[AMRadio] Paint Filler

Donald Chester k4kyv at charter.net
Wed Jan 8 21:04:04 EST 2014

I suspect the Bakelite used for jewellery is different stuff from what was
used to make radio knobs, dials and equipment escutcheons. Maybe the
jewellery is made from pure Bakelite resin without the filler, whereas dials
and knobs would be filled with wood flour to cut costs, and possibly add
strength. Comparable to mixing up pure Portland cement vs adding sand and
gravel.  It was once explained to me that the glossy "skin" on Bakelite
occurs naturally, due to electrostatic repulsion between the moulds and

Look at the photos in this site. This obviously isn't the same stuff as the
black Bakelite used with radio equipment. They mention that, unlike radio
knobs, Bakelite jewellery is carved, not moulded.

I was discussing this same topic over the air a few years ago, and someone
recounted cleaning the Bakelite escutcheon on his KW-1, and washed off the
gloss with some ammonia-based solvent like 409 or Fantastik.

Here is an interesting titbit posted on  ePay regarding Bakelite jewellery:

" The Formula 409 Test:
Yes the household cleaner is good for things other than cleaning your sinks.
Your bakelite should already be clean because you ran it under warm water
but if not, clean it with a cool cloth then dry it. 409 is a fantastic and
cheap way to get closer to seeing if you have bakelite. Take a Q-tip and dip
one side of it in Formula 409, find a spot on the piece that isnt directly
on the front and rub the q-tip on it. remove the q-tip and look at the
color. No matter what color the item you are testing is, if the item is
indeed bakelite the q-tip head will be yellow, or nicotine yellow. Any other
color or colorless and the item is not bakelite. If shades of yellow choose
a new spot or go to #4 the semi chrome test. PLEASE REMEMBER TO CLEAN THE


The "nicotine yellow" comment particularly caught my eye,  since the time I
ruined the National Type A dials by cleaning them with 409, my first exact
thought was that the previous owner was a smoker and the yellowish fluid
running off the dial was nicotine stain, but it was actually the dissolved
skin running off in the wash.

-----Original Message-----

From: "W. Harris" <nbcblue at hotmail.com>

You can polish through the thin finish of a radio Bakelite cabinet if you
use to rough of a polishing compound or get heavy handed. I  use Novus No.2
fine polish and scratch remover to buff up Bakelite cabinets, but you can go
through the finish if you polish too hard or too much. Once you do you can
see the filler. 


Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2014 20:04:47 -0500
From: "Jerry" <jsternmd at att.net>

My wife (the 40+ years of collecting expert ) claims never to have heard of
over-polishing any bakelite or catalin at risk of breaking through any
'thin' finish.

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