(Topic ID: 234959)

Twilight Zone Total Restoration


By Mneubey

5 months ago



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  • 77 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 days ago by Mneubey
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There are 77 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 5 months ago

Hey all,

Just thought it might be worth documenting my newest (and coolest) project. I admittedly have a few too many projects right now, but this one popped up, and I absolutely couldn't resist, since it's a dream project for me. The original thread it was mentioned in has some solid "before" pics, so I'll let it speak for itself. Although I'd rather not mention what it was, I can say that most would agree that I got it for a fair price. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/project-tz-pricing-advice

I picked up this up Jan 19th with a buddy of mine, and have pretty much been obsessed with it. I currently have a diner that I'd been bringing back from the dead, but kind of ran out of steam. I also just bought an awesome Bally Playboy project the week before, so I kind of stacked up a bunch of work for myself. Here's the current thread for the Diner - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/diner-restoration-1

On a side note - Thanks to Pinside, I discovered the Silhouette Cameo 3 vinyl printer, and absolutely consider it one of the best purchases I've made in recent memory.

The first thing I did when I got it home, was completely document and strip everything off of the playfield. There were several messed up inserts that I'd have to redo, and I needed to prep it and clean it for my friend Joey to put down a base clear coat. I will say that this was the heaviest playfield I've ever had to remove from a machine. I pretty much just took the legs off, climbed in the cabinet, and lifted it straight out. Getting it on the rotisserie was also a challenge, but I eventually did it.

I've done enough playfield swaps to have what I'd consider a solid system of cataloging parts that I remove from the playfield, and of course taking as many pics as I can - that being said, there's always at least one shot that is missing when it comes time to put it all back together

Here's a pic of the underside, right before I lifted the harness off.
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#2 5 months ago

The entire thing was filthy and smelled like cigarette smoke when I finally was able to strip everything. Although I absolutely don't want it to smell like a bar, I definitely felt a bit of nostalgia. I'm pretty sure this thing doesn't owe anyone anything, and has probably paid for itself many times over.

I spent a considerable amount of time cleaning it, and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't too terrible underneath all of the crap. This is actually the first playfield that I've done that was factory cleared, so it was a nice change of pace. I was a little bummed that the wood areas wouldn't clean up a bit more, but for the most part, they won't show anyways. I may end up mixing a wood color to cover them eventually though (or maybe I won't).

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#3 5 months ago

I ended up just lifting the remaining clear off of the ruined inserts, and sanded any remaining clear off. The Lock 2 insert was already kind of lifted, so I just decided to do away with it. The Camera insert, and the left Powerball inserts were also pretty much gone. Here's a pic after my friend Joey cleared, and eventually sanded it down to level it off.

Sorry for the flurry of info, I'm just trying to catch up to where I'm currently at ...

One thing I was contemplating was buying a new mini playfield, as the one I had was suuuuuuuuper planked, and really screwed up. I sent that along with the main playfield, and Joey was able to perfectly flatten everything out after clearing it. It still had plenty of lines from where the wood was lifted, so I ended up being super motivated the other night, and traced everything layer by layer in Inkscape. Here's the progression in pics. The last pic is everything resprayed except for the blue. This is before I send it back for the final clear.

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#4 5 months ago

One issue I ran into was coming up with a decent scan of the areas that were damaged so I could recreate them. I took some pics of Joey's TZ, since I couldn't fit my scanner on his playfield without taking everything apart. The problem with that, was that I wasn't able to always get a flat and straight shot of the inserts. I decided to scan the areas of my own playfield when I got it back from the initial base clear coat, and fit the images I created from the cell phone pics into the scan. Here's a screenshot from inkscape. Thankfully it worked out pretty well.

Side not - It's totally worth upgrading the Silhouette software from the basic package that comes with the cutter, as you are able to directly import the svg files from inkscape, and easily resize them perfectly, so literally no measurements are necessary (which I am absolutely awful at).

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#5 5 months ago

So quick update ...

I've really been obsessed with this project. It's given me the boost of ambition I've sorely needed. I finally finished all of the inserts, and I'm very happy with how they turned out. I'm still going to touch up some of the other inserts, and surrounding light purple and white, but here's where I'm currently at. Added the original pic of the inserts for an easy comparison.

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#6 5 months ago

damn that looks sharp!

#7 5 months ago

Thanks! Much appreciated

Quoted from lurch:

damn that looks sharp!

#8 5 months ago

Wow - very impressive work!

#9 5 months ago

I cannot wait to come play it! I know how it will turn out from your other projects.

#10 5 months ago

I'm kinda weird but like the way these old pins smell. Kinda like old cars. I wouldn't say they smell good but just like it. Maybe I have not had one that bad lol. Great job on that mini pf. TZ is such amazing game. Keep up the good work!

#11 5 months ago

Nicely said! That's exactly how I feel

Quoted from jawjaw:

I'm kinda weird but like the way these old pins smell. Kinda like old cars. I wouldn't say they smell good but just like it. Maybe I have not had one that bad lol. Great job on that mini pf. TZ is such amazing game. Keep up the good work!

#12 5 months ago

Just a quick update from this weekend ... Pretty much in the last 4 or 5 days, I've been knocking out the individual colors. So far, in order, I've done red, light purple, light blue, dark blue, white, and orange. Usually I do the white last because it's so easy to screw up after the face, but I was feeling ambitious on Saturday, so what the hell ...

Still have Dark yellow and black to go, and need to detail a few smaller areas after all is said and done. Not super sure I have the ability to do a convincing wood color, so it might just be what it is, I may give it a try though - it's not going to show either way once it's reassembled.

I can't believe how fast I've been going through this, although I'll say I've put a significant amount of time into it so far. I'm pretty much just going with it as I have a boost of ambition.

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#13 5 months ago

There are definitely some faded spots on the playfield - this part I wasn't super sure about, but I decided to go ahead and do it anyway .. either way, it needed to be touched up. When I first started this playfield, I thought it was a matter of a few touchups, and that would be it. As I dig deeper into it, I'm noticing more things that probably wouldn't be a big deal, but they are going to annoy me if I don't take care of them. I had to trace every single brick, and once I print it out, I'm going to have to weed out every one of them as well. Although it was super tedious, I really didn't mind doing it.

On another note, I think I came up with a really good way of taking care of the bare wood areas (including wood grain) - hoping that pans out, will keep you updated.

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#14 5 months ago

Touche to you. Looks like a lot of work, and you've only just scratched the surface and it's already progressing so much. Subscribing to thread to follow along with your progress.

#15 5 months ago

Thanks all, for the nice comments

So i went ahead and gave the brick road a try. I actually weeded approx 430ish pieces - took forever! I actually may have lost count at one point, but not sure.

Anyway, everything fit perfectly! At first, i was wondering if it had been worth it, but I personally feel like it now looks like a million bucks. The process was tedious, but it didn't bother me.

On to the next thing!

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#16 5 months ago

Totally awesome work.

#17 5 months ago

I don't really understand the process, but it's a huge improvement. Looks great!

#18 5 months ago

So this weekend, I tackled one of the most intimidating (for me) things that I have left, the halftone gradient fade in the lower part of the playfield. The red itself was definitely faded, and I couldn't leave it the way it was. While I was at it, I needed to redo the black as well to make the fade happen, plus it had some issues anyways.

The hardest part about the entire thing was weeding out all of the parts from the vinyl stencil I created. Since most of them would come right up when I weeded the large part, I took each individual small circle, and placed them on the playfield separately. Tracing everything was a breeze after the brick stencil that I made (in an earlier post), I don't think there's a single thing that would be as tedious as that was.

Anyway, I'm very happy with the result. I think I at least did it justice. Really the only thing I have left (other than the blue part I need to cover on the bottom right, is recreating the bare wood areas. There at least will be a lighting advantage if I can brighten up each of the scorched spots, and even though no one will probably ever see most of them, I'll know they are there. I have a couple of options to brighten the wood areas, hopefully at least one is a good one. All in all, it probably won't end up being a big deal, but since it's an unknown, I'm dreading it a bit.

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#19 5 months ago

So almost at the point where I feel ready to be done with the playfield. I still have a few small things to take care of, but overall I'm very happy with the artwork. My biggest issue was with the wood. As you can see in previous pictures, it sticks out like a sore thumb in several places, due to there being so much bare wood in the playfield. I tried painting all of the wood, and it just looked strange, so "Plan B" was looking into a super thin wood veneer that I'd have laser cut. Well ...

"Plan A" I mixed a solid wood color that looked good on smaller areas, but when I tried painting the entire thing, it really looked like doo doo, so I kept it in smaller parts at the front of the playfield, to help with the light in the lower area. The hardest thing for me was keeping in mind that practically none of the wood I've been stressing over is going to be visible when all is said and done.

"Plan B" Just as a backup plan, I decided to look into a wood veneer. If it was possible, it would be the best option, since it would actually have real wood grain. Apparently, they make them with real wood (you can actually choose the species), and can get them down to about .02" as a realistic option. My only issue was clear coating, and making sure everything would flatten out in the end. My clear coat guy thought he might be able to do it at first, but after doing the math, we decided this wasn't a viable option. I had to live with either knowing the wood (that mostly will not be showing) is ugly under all the stuff that would be covering it up, or having a super lumpy playfield. The choice was pretty obvious.

I'm trying not to update too often with every little thing I've done with the playfield since there are so many little details that I've fixed (that probably I'm the only one that would care about). On a side note, it's surprising to me how faded some of the colors had become (mainly red - like williams/bally sideart of course). Anyway, I'm going to drop both playfields off at Joey's (clear coating guy) house this weekend. Looking forward to the change of scenery when I start a new part of this project.

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#20 5 months ago

My personal opinion, and it's based on the pictures so hard to judge how it looks in person... The wood tone seems off and too light relative to the rest of the playfield. There is also some exposed leftover wood between the painted areas and the black border. It would look better if you had a nice clean boundary.
The wood veneers seems like an accident waiting to happen. Getting it to stick properly, the cutting, the thickness you then need to correct for with extra clear, sanding etc...

#21 5 months ago

Sure, the color actually looks pretty good in person imo, looks kinda different in the pics (from what i can tell), but overall I'm ok with it. I was shooting for a newer wood color in the painted parts as well (unlike the rest of the wood that looks like it sat in a bar for several decades) Overall, most of it still wont be showing when the playfield is repopulated. Thanks for the heads up on a few of the borders, ill touch it up before i send it off. Wish there was a better option on covering the wood, but alas Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated!

Quoted from lb1:

My personal opinion, and it's based on the pictures so hard to judge how it looks in person... The wood tone seems off and too light relative to the rest of the playfield. There is also some exposed leftover wood between the painted areas and the black border. It would look better if you had a nice clean boundary.
The wood veneers seems like an accident waiting to happen. Getting it to stick properly, the cutting, the thickness you then need to correct for with extra clear, sanding etc...

#22 5 months ago
Quoted from Mneubey:

Sure, the color actually looks pretty good in person imo, looks kinda different in the pics (from what i can tell), but overall I'm ok with it. I was shooting for a newer wood color in the painted parts as well (unlike the rest of the wood that looks like it sat in a bar for several decades) Overall, most of it still wont be showing when the playfield is repopulated. Thanks for the heads up on a few of the borders, ill touch it up before i send it off. Wish there was a better option on covering the wood, but alas Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated!

As luck would have it, check this out! https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/hep-this-week-9-17-18/page/52#post-4837007

#23 5 months ago

Hahaha, that's amazing! That's what I originally tried to do with mine, but the larger areas on top were just kinda strange looking without wood grain (for my try), so I cut the new wood color down to the smaller sections on the bottom of the playfield. I like your suggestion though, I may try to go a bit darker to match the bottom area and shooter lane section of mine. My problem, is it's so roached, that there's not a whole lot of wood grain that would still show through. Thanks again for that though, you've given me something to consider before sending it out

#24 5 months ago
Quoted from Mneubey:

Hahaha, that's amazing! That's what I originally tried to do with mine, but the larger areas on top were just kinda strange looking without wood grain (for my try), so I cut the new wood color down to the smaller sections on the bottom of the playfield. I like your suggestion though, I may try to go a bit darker to match the bottom area and shooter lane section of mine. My problem, is it's so roached, that there's not a whole lot of wood grain that would still show through. Thanks again for that though, you've given me something to consider before sending it out

You can ask Chris directly on his thread if he has any tips on application and color matching. He does manage to avoid having a completely opaque color. He's been very generous with his knowledge / experience. I never tried this myself but it could be that using a acrylic that is translucent you can preserve the grain.

#25 5 months ago

Great work, looks really good! When touching up smaller wooden areas I like to use brush. Larger areas I try to sand clean before first layer of clear. I like to preserve as much of an original wood as possible. This is of course just a personal preference.

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#26 5 months ago

Awesome work, That really looks great! I think I'll give it another go, since that is literally the only thing I have left to do. I might just have to embrace the slightly darkened wood color, and try to match some stuff instead of going with bright new wood color in select spots, so that i don't have a billion different colors of wood on the thing. I can do a lighter coat on the bottom of the pf to preserve wood grain, once i have a good color.

Quoted from Iizi:

Great work, looks really good! When touching up smaller wooden areas I like to use brush. Larger areas I try to sand clean before first layer of clear. I like to preserve as much of an original wood as possible. This is of course just a personal preference.
[quoted image][quoted image]

#27 5 months ago

So when I first messed with the wood color, I tried painting all of the wood parts, and since there was no grain coming through, I decided it looked weird. I wiped off all but the lower playfield portions, thinking it would probably look good with everything repopulated. I kinda knew in the back of my head that the previous version of it was not exactly what I wanted, but I am/was rapidly reaching the point of burnout on this particular part of the project (probably due to putting all the work into masking the entire playfield, and it looking crappy).

Anyway, what I've learned about wood color ... Just take what you have - In my case, a medium orange color - at least something that has a good portion of wood grain that I can salvage, and match to that, as opposed to attempting to shoehorn a brand new color into the playfield. So I went back down, and matched the paint to the wood color, and re sprayed each area that I'd done before, and I'll say I'm much happier with the result. I've already tested it on the bottom area, and I should be able to salvage the wood grain, but also make a consistent color on the bottom by spraying a light coat or two.

I still have a bunch to do w/the wood color in general, but it's the last thing I have to do, and I'm done.

PS forget the mess around the playfield

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#28 5 months ago

Looks great and a lot better than the previous color. You're not applying it to the shooter lane?

#29 5 months ago

Thanks! I think so too ☺ so far, I've only repainted the areas that were previously painted. Still need to take care of the rest of the playfield.

Quoted from lb1:

Looks great and a lot better than the previous color. You're not applying it to the shooter lane?

#30 4 months ago

So finally wrapped things up on the playfield. Overall im happy with the wood color, and i dropped it off at my friend Joey's house for the final clear coat.

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#31 4 months ago

So here is the mini playfield after the final clear. I included a before pic just for the heck of it.

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#32 4 months ago

Hot damn, heres some more before and after action.

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#33 4 months ago

So I've held off on any updates after the playfield, since there really aren't as many interesting things going on - just busy work.

Here's an update from this week:

I've started on the wiring harness, which as you can see is a disaster. I have been working on disassembling and tumbling all metal hardware, and re wrapping each of the coils. I really don't want to leave anything out, so I'm going to replace all of the bulb sockets and twist ins (which I already have a stash of). As you can see, the bulb sockets (as well as a good deal of the rest of the metal hardware) are pretty rusty. It's actually fascinating to see what 3 decades of being operated in a bar can do to a pinball machine.

I also have been compiling a Pinball Life and Marco order for the last several weeks just so I can reduce the amount of orders I'll eventually have - I almost died when I ended up spending about $450 between the two on small parts. After spending all of that time on the list, I still managed to forget a few items from each, and since I realized the parts I forgot to order before it was shipped, Terry at Pinball Life was gracious enough to let me combine a separate order. My biggest challenge on my next restore will be to nail each of those orders on the first time, which I firmly believe is impossible.

My next step is to eventually finish redoing all of the hardware, cleaning the boards, replacing the bulb sockets, and reassembling the bottom side of the playfield.

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#34 4 months ago

I started to populate the bottom of the playfield the other day, and so far am pretty happy with the results. I washed all of the boards, and have pretty much tumbled and cleaned each metal piece by hand. The subway was absolutely disgusting to begin with, it essentially looked like someone drew all over my hand with a sharpie when I handled it (before cleaning). The harness is completely cleaned and ready to go, but I'll wait until I have all of the assemblies tumbled/cleaned etc.

My least favorite part of any restoration is taking apart, cleaning and rebuilding the flippers, and this one obviously has 4 of them. The person that owned this machine previously had bought all new coils, but picked up the wrong ones for the upper flippers FL-11630's. I'm assuming they weren't happy with how powerful the upper flippers were, so decided to buy stronger coils - or maybe I'm missing something? Anyway, just add that to the 5 thousandth Marco/Pinball Life order in the future. For now, I put the coils in, but will replace them before all is said and done.

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1 week later
#35 4 months ago

This week I worked on cleaning up some more metal parts and also reinstalling the wiring harness. I've done this enough times, that I can appreciate the fact that the harness only took about an hour to put back on - regardless, it still looks like a rats nest, but no longer smells like the inside of a bar.

I've made the mistake of ordering the wrong lamp sockets more than once, and realized I did it once again with my recent pinball life order. It was really close, but the base was flush with the mounting bracket instead of sticking up past it a little bit. I couldn't find exactly what I needed on Marco or Pinball Life (but feel free to send the correct one along), so I went with The Pinball Resource, which were spot on. I also realized in the process that I had also ordered the wrong ones for my Diner restoration ... oops.

Anyway, I'm nearly done with everything on the bottom of the playfield, which is pretty exciting!

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#36 4 months ago

Just a heads up since I've had a few people ask. Here's the code from PBResource for the correct lamp sockets -

A11905 - #44/#47 wms/bally mini bayonet sockets $0.90ea

#37 4 months ago

Still putting in a few hours every night. Pretty much the entire bottom has been repopulated, with the exception of the areas I can't get to because of the rotisserie. The most time consuming part of the playfield re-population (top and bottom) has been scrubbing everything with brasso until it looks new. It wouldn't normally be as time consuming, but as you have probably seen up to this point, it was in pretty rough shape to begin with. I finally hit on an eBay discount code this week and ordered the side art as well, which I'm a long ways away from. Hopefully I'll have something a little more flashy to report next week, but for now, I'm about to put in what I hope to by my final parts order.

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#38 3 months ago

Nice work, looking good! How you position those complex stencils precisely? Do you do them manually in Illustrator using pen tool?

#39 3 months ago

Hey there, thanks!! I actually use Inkscape, and manually trace scans from my HP 4600 scanner with the Inkscape's bezier tool. After tracing them and printing a stencil, I pretty much just eyeball it when placing the stencil on the area that I'm going to airbrush.

Quoted from Iizi:

Nice work, looking good! How you position those complex stencils precisely? Do you do them manually in Illustrator using pen tool?

#40 3 months ago

Getting really close to finally finishing the playfield! There is so much going on with this playfield - not to mention all of the riveting, and layers involved with the plastics as well. My "final" Marco order was more than I expected, but whatever. When all is said and done I hopefully won't have any regrets, and by I'll still be right-side up financially in this one (although I don't really care about that).

There was definitely some melt(iness) in some of the areas. The third pic shows one of the plastics and a plastic lamp holder that I also had to replace. I still have plenty of plastics to do, all of the habitrails, and the mini playfield to repopulate - will put up a pic if I complete it sometime this week.

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#41 3 months ago

Very nice man. I love what you did with the playfield. Those GI lamp sockets look like they received a lot of moist.

#42 3 months ago
Quoted from HarrieD:

Very nice man. I love what you did with the playfield. Those GI lamp sockets look like they received a lot of moist.

Thank you!! I am dreading the cabinet since there was definitely moisture in it at some point. I'm assuming someone spilled their beer or something more than once while this was being routed. It feels like it has taken an eternity to polish all of the metal, it was pretty grungy

1 week later
#43 3 months ago

So I'm pretty much done with the playfield finally. Besides waiting for the new clock housing to arrive, I still have to add the ramp flap thing in the shooter lane, and put all of the twist-ins in, but it's pretty much there. I looked everywhere for an original clear clock housing, and was finally pointed in the right direction by a fellow pinsider - looks like it's readily available in blue, yellow and red, but aesthetically, I'd rather go for stock (besides the glass gumballs of course). I probably need a week or so to take a break, but then it's on to the cabinet, which is also a real mess. I'll do better at taking some before pics before I dive into that.

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2 weeks later
#44 89 days ago

I finally received my new clock and gear housing the other day, and was finally able to put it together. I found out that in the spot where a screw holds it down on the scoop, someone broke a screw off, so now I get to take the scoop out and try to fix that ... This thing had a hard life. This will probably be the last playfield pic until it's in the cabinet. Speaking of the cabinet, I've been moving right along on stripping the sideart off, I'll give updates later this week.

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#45 89 days ago

Playfield looks great!

#47 89 days ago

Thanks guys!!

#48 86 days ago

Quick update. I've been working on the cabinet for the last week, and the backbox for a week longer than that, but I'll just discuss the cabinet in this post (because I'm being lazy).

The Cabinet is mostly in solid condition, but has 2 areas that are going to be a bit of work. If you remember in an earlier post, all of the light bulb sockets were pretty rusty and grungy - I'm guessing this was because some genius spilled his beer in the front left part of of the game, which trapped some moisture in the game for who knows how long (again, this was operated in a bar it's entire life). So I have a some water damage, but I'm 100% sure I can get it back in shape. Also, The veneer on the back part of the cabinet is lifting and peeling, so I'll have some work to do there as well.

Overall, I've been peeling the old sideart off bit by bit by hand, with the help of a heat gun. Most of the artwork came off without too much trouble, but the left side has been incredibly stubborn. Although it's super tedious not using a scraper, the wood underneath for the most part is pretty much perfect. There are some spots I'll need to fix, but it's absolutely nothing compared to some of the garbage that I've dealt with in the past. Anyway, I have less than half of the artwork on the left side to take care of, and all of the artwork will have been removed.

Once I have the sideart off, I will sand all of the painted black areas, bondo, and prime, before sending it to my automotive paint guy to paint black, before I put on the new decals.

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#49 84 days ago

Thank goodness I'm done removing the decals, I can honestly say that I didn't mind any of it until I was down to the last little bit. The second pic is of the pile from just today. Now I need to finish stripping the inside of the cabinet, and then start sanding any remaining black areas before I start bondo. The backbox (I still need pics) was probably in the worst shape of everything. Besides the large gouges in the sides, the back panel had definitely seen a bit of moisture, so needed to use an entire bottle of Minwax wood hardner, and am now smoothing out any cratered areas with bondo.

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#50 82 days ago

Hi Great restoration project, is there a specific brand or make of replacement cabinet decals for the TZ? Or do some original ones exist if there is such a thing?

Also what is your view on the retaining of serial number labels/stickers and is it possible to get items like that remade?

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