish too.
For example, a playfield can change in dimension as much
as 1/8" due to humidity changes.
If the film thickness is too thick, "checking" can occur
(this is called "planking" by pinball geeks). And the
thicker the film, the more pronounced the potential planking
Now this problem may not raise it's ugly head for 2 or 5 or
even 10 years. But if the film thickness is kept to a minimum,
the chances of it ever happening are much more remote!
The bottom line is this: autoclears work well on playfields.
But don't apply too much! The risks WAY outweigh the benefits,
in my opinion. Yea sure Bill Davis' work looks like glass.
But in my opinion, there is just too much film thickness,
and the risk of problems (edge chipping and planking) in the
future are too great. Again, I could be wrong. But it's a risk
I am *not* willing to take! With a minimal film thickness,
the risks are reduced. And that's the bottom line!
> I read your thing on RGP. pretty good, and I mostly agree.
> I state in my guides that Varathane is Ok, but not the best
> solution. It's a progression, an evolution. Sometimes it's
> best to start 'at the bottom' and work up. Which is what
> starting with varathane is.
Thanks for your response, you opinion swings alot of weight with me,
hell if it wasn't for your white papers, I would not be doing what I'm
I initiated this post because I keep reading from Newbies about clear
coating with Varathane and I'm under the impression that they've read
your excelent white paper, as I did when I first strated. I mentioned
that I didn't think you would still use Varathane anymore (Because
through trial and error, automotive is superior) You even wrote an
updated paper on automotive clear coats (another good one, thanks)
which supports this feeling, but I'm not sure everyone understands and
still feel Varathane is acceptable (Reading your initial paper on
restoration)To clarify, that was then, this is the new way, this is
better. I agree that too thick isn't better. I mention 2 or 3 coats.
In TOP LITZ you state 2 coats, so I think were pretty much in
agreement. I haven't seen one of Bills boards up close. If he's using
alot of reducer and spraying thin, six might not be to bad, 5 would be
better, he is sanding halfway though.
I gotta tell you I feel a lose that there won't be anymore TOPS, not
only were they informative but I really connected with your passion
for Pin restoration.
Say I've Emailed Bill, but he hasn't responded on how he repairs the
scoop holes and what he uses to color matche the white wood (It looks
like a spray, airbrush and custom mix maybe)and whether or not the
patch holds (I figured if it didn't somebody would say something on
RGP). Could you offer some wisdom on this?
I definately fall into the newbie catagory and am benefiting from what
you're both saying. Not having experience with either varathane or
auto clear coats yet, I found myself questioning clear coating after
reading this message Clay. If planking is a real risk and a thick (or
maybe thin) coating could chip wouldn't we be better off with
varathane which is easily removable / repairable??? Apparently we
aren't totally sure how clears will hold up long term, I'm sitting
here wondering what I would do if the clear failed.
Don't get me wrong, I want to clear coat but could we be leading
ourselves to trouble down the road???? Have we asked anyone who's a
specialist in these coatings? I have a friend that works for DuPont
(formerly in automotive coatings), I'm going to run it by him and see
what he says.
I'm gonna jump in here and disagree with you. You sound sort of like a
religious zealot who says that his way (in this case auto clearcoat) is the
only right way and all other options (in this case varathane) are
unacceptable. I'm not sure I understand why you think that varathane is no
longer acceptable? Both varathane and auto clearcoat have advantages and
disadvantages and which one is the better choice really depends on the
Is auto clearcoat "harder" and more durable than varathane? I don't
know....for the sake of this discussion I'll go along with the assumption
that clearcoat is superior to varathane in "harness" and durability. At the
same time, though, I would argue that the "hardness" and durability of
varathane is perfectly acceptable for the wear and tear that a home use pin
is likely to receive.
Varathane has some advantages that clearcoat doesn't:
1.) Less expensive
2.) I can do it myself (without buying a sprayer, compressor, etc. that I
would need to spray clearcoat)
3.) It's reversible
The only real disadvantage I see to varathane is that it does takes some
practice and there is a learning curve. The third playfield I did is
definitely a better job than the first one I did. But then, that's part of
what I enjoy about working on pins is the learning to do/fix something
you've never done before. The other thing that is sited as a disadvantage
is that varathane takes longer. To me the time factor is a non-issue. I do
this as a hobby because I enjoy doing it. The fact that it takes longer
could be viewed as a good thing, so throw out the "time is money" argument.
I'm not saying everyone should varathane. It's just that your posts were so
one sided I felt there needed to be a rebuttal. (think "point/counter
point"...."Jane, you ignorant slut!")
Now all that being said, if I had an expensive playfield that I wanted
clearcoated I would probably look to have it done with auto clearcoat BY
SOMEONE EXPERIENCED IN DOING PLAYFIELDS. I would not take an expensive
playfield to "Joe's Autobody" and ask him to spray it. I guarantee we'll be
seeing posts in the future on how Bubba down at the garage made a mess of a
playfield because he didn't know what he was doing.
I don't intend to try to argue that varathane is better than auto clearcoat,
only that it IS an acceptable alternative. I'm very open to hearing
arguments to the contrary. Maybe you can convince me before I varathane
> c...@provide.net > > Bruce,
So say in 50 years the Smithsonian wants a pinball collection.
They would be THRILLED to get a game that was Varathaned!
The varathane would protect the original playfield paint.
And they could remove it easily! On the other hand, the auto
clears won't come up! I would bet they would NOT want any
auto cleared games in their collection.
It would be like someone putting auto clear on a Picaso painting!
Yea at the time it seemed like a good idea, but 100 years later,
the opinion is different. (ok, it's a bit extreme of an example)
Only time will tell if the auto clear thing is a good idea.
For now, I am using it. I like the outcome better than varathane.
BUT i don't believe that varathane should be "abondoned". I see
NO problem with using it. It's a personal decision. But in the
long run, Varathane may be the better choice.
With the planking issue, I personally believe varathane will hold
up better. But again, we don't have a time machine to really tell!
One thing I will say is this: I *really* feel the Bill Davis
approach is the wrong one! A chicago friend was over at my
house last night, and I was showing him my games. He asked,
"which ones are clear coated?" To me, this was the ULTIMATE
compliment! He could not tell!
We got talking about Bill Davis' work (he was VERY familiar with
Bill). He said this: "it's like a Bill Davis playfield is 1/8"
THICKER than a normal playfield! It's even thicker than multiple
layers of mylar." (Bill has stated he sprays up to 8 coats of
clear, which is about 6 too many!)
I mean yes, the thickness does allow the playfield to look like
glass. But frankly, i don't want my playfields to look like
glass. I want them to look "stock" NOS. And again, I think the
long term affect of too much film thickness is bad. It's a gamble
in regard to planking and chipping, and one I am personally not
willing to take.
Regarding reducer and these clears. Frankly they are really not
designed to be 'reduced'. The whole point behind these new clears
is they are "high solids". This mean less coats need to be
applied. If any reducer is added, this decreases the solids in
Why are less coats and more solids better in the auto industry?
One Reason: VOC (volatile ogranic compounds). The less paint that
is sprayed, the less VOC that ends up in the air! It's just better
for the environment. One big reason the auto industry moved to
high solids urethanes was to decrease VOC output...
> > > Remember Bruce's 1st rule of clear coating, "VARATHANE IS FOR
> > > AMATURES!"
> > >
> > >. "VARATHANE IS FOR AMATURES!!!!" I mean no disrespect
> > > for those who have done it, I have too. It does look better then
> > > before, but not as good as it could and with no additional effort.
> > >
> > >
> I initiated this post because I keep reading from Newbies about clear
> coating with Varathane and I'm under the impression that they've read
> your excelent white paper, as I did when I first strated. I mentioned
> that I didn't think you would still use Varathane anymore (Because
> through trial and error, automotive is superior) You even wrote an
> updated paper on automotive clear coats (another good one, thanks)
> which supports this feeling, but I'm not sure everyone understands and
> still feel Varathane is acceptable (Reading your initial paper on
> restoration)To clarify, that was then, this is the new way, this is
> better. I agree that too thick isn't better. I mention 2 or 3 coats.
> In TOP LITZ you state 2 coats, so I think were pretty much in
> agreement. I haven't seen one of Bills boards up close. If he's using
> alot of reducer and spraying thin, six might not be to bad, 5 would be
> better, he is sanding halfway though.
> Bruce Artman
> Mesa, AZ
> bruce9090 (at) hotmail
For now, I think I'll stick with removing the mylar and using the good
wax on it.. Hopefully, in time, the clear coating issues will be
On 17 May 2002 04:40:20 -0700, kdube...@aol.com (Karl Dubendorf)
I have only done one game but here are my Varathane gripes...
1. It yellowed my playfield. I don't know why, it is supposed to be clear,
but I can EASILY see areas where the varathane did not go where I had tape
along the siderail and it is definitely yellowed and very noticeable in the
whole look of the colors on the playfield. Doesn't bother me on this
otherwise beat-up $150 STARS game anyway but...geez. Maybe I just put too many
2. It has been drying for over 2 weeks and I can still easily make dents in it
with a light push of my fingernail. Does this stuff EVER DRY??? At the rate
it is going (nowhere) now I can't even concieve of it becoming even as hard as
even laquer. Now I am wondering why the can says to "remove all laquer"?
Maybe the stuff does not want to dry good unless it is sitting on bare wood so
it can sort of "breathe", I don't know. I mean, you said it's "mad for wood",
well I didn't spray it on wood, i sprayed it on 20-year-old laquer, not a bare
3. While it is still not hard, it is obvious that it does not really 'stick'
to the playfield laquer either whether properly roughed up or not. It's acts
more like a 'liquid mylar'. Pulling the masking tape off the rails easily
started to lift the varathane right off in a big bubble if I didn't trim it
with a razor first.
4. How hard is it going to be to take 5-7 coats of this stuff off with
goof-off if you wanted to? Anybody ever do this? Makes removing a mylar sound
like easy. Course on this STARS maybe I could just PEEL it off ; )
5. Can you tell I would not varathane a $500 playfield by now???....Mark
I'm in your ball park on this also. I have done 4 playfields in Varathane (am
working on a fifth), and while the "misnomer" of "AMATEUR USE ONLY" has been
handed down, I agree that it is a poor edict.
Most folks in the hobby who are zealous enough to involve themselves in PF
restoration and/or PF swaps simply do not have the equipment or experience to
apply automotive clearcoats. I DO have a compressor and gun, but I choose NOT
to go that way, simply because I have no desire to contaminate my shop/home
(shop is in dedicated third garage bay) and/or lungs with toxic fumes. I HAVE
painted automobiles in the past, and I recognize the need for the right
equipment/preparation/materials/hazard prevention. However, I just don't see
the end result as justifying doing all the work to get there. Varathane is:
1) Inexpensive (doesn't mean it's cheap, so don't go there)
2) Easy to use (yes, any "Joe" can operate a spray can). Why not?
3) Adequate (My EBD has over 1000 plays since retoration, I see NOTHING in the
way of wear indication).
4) FOR WOOD
5) Easily applied, requires no respirator, no compressor, requires no cleanup.
I would NEVER claim either of these as the "be-all-get-all" of clearcoating.
Each has its strengths, each has its weaknesses. You must decide for yourself;
it's the individuals who make edicts that "this is the ONLY way to do
something" that have the problem.
Varathane is also for those who don't have access to a spray gun (me), or
those who live too far from Bill Davis (me - and no, I'm not going to send
it - Lord knows if I'll find another one, yet alone at the price I did), or
those who like to tinker with stuff (me). I'm quite satisfied with what I
Cliffy - I am *mad* for pinball ;)
Trying to find a reputable auto-body shop willing to spray a PF in Los
Angeles would be a huge pain, and even then a crap shoot. I worked in
an auto body shop in a small town - and I could see this being more
feasible when you know you're neighbors. But I wouldn't trust anyone
out here to paint anything, let alone an almost impossible to find NOS
playfield. And I doubt the cost would be so cheap, for that matter.
Both have pros and cons, but for me, I don't want a mirror finish,
just an 20-year old NOS one.
Earlier in this thread, Mark French states that Varathane yellowed his
playfield (I know what you mean Mark it yellowed my 68' Domino too!)
You know why? Read the side of the can of Flecto Varathane Diamond
Wood Finish (Water based) IPN, under application tips, third line...
"If applying over white or pastel paints or stains, test in an
inconspicuous area as yellowing may occur"... Aren't the color schemes
of nearly all pins prior to 1970 mostly pastel? Think about this. What
was the type of clear coating Williams ultimately used on their pins?
(Hint, it wasn't Varathane) If you were to take your playfield to a
professional painter to have it clear coated who would the most
probable candidate be? (My guess would be) An automotive paint shop?
(and they don't have Varathane as an option) I know Clay whose
reputation I value greatly, doesn't care for the number of coats Bill
Davis uses, and I agree regarding the excessive thickness (I feel the
same way about soup too!) (Grin). But will anyone here argue the
recent post that Jeremy Wilson made
news:ue5e6ic...@news.supernews.com showing before and after pic's
of the AFM playfield Bill Davis shot. I read comments like… "Bills
done it again!" and "It's another masterpiece!" and "I'm constantly
amazed!", "Man... its beautiful" etc... Guess what... Bill is a
professional auto painter and Bill DOESEN'T USE VARATHANE, neither do
I. We could debate whether seatbelts save lives and someone in the
crowd will always have a story about a friend who is only alive today
because he wasn't using seatbelts, but in reality the consensus is
SEATBELTS save lives, while Varathane may have some benefits e.g.
"Smithsonian wants to restore a playfield a 100 years from now", or
"It's cheaper" and I don't want to spring the additional $35... my
inclanation is the consensus among those "In The Know" is auto clear
is better. Hey, like I said don't take my word for it... the coating
EVERY pinball company in existence ultimately used, more closely
resembles the Auto clear of today, NOT VARATHANE!
I appreciate the opportunity to rebut the rebuttals.
bruce9090 (at) hotmail
HSII, ToM, NF, Corvette, TZ, STTNG, T2, RS, FT, LW3 and others
HELL yeah!....M French
So - actually they must mean it just basically yellows, period, and that you
will notice it over light colors? I mean that has to be the explanation since
even though we are spraying it over colored areas it is still all covered with
I can appreciate the authenticity of an untouched machine. It's very
valid. If you ever do want to have something shot though, just call
around. Tell them you have a 2x5' board you want 2 coats of clear on
(No Big). I bet you'll find more takers then you think and $50 is what
I'm paying right now. Might seem like somebody won't do it for that
little, but if you think about it. Uusually they're just emptying a
gun of clear they would normally throw away and it only takes about 10
minutes. $50 ain't bad under those conditions in their eyes. On the
other hand Bill Davis charges more, because he spends time sanding,
buffing and shipping etc. You also pay for his reputation.
bruce9090 (at) hotmail
HSII, ToM, NF, Corvette, TZ, STTNG, T2, RS, FT, LW3 and others
Chris Munson wrote:
> I'm in your ball park on this also. I have done 4 playfields in Varathane (am
> working on a fifth), and while the "misnomer" of "AMATEUR USE ONLY" has been
> handed down, I agree that it is a poor edict.
> Most folks in the hobby who are zealous enough to involve themselves in PF
> restoration and/or PF swaps simply do not have the equipment or experience to
> apply automotive clearcoats. I DO have a compressor and gun, but I choose NOT
> to go that way, simply because I have no desire to contaminate my shop/home
> (shop is in dedicated third garage bay) and/or lungs with toxic fumes. I HAVE
> painted automobiles in the past, and I recognize the need for the right
> equipment/preparation/materials/hazard prevention. However, I just don't see
> the end result as justifying doing all the work to get there. Varathane is:
> 1) Inexpensive (doesn't mean it's cheap, so don't go there)
> 2) Easy to use (yes, any "Joe" can operate a spray can). Why not?
> 3) Adequate (My EBD has over 1000 plays since retoration, I see NOTHING in the
> way of wear indication).
> 4) FOR WOOD
> 5) Easily applied, requires no respirator, no compressor, requires no cleanup.
> I would NEVER claim either of these as the "be-all-get-all" of clearcoating.
> Each has its strengths, each has its weaknesses. You must decide for yourself;
> it's the individuals who make edicts that "this is the ONLY way to do
> something" that have the problem.
Marcos Hedges wrote:
> Cliffy - I am *mad* for pinball ;)
Why is there such a need for all of this? The only pins
I've had to clearcoat the playfields, were already destroyed
by some "previous restorer". They used a mop and varnish
to 'restore' the game. Even the switches had varnish in
Spray cans are even worse.
A true collector is going to offer less, and probably
on purchasing a pin that has been "restored" in this manner.
I would not be interested in any that this has been done to
I was trying to protect an investment.
Games that are 'players', are different. The looks are of
importance, the gameplay is what matters. My Addams and
my F2K are prime examples, here, but I'm still not going to
'paint' them. They shall age gracefully.
No offense intended for those of you that do this, but
is something that should be considered if you are interested
in having your games hold their collective value. After
gone on to something else, the true collectors will have to
deal with whatever damage was done. The remaining
"un-clearcoated" games will likely command a premium, too.
I've seen some pretty mucked up stuff, lately....
Which ever way you choose to go, both methods can give good or bad results.
Your choice as to the product used. I use Varathane apply it with paint pads
to avoid brush lines or picking up contamination with spraying. I don't
spray for that reason only.
So far nothing but a finish better than factory also keeping the spec as
built, that's how I want to keep mine, my choice.
Clear coat and Varathane will both chip, both will protect your playfield.
Preparation is the key to any coating. Take your pick.
At the end you end up with a lovely playfield which enables us to do what we
all want to do and that's play it !
Well that's what I do
"Karl Dubendorf" <kdube...@aol.com> wrote in message
Geez Fred, I'm glad you said that. You're right about mucked up jobs.
I don't buy pins as a general rule from collectors who have hacked
machines because of this. That's exactly the point I've been trying to
make. My feeling is leave it alone, natural. Or if you're going to do
it, do it right! Including all the prep work and don't use a $5 spray
bruce9090 (at) hotmail
HSII, ToM, NF, Corvette, TZ, STTNG, T2, RS, FT, LW3 and others
Another fellow who shall remain nameless bought a pin yesterday because
he knew it COULD be restored. Even the worlds greatest collection
authorities, the museums, restore artifacts and historically significant
There does exist a group of collectors who will only have originals,
good for them! But I doubt they out number the rest of the collectors
that are willing to pay more for a better looking piece. So yeah, don't
touch that game and hope some collector of originals comes by or restore
it and expand your market base. Obviously, it depends on the market
But I will agree whole heartedly Fred that there are some pretty bad
attempts at restoration out there. And that's sad.
> Cliffy lighten up! Are you under the impression I was guiding this
> post directly at you? On the other hand you are getting personal, you
> don't take apologies very gracfuly do you? Look up Amatures in the
> dictionary, it's not a derogetory term it just means "you don't get
> paid for your work", oposite of professional "Who does get paid for
> his work" I am speaking from my own experience and was merely quoting
> what Clay had posted and I think if we were to poll automotive
> painters you would find very few if any that ever shot Varathane and
> they are "Professonals"
My point was not directed at this, but more towards
the 'serious' collector, the guys that will still be here
all of the wanna be's and the disposable income clan have
moved on to the next "hottest thing". There are too many
new people to pinball these days that think you must
everything, buy NOS everything. Much of the misinformation
out on the web and elsewhere has much to do with this.
Those folks are the ones I fear.
Truly professional restorations, (museum), are not in
People skilled and trained to do this are usually careful to
an accurate representation of whatever it is they are
wouldn't put 8+coats of clear, and then try to pass it of as
either. (That seems to on the rise these days in the
This is but an opinion, loosely based on my experiences
in a few of my other hobbies, and what has happened to
"Cliffy" <cri...@attbi.com> wrote in message
> Not necessarily true Fred. This debate has been heavily
debated in the
> comic and other paper collector fields. To restore or not
to restore? A
> properly restored anything will usually fetch more than
it's beat up
> counterpart. < great view snipped>
There is no point, yes, but not because "they know better"...it's simply that
they paint cars, not chairs. So connecting varathane to car paint shops is
just plain useless.
Someone will have to come up with a better explanation for the yellowing than
this - by "laquer" I mean the ORIGINAL PLAYFIELD SURFACE! Isn't that the same
stuff that is on your F14 or Pinball Champ? I never saw any into on Marvin's
site that warned about yellowing with varathane PERIOD, old games new games,
nothing. In fact it said only LAQUER might yellow over time, which is why I
didn't go that route! As far as varathane not drying on laquer, if that is the
case I don't see why it would dry on ANY surface other than wood, it is a
water-based product and all existing 'factory' pf coatings are volatile-based.
Just to be clear I used varathane water-borne spray cans, the diamond stuff
with IPN technology.
While I can appreciate your point of view, my Eight Ball Deluxe will be
around 30 years from now, in "near new" shape. How many "original" games are
out there, that will be in this same shape? Few, if any. I always use the
analogy of an old automobile; how many people apprecite the guy's 1957 Chevy
that is in "original" shape (rusty, faded paint, torn headliner, ripped
interior, etc., etc.), and say "wow, wish I could own one of those? On the
other hand, cars that are meticulously restored with correct matching
numbers, paint codes, etc., etc., hold their value FAR more than originals,
and are welcomed by many.
I have a difficulty resolving the "TRUE COLLECTOR" definition; perhaps as
compared to your definition, you would say I don't fit the mold of a SERIOUS
collector, but I disagree. Why I would personally take the time, effort, and
energy to restore these games back to "like new" condition makes no sense,
otherwise. I don't do this to make money; I do this to be a "collector".
Given that I have ONE of TWO known Charlie's Angels EM's, and I have both an
NOS glass AND playfield for it, am I then in danger of not being a "serious
collector" if I choose to restore this game? Again, this game is for ME, NOT
for someone else. It has nothing to do with being a "wanna be" or having
"excess disposable income".
This subject, while debatable, is particularly interesting...there are
MANY shades of grey to consider.
"Fred Kemper" <pbga...@davlin.net> wrote in message
No problem Cliffy. :-) I think there may be something constructive
here. Let's disect this for a minute, maybe there's a better solution
we're not considering. The pro Varathane group states that Varathane
is made for wood and is therefore a better substance then autoclear
which is primarily for metal. OK. I feel there's many reasons they
don't put autoclear in a can for general public use. I've thought
about this a little, they could put it in some sort of can and turn a
nozzel or press a button to mix the activiator, but since it's so
toxic and would be used by people that don't know how to properly
handle it, they don't. Could you imagine the lawsuits. So they come
out with another product, maybe not as good, but hey it's safer and
easier (No activator required)
Let's say for a moment I concide and Varathane is better for wood.
We're still shooting from a can of compressed air with a 5 cent spray
tip and a 3 inch pattern. I can see problems with consistency.
So what do the big furniture factories use? Do they have a more
"Industrial Grade Varathane" That could be shot on with a sprayer? I
guess if you have a sprayer you could use the stuff in the can (Not
spray can), but correct me if I'm wrong (I know you guys will)(Grin)
If you have a pro spray gun, you shoot autoclear, no one I know with a
pro spray gun fills it with Varathane, they could, but they choose
autoclear, Clay and Bill Davis are two names that come to mind, why
not, they could, I mean if it's better and all. My gut says people use
it not because it's better but slightly easier then finding a shop to
do it and it's slightly cheaper. But I feel these are bad reasons
(Pennywise pound foolish) Let me emphasize here. I respect your right
to choose as you will, these are just my thoughts.
Is there any Varathane material that use's an activator that is harder
and dries faster. I know one person feels speed isn't an issue, but it
is with me. Ever hear the term, "Sitting around and watching the paint
dry" It means... Nothing happening, bored etc. and then there's the
yellowing issue on Pastels. I think one person (Was it Mark French?)
summed it up right when he said, "It must yellow everything, you just
don't notice it on vivid colors", I'm thinking he may have a point.
Come to think of it my High Speed did seem off color, I just never put
the two together. It's a known fact that oil based product yellows
significantly, but even the side of the waterbased product says that
too, maybe not as bad, but it's there.
So what do you think is there a happy medium? Is there some type of
"Pro grade Varathane"?
Nope, after all this work I already put into this STARS game with a so-so
cabinet and touched up glass and touched up playfield - that's IT, I am done.
With the game AND varathane. I don't have any games that are mylared or
And I didn't even include the 'mystery lumps' problem I had with the varathane
that I managed to remedy.
Mf101723 <mf10...@aol.com> wrote in message > Nope, after all this work I
sure thing, I mean this ain't no work of art or anything believe me....plus
still trying to solve the infamous Bally/Stern drop-targets-that-won't-drop
problem on it too so right now is not really playable...oh well needs to dry
some more anyway!...Mark
Mf101723 <mf10...@aol.com> wrote in message
I would like to see pics of your hard work too..
S*B, E*BD, T*Z
"Lloyd R Olson" <l...@ssbilliards.com> wrote in message
I had a similar problem with using new varnish over the factory varnish. The damn thing crackled. I
think it is because I was spraying in too cold of weather (55 degrees) and I didn't let the first
coat dry enough. Maybe the chemicals didn't evaporate enough and soaked back in the wood. Who knows.
I guess we all learn our lessons.
Good luck on your future projects!!!
S*B, E*BD, T*Z
"Mf101723" <mf10...@aol.com> wrote in message news:20020518223302...@mb-fz.aol.com...
"Lloyd R Olson" <l...@ssbilliards.com> wrote in message
Lloyd R Olson wrote:
> I think it is a work of art. Somebody we care about put a lot of work and
> effort into their game. I'd rather see that love and dedication any day over a
> new game. LTG :)
The auto analogy that would better describe is this:
Take the "original" '57 Chevy
and clearcoat it, put a NOS 427 for a '67 Vette in it, and
then call it "restored". This
is what I mean. A meticulously restored, museum quality
machine is something else
altogether. I am seeing more of the former than the latter.
Using the same analogy,
some 'restorers' have indeed caused damage in that
hobby,(old cars), as well.
There are also some low lifes that are attempting to
capitalize on this current rise in
the popularity of coin operated machines. These guys are
also hurting the hobby.
(I guess that 's a whole 'nother topic for discussion!)
When you are a collector/hobbiest, in the truest sense
of the word, you would be
doing these things only for yourself, and they would not be
sold. If you were doing
these things as an investment, you may do something
different. A hobbiest/collector
normally would not pay a premium for a restored game,
particularly if they do their own!
A serious collector just buys a machine and does nothing
with/to it. It is done.
A serious collector can have as few as two games, I
guess. If you have
only one, I would say you are an owner. Two or more would
'collection'. ;) A hobbiest is one that buys, sells,
trades, repairs, collects, etc.
I fall into the hobbiest category. A serious collector,
well, just collects, IMO.
Those folks just buy their way in, for the most part.. They
are also the people
that drive the costs up for the hobbiests. I would not
classify you as a SERIOUS
COLLECTOR, per se, but more of a hobbiest, or enthusiast, if
we were to
give a definition, (based solely on MY opinion/definition.)
You are most certainly correct about gray areas.
Defining collecting as
a whole is probably the issue at heart. I guess Webster's
may have the
final say, I didn't look.
Perhaps I should have stated the true "hobbiests" that
the profiteers and wanna be's move on to the next thing?
"Chris Munson" <mu...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
Nice One Chris! Great analogy! I'm there!!! (say you admit to having
two CA's?) (Grin)
bruce9090 (at) hotmail
HSII, ToM, NF, Corvette, TZ, STTNG, T2, RS, FT, LW3 and others
> "Fred Kemper" <pbga...@davlin.net> wrote in message
Gee Fred, I agree with the whole putting in the wrong kinda engine in
thing, but am not sure it applies here. I don't think anyone is trying
to Jam a TZ clock in an IJ. As far as the profiteers, it's already
here, they call it Ebay.
You're my kinda guy with a passion for Pin.
"Early Bally" its not a phrase, its a "Way of Life"!
Washington State Pinball STRONGHOLD
"A Fortress Protecting the Silver Ball"
"Chris Munson" <mu...@earthlink.net> wrote in message
Wrong engine = Excessive clearcoat.
IMO, of course. ;)
"Bruce" <bruc...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
He's an auto body painter, so he does know what he's doing with the stuff.
I had him shoot my Fireball, and *I* don't think there's too much film
thickness on it. Clay may disagree, but he'd have to see it first. ;-)
>Say I've Emailed Bill, but he hasn't responded on how he repairs the
>scoop holes and what he uses to color matche the white wood
He's not much on typing. When I've sent him email in the past, he's replied
with his phone number and asked me to call instead. He's only about an
hour's drive from here, so I dropped off and picked up my Fireball in
person, rather than hassling with shipping it. Saw some of his other work
at the time, and he's good.
I don't know what he's using for the patch, or painting it. I suspect it's
airbrushed to match the colour and woodgrain pattern. Can't really tell
from the pictures, though.
>like a spray, airbrush and custom mix maybe)and whether or not the
>patch holds (I figured if it didn't somebody would say something on
>RGP). Could you offer some wisdom on this?
I guess Jeremy will have to put a few thousand games on it then report
|David Gersic dgersic_@_niu.edu |
|Systems Programmer Northern Illinois University |
| Doesn't just know nothing; doesn't even suspect much. |
|I'm tired of receiving crap in my mailbox, so the E-mail address has been|
|munged to foil the junkmail bots. Humans will figure it out on their own.|
"Geoffrey Kent" <thecab...@sympatico.ca> wrote in message
Actually, only one of my CA's is an EM; the other is an SS. Now I feel bad....;>).
Thanks for your reply, I of course realize that you were not attacking
anyone. It's simply all a matter of definition. Interesting - I feel quite good
about coating my EBD PF, but would struggle with coating an EM NOS PF. Why?
Because the EM PF has more "value" to me, personally, from an "originality
Like most, we will all color our individual perceptions to fit our unique
needs. What IS important, IMHO, is that the hobby is treated with CARE and
RESPECT, in order to preserve the history of it. I am a COLLECTOR from the
standpoint of "having a collection; I am a HOBBYIST from the standpoint that
this is NOT my living, but something I greatly enjoy; I am not a PURIST, I
suppose, in the sense that I see the value of modern materials/methods to
enhance or improve the appearance/functionality of these games, and do not see
the "raw product" as having value (like fine art, for example), but I am
SERIOUS...;>) in my efforts to create the BEST possible package from the
limitations which are imposed on me, whether according to talent, lack of
parts, or lack of knowledge.
If you are happy at it, and other people appreciate it, then I think maybe
you can call yourself a "contributor" to your hobby. Nothing more, nothing
less. No man is an island....;>).
True. They're spraying over metal, not wood.
> And your apology is hollow since you say yourself that you stand by your
> statement that Varathane is for "armatures", "amatures" or maybe even
> amatuers ;-)
Or maybe... even... *amateurs*. Ouch!!