(Topic ID: 218022)

Gottlieb woodrails: Are their profiles all the same?

By Classicpinballs

4 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 9 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Classicpinballs
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


Linked Games

Topic Gallery

View topic image gallery

DSC00514 (resized).JPG
before after (resized).jpg
pasted_image (resized).png

#1 4 years ago

As title. I have a few Woodrails that I'd like to restore.

So, my Queen of Hearts has had, at some stage in its life, had all its wood trim and rails painted bright red [badly too]. I'm reluctant to use a wet paint removal process as it shall most likely stain the timber; were I to dry sand then the red paint, which looks like an oil based product, the wood would still be tainted from the red paint's oil.

Then I have a later Silver, that has had all its wood trim and rails removed to be fitted with stainless trim, and not even Gottlieb ones!

So, could I remove the rails and head trim from a Dancing Dolls and have those used as templates for the 2 machines above? I know Steve sells them but shipping to the UK will be horrendous so I'll use a local joinery company to make them instead.

Any thoughts please?

#3 4 years ago

I've had good luck stripping, even wood stain(!), off woodrails using Mostenbocker's Lift-off GEL. Some nice fella here on Spinside posted a long process on a 4 Million BC stripping of latex using Mostenbocker's OTHER product in a spray form. This stuff is NOT the product I use, and it may work fine, but I find the gel to be much easier to use...especially on the rails, since they're curved. I posted a pic of the right stuff, which I ripped from Amazon, so it's available from them. I find it at Low Depot here in the States... ;o)

The gel adheres to the surface nicely, so no soaked rags are needed, and when I'm stripping rails, I remove it with green Scotchbrite pads. You go through alot of pads, since you're constantly gumming them up with the crud you're removing, but have had good to excellent results. Maybe try it before trying the rail swapping? Just a thought.

This product also works great on cabs...and there you can use a paint-scraper to take up the gunk, which saves on Scotchbrites...and it's easy cleanup being non-toxic - I just toss it all away.

Except for that top rail on the head in the early GTB woodies, I believe all the rails are the same...they didn't change the GTB cabinets much over the years...but close inspection is necessary.

FWIW I have always been leery of trying to remove rails...it's certainly doable, but with all those channels and thin slats of wood that go in the channels it seems like there's a high chance of breaking them and/or not getting them back on correctly. YMMV

pasted_image (resized).png

#4 4 years ago

All three of those games should have the same profile of the wood rail. So yes you can use one for a model for the other 2.

As for the one that is painted, I would use a chemical paint stripper and take the paint off. I did that on a 1959 Gottlieb and found that the paint had been put on very early before the wood took on the darker oxidized look. I ended up with brand new looking wood rails without sanding them down.
Worse case is that you would need to sand them down but then you will have rails that look like new ones anyway, so why buy new ones?

In the US we do not recommend sanding the paint off due to lead.

If the new or sanded down rails look too new for you then use a stain to age them.

Good luck.

before after (resized).jpg

#5 4 years ago

I have a Williams woodrail which had all the wood trim painted black.
I sanded the rails and trim, then wiped them down with lacquer thinner. Then, I brushed on a water-based clear polyurethane finish. The results yielded a brand-new look, which is what I wanted.
Regarding your "Silver", are you sure the original rails are not under the faux
metal rails? I have a "Wagon Train" which had been fitted with some type of aftermarket metal rail, but the original wood rails are still on the game under the metal. I've seen this done on bingo machines as well.

#6 4 years ago

Thanks Guys.

I'll try the chemical gel route on QoH and see how I get on. Nothing to loose I guess.

I have noticed that the lock down bar in QoH differs to Auto Race ( another one that I'm finishing off ) in that the latter uses an almost full length metal u shaped channel which the 2 securing pins run through.

As for Silver, unfortunately the rails aren't present. I guess, seeing as the cabinet has been repainted too, an arcade owner decided to modernise it to not look so old when next to a shiny new machine

So, I'll get a set made for Silver and use Dancing dolls for the template profiles.

Thanks again.

#7 4 years ago
Quoted from Classicpinballs:

As for Silver, unfortunately the rails aren't present. I guess, seeing as the cabinet has been repainted too, an arcade owner decided to modernise it to not look so old when next to a shiny new machine

Don't be so quick to judge that your woodrails are missing. I've had a few woodrails come through my hands that were converted to metal rail, clearly in an attempt to make them look newer like the early 60's games that were coming on market at the time.

In each instance the metal rails were an aftermarket update that was available at the time and were applied over the existing woodrails. In each instance I removed the nails holding the metal rails to the side of the cabinet to reveal the original rails, some in exceptional condition.

#8 4 years ago

Here is an after picture from one such game with the aftermarket metal rails removed.

DSC00514 (resized).JPG

#9 4 years ago

Thanks, Mike.

I've taken another look at Silver but its definitely lost all its woodrails so it's looking like a new set will be necessary. Still, it's a nice machine otherwise so it'll look good with new trim and I bought a new Shay backglass and plastics too so in for a penny, in for a pound I suppose.

Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
From: $ 18.00
Apparel - Men
Pinside Shop
$ 60.00
Cobra Amusements
From: $ 70.00
PinDoc Restorations
Great pinball charity
Pinball Edu


Wanna join the discussion? Please sign in to reply to this topic.

Hey there! Welcome to Pinside!

Donate to Pinside

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run without any 3rd-party banners or ads, thanks to the support from our visitors? Please consider a donation to Pinside and get anext to your username to show for it! Or better yet, become a Pinside+ member!