(Topic ID: 344724)

How to make a freshly painted EM cabinet look 'old'

By Vintage-Pinball

9 months ago


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    #1 9 months ago

    I have a couple of Gottlieb cabinets that I've been re-spraying in their white base colour, prior to the stencilling colours. Question, despite whichever shade of white I use, all look too bright afterward. Does anyone know of something that I could spray on top to try and age its look? I thought of cellulose clear lacquer which does yellow in time but are there any alternatives? Thanks,Doug.

    #2 9 months ago

    Unfortunately, the guys that Painted those cabs years ago had a unique combo of skills and experience and I don’t give a fuck that can’t be duplicated.

    #3 9 months ago
    Quoted from Vintage-Pinball:

    Does anyone know of something that I could spray on top to try and age its look?

    Take up smoking heavily and the nicotine will do it in a couple of years.

    #4 9 months ago

    I don't understand the 'shade of white looks too bright' comment. You should be able to buy a shade that is 'dirty' with brown or yellow or black added until it's nowhere close to 'refrigerator bright'. If you look at the white used on a lot of 50's and 60's cars, it's a pretty dirty white.

    #5 9 months ago

    Coating with a very light minwax Polly shade might give the look your after.

    #6 9 months ago

    If you want it to look old, why are you repainting it? Those games were bright white in the factory

    #7 9 months ago

    You said you’ve tried a few tints, but what about finishes? Flat, matte, satin, semi gloss etc. I’d think a cream/yellow tinted satin paint would look fine.

    #8 9 months ago

    I repainted several old games that I received that needed repaint. One was painted completely black. Others repainted weird schemes.

    I used a base coat of antique white. It had just enough yellowish to look old. Then depending on the game, I recreated the webbing or speckle, depending on what the factory original was. Then did the top colors. They came out looking great, and always got good comments.

    If you're going to repaint an old game, you've got to duplicate the factory webbing/speckles!

    #9 9 months ago

    In my extremely limited experience of one EM where I had to repaint an exchange backbox to match the original cabinet, I added more and more yellow until it matched really well. The challenge I found was that my EM looks a different colour white wherever I tend to put it dependent on the ambient lighting, time of day, reflections and shadows. I guess what I'm trying to say is you can torment yourself with this stuff but it'll turn out fine.

    #10 9 months ago
    Quoted from GregCon:

    I don't understand the 'shade of white looks too bright' comment. You should be able to buy a shade that is 'dirty' with brown or yellow or black added until it's nowhere close to 'refrigerator bright'. If you look at the white used on a lot of 50's and 60's cars, it's a pretty dirty white.

    What I meant was that despite the handful of various shades of white I've tried, none are still close enough to a cabinet of 40 odd years weathering and nicotine staining. Of course they will Bull down over time but I just wondered if I could put something on top, rather than repeating them all ( 6 in fact) again.

    #11 9 months ago
    Quoted from Vintage-Pinball:

    just wondered if I could put something on top, rather than repeating them all ( 6 in fact) again.

    The minwax stain (clear w stain mix) called poly shade. Would do what your asking

    #12 9 months ago

    In antique furniture business when you needed to "make" some antique furniture a favorite method was to beat the new stuff with a car tire chains (the type you put on cars in the winter to get traction on icy roads) to make it look old. It would quickly add that wear and tear look of a real antique. But perhaps you are not looking for that type of "old" look.

    #13 9 months ago
    Quoted from mg81:

    In antique furniture business when you needed to "make" some antique furniture a favorite method was to beat the new stuff with a car tire chains (the type you put on cars in the winter to get traction on icy roads) to make it look old. It would quickly add that wear and tear look of a real antique. But perhaps you are not looking for that type of "old" look.

    It would be more appropriate to carve some initials and high scores into the new paint job to give it that authentic pinball look.

    #14 9 months ago

    Jethro LOVEs vintage pinball =-> (heart)
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Quoted from JethroP:

    It would be more appropriate to carve some initials and high scores into the new paint job to give it that authentic pinball look.

    #15 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    It would be more appropriate to carve some initials and high scores into the new paint job to give it that authentic pinball look.

    When I restored my Gigi I think it set the record for most carvings of any game I've done. Think there were eight. Not initials. Not high scores. Just names. Bob. Mike.

    There has to be a unique psychology that causes people to want to carve their names into things.

    As for the OP, if you don't want it to look new, then don't restore it. Pretty simple. It acquired that patina over years and years of mistreatment.

    #16 9 months ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    As for the OP, if you don't want it to look new, then don't restore it. Pretty simple. It acquired that patina over years and years of mistreatment.

    Agreed. I have only repainted old games that had the original art painted over with weird schemes...total botch jobs. Otherwise, I like the old patina, carvings, etc. Pretty classic to see cigarette burns on the old woodrails too. Remember the old smokey bowling alleys?

    #17 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Pretty classic to see cigarette burns on the old woodrails too.

    My very first machine (a 1956 United puck bowler, which I still have) has an inch or two
    cigarette burn marks on the side top edge of the pin hood. No way in hell removing them
    is an option..

    #18 9 months ago

    I haven't used this yet, and I can't find it. This is a Montana Spray Paint called Yellowing Effect. I was planning on trying it next time I repair and repaint part of an older game to knock down the brightness of new paint. Hope that helps.

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    #19 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Agreed. I have only repainted old games that had the original art painted over with weird schemes...total botch jobs. Otherwise, I like the old patina, carvings, etc. Pretty classic to see cigarette burns on the old woodrails too. Remember the old smokey bowling alleys?

    Since my deal is restoring games most of the time that's what I do. I totally understand the patina idea, but I can't stand bad backglasses and roached playfields. Once you fix those the game looks weird with a rough cab so only rarely do I leave them as I got them.

    #20 9 months ago

    Here is an EM I repainted. It came to me all in black! I sanded to bare wood, did a base coat of antique white, applied black webbing, then did the red and blues. It looks original with an aged look.

    I've even done games in bright white. After the webbing, they still look good. That's the way they would have come from the factory. IMO, if you repaint and skip the original webbing, or speckle in some instances, it stands out as a repaint job. Makes me cringe when I see that.

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    #21 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    It came to me all in black!

    Who on earth would do that ?

    #22 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ballypin:

    Who on earth would do that ?

    Oh, I've seen several pins painted all black, but many more in chocolate brown.

    #23 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ballypin:

    Who on earth would do that ?

    Lol you would be surprised.

    I had a Drop a Card someone sanded to bare wood and stained. I've seen them painted all one color. Painted over in screwy designs with latex house paint.

    These things don't have the meaning to everyone that they have to us.

    #24 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ballypin:

    Who on earth would do that ?

    If memory serves me correctly, I bought that all black SurfSide from you!! Haha.

    #25 9 months ago

    I had a Gottlieb that was covered with names.

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    #26 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    I've even done games in bright white. After the webbing, they still look good. That's the way they would have come from the factory. IMO, if you repaint and skip the original webbing, or speckle in some instances, it stands out as a repaint job. Makes me cringe when I see that.
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    honest question -- can you explain what you mean by webbing? i understand the speckle technique to be small specks of a contrasting color randomly flicked onto the main color with a brush (i think), but i'm not sure what webbing is. you posted pics, but not sure what i'm looking for with webbing. thanks in advance.

    #27 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Here is an EM I repainted. It came to me all in black! I sanded to bare wood, did a base coat of antique white, applied black webbing, then did the red and blues. It looks original with an aged look.
    I've even done games in bright white. After the webbing, they still look good. That's the way they would have come from the factory. IMO, if you repaint and skip the original webbing, or speckle in some instances, it stands out as a repaint job. Makes me cringe when I see that.
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    Thanks. That's exactly what I meant. All 6 cabinets have been over painted with various household gloss paints. I do, of course, use the webbing or paint spattering prior to the stencil colours.

    So as to elaborate, one customer who is having three cabinets done, wants the following effect, hence my question. Personally, I'd leave them as they are, knowing that that's pretty much how they left the factory, I.e fresh white, but it's his money so fair enough.

    #28 9 months ago
    Quoted from izzy:

    I haven't used this yet, and I can't find it. This is a Montana Spray Paint called Yellowing Effect. I was planning on trying it next time I repair and repaint part of an older game to knock down the brightness of new paint. Hope that helps.
    [quoted image]

    Thank you. I've also been told that the old fashioned cellulose clear lacquer will yellow in time so that idea, or yours, will do the job. Cheers.

    #29 9 months ago
    Quoted from spooonman:

    honest question -- can you explain what you mean by webbing? i understand the speckle technique to be small specks of a contrasting color randomly flicked onto the main color with a brush (i think), but i'm not sure what webbing is. you posted pics, but not sure what i'm looking for with webbing. thanks in advance.

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    #30 9 months ago

    Back when pinball cabinets were painted (before decals), they used cheap woods with blemishes, and rushed them through the factory. Non adhesive stencils were laid on the cabinet and spray paint applied. That's why you see the soft, fuzzy edges between colors. Webbing or speckles were applied to cover the blemishes in the underlying wood.

    People repainting today take time to fill the imperfections in the wood, and apply stencils using removable adhesive. The result is hard edges in the adjoining paint colors. There is no need to use webbing or speckles to cover any imperfections if the time is taken to prep the cabinet smooth. However, trying to recreate the original look, speckles or webbing is a must. Additional, I think it adds beauty to the art.

    #31 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Back when pinball cabinets were painted (before decals), they used cheap woods with blemishes, and rushed them through the factory. Non adhesive stencils were laid on the cabinet and spray paint applied. That's why you see the soft, fuzzy edges between colors. Webbing or speckles were applied to cover the blemishes in the underlying wood.
    People repainting today take time to fill the imperfections in the wood, and apply stencils using removable adhesive. The result is hard edges in the adjoining paint colors. There is no need to use webbing or speckles to cover any imperfections if the time is taken to prep the cabinet smooth. However, trying to recreate the original look, speckles or webbing is a must. Additional, I think it adds beauty to the art.

    I started out with a mustard cabinet, work of art when it was completed.

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    #32 9 months ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Back when pinball cabinets were painted (before decals), they used cheap woods with blemishes, and rushed them through the factory. Non adhesive stencils were laid on the cabinet and spray paint applied. That's why you see the soft, fuzzy edges between colors. Webbing or speckles were applied to cover the blemishes in the underlying wood.
    People repainting today take time to fill the imperfections in the wood, and apply stencils using removable adhesive. The result is hard edges in the adjoining paint colors. There is no need to use webbing or speckles to cover any imperfections if the time is taken to prep the cabinet smooth. However, trying to recreate the original look, speckles or webbing is a must. Additional, I think it adds beauty to the art.

    ok, that makes sense now! thanks for the explanation and the detailed pics. i like that y'all are striving for authenticity in your restorations. so a follow-up question -- how do you achieve the webbing effect? do you lay cheesecloth in some spots of the wet paint and then pull it up before it's dried, or something similar?

    #33 9 months ago
    Quoted from spooonman:

    ok, that makes sense now! thanks for the explanation and the detailed pics. i like that y'all are striving for authenticity in your restorations. so a follow-up question -- how do you achieve the webbing effect? do you lay cheesecloth in some spots of the wet paint and then pull it up before it's dried, or something similar?

    Mixture of black lacquer, acetone and glue out of an old Sharpe gun.

    #34 9 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Mixture of black lacquer, acetone and glue out of an old Sharpe gun.

    that is super cool -- thanks for the info! definitely looks like there's an art / skill to applying it and getting it to look just right.

    #35 9 months ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    I had a Drop a Card someone sanded to bare wood and stained.

    Yup. Once found a sanded, stained, and cleared Williams "Soccer".

    #36 9 months ago
    Quoted from spooonman:

    that is super cool -- thanks for the info! definitely looks like there's an art / skill to applying it and getting it to look just right.

    I use an aerosol to do my webbing effect, Montana I think is the brand. Beware though, go too slow and the effect is way too heavy and your eyes look at the webbing instead of the artwork.
    As a tip, try laying the cabinet or head on its side so the aerosol spray passes on a downward path, rather than from the side ( if it were fixed on its legs, if that makes sense) and you'll get a nicer effect. Move fast at a distance too to avoid a heavy coating. And if you use it, try the grey colour instead of the black. In my opinion, it looks more authentic.

    #37 9 months ago
    Quoted from EMsInKC:

    Lol you would be surprised.
    I had a Drop a Card someone sanded to bare wood and stained. I've seen them painted all one color. Painted over in screwy designs with latex house paint.
    These things don't have the meaning to everyone that they have to us.

    A typical paint job for me to fix ( not done the main cab section yet )

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