Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby Dave » Fri May 30, 2014 1:39 pm

Earlier today, someone emailed me a picture of this Little Duke.

I have no desire to own it.

If you want to restore one, well, here you go :D

If you want his contact information then send me a PM with your email.

Dave

image.jpeg
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby Dave » Fri May 30, 2014 1:43 pm

Midcoast Vintage wrote:THIS MACHINE IS W-A-Y TOO CLEAN TO RUIN BY RESTORING IT.

DON'T RUIN A GREAT SURVIVOR.

YOU ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE FOUND ONE THIS NICE.
it is fine to replate the handle, and, replace the glass, BUT other than that, and, an original key, I would do nothing.

you can buy restored machines all day long, but, it would take you many years of looking to find another one this nice.

remeber... YOU CAN RESTORE A MACHINE A THOUSAND TIMES... BUT... IT IS ONLY ORIGINAL ONCE.


I wouldn't even replate the handle. Go ahead and replace the glass but keep the original glass incase someone wants to put it back to 100% original.

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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Fri May 30, 2014 1:48 pm

Carriage bolts, handle, and glass are fine.
LEAVE THE PAPER ORIGINAL. just glue the reel strips back on to the disc. DO NOT REMOVE OR REPLACE.
the colors are plenty bright and crisp considering their age.
once the glass is replaced, and fresh plastic put over the reward card, it will be fine.
new paper will stick out like a sore thumb... like mag wheels on a cadillac.
again... you have a fabulous original machine. be proud and grateful for what you have.
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby nvmos2 » Fri May 30, 2014 2:37 pm

RameGoom;

Clearly, the advice is: leave it as is.

Coincidentally, I have a Little Duke restored by one of the well known restorers; polished castings and all.
If you are unhappy with your machine as is,
I'll trade you even.
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby RameGoom » Fri May 30, 2014 7:46 pm

So, it isn't a good idea to replace the reel strips, even though the original ones are pretty beat up, with some cracks and chunks of missing paper. Granted, the symbols are all completely readable, so keeping them intact wouldn't be too bad.

If I use the repro strips, the paper is much brighter, and would look out of place.

On the award card, I don't have a problem using a repro card, but you suggest I keep the original card hidden behind the new one to preserve the originality.

The side decals are in fair shape, and they make reproductions, but I'm pretty sure what most of you think about replacing them. Soooo...I'll leave them alone.

The instruction sheet, glued to the inside of the back door, is in very bad shape. Would it be OK to replace it with a repro, or should I just keep it like it is? Pretty unappealing the way it looks now.

I understand the reasoning behind not polishing the castings, but weren't the metal surfaces bright and polished when the machine left the factory back in 1935?

I guess what I'm seeing is two different schools of thought; restored "like original" vs. un-restored original. Trying to wrap my brain around that...so, un-restored originals hold their appeal and value much better? If so, I'm going with that and will take your advice verbatim. Glad I asked - thanks for all of your inputs.
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby watlingboy » Fri May 30, 2014 9:09 pm

Replacement of the glass is all you should do to the machine. Even replating the handle will look odd on this unrestored machine. When the hobby first emerged in 1976 with California being the first state to leagalize the ownership of antique slots, it was thought that to get the most money out of a machine, it had to be restored, no matter how nice it was. That is not longer the case. The nice unrestored original machines consistanly bring more money than restored ones. There are still collectors, mostly newer ones, who say they like their machines real shiny and there are plenty of restored machines available. To restore this machine, you will be out money for polishing and paint and then will have lessened the value of the machine on top of that. There are ways to clean and detail an unrestored slot but it is best left to someone who is familiar with the process. In every collectible group whether is an antique car, mechanical bank, antique furniture, etc., good unrestored pieces bring more money than restored ones.

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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby mechanic » Fri May 30, 2014 9:10 pm

The machines were brightly polished when new, however this machine is a nice original as is. To restore it is not a good idea because it does not need it. If you do want to brighten it up a bit get either some Never Dull or Simichrome but do it lightly don't rub the snot out of it and try to keep it off the paint as either polish has a tendency to darken the paint. A light coat of furniture wax on the wood will help clean it up and not ruin the original finish.
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby Midcoast Vintage » Fri May 30, 2014 9:25 pm

original is best.
nobody but you will see the instruction sheet.
don't worry about it.... it is original.
you have a great "NO QUESTIONS" machine.
why raise doubts?
originality is like virginity... it only happens once.
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby RameGoom » Sat May 31, 2014 7:10 am

Another few questions here: How do I get the water line mark out of the cabinet? After looking closer at the machine, it appears it had been sitting in maybe 1-1/2 in. of water at some point in its life. Inside the cabinet, there are only minor signs that it had picked up water, the most obvious is the bottom of the coin box was rusty. I managed to get that all out, leaving un-plated metal surfaces inside the box. The rest was in good condition, with a bit of rust on the metal bracket affixed to the bottom of the back door. I am going to disassemble and bead-blast every metal part in the cabinet.

The water line appears to have lightened the stain on the outside perimeter of the wood case. And, the base is pretty dry and lacks any matching stain to the rest of the machine. Almost like the base could use stain and lacquer to match the rest of the cabinet. Not sure what to do with that.

The reel strips are going to be a tough call, because even though they're all there, I would consider the condition to be fair to poor - maybe someone can look at that image and tell me if I'm right about that. There is a piece of the paper missing on the smallest circle, and some marks from masking tape residue from who knows when. Removing the reel bundl from the mechanism was a bear, because you need to disassemble half of the frame to get it out. Then, the glue that holds the paper to the metal has lost its bond on some of the sections, leaving the strips very vulnerable. I'm not sure what type of adhesive they used in the 30's, and have to be way careful I don't use something that will bleed thru the fragile paper. I'm thinking that spray adhesive that the arts and crafts stores sell.

Am I getting too technical? Should I not be too concerned on this? I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to mechanical stuff, and just want it to be right. And, I really enjoy tearing into these machines, the deeper the better.

Thanks again for all the good advice. I will contribute a very detailed pictorial on breaking this machine down and hopefully will help someone else who wants to tackle one of these machines. I have been busy working on several E2000 Bally machines, and have amassed a great deal of knowledge on how to get them to work properly. Maybe a "Technical" section would be a good addition to this site, helpful to others.
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Re: Experts chime in - Restoring a Little Duke

Postby RameGoom » Sat May 31, 2014 8:04 pm

Spent my day dis-assembling this machine. The wood exterior needs some help, so I'm going to try furniture polish. Here is what it looks like after a good cleaning.I am thinking the machine was repainted at some point, and looking as some of the paint, a five-year-old could have done a better job. I'm pretty sure it didn't come from the factory like this.
Image

Cleaned up the painted castings. Overall pretty good condition, but lots of chips and cracks. The black painted parts are glossy, the rest flat.
Image

Bead-blasted the crusty metal parts inside to improve the appearance. The handle looks reasonably good. The top casting is the best part of the whole machine, in very good condition. And the coin inlet cleaned right up.
http://www.ramegoom.com/john/little_duk ... -to-go.jpg
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