Author Topic: Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I  (Read 3364 times)

Offline sunrunner

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« on: May 17, 2010, 09:42:32 PM »
I'm wondering if anybody has any tips on how I might begin restoration on my aluminum name rail on my '77 Mark I Stage.

As you can see from these pictures, it has no obvious dings or scratches.  It's pretty much in excellent shape, other than a few scuffs & scratches on the left-hand side of the name rail, but like I said, no dents or dings.

I would like to avoid purchasing a whole new name rail if possible.  Instead, I'd like to restore the appearance of this original aluminum name rail to it's shiny, original-looking state.  Does anybody have any ideas of how I might go about this?

(I'm going to order and replace the logos and felt, so those will be replaced... I'm only trying to restore the name rail itself).

Thanks!




1973 Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 88-key
1980 Rhodes Mark II Stage 73-key

Offline tjh392

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 04:15:35 AM »
Metal polish will take off it's original matt appearance so i wouldn't use that. Try using something like vinegar or even just soapy water. If you go to your local shop and buy a toothbrush you can use that to clean the hard to reach parts near the faceplate.
Rhodes Stage 73 1975 with Satellite System, Wurlitzer 200a 1976, Hohner String Performer

Offline tjh392

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 04:49:38 AM »
Quote from: "tjh392"
Metal polish will take off it's original matt appearance so i wouldn't use that. Try using something like vinegar or even just soapy water. If you go to your local shop and buy a toothbrush you can use that to clean the hard to reach parts near the faceplate.


Whilst you're at it, it might be worth buying a replacement faceplate for the Rhodes:

Rhodes Faceplate
Rhodes Stage 73 1975 with Satellite System, Wurlitzer 200a 1976, Hohner String Performer

Offline Rob A

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 06:27:24 AM »
I have a lot of luck doing cleaning with a surfactant. Simple Green is one product that is fairly widely available (although I'm not using that one).

The ultimate would be bead blasting it. If that's the direction you go, ask around at auto paint shops in your area.

Offline sunrunner

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 05:49:38 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  I'll probably start with some vinegar and a toothbrush and see how that works.  I'll reply to this thread afterwards to let you know if this worked okay, and show some before & after pics.

TJH - Yes, I'm definitely going to purchase a replace faceplate, logos & red felt.  Thanks for the link!

BTW, the name rail is aluminum, right?  It looks and feels like it.
1973 Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 88-key
1980 Rhodes Mark II Stage 73-key

Offline tjh392

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 06:34:48 PM »
That's right it is :-)

I look forward to the photos.
Rhodes Stage 73 1975 with Satellite System, Wurlitzer 200a 1976, Hohner String Performer

Offline sunrunner

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 10:08:13 PM »
Here are some new pictures of my 1977 Rhodes.  I've restored the name rail and purchased a new faceplace, knobs, and name rail felt from Vintage Vibe.  

First, I cleaned the name rail with a toothbrush and cleaning formula.  The homemade cleaning formula consisted of cream of tarter, an equal part of vinegar, and about a teaspoon of baking soda.  I mixed all of this together in a double shot glass  8)

After a thorough cleaning with a toothbrush, then with a damp sponge, I removed the red name rail felt.  For those who've never had to remove the name rail felt, I can say for certain that mine was a complete pain to remove.  It's there.  The only way to remove the existing adhesive was with a electric sander using 400 grit sandpaper.  Even after that, there were still visible memories of the old glue.  Of course, it had been there for 33 years.

Once the name rail was clean, I repainted it using an aluminum paint manufactured from Rustoleum.  First I sprayed a clear adhesive clear coat, than topped it with several very thin coats of the aluminum paint.  I'm extremely pleased with the results.  Once finished, I added the new faceplate, knobs, red name rail felt, and name rail screws.

I look forward to hearing feedback.  I also restored the harp cover during this process.  I decided to go with a creamy, "Navajo White" glossy cover for the harp cover.  If anyone would like details on how I restored the harp cover, please feel free to send me a PM.

Please disregard the saw horses and cigarette-burned cheek blocks!  They will soon be replaced as well!!  Also, new tolex is planned, and I'm gonna do it up in red.

Here are some before and after pictures:







:D  :D
1973 Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 88-key
1980 Rhodes Mark II Stage 73-key

Offline Rob A

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2010, 10:30:14 PM »
I wholeheartedly approve.

Where'd you get the namerail replacement felt?

Offline Mark II

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2010, 03:32:09 AM »
Quote from: "sunrunner"
... and purchased a new faceplace, knobs, and name rail felt from Vintage Vibe.  


kind regards
Mark II
Rhodes Stage 73 Mark II 1980 / modified Peterson Suitcase Preamp

Offline pcola_rhodes

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2010, 03:36:39 PM »
Now I want it back...
1979 MK I Suitcase 73
1980 MK II Stage 73 w/Suitcase Preamp
Janus I Speaker
Fender Twin Reverb Reissue
BOSS CE-5
MXR Phase 90 (R28 modified)

Offline Spaceduck

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2010, 02:40:23 PM »
Kazowie, what a difference  :shock:

How well does that aluminum paint stick, and would you recommend using it on the hardware (corners, hinges, etc)? I painted my corners, but the paint keeps peeling off. I used Krylon which says "suitable for wood, wicker, metal & paper", but I didn't do the clearcoat layer you mentioned.

Also you did a great job cleaning up those keys. Or are they an entirely new set? I have some sticker residue on my keys I'm having a helluva time getting off.

I'm also curious about how you painted the plastic top. Great retrolicious colour choice, by the way. How much work was it, and did you sand/prepare it any special way?

Offline tjh392

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2010, 02:42:54 PM »
Quote from: "Spaceduck"
I have some sticker residue on my keys I'm having a helluva time getting off. What's your secret?


White wine vinegar, works wonders! :-) or you can always buy some sticker remover liquid but I always worry the effect it may have on the plastic keys (tarnishing etc)

T
Rhodes Stage 73 1975 with Satellite System, Wurlitzer 200a 1976, Hohner String Performer

Offline Spaceduck

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2010, 02:44:12 PM »
White wine vinegar, I got that. Thanks, I'm going to try it right now!

Offline tjh392

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2010, 02:45:28 PM »
Quote from: "Spaceduck"
White wine vinegar, I got that. Thanks, I'm going to try it right now!


I expect an update in 15 minutes  :D
Rhodes Stage 73 1975 with Satellite System, Wurlitzer 200a 1976, Hohner String Performer

Offline Spaceduck

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2010, 05:04:04 PM »
Update as follows......


BEFORE




AFTER


Worked like a charm  :D

You don't know how long I've been working on those stupid stickers, tried every soap solution I could find:
rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil... Vinegar was what did it. Thanks, T!

Offline tjh392

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2010, 05:06:31 PM »
Excellent news! :-)

I'm glad it worked for you, it's what I use on yellowed keys too.

Tim
Rhodes Stage 73 1975 with Satellite System, Wurlitzer 200a 1976, Hohner String Performer

Offline sunrunner

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2010, 07:42:16 PM »
Good job on those keys, Spaceduck  :D BTW, white wine vinegar was part of the solution I used to clean the name rail

You asked about the keys, name rail, & harp cover...

KEY CAPS
The key caps are all brand new.  Luckily for me, the black keys were all in perfect shape.  Only the white keys needed replaced, as you see here:


When I bought this Rhodes from my brother, he had already put the new caps on the first few keys.  I did the rest over the next couple weeks.  I was amazed how easily most of the caps came off.  Only a few caps were tough to remove, and I used a heat gun to remove them.  The most tedious, time-consuming part was filing the keys with a bastard file.  As you can see from the picture, the caps were yellow, cracked, and written on with a marker.  

NAME RAIL:
For the name rail, I used a homemade cleaning solution that consisted of white wine vinegar  :D , baking soda, and cream of tarter.  I found this solution after lots of searches online.  It seemed to work very well, at least for getting the fingerprints and dirt off.  But not for the scratches and discoloration.  There were a few scratches on the left hand side:

BEFORE CLEANING


AFTER CLEANING


After cleaning the name rail, the result wasn't as good as I hoped.  I decided to paint it.  I knew this was the only way to make it look like new.  

Now, you asked about how well the paint sticks.  I used Duplicolor adhesion promotor and painted a few light coats, and the paint stuck just perfectly.  You can pick it up at any auto parts store.

I painted on many light coats of the aluminum paint.  The brand I bought was Rustoleum.  I don't remember the exact name of the color right now, but it was an aluminum color, and very closely resembled the existing color on the namerail.  It just came out looking brand new  :lol:

After finished the name rail, I put on the new faceplate, knobs, and red felt.   I have no complaints with the results of the name rail assembly!

HARP COVER

The harp cover was the most stressful part so far, mainly because I really wanted it to turn out nice.  It took me an entire weekend, starting on Friday night.  This harp cover is literally given a second chance of life.

After reading this link http://ep-forum.com/smf/index.php?topic=3714 I decided to do it up in wrinkle paint.   I found some VHT wrinkle paint at Auto Zone.  I applied the paint (and adhesion promotor), exactly like the thread said.  The paint would've turned out perfectly (like it did in the pictures), except one thing... with wrinkle paint, you have to apply heat either with a heat gun or a hair dryer.  I chose to use my newly-acquired heat gun.

Things were perfect until I held the heat gun too long in one spot, causing the new wrinkles to become burnt and scorched.  Most people probably wouldn't notice, but as I was going to sleep that night, it drove me crazy, and I didn't know what to do.  Wrinkle paint is very permanent.

The next day, I decided to sand it down and start over.  The problem was that wrinkle paint can take about 3 days to dry.  Consequently, after sanding I ended up with moist, spongy paint that didn't spread evenly, and looked a thousand times worse than it did before, even with the scorch mark.

So I bought a new can of wrinkle paint.  It was a cheap, off brand (Auto Zone was sold out).  The result wasn't very good.  The cheap paint didn't wrinkle very well, and there were also these strange, shiny spots on top that stood out when the light was on.  I decided to combat the shiny spots by buying yet again, another (my third) can of spray paint.  I bought a regular, non-wrinkle glossy black spray paint.

The result ended up being something I could live with.  I put 2 coats of polycrylic on it the next day, sanding between coats.  Sanding it removed about 90% of the "wrinkle" effect.  In the end, it looked old again.  It literally had many, many coats of paint, 2 coats of polycrylic, and about 3 coats of the original fixative.

After lots of contemplation, I decided to sand it down and start from scratch. I went to Home Depot and bought a hand sander, new white primer, and Rustoleum Najavo White Gloss spray paint. I used the 60 grit first with the hand sander.  The result was a scratched top that barely seemed to do much.  After using the 220, then 320 sandpaper, I noticed some areas where I seemed to be sanding way lower, all the way down to the plastic.  Of course, I wanted to get down to the plastic, and the more I sanded, the more I realized how much all the paint and clear coats I had to get through.  I went back to Home Depot and bought a plastic-safe paint remover (it's actually graffiti remover).  I started with the graffiti remover and magically, I was able to scrape it off!  I literally had to use a metal scraper to get down to the plastic.  Amazingly, it had about 1/4 inch of paint, fixative, and polycrylic on top of the plastic.

After about 5 hours of scraping all the paint, etc off, the harp cover was basically down to the plastic.  I bought some bondo to cover the scratches and one spot at the bottom of the harp cover where it had a ding.  The bondo worked perfect, and I sanded the bondo, washed the entire harp cover with soap and water about 5 times (throughout the whole process), and was ready to paint it!

I used a white primer made by Rustoleum.   I used the whole can, sanding once during the priming process.  The result was a near-perfect lookin harp cover.  Once finished, I sprayed many thin coats of the Rustoleum Navajo White Gloss.   I'm finally satisfied with the harp cover.   The final step was two thin layers of protective clear coat (I used polycrylic).

It took a while, but I'm glad to be done with it!  I think the final result was worth all the work that went into it.

1973 Fender Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 88-key
1980 Rhodes Mark II Stage 73-key

Offline Spaceduck

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Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2010, 07:41:16 AM »
sunrunner, thanks for that EXCELLENT breakdown of all the steps. Reading your harp cover story was painful but very informative, and I really think you got the best result in the end. I like the smooth, glossy look of the cream paint. It makes it look ceramic which gives it an authentic 70s look. In fact, after reading your post & seeing the pics, I've decided against wrinkle paint, and instead I'm going to follow your lead & use gloss.

Great thread  :D  :D  :D

Offline PaulHelmuth

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Re: Restoring the name rail on my '77 Mark I
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2017, 04:10:39 PM »
Sunrunner,

I must say, your harp cover paint job looks terrific in the pics!

I am curious to hear how it has held up over time.

I am presently restoring a 1973 Stage Model. I haven't begun to think about the harp cover yet - as there are bigger fish to fry. I'm just getting the actual piano bits back together for set up.

I installed a complete referb kit from Vintage Vibe and did other normal restoration things (like restore key caps, harp frame, etc.). I can't wait to get the action fully set up. I am excited to hear how she is going to sound.

Then I'll move on to the case. Mine needs to be completely rebuilt. Not really looking forward to that - other than as a step required to fully restore the Rhodes.

I'm hoping I won't need to do much more than heavy cleaning on my harp cover - but so far, most everything has been a bigger job than I anticipated. :)

-Paul