View Full Version : Woodrails - faking it

26th June 2008, 08:44 PM
I collect many older machines including 30's flipperless games.
There are a few very common problems with collecting these machines - the main 2 are that the door is often missing due to them being unhinged and subsequently lost. Also, often the legs may be missing and the game sat on a table top some time in the past 70 years or so.
Now the legs never really pose a problem as a local carpenter can knock up 4 of these for under $100.
But the door is another issue - this will have artwork on it, maybe a coin slide also. So - we search for a door from a scrapped machine. problem is that the doors are rarer than the machines and often cant be found. So whats the solution??
..We make our own of course! But a new door on a 70 year old game is going to look worse than no door.

The answer? - We fake it.

Game in this instance is a STONER RICOCHET from 1937. Ive had this game for 6 years and have been gradually restoring it - one of my "long term"projects.

This game was brought to Australia in the early 40's and had been converted to old pennies and 240v then.

No suprises here that the door is missing.

First step is to make a blank from pine sheet with a routed lip top and bottom. This is then painted the same base coat as the body of the machine.
This can be tricky as over the years the paint gets "corrupted"by ground in dirt and grime. We have to match this dirty look - also match the colour UNDER the varnish finish - yellow ochre is a great base for that "yellowed"look that paint gets over years.

At this stage, the door has been painted with our base and a template is being made in situ


This is then sprayed with a good match to the unvarnished blue colour - in this instance i found a great match from a spray acrylic can - gotta love an easy option!


Process is repeated for each seperate colour - in this case only 2, Blue and silver


So now we have a nice new shiney door that stands out like a sore thumb - we need to make it look 70 years old.

Rub some areas back with steel wool to thin the paint and show the base colour through
Next step is spray it with some sort of coating. In this instance straight polyurathane is used that has been tinted with an enamel yellow ochre, a touch of deep red and some deep blue ( gives brown). All this will do is give you a browned shiney door.
Whilst the coating is still wet, dab some off with a towel in the areas of high wear, matching the areas on the cabinet. This will give you a mottled effect, then a light spray of turps will thin the high points down and soften the edges.
Once dry, a light coat of polyurathane over the whole door from a can will give an effect of light wear and heavy wear - simulating natural rubbing and wear over the years. Polyurathane is naturally yellowed and so a deep look and light look is achieved.
When this is dry, put into place and hand etch scratches and dings in the same areas of the cabinet


You can see in the above pic where the steel wool thinned the blue to show the base yellow underneath - also some of the silver has been completely removed using this process.
Try not to work symmetrically when hand chipping back, wear is random and the effect should reflect this.
Another quick rub back with some steel wool to again soften any harsh edges we have created and we are done.

Below is the finished product, a lock has been installed and the decal applied. Door is finished and looks the part


I know of 7 Ricochets owned by private collectors - only one has a door.

26th June 2008, 08:46 PM
hmm that look makes me feel better about my jacks open door looking at that

good idea ive heard it used in the antique industry to make new old

26th June 2008, 09:39 PM
Amazing work. It's strange to see a front door remade, to look 40 years old !

But it looks great and adds character and a sense of completion..


26th June 2008, 09:45 PM
Interesting approach. Restore it to look 40 years old. Was there ever the urge to make the whole machine look brand new again?

26th June 2008, 09:53 PM
fantastic job mate ,it blends in real well.

26th June 2008, 09:55 PM
make it look new again?? Certainly not.
When i got her she had been hand painted with a yellow enamel. very carefully, i removed all of this with a razorblade. Luckily the artist hadnt rubbed back before applying the offending paint.
Underneath is a BEAUTIFUL original art deco design in great condition. The front has most wear due to peoples bodies rubbing against it as it got played. all this is part of the history of the game. A game showing 70 years of use is better than a new looking 70 year old game - original is best. I only ever redo a whole cabinet if it is the original artwork is shot to pieces.
I laughed my tits off when i found i could remove the overcoat..

Ill post a pic of the sides - youll see why i never redone it

Arcade King
26th June 2008, 10:02 PM
another amazing post, keep them coming :)

26th June 2008, 10:04 PM

26th June 2008, 10:09 PM
cabinet was in amazing condition once artist work was removed - would be a tragedy to rub this back and reapply - is in remarkable condition for 70 years



26th June 2008, 11:18 PM
Very nice.

27th June 2008, 07:22 AM

That is awesome work mate!

How about a post on the entire game? You could show how far these games have come in 70 years. These younger guys need to brush up on their pinball history ;)

You have a beautiful old pin there!

27th June 2008, 08:13 AM

That is awesome work mate!

How about a post on the entire game? You could show how far these games have come in 70 years. These younger guys need to brush up on their pinball history ;)

You have a beautiful old pin there!

I could not agree more there Tony.

The journey from Pinball2000 back to flipperless pins is an interesting one.

27th June 2008, 08:34 AM
great work. makes you think about the whole restoration process, there is some point where original is better than respray or new decals. I know i'd still rather new cabinet art on a wh20 but it does seem wrong to respray an older machine where the fade and abrasions are all part of the historical story. great post anyway, shows how to do it..

27th June 2008, 11:19 AM
Wow, good to see someone appreciate original artwork even if its a bit worn. Nice work on matching that coin door

27th June 2008, 11:33 AM

Any chance of a few more photo's

27th June 2008, 11:36 AM
People who know retropin know his work is at the top of the scale !

We continuosly get to see the quality work he produces and always pops up with something special/new...

Seriously, betweem Gavin and Nino their work is phenomenal !!:023::023:

Keep up the good work Gavin, I personally love seeing your work...that goes along with Nino's too...:D:D

27th June 2008, 11:37 AM
I guess you could call this the smithsonian approach - I believe they have good policies on when to restore an item, and how much restoration is appropriate.

I guess it comes down to: when does a 'restore' destroy history?

I think this is a great and creative restore, and the result is very postive. Preserving it in this way shows not only the history the game has been through - I think it invites you to play it... and not just appreciate it from a distance.

Thanks for sharing this one!!


4th August 2009, 03:02 AM
Very nice! But after all that careful work you forgot the final piece of the puzzle, the silver speckling that's on the rest of the cabinet?? Great to see someone who cares about the original finish. I do this sort of stuff every few days. I always err on the side of leaving the original if at all possible. A cabinet can be repainted later but no amount of money can buy original finish!!! I've had to unrestore so many machines it's not funny, and that always sucks. Luckily most people are lazy so I've been able to find much salvagable finish right under the glossy new shit.