(Topic ID: 259583)

So all I need is Naphtha and a rag?

By MrBfromNC

86 days ago

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  • 40 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 67 days ago by edednedy
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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#29 69 days ago

Beware: using alcohol with or without magic eraser will remove all or most of what remains of your clearcoat. Yes, it’ll be clean but the paint will be more vulnerable to wear. I usually don’t use any solvents other than naphtha on playfields (especially older ones like yours) unless I am planning on redoing the clear.

#31 69 days ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Why would alcohol affect the clear and not the colored layers below? If what you're saying is true, the clear is what's holding much of the dirt, being that it's the upper layer. If it's dirty, and likely compromised to begin with (I don't think it's very thick), it's probably better to remove it, and protect the remaining artwork with several coats of wax and a new ball. For home use, this should preserve the playing surface indefinitely, as long as it's waxed periodically.

I am not a chemist and can’t offer an explanation as to the why. All I can tell you is what other experienced pinheads have reported coupled with personal experience. For a relatively slow moving em, you might get away with stripping off the clear (likely lacquer) for awhile if you’re REALLY meticulous about cleaning and waxing regularly, but eventually it may catch up with you.

Case in point: I took the alcohol approach with my first pin years ago before I knew what I know now. I cleaned a really dirty Space Shuttle with 91% isopropyl alcohol. It cleaned up really well, but also dulled it slightly. I was meticulous over the years about regular cleaning, waxing and using only new balls which I would change fairly frequently. For the most part, the playfield survived in its post-cleaning condition with the notable exception of high repetition ball travel areas. After roughly 4 years of home use, the paint in the pop bumper area, rollover lane exits and targets had worn to wood. Similar games which I have cleaned only with naphtha have not suffered this type of accelerated wear.

I do think that so long as nobody has stripped the original clear that you have to be careful about choosing between cleanliness that is prone to potentially accelerated wear or a dirtier looking playfield that will survive longer due to the additional sacrificial layer of dirty, thin, aged clear.

#33 69 days ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Something to consider then. I would guess then, that using an abrasive such as a Magic Eraser with anything as a wetting agent would also remove any remaining clearcoat, correct?
I have used naphtha (Coleman fuel), and even charcoal lighter fluid to clean playfields, but it usually doesn't get the surface very clean.
I try to tailor my approach to the type of schmutz on the playfield, the condition of the surface, etc.
The least aggressive method is always the way to go, but as you've said, it all depends how clean you want it to be versus long term durability.

I think that’s exactly right. I’m told that wet magic eraser is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 grit sandpaper in terms of abrasion. Naphtha will dissolve wax but not paint. That’s what makes it a good first choice for getting rid of the dirty wax layer and as a general rag lubricant since it contains no water. Water is your enemy here since the paint and wood are no longer fully protected against moisture absorption and water makes wood swell. Even with 91% alcohol, that other 9% poses its own risk. That said, it usually takes abrasion to get rid of ground in dirt because of all those micro fissures that have happened in both the paint and clear from expansion/contraction of the wood, UV light degradation and general use. It’s always something to think about when approaching a really dirty example and a deep cleaning that you don’t intend to follow up with a restoration.

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