Posted 1 month ago
I decided to stop at this point (my 2-day project). I could redo the cords and felt bottom and continue sanding the Bakelite to a smooth polish, but I decided to give it the aged look and roughed-up my shiny, jet-black enamel paint I had given them (albeit I lightly polished the roughed enamel with an automotive wax).
The Bakelite was the hardest part-- Especially the earpiece. High-grit sand-paper, 0000 Steel Wool, and something called 'Ultimate Rubbing Compound' at least made it black again, albeit a moderate amount of pitting and oxidation remains, especially on the collar. Non-yellowing, non-shrinking clear-coat should prevent further deterioration.
800-grit sand-paper, 0000 steel wool, the compound, and a clear-coat used on all black Bakelite pieces.
I used a heavy stripper on the brassed head (after dismantling half the phone and taping up parts I wasn't going to remove, like shaft and cords) and bought a rotary tool to polish it. Steel carbide rotary brush used before a nylon brush and 0000 steel wool and compound. 800-grit sand-paper used before brushes. Final touch was a felt polishing tip that spattered the Brasso I rubbed into it, even under low speed. I was disappointed with the brass brush, which shredded and lodged pieces in my face and leg almost immediately.
After a rubbing with Brasso on the brass, I wiped on a little black paint over the letters and numbers so as to accentuate them. More is needed, but for now I'm content and will let the brass age naturally to match the rest of the phone.
The sand-paper, wool, and compound removed the surface layers of the Bakelite shaft, but its oxidation is complete and will remain brown indefinitely. No clear-coat was added.
The other phone, I came to find out, is called a Dispatcher Phone, because of the style of holder. Upon finding the correct ear-piece, I will strip the lever and head down to brass as well. For now, it sits. Same treatment as other phone; main difference is I repainted the base.
Everything went back together well and works (as far as I know) just as it did before.
They look great with the redone bell-boxes.