Refinishing bingo wood trim


By dasvis

1 year ago


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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Pinball_Muggle
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#1 1 year ago

Well, someone had to be the first to post in this sub-forum...

Slowly starting on my 1957 Bally Show time project. I have stripped the well worn/dirty finish off of a leg & was wondering how I should proceed with re-finishing. Is a stain recommended & what type of clear - lacquer or ??

Opinions?

#2 1 year ago

You can't go wrong with a clear lacquer or a more modern poly finish. The wood being old will have yellowed a bit so no stain needed. Mine look great with either finish. I would use the laquer finish and I am a bold man that likes using a gloss finish. No semi gloss or less for me!

#3 1 year ago

I'm sure the original was gloss. They wanted these to stand out -- & they did with their flashy cabinet paint jobs.

#4 1 year ago

I'm getting ready to finish my first wood rail (Pinch Hitter). I was thinking I would go with shellac. Since woodworking is kinda my thing, I already have blonde and amber flakes, so I will be able to mix to a color that reflects the patina, and warmth, of 60 year old wood. It also means that I don't have to be as aggressive with sanding and can leave some of the dings that add character. I was thinking I would rub out to a fairly high gloss but I definitely want to avoid heading into the realm of it looking like plastic. Of course it is a lot more work than lacquer. Regardless, I agree with Steve..no stain. I beg of you...no stain!

#5 1 year ago

Although it wasn't on a bingo, I had good results with Epifanes Clear Gloss Varnish on my ball trough wood and pf sides. These areas get beat up by balls and mine still look new. Glossy & deep, but not that plasticized/embalmed look. It should work great on legs & rails and anything else.

This is professional grade marine spar varnish (urethane, tung oil & UV filters). It may be overkill, but if you're doing the work, I believe it's worth doing as well as possible. I do a lot of woodworking and I've noticed a definite quality difference between brands. You get what you pay for - it's awful seeing your hard work (MinWax) peeling off after just a few years...

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from Model237:

it's awful seeing your hard work (MinWax) peeling off after just a few years...

This is so true, no matter how beautiful the joinery, marquetry, figure of the wood, the finish will make or break a piece. Now in this case, it's a utilitarian piece of 60 year old nostalgia, so it's not like you need to French polish the entire thing, but a few extra $ for a higher quality product will likely mean you never have to redo it. (And, to be honest, where people seem to really get sideways is staining wood)

#7 1 year ago
Quoted from Oldgoat:

And, to be honest, where people seem to really get sideways is staining wood)

Agreed - stain matching is an art. And even if you match it well NOW, it may not color-age the same as the other wood, so best to avoid it altogether, IMO.

I chose a traditional varnish so it would impart an amber color, as opposed to a non-yellowing finish - after sanding my 50-years-old maple woodwork to remove (some) blemishes, it was a bit lighter in color than the other playfield wood. The Epifanes varnish brought it back to a perfect color match - no stain needed. It would have been jarring to have different colors side by side.

I look forward to refinishing an entire woodrail bingo with this stuff some day!

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from Model237:

Agreed - stain matching is an art. And even if you match it well NOW, it may not color-age the same as the other wood, so best to avoid it altogether, IMO.
I chose a traditional varnish so it would impart an amber color, as opposed to a non-yellowing finish - after sanding my 50-years-old maple woodwork to remove (some) blemishes, it was a bit lighter in color than the other playfield wood. The Epifanes varnish brought it back to a perfect color match - no stain needed. It would have been jarring to have different colors side by side.
I look forward to refinishing an entire woodrail bingo with this stuff some day!

May try traditional varnish on this one leg to see how it looks, no stain.

#9 1 year ago

I've had good luck using Minwax fruitwood stain to help match the old finish before varnish. Especially when replacing rails or other missing parts.

#10 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballphil:

I've had good luck using Minwax fruitwood stain to help match the old finish before varnish. Especially when replacing rails or other missing parts.

I used a Minwax walnut stain on an old wood rail bowler. Turned out pretty good

#11 1 year ago

Before you strip and remove that 60 year old patina, have a look at this video:

» YouTube video

Reflowing the lacquer may give you a much more authentic look.

#12 1 year ago

Saw that. These legs were too nasty for that (tried it first), so I took Jasco stipper & medium steel wool.
Worked pretty decently.

#13 1 year ago

Lewis's Bowlette trim looks pretty nice after his reflowing treatment. I'd certainly try that if the wood was in acceptable shape. "Authentic" is in the eye of the beholder though (conservation vs restoration). I prefer fewer dings.

#14 1 year ago

white oak was usually used ... easy to stain. if you run across maple ones .. maple doesn't take stain well and spray toner should be used.

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