Polishing metal & Bakelite.

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by ChristopherCoy, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I've received all 5 of the Brownie Hawkeyes that I purchased last week.

    I'm going to try and restore the two favorites, but one is extremely dirty. I can take it apart just fine, I know where I need to lube with bike chain oil, but I don't know about polishing the Bakelite or metal.

    I purchased a Dremel 12pc polishing kit with various small brushes, pads, and polishing medium to complete the task. But I have a few questions...

    - are there any finishes on the metal faceplate that I should be worried about removing by excessive polishing?
    - what's the best way to remove rust from the faceplate and metal lock before polishing?
    - how in the hell do you polish bakelite? I've heard about light abrasives like soft scrub or toothpaste or brasso, and then I've heard that those are terrible for polishing because it scratches the plastic. Suggestions?

    Any help is appreciated!
     
  2. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    I will suggest Simichrome (sp?) It's from Germany and I use it on my bike to spiff up the clear anodized aluminum bits. If you're going to try it on Bakelite I'd find a *very* inconspicuous spot upon which to test. An automotive wax with cleaner might be better (finer) yet, or you could go to your local jeweler and buy some rouge, like they'd use to polish the crystal on your Rolex. Bakelite might be molded with that smoothness; it might be tough to bring that back.

    Good luck

    s-a
     
  3. LJH

    LJH Member

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    I'd avoid doing anything to the Bakelite as it contains asbestos.
     
  4. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I used a slightly damp Scotch-Brite scrub sponge and gently (that means not very hard) scrubbed the bakelite parts that are real dirty. I've also just used a cotton ball and some denatured alcohol. Be careful with the metal name plate as you can scrub the paint off. I had one with a sticky shutter and put a little "3 in one" oil on it, worked it a few times and then soaked it in denatured alcohol. Works like a charm. I've cleaned four of them with great success. I warning, don't drop them as bakelite doesn't bounce. I had one in a padded case that I dropped and it was toast. If you plan to reverse the lens, just remember how it came apart. Bill Barber
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I would remove any grime with a soft cloth and mild soap. That would be as far as I would go. I know that is does not apply to your Hawkeyes as they have little intrinsic value. In case you collect other antiques know that people who attempt to spiffy up these objects usually remove 90% of their value. So if you should buy something like an old Leica be very careful in what you do to it.
     
  6. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    Five Hawkeyes makes you sound like a camera collector - So use them all or suffer the opprobrium

    I actually like the excessive Toponahgraphic qualities of the Hawkeye dog portrait - And a nice looking dog

    John

    use them
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    One of the most wonderful places I have ever visited was the Bakelite Museum: http://www.bakelitemuseum.co.uk/

    It might be worth sending them an e-mail asking their advice on cleaning.


    Steve.
     
  8. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I plan to use them. I've already cleaned one and flipped the lens, and shot a roll of triX with it.

    I have to so some kind of restoration to them first however. I'm sure they've sat in a garage for 40 years or more, because some of them look, and smell that way. Thankfully all of the shutter mechanisms work.
     
  9. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    There is a very wide selection of rubberized abrasives made for both Dremel and die grinders, avail
    in various shapes and grits. Dremel themselves sells only a tiny selection. Go to an industrial dealer
    like McMaster.com. These won't leave a mess like polishing compounds.
     
  10. BobCrowley

    BobCrowley Subscriber

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    Mother's mag wheel polish works great on Bakelite and other molded or cast phenolics. Bakelite the material is a pressure molded thermoset that was often supplied as a powder containing partly reacted phenol formaldehyde resin and a filler, and often a colorant. The filler is usually talc or wood flour but there might be other materials in there. No matter because the polish does not release anything into the air as it is a thick paste. Hand apply the Mother's paste and work an area with some elbow grease and then wipe it dry. Use a cloth and not a paper towel if you can. You can really make old Bakelite shine like new with it.

    Do not apply 401 or other aggressive detergents as this can produce an undesirable matte finish.

    http://new55project.blogspot.com
     
  11. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Thanks!

    I used a Dremel tool, and a round fuzzy polishing wheel. I polished the Bakelite with metal polish, then wiped clean. I then applied Mcguires Tech 2.0 auto wax, allowed to dry, then buffed with a terry cloth rag.

    It seems to do the trick as the finish is nice and shiny.