I'm restoring a 1964 United Pacer shuffle alley that has spent the better part of the last 30 years in a machine shed on a farm. It looks like it took some water damage a long time ago that has since dried out. For the most part, everything is in good shape, but the areas that dry rotted need some special attention.
In areas where the plywood delaminated, I injected wood glue and clamped. Larger areas got a treatment with GitRot (stuff you use on dry-rotted boat transoms to restore strength) to restore some of the integrity of the wood. All that turned out really nicely.
What I'm left with, though, is the finish. Ordinarily, I'm the kind of guy that likes to preserve a game in the state I get it. Those nicks, gouges, knee marks, and cigarette burns (and baseball team stickers in this case) tell a story, and I think that's cool. In this case, though, the water damage has really messed with the paint, causing it to flake away on its own, let alone if you touch it.
I'm curious what the general consensus is on what I should do. I can't prep it at all for any top coat...not without most of the paint coming off. Maybe there's some sort of pre-prep I can do to keep what's there?
There is one part (the top of the pin deck) that is covered in dirty paint flakes...there is no saving it, and I will probably just try to match it and paint it.
If I do end up having to re-paint it, I'd want to do it as close to original as possible, including the speckling, stencils, and overspray. I doubt that I can just do one side and match the rest of the cabinet, so that probably means I'll have to do the entire machine.
Any thoughts are appreciated. I attached some pictures to show you what I've got. One of the sides I consider completely fine, and the rest are wide/close shots of the different panels that need work.