As recently discussed one of pinballs most innovation features imagined by Harry Williams was the rotating bumpers found on the 1960 Williams Nags.
Typical Platter in Good Condition
A little background. I was able to get such a game from Dirtflipper last fall. It is a complete project and Rod went through what it would entail to get this game restored and working. He had located a replacement playfield for the one I bought without another platter. The original platter was well worn both the paint and wood, but the mechanics were fine underneath.
I needed to fix amongst other things discrete issues with the playfield and platter. The platter was the most difficult and at the least needed a lot of paint repair and or possibly multiple decals. Following Rods advice I decided to make a new platter and leave the original as a backup for the time being.
Platter in Game
I purchased illustrator/ paint shop to learn how to make artwork for decals. Without a background of this type of work it is quite a steep learning curve. So I reached out to Mal (Hyperball91) for some advice. Mal advised me to learn the illustrator software not Photoshop for these kinds of artwork creation using vectors and also asked for a large scan to tinker with. Mal to my surprise made a new rendering in Photoshop (he doesn’t use illustrator) of the artwork and this was part of an earlier topic this year. Here is a link to Mal’s thread; https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/nags-platter-repair
New Artwork against Original
Sadly Mal suffered a bereavement in his family and was unable to finalize the last 1% of the project but if you are still following Mal the project is now complete. I am able to make simple modifications with illustrator to correct colors such as the green and mauve colors per the Pantone numbers feature for example and also create simple decals so it was finally finished.
I have added links in this thread for products found still in local stores. I know they are located in the Houston area but if we have the stores here you might have similar stores in your area that carry stock. I always seem to spill or run out of things lately when I am ready to use them and it’s a weekend or something.
To get the project started I needed playfield quality wood. The original playfield & platter wood in the game is I believe a maple veneer 5 ply and ½” thick. I was able to get locally ‘A’ grade Russian birch 5 ply and 12mm thick veneer from a specialist supplier in Houston called “Clarks Hardwood” http://www.clarkshardwood.com . As the original platter was planed level its thickness matches up perfectly. The game for information has adjustable leveler rollers so a small change in thickness can be accommodated. The birch grain is not always as ideal as a playfield as maple when staining but this sheet was very good quality and it did accept the finish quite well.
New Birch Plywood marked for New Platters
I wasn’t sure that I could make a perfect platter because of all the construction and preparation steps including correct choices of finish, decaling methods etc, and I wasn’t wrong. So as I had a 5’ square sheet I made easily 8 blanks. I used my circular saw to make the blanks and immediately through my haste dropped one splitting the top ply layer, shoot! So seven left.
I then used a jigsaw to get them close to round and followed with a router using the original platter as a template to finish of the basic shaping. On inspection I lost another one carelessly to a nasty gouge to the finished surface of one. Birch is quite soft and I had piled them on top of each other whilst I worked without cleaning off a wood chip. So now six left.
Ready to router the blanks to actual size
We had to cut a 2 ¼” dia recess in the back ¼” deep for connecting to the rotating hardware support. The wood was then sanded smooth with 220/400 grit sand paper. I decided to put one away for future at this stage just in case. So five now left.
Blank prepared for Rotating Hardware recessed connection.
The new platters needed careful predrilling for the bumper holes and an underside recess for the rotating mechanical brackets. This was completed again using the original as a template with various bits I had on hand. A mylar template was made of the underside of the master platter to assist accurate predrilling of all the screw holes later in the project.
The wood on a Nags seems to have darkened and yellowed more than other games from the period. Williams seems to have used different finishes over the years and some were more resistant to UV light then others, not the Nags however! Does anyone know how to lighten the wood color, I sure don’t, I did try bleaching the old wood surface but got no real improvement.
Typical Nags Wood grain darkening over 55 years.
So what to finish the wood with so it matches the original playfield? I did not find much on the RGP site nor Pinside or the internet on this subject except ‘Vid’s recommendations to use Shellac. I bought two different shades from Home Depot or the like, clear and amber and also tried other stains I had on my shelves as an experiment on scraps of the wood. However, no color blend seemed to match. I eventually use both clear and amber Shellac finish on the platter wood top and bottom. They came out well. 4 clear blanks and one amber.
Shellac Bare Wood Finishes Used
Shellac clear finished platter
The next part is tricky and I am not referring to vinyl or waterslide decals placement but the accurate painting of the white background under the decal artwork…actually ivory white after 55 years to match the playfield.
Frisket used to help prepare white background
After the painting of the ivory white paint the platter needs to be prepared for the decals to have a smooth surface to stick. I used a 2PAC clear coat on all the platters.
Each Platter clear coated with 2PAC auto clear prior decal placement