(Topic ID: 231017)

Project Paragon -- Breathing Life Back Into the Beast.


By TractorDoc

4 months ago



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  • Latest reply 13 hours ago by cletus
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There are 243 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 5.
10
#1 4 months ago

A month or two back I picked up a project Paragon from a Craigslist ad.
All the owner could tell me was the playfield was nice and the game was working when put in storage years ago. It was within an hours driving distance so I headed out to look things over in person.

Upon arrival I could see the game in the seller's garage. The backbox had been removed some time ago and sat off to the side. First thing I learned was there were no legs (Baywatch anyone?) and the keys for the bottom cabinet were missing. I knew it was unlikely that a horde of coins or other treasure was inside as the cabinet was already standing up on its back and probably would have already fallen out.

Wiping the dust off the glass did suggest the playfield itself was in decent shape, I could see very little wear above the flippers/in the bonus area. The backglass was bubbling at the bottom -- a shame because it was in good shape otherwise.

The seller and I worked out a deal and I squeezed the widebody into the back of the Wrangler. Pictures just before unloading:

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This thread will be an attempt to get the game up and working again vs. a true restoration. I did not have Paragon on my wish list but have learned to enjoy reviving these Solid State games. I definitely plan on making it presentable but will try to do so without overspending. . . if that is possible.

#2 4 months ago

I started to dive in today by looking things over/documenting/cleaning.

A picture of the playfield before I removed plastics, bumper caps, etc. The plastics actually cleaned up nicely and will be reused.

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Examining the cabinet. It is not severely faded but does have some cosmetic flaws. Black skuzz is very noticeable in several focal areas.

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A good cleaning was able to clear some of the superficial grime. A more intense cleaning of the black areas did remove the spots -- these areas seem to have had a bump or ding in the past.

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Worst part of cabinet trauma -- middle of the left front corner. Ouch!

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Coin door may have taken a knee or two in the past.

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Inside the coin door (drilled the lock -- no quarters but I did score an original manual ) Several interesting features including what I am sure is an aftermarket hinge and maybe even a new cabinet floor? It has a date of 1-7-09 under the coin box area. I do not recall there being a Paragon remake.

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After vacuuming what some mouses had left behind the inside of the lower cabinet does not look too bad.

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#3 4 months ago

Back box and glass. Look close and you can see the bubbling/peeling at the bottom.

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On the inside you can see that I've already recapped the Solenoid Driver Board and the Sound Board. I've covered that step in several of my other revival posts so will not bore anyone with it this time. . . does not help that I neglected to take pictures during the process either. The transformer has been removed to install a new rectifier board with it.

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The MPU is missing in the above pic -- I am evaluating the alkali battery damage. Years of storage did not do this board any favors.

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I may try to neutralize the damage/repair the board but if things do not go my way there is an Alltek waiting.

#4 4 months ago

This machine is in incredible condition for a Paragon. Usually, all Paragon backglass will be heavily bubbled and really hard to recover.
The playfield is in fantastic shape and the cabinet can be fixed without having to repaint the entire machine.

You got yourself a great deal.

Yves

#5 4 months ago
Quoted from Arcane:

This machine is in incredible condition for a Paragon. Usually, all Paragon backglass will be heavily bubbled and really hard to recover.
The playfield is in fantastic shape and the cabinet can be fixed without having to repaint the entire machine.
You got yourself a great deal.

Thanks Yves.

I am hoping it will not take much to get flipping.

More playfield pictures once the plastics/bumper caps were removed.

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Some closer up shots just in case I need a reference later to know what goes where.

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I'm learning to keep better track of parts by using diagrams. An example is this photocopy I made from the manual to keep track of posts. Each post is marked in red and I've notated which is secured with a screw, stud post, or hex head fastener.

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Thinking this may be cheating a little at the Beast's Lair?

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#6 4 months ago

Looking forward to the story... thanks for sharing.

#7 4 months ago

The game looks to be in fantastic condition overall. The PF will likely have cupped inserts, but doesn't look like there is much wear at all! Do the little bit of touch-up on it and have that thing cleared! Looking forward to seeing the progress on this.

#8 4 months ago

You made this game sound alike a real crapper in your description. Looks like its in fantastic shape to me. I am looking forward to seeing what you end up with. Looks like a fun project.

#9 4 months ago

That things in better shape than most of the ones i've run across in the wild. Nice score my friend.

#10 4 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

The game looks to be in fantastic condition overall. The PF will likely have cupped inserts, but doesn't look like there is much wear at all! Do the little bit of touch-up on it and have that thing cleared! Looking forward to seeing the progress on this.

Definitely some cupped inserts.
Step one will be the use of a playfield protector to see if that helps level things out. If I end up loving the game there is always the potential for some clear coat in the future!

Quoted from Squeakman:

You made this game sound alike a real crapper in your description. Looks like its in fantastic shape to me. I am looking forward to seeing what you end up with. Looks like a fun project.

To be honest, I was not sure what it was (condition wise) when I picked it up -- which is what I tried to carry over in the first post. It was a cold/wet day, there was a good layer of dust on everything, and the seller was wanting to get back in his house. I tried giving the playfield the best evaluation I could and tried to wrap my mind around what work could be involved by looks alone. The more I clean things up the better it is looking -- usually things do not go so well.

Quoted from flipper_fever76:

That things in better shape than most of the ones i've run across in the wild. Nice score my friend.

Many Thanks!

#11 4 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Definitely some cupped inserts.
Step one will be the use of a playfield protector to see if that helps level things out

My playfield was in very similar condition with cupped inserts and only a little wear around the score level lights. I leveled the playfield inserts with clear coat layers... extended the clear coat around the edges of any score lights, covering the “thousands” lettering and any existing wear to stop progression. Put a couple of coats of wax, but no playfield protector. If you haven’t purchased already you may get away without one. With the wax I really don’t see where I’ve covered spots around the score lights with the clear coat .

#12 4 months ago
Quoted from srcdube:

If you haven’t purchased already you may get away without one.

I took advantage of Protector's black Friday offering, said protector is patiently waiting in cardboard.

Disassembled as much as I could (with time available) of the upper playfield today. Everything bagged, tagged, and documented. My good ratcheting screwdriver gets hidden in the parts box because tools in the open grow legs.

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More artwork exposed. Definitely several areas to touch up, but really not bad.

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#13 4 months ago

Removed as much as I could from the upper playfield yesterday.
The wire guides were looking quite dirty and gritty so I decided to pull them for a proper cleaning. I know it is covered in Vid's guide but I do not have wi-fi in the shop to look it up so I used a simple lever system to work the wires upward (Vid may suggest the very same thing). A block of wood (to protect the playfield surface) and a proper lever raise the wire easily.

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I was happy that these are the smooth wires and do not have the barb down into the playfield.

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There were also several pins in various spots on the playfield (and a couple of finish nails near the slingshots?).

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A different kind of lever was needed to pull those -- gently squeezing the pin in the bite of the pliers while lifting the handles/pointing the plier tips into the wood pulled the pins right out.

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The biff bars at the lower playfield took a more delicate approach -- I used the same lever principle being very careful not to hit the playfield surface with the screwdriver.

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All extracted and ready for a cleaning.

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After pulling several switches, slingshots, etc. from below the only pieces remaining on the surface are the bumper units, drop targets, and kickout coil. I had left my soldering station at home so I will try to remove those today. The plan is to pull the playfield from the cabinet and move it over to the work bench to better clean and examine the underside. The more I remove from the surface the more I am temped to give it a clear coat. . . several areas of mylar are making me think twice though.

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I also had a helper today. She had no problem jumping right in to inspect my work.

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#14 4 months ago

Those Finish nails are to stop the ball from getting trapped under the sling I think.
Great work so far

#15 4 months ago

Some of the finishing nails are stops for the wire gates .

I had a problem with the one at the exit of the treasure chamber, was catching the edge of the ball and making it fall back into the treasure chamber hole. Pulled it.

#16 4 months ago
Quoted from Toads:

Those Finish nails are to stop the ball from getting trapped under the sling I think.
Great work so far

Nice to know they only used the best materials back in the day. Thanks!

Accomplished the main goal of removing the upper pop bumper units and kickout solenoid. Looks like one of the bumper rings lost part of itself somewhere along the way. When the time comes to reinstall I plan on pre-soldering a short wire to the lamp leads with a connector on the end to make future removal easier (should it ever need done!).

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There was one last issue I wanted to deal with on the playfield surface -- some loose mylar with a bunch of nastiness under it. I probably would have left well enough alone if the edges were not free; I'd hate to try and remove it only to damage the artwork on a playfield this detailed.

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I used my can of condensed air, sprayed it upside down, and to my surprise the mylar was removed with ease. No new artwork damage.

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I took a step back and thought about how easy the mylar was to remove. Ideally I would want all of it removed. . . there were areas where "stuff" had collected under it at the other bumpers. I compared the old mylar/pop bumper skirt to the opening on the playfield protector to make sure the protector would compensate for the mylar being removed.

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Looks OK. Armed with that information and a bit more confidence I targeted the other bumpers and even the areas in front of the slingshots. All removed with no damage to the underlying artwork.

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I will bring back some flour/alcohol to remove the remaining adhesive.
With that I pulled the playfield from the cabinet and set it bottoms up on the workbench.

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From here I can pull the drop mechs, inspect the wiring, clean, etc.

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With the mylar gone I cannot help but wonder if I should go the clear coat route. . . . . . there is a lot of time to think about it before we cross that bridge though.

#17 4 months ago

Somewhere in your red posts there should be 1 solid red post.
This goes on the spinner from memory.
Also notice that the bumper skirts are translucent, not white.

#18 4 months ago

By the looks of her you may have used a bit to much freeze spray. Lol. Game is looking good and appreciate you sharing the project.

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#19 4 months ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

By the looks of her you may have used a bit to much freeze spray. Lol. Game is looking good and appreciate you sharing the project.

Just must be cold in the shop -- that picture was taken before the freeze spray.

#20 4 months ago

Pulled the coin door today.

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Some mild cleanup started to show several significant dings and dents that the dirt covered well. One of the biggest was actually below the lock hole opening.

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I know new door skins are available but thought I'd have a try at straightening this one -- I can manage a little body work on cars but the thin stainless door is a challenge. While not perfect I was able to pound out the biggest ones.

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I also tried heating the door with a torch and then went over it with a damp rag to shrink the metal/try to smooth things out a bit more. Sanded the door down with sequentially finer grades of sandpaper. . . it started to take on a little shine.

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A few minutes at the buffing wheel added a respectable shine. It is far from perfect but should represent the game well enough.

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I also started disassembly of the door's back components. Unfortunately years of spilled beverages had taken their toll on the shiny parts. Most pieces looked 90% good but had some sort of crusty nastiness on the remaining 10%.

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Sending parts out to get plated is not in the budget so I thought I'd take a try at painting them. Started with just a couple pieces in the blaster to see what I could do with them.

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Black screws, silver background bits, and an attempt at a gold tint to the original cad plated parts. It wont be as shiny as the original bits but at least it will be clean!

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#21 4 months ago

That door is more that presentable, nicely done, that saved ya about $90!

#22 4 months ago

I agree, bit of an art doing that type of work on the door skin.
Fantastic result.

#23 4 months ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

That door is more that presentable, nicely done, that saved ya about $90!

Quoted from Toads:

I agree, bit of an art doing that type of work on the door skin.
Fantastic result.

Thanks! I do appreciate the feedback.

Blasted/painted up a few more parts over lunch today. Even with all my "before" pictures I'm having a difficult time remembering where the wire on the left goes (pointed out by the screwdriver). It was in the pile of coin door parts. . . but I cannot even find it on another completely assembled coin door on another machine.

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To see how things are going to look I test fit some pieces together -- while it is not conventional I am not unhappy with the result.

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I will try to sneak the door wiring harness in the dishwasher this weekend, I should be able to reassemble everything else on the backside thereafter.

#24 4 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

but I cannot even find it on another completely assembled coin door on another machine.

Is it the little wire that goes inside the coin mech?

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#25 4 months ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Is it the little wire that goes inside the coin mech?

I really gave everything a good looking over, including the coin mechs, but will try again. I would have thought there would have been three wires if it was a coin mech component.

For all I know it even could have come from somewhere else. Time will tell! Thanks for the suggestion.

#26 4 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Even with all my "before" pictures I'm having a difficult time remembering where the wire on the left goes (pointed out by the screwdriver). It was in the pile of coin door parts. . . but I cannot even find it on another completely assembled coin door on another machine.

Look for the Future Spa by JSA, in the Restoration forum. I posted somewhere a view of the Bally manual showing how to re-assemble the coin door. It is always a delicate and complex phase of the restoration.

Yves

#27 4 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Thanks! I do appreciate the feedback.
Blasted/painted up a few more parts over lunch today. Even with all my "before" pictures I'm having a difficult time remembering where the wire on the left goes (pointed out by the screwdriver). It was in the pile of coin door parts. . . but I cannot even find it on another completely assembled coin door on another machine.
[quoted image]
To see how things are going to look I test fit some pieces together -- while it is not conventional I am not unhappy with the result.
[quoted image]
I will try to sneak the door wiring harness in the dishwasher this weekend, I should be able to reassemble everything else on the backside thereafter.

It might be the wire gate coming out of the beast lair (lower left side), where they put the rubber in the close it off.

#28 4 months ago

I can't find a good picture of it online, but I'll post one up for you when I get home.

#29 4 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

It might be the wire gate coming out of the beast lair (lower left side), where they put the rubber in the close it off.

It does look more like a ball gate than anything else -- thanks for the suggestion. I will compare it to some of the others next time I am back in the shop.

#30 4 months ago

Here's the wire gate on my Beast's lair

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#31 4 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Here's the wire gate on my Beast's lair

Hmmm, looks like we have a winner!

#32 4 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Here's the wire gate on my Beast's lair

Now if I can only find the top bracket that holds the wire. Maybe it will be stuck in with parts elsewhere, no idea how the gate wire ended up in the coin door parts. Thanks FatPanda

A few more pieces added to the coin door back plate.

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Removed the microswitches and added in the cabinet/backbox harnesses -- they are getting a bath as I type. Will be sure to report back with the results.

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#33 4 months ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Here's the wire gate on my Beast's lair
[quoted image]

What is the purpose of that horizontal wire gate installed over the left drain? I've owned three Paragons and I've never seen one like that. It appears to let the ball drain down but not bounce off the apron and back up into play. Does that ever actually happen?

#34 4 months ago

Hmmm. . . looking back at the map from the manual it seems a ball gate may not normally be in that location?

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#35 4 months ago

I've never seen a gate installed on the bottom of the Lair on any Paragon I've played.

#36 4 months ago
Quoted from RoyGBev:

What is the purpose of that horizontal wire gate installed over the left drain? I've owned three Paragons and I've never seen one like that. It appears to let the ball drain down but not bounce off the apron and back up into play. Does that ever actually happen?

I guess it's always possible. I wouldnt know because of the gate

Kinda interesting. Maybe I have a modded Paragon?

#37 4 months ago

Concur. None on mine either. Check the gates into and out of the waterfall. It may be from one of them. The little extra lip the sticks out can catch on a “finishing nail” to hold it up. Looks like it may be from the larger entry into the waterfall near the top ... early pictures are a bit blurred in that area... can’t tell if the wire is there or not .

#38 4 months ago

In an earlier picture it doesn’t look like there was a wire gate in the exit from the beasts lair back into play. I believe mine has one there. Schematic shows it in prior post too.

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#39 4 months ago

Just to add to the dataset, our Paragon also does not have a gate at the exit from the beast’s lair to the drain, but it does have a similar shaped one where the number 9 gate is located on that schematic (to the right of the pop numbers at the top of the play field).

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#40 4 months ago

Hard to tell but it looks like you may have had that one in one of your original photos. Can faintly see a white line that looks like the gate wire if you zoom in.

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#41 4 months ago

Well, I guess I have an extra gate installed on mine. Funny thing is, is that if I were to take it off, it would seem wrong to me lol. It's not affecting gameplay negatively, so I'll just leave it on, not like putting a rubber to close it off. I've seen posts put in too, to make the opening smaller.

#42 4 months ago

The coin door is going back together. . . albeit slowly. Whenever I think I will have some time to work on things other priorities pop up. Somehow I am two harness clips short but I have a few ideas as to where they might be (dishwasher is clear ). I cleaned up the front bezel as well but missed painting the screws so it will have to wait and make an appearance until the next post.

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#43 4 months ago

Now is the time to carefully insulate the credit button switch. The paper insulator will not make it in the long run and you will be pulling your hair trying to figure out what is going wrong with the machine.

I usually take some heat retractable tubing and slide it over the metal plate in direct contact with the Credit Button. Same thing on the stop plate preventing the contact to go inside.

Yves

#44 4 months ago
Quoted from Arcane:

I usually take some heat retractable tubing and slide it over the metal plate in direct contact with the Credit Button. Same thing on the stop plate preventing the contact to go inside.

Advice Taken.

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#45 4 months ago

Moving forward on the coin door --

Cleaned up and reassembled the coin bezel. What is up with the "L" in dollar?

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Fitting onto the door itself.

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Back view of reassembled door.

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Several front views. I am slightly out of focus -- I keep forgetting to bring the flash with me into the shop so I use the "auto" feature on the camera; gives me brighter pictures but seems to play with my aperture/gives a short depth of focus. I will have to retake a couple more down the road.

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Nearly ready for a "Bally" decal.

Next up will be cleaning up/out the cabinet itself.

#46 4 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

Moving forward on the coin door --
Cleaned up and reassembled the coin bezel. What is up with the "L" in dollar?
[quoted image]
Fitting onto the door itself.
[quoted image]
Back view of reassembled door.
[quoted image]
Several front views. I am slightly out of focus -- I keep forgetting to bring the flash with me into the shop so I use the "auto" feature on the camera; gives me brighter pictures but seems to play with my aperture/gives a short depth of focus. I will have to retake a couple more down the road.
[quoted image]
[quoted image]
Nearly ready for a "Bally" decal.
Next up will be cleaning up/out the cabinet itself.

My god, I wish I could make my coin doors look like that!

#47 4 months ago

Great work. I love this generation of games.

#48 4 months ago

Awesome work dude! My dad brought home a Paragon when i was 8 (1996) that he bought for $55. I love the game so much. The play field is pretty destroyed and I would love to redo it. Really enjoyed reading this thread and am really looking forward to seeing it completed!

#49 4 months ago
Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

My god, I wish I could make my coin doors look like that!

Quoted from Pinslot:

Great work. I love this generation of games.

Quoted from PinBallin88:

Awesome work dude!

Thanks for following along!

Started focusing on the cabinet some. A quick picture showing some of the dried liquids on the interior.

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After a little effort nearly everything is stripped and cleaned. I am going back and forth between pulling the cabinet side rails to clean them up and leaving them. There are no plans for a cabinet repaint at this time, but I know a little time at the buffing wheel will have the rails looking nice. Yep, I'll probably end up pulling them.

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#50 3 months ago
Quoted from TractorDoc:

I am going back and forth between pulling the cabinet side rails to clean them up and leaving them. There are no plans for a cabinet repaint at this time, but I know a little time at the buffing wheel will have the rails looking nice. Yep, I'll probably end up pulling them.

Pulling the rail will most likely damage them to a certain extent, near the nails. You can always polish the area around the nails and the good part is that you can buy new rails as a last resort.

If you do not intend to repaint the cabinet, I would not touch the rails and use some tape on the wood to protect the cabinet during the polishing of the rails in place. Also, if you replace the rails or take them off, make sure to use little wood screws to re-assemble them instead of these twisted nails.

Yves

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