(Topic ID: 81782)

Replacing Front of Cabinet

By paul_8788

7 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 6 posts
  • 3 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Freeplay40
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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#1 7 years ago

There was previous damage to the art on the front of my STTNG when I got it a couple of years ago. I have finally decided to go about applying a new decal (which I have also had for a couple of years) and fixing some corner separation. As I started removing stuff from the front I realized there was a larger problem.

Looks like the front damage was caused by something torqueing on the gun/launcher, which also busted up the front corner of the cabinet. The damage was hack fixed at the back. Lots of missing wood. The front surface is very uneven around the area as well.

I think my best bet is to just replace the entire front of the cabinet rather than spending hours trying to fill, sand, etc. I am very new to this type of repair, not much for wood work, so any advice is welcome. Some questions:

1) Anyone have a video or a good description of how to safely remove the front of the cabinet without damaging the sides? The sides are in pretty good shape, and I have no side decals if I mess stuff up, so this is pretty important.

2) Type of wood? Have read other threads on here recommending 3/4" MDO. If I go with that can I just apply the new decal right over without any prep?

3) Is this even the right approach, or should I look at trying to repair existing damage?

#2 7 years ago

Some pics of the damage, front and back:
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#3 7 years ago

Fabricating the front panel will be difficult without the correct tools and some woodworking skills. If you want to replace instead of repair, I suggest contacting Doug Huse (Let's Play Pinball) and see if he will sell you a front panel.

If you take your time, the front can be removed without damaging the side panels. You could also take the front panel to a local cabinet shop for fabrication. Or take the whole cabinet to a local cabinet shop.

Patching may be your best option, provided the cabinet is still structurally sound. Structural integrity is hard to determine from the pictures.

No matter which option you choose, you'll need to fill, prime, & paint.

Good luck with your project.

Steve (in Escalon, CA)

#4 7 years ago
Quoted from Steve_in_Escalon:

Fabricating the front panel will be difficult without the correct tools and some woodworking skills. If you want to replace instead of repair, I suggest contacting Doug Huse (Let's Play Pinball) and see if he will sell you a front panel.

Luckily, I know someone who builds furniture, boats, etc., they should be able to do most of the fabrication. I am more concerned with the best way to remove.

Quoted from Steve_in_Escalon:

Patching may be your best option, provided the cabinet is still structurally sound. Structural integrity is hard to determine from the pictures.

Structurally it seems okay, but it also has a couple of pieces of metal screwed in to hold things together, which I am not a fan of.

Quoted from Steve_in_Escalon:

No matter which option you choose, you'll need to fill, prime, & paint.

Figured as much, although I hoped using MDO would eliminate most of that.

#5 7 years ago

I wouldn't recommend using MDO. It isn't as strong as plywood and will swell if it ever gets wet. Although the plywood requires (minimal) sanding, it's the filler and primer that you need to get smooth before paint and decals.

Steve (in Escalon, CA)

#6 7 years ago

Agree...don't use MDO. Use a 3/4" plywood, assuming that is what is there now. Measure it carefully because often what is sold as 3/4" is really something like 23/32". Best to match the exact size of the existing wood. Birch finish is usually the best for a smooth finish. As far as taking it apart, you need to look down on the joint to see which way it will come apart. Hopefully the joint in not too complex and you can gently beat the corners out toward the front. If the joint requires they be separated sideways, it gets a little tougher. A lot of cabinets are just glued but if there are nails or staples, they will pull free and what ever damage that causes can be easily repaired. The joints can generally be cut pretty easily on a table saw. I had an F-14 with a lot of damage on the lower front edge. In my case, I sliced about 2" inches off the bottom of the front with a skill saw and straight edge then put a new piece in just that part. Glued, nailed, sanded and repainted. I kept a piece of the lower cabinet to remind me of what it looked like before I restored it. If the wood work is not something you are comfortable with, if you can get the original front removed, I expect you could find a cabinet shop that could make you one very easily.

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