Thanks everyone for the nice comments. Restoring is the part of the hobby I enjoy the most, other than meeting other pin folks. So much satisfaction when it's complete and you take a step back and see the pin that was in your minds eye. Plus, I like the fact that there will be another pin saved and maybe someone will enjoy it. I don't flip pins for the money. If that were the case I'd starve because I spend way too much time on them. Heck, I spent 14 months restoring my '67 Williams Apollo. But, it looks damn good (in my humble opinion). I learn from every one of these I do. I've acquired new skills along the way and one never stops learning.
Quoted from jwwhite15:
Did you use butcher paper to trace the outline and then transfer that to a more stiff "poster board"? Just wondering if you will share your trade secrets.
Good question. For this restoration (and one other) I actually used the stencils from Pinball Pal. They are made of a thick vinyl and really do a nice job. Those stencil kits do not come with transfer tape and the creator of them say it isn't necessary. That may be true if you've done hundreds of them. I've found that the stencils are much easier to apply when using transfer tape. I bought a roll of it off Amazon and apply it before I attach the stencil to the cabinet.
For restorations that there are no stencils for, I create my own. First I trace each color using velum (basically a clear acetate film) onto separate sheets, one for each color. Next I then use frisket as my stencil and trace the pattern to it. The reason I use frisket is that it is adhesive backed and sticks very well to the wood surface and usually doesn't leak. To cut the frisket I use a scalpel and #11 surgical blades. I've found that the scalpel blades are better quality than xacto blades, produce better cuts and take longer to dull. The sharpness of the surgical blades prevent them from stretching the frisket before it cuts which reduces lifting and seepage of the paint.
As with anything else, preparation is key for a good result. I use my Festool RO125 to strip the cabinet down to bare wood. Next I make sure the cabinet is structurally sound (joints are solid, plywood layers not separated, etc.). If needed I re-glue / clamp and pin nail where needed. Next is filling holes, gouges, scratches and reshaping corners as necessary using bondo. After that is sanding and more sanding. Next, I mask and tape all the areas not receiving the paint color I'm applying. I got burnt on this step once (paint seepage everywhere causing a complete re-sanding of the cabinet) by using some very cheap masking tape. Never again; I get painters tape in bulk packs. So far all of the pins I've restored have had a white "primer" coat beneath a light colored base coat. I've yet to do a pin with a black base coat so I will assume the primer is black as well. I'll spray two coats of primer because the bare wood sucks up the paint like crazy. I sand between each coat and clean with naptha each time. That may be overkill but that method hasn't let me down yet. Next comes the base coat, again two or three coats depending on the color. The white primer helped make the yellow on Paragon jump out. Once the base coat is dry (usually 2 or 3 days) I sand and clean with naptha. Then I just repeat the steps using the next color. If you create your own stencils, you can see which color was laid down when during the painting process. If you follow that you'll do fine.
Quoted from SunKing:
Are you also doing a playfield restore - or just the cabinet? I have a Paragon with some playfield wear in the bonus section, and I've been looking for the best way to repair.
Yep, the playfield will be touched up where needed and clear coated. I actually bought another playfield as the one in my machine was in slightly worse shape. Mine was not bad; the other one just had less wear. In the areas where there is some intricate details I'll scan the area, create decals on water-slide paper (same stuff we used as kids on model cars and airplanes). The water-slide decal paper is super thin and doesn't take much in the way of clear coating to cover. I'll also level all of the inserts with the playfield by removing, re-gluing and re-seating. If needed I'll repair any that are concave due to the heat of the lamps. While the paint was drying I was rebuilding the drop target mechs and bead blasting the larger metal pieces to remove rust and years of dirt. Smaller parts get tumbled (I've gone through two tumblers so far). I don't bother tumbling screws as I have found that they don't always come clean. I get my hardware from McMaster-Carr; they ship stuff quickly and are way cheaper than any of the pinball parts stores (only when you buy boxes of 50 or 100).