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 Post subject: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:21 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:12 pm
Posts: 707
I've searched many pages of the Forum for info about what people have allowed to touch their original decals. I have a Columbia BN case with a banner decal. My first option is to leave it alone as I would prefer the original dirty decal over a replaced new one--just a matter of taste. Still I want to better understand options, and finding out what Forum members have done would be a great place to begin.

I'd like to collect some information in one place, really just make a list of what people have successfully used or allowed to come in contact with Columbia or any other make decals.

Pumice-free GoJo seems to be one. That I'm certain of. But not sure about other solvents or cleaners. Would be very interested in knowing. So, to be clear, not interested in overall restoring a finish on a machine. If you list a commercial product by name, I can look up its composition.

Thanks in advance.


John


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:06 pm 
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Victor VI
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Needle Tins are Addictive
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:32 pm
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Location: Belmont, North Carolina
GOOP pumice free hand cleaner...
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
My Wife


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:27 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:12 pm
Posts: 707
Thanks, Curt. We have GoJo and Goop. Has anyone tried anything else like acetone or turpentine, mineral spirits, or just a slightly damp cloth?


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:07 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 2:04 pm
Posts: 1343
original decals are incredibly thin print on incredibly thin aluminium sheet that's why you can't feel them , acetone is nail varnish remover and I guess would destroy the decal print PDQ leaving just the 'silver' aluminium ! Also turpentine is pretty aggressive , in fact I don't think any solvent except lukewarm slightly soapy water should be tried and even then only for a very short time


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:22 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:12 pm
Posts: 707
Thanks, Soundgen.

I have a Columbia decal on a junker case that has no value other than to supply some moulding and corner columns. I plan to experiment on this. I believe the decals were coated with shellac. That may provide a protective layer.


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:25 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:46 pm
Posts: 919
Location: riverside calif
They can be touched up a bit but cleaning them with anything other than Go Jo will harm them. The mildest solvent may be rubbing alcohol but not the French version used in varnish. As said above use mild soap and water or leave them alone unless you want to replace them. They will flake off more or smear if you work on them. Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:43 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:12 pm
Posts: 707
Got it. There are many varieties of GoJo on the market: lemon-scented, orange-scented, creme, lotion. Which one should I buy?


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:49 am 
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Victor III
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Posts: 838
GoJo ORIGINAL FORMULA The plain old hand cleaner, that's it.


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:52 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:12 pm
Posts: 707
OK, after work went to Advanced Auto Parts as that chain stocks the original formula. Rather inexpensive stuff. I have a Columbia oak case beyond redemption with a Disc Graphophone banner decal. I first tried a panel with no decal. I spread the GoJo and took it off rather quickly with a clean cotton cloth. Much dirt came off. And the surface was ever so slightly tacky. The surface became more even in color and a bit shiny. Several hours later, I wiped the surface down with a clean cotton cloth that was damp with turpentine. I wanted to remove any GoJo residue if present.

Next I took some closeup photos of the untouched banner decal. These are the before photos. I applied the GoJo and quickly removed it. As before dirt was visible on the cotton cloth and I believe the decal is brighter. I compared the "before" photos with the now-cleaned banner decal. I saw no new loss of the decal (there had already been some flaking). A little later I wiped it down with turpentine. No damage caused by the turpentine. I am not dousing anything, nor an I rubbing the cloth across the surface. I have even touch the surface of the decal with my fingers with no deleterious effect.

The wood is brighter, perhaps even shinier with short contact time. I looked at the composition of the GoJo. One ingredient stands out: propylene glycol. This belongs to the general class of alcohols, as does ethanol, the solvent for shellac. It is a slightly larger molecule than ethanol, three carbons in the chain rather than two, and an extra -OH group (that's what makes it an alcohol). I believe its chemical behavior may be similar to ethanol. And so there might be some re-amalgamation of the shellac that causes the surface to become tacky and brighten up.

That's a guess. Everything turns into a research project, and I'm just too tired to be quantitative about this. Anyway, I can see why many people on the Forum like GoJo. The first photo is of the uncleaned decal (a before photo). The second is of the cleaned decal followed by a turpentine wipe. It's a bit fuzzy.

Anyone have anything bad to say about the product at least in so far a phonographs are concerned?

(Edited the earlier version. Not Polypropylene glycol, but propylene glycol. My description was correct, just had the wrong compound name.)


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Last edited by jboger on Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning decals--what do you use with what success?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:53 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:17 am
Posts: 2889
Location: Where there's "hamburger ALL OVER the highway"...
Perhaps another, clearer 'after' picture is in order.

I would definitely be extra careful with Columbia decals, as they seem to have generally been applied on top of the finish, with only a light coat of shellac afterwards. I remember cleaning the decals on my BF, and noticing that rubbing a tiny bit too hard after applying Gojo was starting to damage them slightly.

Bill


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