(Topic ID: 312047)

1934 Daval Big-Bertha (Senior)

By Blake

2 years ago


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  • 45 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by Blake
  • Topic is favorited by 9 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

Stumbled upon this machine in a craigslist ad for a pinball coffee table. I expected the worst but was happy to see the owner only built a base for the cabinet to sit on and had not touched anything to do with the machine itself. It was complete, dirty as hell and in need of some love for $100.

This is my third prewar pin restoration and the second battery operated machine of the 1930's. I finished a 1934 Gottlieb Push-Over about a month ago. Restoration thread for Push-Over here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/1934-gottlieb-push-over

This is the 'Senior' model of this title and with that is both wider and longer then its 'Junior' counterpart. I have found very little info on the Senior model but a good amount on the Junior. Unlike many 1930's pin tables this machine is nearly the same size as a modern pin, minus the back box. The legs are much taller and next to my Push-Over the machine looks intimidating.

Big-Bertha has a lot to offer. 10 balls for 5 cents. Plunge for points. Raceway on plunge. Two holes at top of playfield (Free Shot Range Finder) and (Advances Reserves). Free Shot fires both cannons simultaneously, advancing balls inside cannons into higher point values. Advance Reserves releases lost balls in out-hole back to the ball trough for continued play. Spring loaded lane guides in the shape of hand guns. Decorative bumper cannons with springs. Pigeon tilt. Coin slide viewing window. Beautiful playfield artwork. Art Deco style cabinet with tapered dado legs.

I'm about a month into the restoration process and as with my last restoration this machine needs attention in every aspect. Cabinet was separating (gussets busted loose), wiring was dry rot, all metal is either rusted or badly tarnish, cracked housings, wood finish dull and dry, overall filthy.

So lets get started.

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#2 2 years ago
Quoted from Blake:

I'm about a month into the restoration process

How about setting a deadline that it has to be ready to show at Pintastic New England in June?
.................David Marston

#3 2 years ago
Quoted from dmarston:

How about setting a deadline that it has to be ready to show at Pintastic New England in June?
.................David Marston

I'd like to think thats entirely possible. If for whatever reason it isn't I do have the Gottlieb Push-Over fully restored and operating on 6v battery power. A fun game and great original example of a 1930's prewar pin.

#4 2 years ago

I love these pre war machines.
Congrats on Nice find.
Following.

#5 2 years ago

I’ll be following.

#6 2 years ago

First up are the legs. Dirty, dull, with rusted leg levelers/plates. Soaked the metal in CLR. Removed as necessary. Cleaned / polished with dremel. Brasso polished, then waxed.

Legs were cleaned with dish soap and hot water using a terry cloth. Kept fairly dry. Then multiple applications of Howard's Feed N' Wax. I love this product and it is my new "go to" whenever wood is concerned. It hydrates and protects. Highly recommend. I've never used a product this good. The sheen is simply amazing. And because of the penetration it brought back the deep black of the original paint.

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#7 2 years ago

beautiful machine. cant wait to see the finished product

#8 2 years ago

Cabinet had some structural issues which needed to be addressed. Two gussets were popped off the back panel allowing the panel to separate from the sides about 1". Thankfully this looked to have never been repaired which allowed me to open the joint up slightly and reapply glue (tight bond 3) into the joint and clamp side to side / front to back. I then glued back in both gussets. Let sit for 24 hrs. Ending with a straight and solid cabinet.

I cleaned the inside while I was at it. Applying Howards Feed N' Wax afterwards.

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#9 2 years ago

Outside of cabinet cleaned up very nice. Before and after pics included. The decals are still in fantastic shape after all these years. I thought they would have faded or stained but magic eraser and Krud Kutter worked fantastic on both sides. Because of the age of the machine I did keep a terry cloth dampened with water to wipe clean after every pass of Krud kutter. Can't be too safe with a machine thats basically irreplaceable. After a deep clean I once again added Howard's Feed N' Wax.

Now that I had a sturdy clean cab it was time to pair it with its "like new" legs. Unfortunately the leg bolts that came with the machine were not original. So I ended up getting some threaded rod and nickel plated acorn nuts and made my own. After researching dozens of pics, I believe this was the correct style of leg bolt for the era. Used by companies such as Rock-Ola and Gottlieb.

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#10 2 years ago

Looking good! Following along to see the finished product.

#11 2 years ago
Quoted from PlanetExpress:

Looking good! Following along to see the finished product.

I'm very happy with the way its turning out. For 88 years old its simply amazing.

#12 2 years ago

Onto the ball lift and shooter housing.

This piece was pretty dull. Lots of dirt and heavily tarnished. But worse was the nearly full length crack through the center. Most likely caused by someone tightening the mounting screw to much. So my plan of attack was to clean the unit thoroughly in the ultrasonic cleaner then start the repair. The ball lift was not disassembling so I decided to leave it be rather then put additional stress on the unit.

Sanded both surfaces. Painted a thick layer of JB weld (original formula) on the repair surface, then evenly pressed the sheet metal brace into position. This worked great and I was able to get it to lay nice and flat. Used a pencil to plug the screw hole. Waxing it made for easy removal.

I was debating on filling the cavity completely but I didn’t think it was necessary. I've ordered some higher end epoxy for future use but I am very impressed with the results I got from JB Weld, which is about 1/4 the price.

After the repair was fully cured I cleaned again, then buffed with a dremel and polished using both Brasso and Mag polish.

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#13 2 years ago

wow, this is great! Following

I love all the ornamental detail on the playfield

#14 2 years ago
Quoted from cait001:

wow, this is great! Following
I love all the ornamental detail on the playfield

Yes Daval certainly went all out with the detail on this pin. Its cleaning up nicely.

#15 2 years ago

More metal cleaned and polished. Before and after pics.

Most pieces that could fit in the ultrasonic cleaner started there. With a mixture of simple green and water. Temp of 125 F / 10-20 min as needed. Buffed/polished with either a dremel or buffing wheel, and finished by hand. The nickel side of the drop plate was done by hand to ensure there was no damage. It has very lite pitting. For the shooter gauge I cleaned and polished by hand. Masking off the ink area when using any compounds or chemicals and only used soap, water, toothbrush to scrub that area. Any parts that had substantial pitting/rust were sanded/buffed/cleaned/polished and then waxed to protect.

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#16 2 years ago
Quoted from Blake:

More metal cleaned and polished. Before and after pics.
Most pieces that could fit in the ultrasonic cleaner started there. With a mixture of simple green and water. Temp of 125 F / 10-20 min as needed. Buffed/polished with either a dremel or buffing wheel, and finished by hand. The nickel side of the drop plate was done by hand to ensure there was no damage. It has very lite pitting. For the shooter gauge I cleaned and polished by hand. Masking off the ink area when using any compounds or chemicals and only used soap, water, toothbrush to scrub that area. Any parts that had substantial pitting/rust were sanded/buffed/cleaned/polished and then waxed to protect.
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Looking great…. Sounds like it’s time to invest in a vibratory polisher and save yourself some hand polishing. I use this one with walnut media and Flitz tumbler media additive, it’s a huge labor saver: https://www.harborfreight.com/18-lb-vibratory-bowl-with-liquid-drain-hose-96923.html

#17 2 years ago
Quoted from PlanetExpress:

Looking great…. Sounds like it’s time to invest in a vibratory polisher and save yourself some hand polishing. I use this one with walnut media and Flitz tumbler media additive, it’s a huge labor saver: https://www.harborfreight.com/18-lb-vibratory-bowl-with-liquid-drain-hose-96923.html

Thanks!

Yea I have my eye on a specific tumbler and have been meaning to order it. And I do enough of this type of work it will be highly beneficial. I'll check out the one you referenced.

#18 2 years ago

Lower playfield and slide boards were in need of some TLC. This machine like most pre war pins utilizes three playfields in a sandwich like configuration. The first is the top playfield. Which is what the artwork is printed on and is the playing surface balls are plunged onto. The second is the reset board.
Which when actuated by the coin acceptor allows the balls on the top playfield to drop through the holes. The third is the lower playfield. Which allows the balls to return to the ball trough and line up for the ball lift. This playfield also contains switch and solenoid assemblies, as well as partitions that separate and direct the ball to a specific destination.

- The wood partitions were out of alignment with the coils and at some point in the games lifetime had broken as a result. I realigned new pieces and glued appropriately. The outside guide rails that allow the reset playfield to move back and forth were loose and had stripped holes. I fixed using wood glue and skewers.
- All wiring that was dry rotted got replaced. I chose to utilize QDC connectors in between playfields for easy removal during cleaning or troubleshooting.
- The coils were dirty and rusty which was inhibiting the actuation of the armature. So they all got cleaned in the ultrasonic, thoroughly dried with compressed air and low temp oven. Then buffed with the dremel. The return spring on the "Out Plate" locking coil got replaced.
- Accomplishing the proper actuation of the "Out Plate" was no easy task. When I got the machine there was three different springs mounted to the plate. One was broke and no longer in use and the others were obvious hack attempts at fixing it. The plate is suppose to lock into position by the armature of the coil. When the "reserves" hole is landed in a switch is activated which engages the coil and the weight of the balls will force the plate down allowing them to drop to the lower playfield and return to the ball trough. Then once the weight of the balls is removed, the (SPRING) that is mounted between the plate and the playfield pushes the plate back up against the armature of the coil until it passes allowing the armature to once again lock in place and hold the weight of the balls. This process is EXTREMELY dependent on proper placement of the coil and proper strength of the springs.
- Rollover switches are very unique on this machine (never seen anything like it). Each switch is formed by two leaf switches mounted to a small piece of wood each acting as one half of a circuit. The rollover portion of the switch actuating up and down mounted to the same block of wood using staples. The rollover (switch) portion has two points of contact to engage the two leaf switches. One point of contact is permanently closed as it is always engaged. The other is N/O and engages once the ball rolls over the switch, closing the circuit and either ringing the bell or firing a solenoid.
- Resistors are simply a very small gauge of insulated wire wound many times around a piece of cardboard and connected in circuit.
- Power plug connecting playfield wiring to battery wiring is very unique and at first glance inside a dirty machine I didn't even recognize it. Its a round two prong plug for the male side. And the female side is two receiving connectors wedged in between a couple pieces of bake lite board. I disassembled, cleaned up, rewired and mounted inside the coin door. Works great still.

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#19 2 years ago

Metal lane guide around the raceway has been removed. Very rusty and will need to be replaced. Playfield stripped and a sneak peak at some early cleaning. It's gonna look good

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1 week later
#20 2 years ago

Playfield fully cleaned. Before wax.

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#21 2 years ago

Top side playfield parts cleaned and polished. Before and after pics. Small touchups will be made on some of the lane guide guns and a little of the reds on a couple pieces. The fort was repainted. Will hand paint the black cannons after the base dries. Probably will paint the small bumper cannons too but haven’t fully decided yet.
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#22 2 years ago

Playfield layers on the bottom side were starting to separate so I injected Tight Bond 3 glue into each layer and clamped. Although it’s nothing you would see it made me feel better knowing if it caught on something while out of the game there would be no issues.

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#23 2 years ago

New stainless steel raceway installed. Always a bitch to do but comes out nice as hell. Because the machine is a lot bigger then many pre-war pins this raceway was actually almost 11 feet long. Which required me to utilize two pieces of stainless steel as I could only get it cut locally in 8' lengths. Placement of the merge was very specific to not interfere with ball trajectory. I used the old piece as my template and clamped it above the new piece with plywood backer. Then carefully punched, then drilled out each hole using a carbon bit. Stainless does not drill easy. Punching is necessary. Added extra screw holes at both ends of the merge.

Painted the bumper cannons and repainted the fort as I didn't like the cured color of my first paint job.

Cleaned and conditioned both top and bottom aprons. And cleaned up the instruction tags on the lower apron.

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#24 2 years ago

Everyone needs to rescue a prewar game so they can fully appreciate the satisfying power of wood clamps

#25 2 years ago
Quoted from cait001:

Everyone needs to rescue a prewar game so they can fully appreciate the satisfying power of wood clamps

I was telling someone the other day that 3 of 4 machines I've restored so far this year needed cabinet repair. Water logged particle board, open seems, loose panels with popped off gussets, exc.

I'm no where near a carpenter but I can make them sturdy and presentable

#26 2 years ago

Cannons got painted and two coats of clear for protection. Before and after pics. Fort cured nicely with no color change. Matches up to the original much better then before. Still need to paint black cannon on fort.

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2 weeks later
#27 2 years ago

Was able to piece together a 5 cent coin slide. Huge thanks to ZNET for a nice parts lot.

I had to retrofit one of the longer slides on the 3 hole bulldog style housing in order to properly engage the reset board. Which now works.

Lots of grinding down of the middle guide rail. Had to extend the cut where the ratchet shifts. And create a hole to mount the stop so you couldn't pull the slide through.

Overall it's not perfect but I didn't have to alter anything other then the slide itself. Housing/parts are original. I was able to get it to stop Canadian quarters / slugs with use of the magnet but I can’t get it to release once it’s stopped them as by the time it’s being held up the ratchet dog is engaged. Other than that it functions as it should and has a nice smooth action with American nickels. Cleaned / polished up nicely too.

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#28 2 years ago

Cannons painted on fort

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#29 2 years ago

What a cool project. Thanks for documenting it so well. Following!

#30 2 years ago
Quoted from Blake:

Was able to piece together a 5 cent coin slide. Huge thanks to ZNET for a nice parts lot.
I had to retrofit one of the longer slides on the 3 hole bulldog style housing in order to properly engage the reset board. Which now works.
Lots of grinding down of the middle guide rail. Had to extend the cut where the ratchet shifts. And create a hole to mount the stop so you couldn't pull the slide through.
Overall it's not perfect but I didn't have to alter anything other then the slide itself. Housing/parts are original. I was able to get it to stop Canadian quarters / slugs with use of the magnet but I can’t get it to release once it’s stopped them as by the time it’s being held up the ratchet dog is engaged. Other than that it functions as it should and has a nice smooth action with American nickels. Cleaned / polished up nicely too.
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Looking great, Blake! Daval games are terrific.

#31 2 years ago
Quoted from Jappie:

What a cool project. Thanks for documenting it so well. Following!

Happy too. I've found a lot of answers to questions I had reading through peoples restores. Hope this helps someone in the future.

#32 2 years ago
Quoted from ZNET:

Looking great, Blake! Daval games are terrific.

Thanks Bruce!

Its a pretty cool game.

10
#33 2 years ago

Topside playfield repopulated. New balls added from Moon Marbles.

Next up:

- Coin Door
- Playfield Glass / felt channel
- Battery
- Fine Tuning

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#34 2 years ago
Quoted from Blake:

Topside playfield repopulated. New balls added from Moon Marbles.
Next up:
- Coin Door
- Playfield Glass / felt channel
- Battery
- Fine Tuning

That is beautiful, well done!

#35 2 years ago
Quoted from Wylte:

That is beautiful, well done!

Thank you!

#36 2 years ago

Coin door started. Still need to cut out holes for lock down bolt/wing nuts. Then some finish sanding and onto prime/paint.

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#37 2 years ago

Coin door finished. I should have filled in the tooling marks from the forstner bit but I guess I can live with being on the backside. Paint matching was a tough job and I decided to go with a simple satin black. The cabinet color is really a dark blackish/olive color. Not sure if thats sun induced or not. Original legs have contrast with the cab and seem to match the coin door quite well.

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#38 2 years ago

Final pics. New glass.

I’ll try to get a game play video at some point.

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#39 2 years ago

Nice work

#40 2 years ago

Thank you.

#41 2 years ago
Quoted from Blake:

New balls added from Moon Marbles

love me some Moon Marbles!

#42 2 years ago

looking forward to a video! Amazing work.

#43 2 years ago

Nice job!

#44 2 years ago
Quoted from cait001:

looking forward to a video! Amazing work.

Yea I had to break it down temporarily until I can find a home for it. Then I'll put together a video.

Thanks
Blake

#45 2 years ago

Thank you!

It is a fun machine to play.

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