I am about to begin restoration on a cocktail video game cabinet to
whatever extent is possible, and was wondering if anyone here can tell
me what is the best way to repair separated plywood, or at least what
process would be recommended to retard further deterioration of the
Bottom of cabinet:
Any advice would be apppreciated.
Thanks a lot.
Staten Island, New York.
After looking at your pics, my answer would be "replace the plywood". I
say that because I didn't see any decals on the panels, but of course
there might be some farther up. That plywood looks to be in pretty bad
shape, not worth trying to fix IMO.
The veneered plywood I repaired was in a little better condition than what
yours appears to be, but I had a similar separation in one of the vertical
panels that I moved to accommodate an LCD TV. All I did was separate it as
much as possible while trying not to crack it any further and then used a
plastering spatula covered both sides with carpenter's glue and slathered it
in. Clamped it overnight and it was good as new in the morning. Any thin,
flat, wide bladed knife should allow you to do the same thing.
Bondo works great for repairing arcade machines. For damage to the
bottom edges your better off replacing the plywood. Bondo sticks
really well but I've had it break off and that sucks after you've
finished a nice paint job. Use a router with a spiral or dado bit to
cut off the bottom 6-8 inches and then replace it with new plywood.
Screw and glue in the new plywood and fill the crack with bondo. Go
easy on the bondo because it's hard to sand and gums up sandpaper real
quick. A good tip for sanding bondo is to spread a light coat of
mineral spirits over it (I use my hand but I'd suggest a rag) and then
sand immediately with a ROS. The bondo still gums up the paper but
it's more of a slurry than a thick chuck. It makes better use of the
sand paper and gives you a smoother finish. The paper will will also
separate from its backing at some point as the mineral spirits eats
through it quickly. Go lighter on the mineral spirits and accept that
you'll need a lot of paper if you put a lot of bondo on there.
Yes, I know everyone raves about Bondo on the arcade newsgroups, but
if youlook at the pics, you'll notice that the cabinet is on it's side
and the pics were taken of the bottom. There is only about 1-1/2" to
work with there.
I was hoping there w as a way to clamp all four bottom panels and then
fill, file, and sand to spec.(But I assume this is not plausible,
Staten Island, New York.
when you buy your "bondo" that is a trade name but I assume you use it
generically for other brands of body fillers.
Try asking for the polyester filler instead of the old style bondo. it
is much easier to sand and doesn't have that sticky problem.
If you already have bondo and want to use it, try not to add more
hardener than you need, and when it is still a bit soft , rough it out
with a serated plane , this will remove that top surface.
I am not sure if the newer type of filler is actually polyester or if
I made that up, ( maybe it was bondo that was polyester? ) but my
point is that the newer type of fillers are much easier to sand. also
they sell different weights. the "light weight " one is the easiest to
sand and probably less durable , like on a corner where it will get
Your pictures show not only delamination but some of the intermediate middle
core ply's have eroded losing mass also.
On top of that, there are corners involved which is probably were it all started
to work it's way apart. I would
seriously consider a epoxy based 2 part wood restoration system. My favorite in
that arena by far is "CPES" (Clear
Penetrating Epoxy Sealer) made by Smith & Co. in California.
The reason I think it is a head and shoulders above the others is due to the
formulation's curing characteristics. It is
a relatively low viscosity liquid, and will soak into the wood fibers almost
like a sponge, this restores the strength of
the wood and encapsulates any additional damage that may be lurking within the
laminations further back than is readily
visible. The pot life of the product is longer than any epoxy based system I
have ever used. It is workable for 3+ hours
even in 75-85 degree F weather. There is also a variant that will cure below 40
degrees F so the product has a unusually
broad operating spectrum making it possible to use in all kinds of situations
Since the top and bottom plies appear in reasonable shape you could treat it
with the stuff from the inside and let it
wick to the outer surfaces. Probably need to do some clamping to insure the
ply's being restored end up the same
thickness as the undamaged plywood. Here is a ad for their formulation for
Good Luck! Hope this has helped, regards, Joe.
The cocktail game came without leg levelers which obviously is the
reason for the extent of the damage.
Both sides, which are 21-1/2" long, will have to be repaired, so I
guess the best way would be to turn the game upside down and clamp
before using CPES and/or Bondo.
My main concern is filling out the corner where the plywood has
But first I'll have to strip the veneer, then repair the damage before
putting new veneer on the side of the game.
Staten Island, New York.
If it's just a little corner, try putting a little white glue in the
crack with a brush, then, after it dries, go over the
plywood with a hot iron. It'll flatten the veneer by hot-melting
the white glue... and you can get fairly good control of the
process. Use a layer of aluminum foil to protect the iron from
any glue runout...
I presume that the leveling foot has been removed for the photo.
Regardless, the best way to prevent further deterioration is to use
feet so that the plywood is high enough off the floor to not get wet
when the floor is mopped or the carpet cleaned, which is probably
what caused most of the damage in the first place.
Yes--that's obvious but sometimes people miss the obvious.
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