Following part 1 of this blog the cab is now in bits, all screws, washers, nuts, and bolts are bagged and labelled and the cab now takes up approximately 500% of the space it used to do when intact.
Along with the extra space required to have the cab in parts, the other reasons you want to get on with the project with no delay is to be able to play the game again and that every day your memory of how everything came apart will fade like Marty’s photo in Back to the Future until there’s no trace left. Luckily we won’t need to harness lightning strikes, play electric guitar to a school prom, or drive a modified Delorean to get this project done; although that last part would be pretty neat. I had already found a local metal spraying company before the dismantling stage so I could get the parts that needed shot blasting and powder coating over to them as soon as possible. Other than drop off, paying and picking up this part was entirely handled by the third party.
The simplest, but often very transformative, improvement to the aesthetics of any old cab is a deep clean with warm water or other suitable products. You don’t have to dismantle everything to clean it but it makes it a lot easier to get into every corner and to wipe down things like the wiring looms.
I use Mr Sheen all over the outside of the wooden sections and then set to with baby wet wipes inside; these work great and after temporarily removing the power supply, monitor control, etc. the interior wood and wiring looms looks a lot more presentable.
These photos shows some before and after shots of where black paint had splashed from a previous slap dash job of repainting the metalwork. The glass scraper made this step really easy and caused no additional damage to the exterior wood veneer.
The wood veneer also had some less superficial damage and was pulling away on both sides of the cab. I had decided to keep the veneer original but to make it as good as I could with simple methods. Super strong glue and clamps remedied the loose sections and then I used wood filler to repair a couple of damaged sections. Once dry I sanded the filler level with the original wood and then mixed up some acrylic paint to match the colour and painted it over. I knew the damaged sections would be in the shadow of the top lid once reconstructed so I was fortunate in that they didn’t have to be perfect, just “good enough”. As luck would have it, “good enough” is exactly my level of ability.
The last main part of the restoration for me was the artwork on the underside of the glass. As I mentioned in Part 1, the artwork is silk screened to the underside of the glass so new glass is not really an option on this project. I’d previously attempted to retouch the black backing on one corner of the glass with a small brush and acrylic paint. This resulted in an ok improvement but was time consuming and not as good as I wanted. A bit of research turned up some pretty impressive results with black gloss spray so I masked off each corner where the paint was particularly chipped away and sprayed 3 coats of the gloss paint.
The result, from the front of the glass, looked pretty good and I was happy until I started to remove the masking tape. The first corner came away fine but the second one removed all of the original black paint it was taped over. Honestly I felt sick at this point seeing perfectly good original artwork being pulled away. I quickly checked over all the masking tape and fortunately I hadn’t taped over any of the actual artwork, just the black sections. If I had taped over the image/text sections this could have been a really big disaster. I proceeded to VERY carefully remove the rest of the masking tape with no further problems, all the time cursing myself for the damage already caused. If more of the black paint had pulled away with the tape I think I would have just left the rest attached as an eternal reminder of the time I “restored” the artwork.
Thankfully the newly damaged area is almost impossible to see having been resprayed and after a few other small repairs to the coloured areas using carefully mixed and matched acrylic paint the glass was also “done” and ready for the rebuild.
Now to wait for the call from the powder coating company to collect the metal work, rebuild the cab and internals and see if the game will ever work again…
Part III coming soon