[AMRadio] Paint Filler

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Mon Jan 6 00:23:50 EST 2014

I purchased "Lacquer Sticks" from Antique Electronic Supply in Tempe AZ, 
Tubesandmore.com. They were available in white, gold and maybe some 
other shades. Similar to white wax crayons, including the paper jacket 
and texture of the marking agent, but the stuff smelt more like paint. I 
think I still have mine, but they may have dried out by now.

I used them to fill in the scales on old Bakelite dials, like the 
National type A and dials from 1920s era TRF receivers, and after more 
than 20 years, the paint hasn't flaked out. I would mark over the scale, 
then carefully wipe away the excess with a soft cloth, like an old 
T-shirt. Sometimes it took several passes to completely fill the 
impressions but completely remove excess on the rest of the dial, since 
wiping off the excess sometimes removed some of what was in the grooves.

Not  sure if they still sell it, but look up their web page to find out.

A possible substitute would be to pour out a few drops of white 
oil-based paint, and let it sit exposed to the air,  until it thickens 
to a gummy consistency, then use it like the lacquer stick described 

A couple of notes of caution, speaking from experience: when renewing 
those old dial scales. NEVER use a sharp metal object like a steel pin 
or the point of a nail to remove the old paint. It will scratch the 
engravings, and that damage is very evident when the new filler paint is 
applied. Use a sharpened toothpick or piece of plastic, something that 
is softer than the Bakelite on the dial. If you are the least in doubt, 
test on the back side of the dial, and if the point leaves a scratch, 
look for something softer.

And never use an agent like 409 or Fantastik to clean the dial. It will 
dissolve and wash off the skin from the Bakelite, exposing the filler 
(probably fine sawdust) and permanently remove the shine.

Don k4kyv

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