Emulsion paint on bakelite

One of the original features in my place is a series of servants' bells in the main room that sound in the kitchen. Naturally not a feature that impresses SWMBO, and they've never worked in the sense that the bell might sound but it never seems to result in a fresh beer ;-( Anyway...the pushes are (very old) bakelite, by the look of it and they're covered in geological layers of emulsion paint, which could do with stripping off, especially as one has been hanging loose since the living room was replastered, so needs to be opened and screwed back onto the wall.
I'm sort of resigned to this being a matter of some very careful scraping (which could be a long job), so I thought I'd see if anyone had any bright ideas for getting this off more easily and less (potentially) destructively. Any suggestions chaps? (Which includes chapesses, naturally!)
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wrote:

Soak them for a day in soapy water to soften the emulsion.
You can polish them to restore the surface with brasso of better, solvol autosol.
Caution using chemicals as bakelite is a resin based solid and may be unstable with age.
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Dishwasher detergent (which is not a million miles from some types of paint stripper) dissolves bakelite, I discovered.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11:06:23 PM UTC+1, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

So I'd better not put it in the dishwasher then :-)
I'm getting the general impression that scraping is going to be the way to go! Of course, I'm only assuming it's bakelite: It's not metallic, wooden, ceramic etc but I suppose it could be some even more ancient precursor of bakelite. Of course, that's likely to b even more fragile...
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On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 11:38:19 PM UTC+1, GMM wrote:


No no no. Just soak the paint for a day, and it should wipe off. You don't want to scratch the bakelite up, then have to repolish it all.


Bakelite's plastic precursors saw relatively little use, so its unlikely.
Bakelite has one big vulnerability though: it often breaks very easily indeed. Be most cautious when it comes to screwing it back in place, don't even begin to tighten the screws beyond the point where the bakelite stops moving freely. If you can safely soak it in situ I would, perhaps with cloth wraps and clingfilm.
NT
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On Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:42:48 PM UTC+1, (unknown) wrote:

But soak it with what - water? If that worked (and the deeper coats may well be good old-fashioned emulsion rather than vinyl) I'd be very happy to make it easier.
Has to be in situ as I can't disconnect until I can unscrew it!
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On 17/10/2012 20:50, GMM wrote:

Nitromors?
Maybe have a read here:
http://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t2712
(And that might be the old version...)
--
Rod

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On Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:53:48 PM UTC+1, polygonum wrote:

Very interesting Rod - may be time for a careful experiment !
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On Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:50:11 PM UTC+1, GMM wrote:

be good old-fashioned emulsion rather than vinyl) I'd be very happy to make it easier.> Has to be in situ as I can't disconnect until I can unscrew it!
I used water with a little ecover, and the emulsion all wiped off
NT
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On Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:07:37 PM UTC+1, (unknown) wrote:

well be good old-fashioned emulsion rather than vinyl) I'd be very happy to make it easier.

Sounds simple enough to try, at least on a small patch, and see if it works for this. Cheers
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On Tuesday, 16 October 2012 20:23:08 UTC+1, GMM wrote:

Usually the best way. Arm yourself with the right scraper first, of something strong enough to go through the paint, but not steel as it will scratch the Bakelite. Mine is made of Perspex offcuts with a sharp edge.
Bakelite will also refinish quite nicely if you use a 3M or Webrax abrasive scourer pad, then polish it with GPO original Paste, Polishing No 5. Autosol chrome polish is an OK substitute.
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On 16/10/2012 20:23, GMM wrote:

I have generally found that Swarfega is pretty effective at softening emulsion paint enough to come off easily with light pressure and a sharp plastic tool. No idea if Bakelite will tolerate it though.
Leave for a few hours and then when the paint film is soft it will come off pretty easily - sometimes a fingernail is good enough.
--
Regards,
Martin Brown
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