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Vintage Carrom Board Restoration

Vintage Carrom Game Board Restoration (Supermodel Melanie) - Airplanes and Rockets

Original Carrom Game Board set after cleaning and treating with Liquid Gold (right).

Restored vintage Carrom box (side 1) - Airplanes and Rockets

Original discolored Carrom set box (left) and after spraying with bleach solution (right).

Restored vintage Carrom box (side 2) - Airplanes and Rockets

Original discolored Carrom set box (left) and after spraying with bleach solution (right).

For the last dozen years or so, I have been working to re-acquire some of the items I remember having as a kid and teenager back in the 1960s and 1970s. Dittos for Melanie's stuff. Very few of the original articles survived my handling, but fortunately many other people took better care of their stuff (or their parents did), so much of it is available on eBay. Back in the early days of eBay, a lot of the vintage gears could be purchased at a decent price, but nowadays the costs have skyrocketed. For instance, some of the Estes rocket kits I bought in 2005 for $15 or so, are now selling for north of $100. It's pretty ridiculous.

This 1960s era Carrom (aka Carom) Game Board came from our daughter, who found it in a Goodwill store for just a couple bucks. Even Goodwill and Salvation Army store prices have gone through the roof, but she got this at one of the specialty "Bins" outlets. It was in fairly decent condition, with only a few scratches and streaks of paint on the edges. There was also an area in one corner where one of the plies had delaminated and needed to be glued. The box was with it, as well as all the game pieces except two of the red rings.

The paint lines scraped off easily, and some 409 took care of the dirt layer. No attempt was made to sand or refinish, since it was in generally good condition. A heavy coat of Liquid Gold was applied over the entire board and was left to soak in overnight. It was then wiped dry the next day, and it looked great! All the wooden parts - cue sticks, bowling pins, etc. - which were unfinished, were lightly sanded and then coated with Liquid Gold.

The game box was discolored to a yellow tone, as is typical with old cardboard boxes. I developed a very successful (thus far) method for restoring the original whiteness that has worked well on many boxes for model airplane kits and other vintage items. It is described below.

Method of Restoring Whiteness to Faded Cardboard Boxes

Disclaimer: This procedure carries no guarantee of success for you. If you try it and have bad results, do not blame me. I'm just telling you what has worked for me. It is always best to test a small area first.

Mix a solution of about 25% Clorox bleach with tap water and put it in a spray bottle. Try to get one that creates a very fine spray. Lay the item to be whitened down on a level surface that will not be harmed by the bleach (e.g., a basement floor or driveway). Spray an even coating of the solution on the box, being careful not to soak it too much lest the paper start wrinkling. The first application will almost certainly produce a speckled, mottled look from where the spray droplets did not contact the entire area (see bottom photo at right). Let it dry overnight and then spray again and let sit overnight to dry. It usually takes three or four iterations to produce an even whiteness. Just as with clothes, it does a good job of whitening white areas without dulling the colors.

The two sets of photos of the box restoration show the marked difference before and after treatment. You're welcome ;-)



Posted January 4, 2021

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Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

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