Once everything is removed, including
the black pieces of wood along the edges (pry off the staples
from underneath), place the tracer paper down and locate
It is helpful if you indicate what screw and plastic post goes
in each hole. I used a black pen on the paper to indicate the
hole. Then indicate what type of screw and / or plastic post goes
there. This reference source will prove to be invaluable when
it comes time to putting stuff back!
||Everything must be removed. That means all pop bumpers, flippers,
targets, etc. In some cases, you may be able to just drop the item
and let it hang by the wires underneath the playfield. Other, larger
and heavier items may have to be removed. If you are lucky, they
will unplug. But more likely, you will have to unsolder many wires.
Take pictures, use masking tape to label the wires and then use
a sharpie to make notations on the switch. Then, pause, take more
You will also need to pry off the wire guides. If they are damaged,
order new ones. Remove the roll over switches and any plastic or
other parts that move or stick up above the playfield.
||Pay attention to how the ball ramp is assembled.
It will help you later.
Now it is time to sand. The professionals use a belt sander. But
I was warned to use a dual motion vibrating sander. Why? One mistake
with the belt sander and you will have a heck of a trough to sand
You will need to sand off everything! Take a look at the overlay you purchased. I
believe all of the overlays reproduce the numbers and letterings
on the playfield, including the translucent disks. If that is
your case, you will need to sand the numbers and letters completely
off the plastic disks. If your overlay does not have numbers / lettering on the inserts, you will need to remove them prior to sanding.
I started off with 60 grit, then moved to 150 and finished up
with 220 fine sandpaper. This will take a while. Be patient.
I do not know if lead was used in the playfield paint, but I assumed
it was and took precautions.
After sanding, clean off the playfield. I used a vacuum cleaner
attachment, rags with isopropyl alcohol, then tacky wipes (from
paint store). Now pick your wood sealer. I used polyurethane. Others
use Varathane, which is a brand name of polyurethane. Some suggest an epoxy resin base. The disadvantage
of the polyurethane / Varathane is time - you will need to
let it sit for at least one week after you are done (two is better). The epoxy is expensive
and tricky to work with but cures quickly.
Follow the prep instructions in the can of material! I applied it with foam sponges and did 4 coats. With some products, you may need to LIGHTLY sand between coats.
If you elect to spray your sealer, use a small paintbrush and add sealer within the holes for the screws. Spraying does not fill these holes and does not clear coat the borders inside the holes!
1. This will make the holes a little bit tighter and smaller which is good for re-inserting the old screws in a used screw-hole.
2. This will prevent the underlying wood from absorbing water when applying the overlay, which can result in rising the wood and tearing up the clear coat around the hole.*
In the timing is everything department, after I finished this step, I went away on vacation for 2 weeks. Do not proceed beyond this point until the coating cures and hardens. During this period of time, I reattached the wood sides (around the edges and along the shooter) to keep the playfield from warping. I put waxed paper underneath to keep these pieces of wood from adhering to the polyurethane.
Note that while polyurethane takes 1 - 2 weeks to completely harden, other coatings may take less time.
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