I recently picked up a Williams Super-Flite which sat in a garage for a long time. Everything needed a deep clean including the legs which had significant surface rust. I had never really done anything with the legs on my machines before. Most looked good from a few feet away and I was satisfied with that. But when I started looking closer, I realized that they also had surface rust in places so I started looking for a cost effective solution for how to clean them all up.
Enter Evaporust. There are many threads on this site already documenting the great results that are possible with this product. When it comes to legs however, I was surprised by how many people said it was just easier to get new ones and that cleaning up the originals wasn’t worth the effort. Well, I wanted to test that theory out.
So I created the “clean-o-matic”. It’s made out of some pieces of 4” PVC pipe and some fittings. I made it approximately 36” tall so that it fits the longest leg inside with room to spare. With the 4” diameter, I am able to fit all 4 legs from one game with the leg levelers attached! It takes approximately 1.5 gallons of Evaporust to submerge them. All in, this setup cost about $60...approximately the same cost as replacing 4 legs on ONE machine. The solution can be used again and again. I put a screw cap on the end to prevent evaporation over time.
After the legs sat in the clean-o-matic for about 24 hours, I took them out and rinsed them off in the driveway. The best part about Evaporust is that it is non-toxic and safe to handle. The results are nothing short of amazing. After I dried them off, I gave them a good coating of playfield wax to discourage them from rusting again.
So I started doing the legs on my other machines. Here is an after shot of ones that were just as bad as the ones above.
As you can see the surface rust does leave some surface imperfections behind. But these shots are taken out in direct sunlight. In the game room, with a coat of wax, they look brand new. Actually, they look BETTER and brighter than new legs I have on another machine. I am now working through my collection to get the legs cleaned up.
The bottom line is this. I like to save original parts where I can. This is an easy and cost effective way to do it. Would I put these legs on a 10/10 restoration? Probably not. Would I put these on an above average game or a nice original game? Absolutely. This method has the added benefit of cleaning up the original leg levelers which are not anything like the reproductions. As some will probably also point out, the reproduction legs do not fit exactly like the originals and so it is nice to have the legs match the cabinet paint marks when they are put back on.
Hopefully this inspires others to do the same with their original legs. They CAN be saved and look good too!