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How to get those Goldberg reels clean???

1164 Views 20 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  SVonhof
For those of you who had made those 'film reel' tables.. how did you clean off those old goldberg reels from that mess of oxidized aluminum?

- Steel wool?

- special cleaner?

I've also heard toothpaste and a brush as well?

thanks for the help in advance. I wanna at least get these suckers nice and polished before the sun dissappears this fall.. =>
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The easiest way is to use a chemical clean. The disadvantage is that you really need to practice with an old reel to make sure the outcome is what you are looking for. Abrasive cleaners don't tend to give you a natural looking finish. Aluminum naturally oxidizes and if you used something that removes that oxide then the aluminum is even more prone to fingerprints etc as it reoxidizes. For an over the counter cleaner you might try the automotive stores as they have a number of products for cleaning aluminum wheels of dirt and grime without damaging the wheels. As with any restoration project, the project may wind up being much larger than you had planned. If I only needed 1 really nice reel I would be tempted to buy a new one and be done with it. If you don't have a lot invested in the old Goldbergs then you can try cleaning them up.

If you're experimenting I'd try brakleen from your auto parts store (a source doyle recomended), I swear that stuff can clean anything.
Great! Just got the Brakeleen from the auto parts store. I just did a quick test, and it appears to get some of the crud off.. so I'll make a go of it this weekend in ernest to see what happens.

So far so good tho.. Thanks Wildhunter and Doyle!!!

I was going to all the DIY Home despot type places to look for stuff, and they didn't have any..
Just a word of warning on working with brakekleen, use it in a well ventalated area as it's really strong stuff and if your skin is at all sensitive (if you are human) consider wearing chemical gloves. Every time I use it I think bah I dont' need no stinking gloves I'm just going to quick clean this and then my fingers go numb in the middle of the cleaning.

Oh yeah and if you don't know if you have any open cuts on your hands, you will know very quickly but don't worry the pain gets much worse when you rinse the chemicals off with water....
I've been going to try glass beading mine mine for several months but still have not gotten to it. If I ever finsh my enteratinment center and equipment installation I'll give it a shot.

I just painted mine - no worries now about oxidation.

I did the same. Washed them first with Comet and my scrubber sponge to get the surface non-slippery. Spraypainted it a chrome finish. Amazingly good result given the relative lack of effort to make them look good.
Hmm... well.. just blew away a whole can of Brakeleen. Still lots of oxidization everywhere. I guess I'll have to abrade the sucker with Comet, or some other cleanser, then spray paint it.
I used Met-All aluminum polish/cleaner on my reels. After applying the Met-All, I used our car buffer to really bring out the shine and help remove the oxidation.

I also used my dremel to get in the small areas on top and bottom of the reels.

You might be able to find the Met-All locally, but I found my on the internet.

Hope this helps.:)
Know anyone with access to a media blaster? I used my dry glassbead cabinet.

You could also desmut the reel using a nitric acid bath. Look up aluminum desmutting on Google for the proper acid bath.
Why clean them? You want them to shine? I left mine naturally used. They were all used at some point in their life, so who cares, I think it looks good that way.
I spray painted mine, probably not the way a restoration purist would do it, but it was easy, and looks fine.

BTW, I haven't been on here much lately, have there been lots of these film reel tables created by users?

I posted mine in June, but it doesn't look as nice as your's SVonhof!

Here's the old thread.

How did you weigh down the base and how did you affix the glass to the top reel?
The base is not weighted at all. I stuck some film on the reel, that was it. not enough to add any weight either.

I used three clear silicon/rubber bumpers that I stuck onto the reel itself and then put the glass on top of that. For regular use, there are no problems.

If you want to keep the glass from coming off, use some adhesive, same as what I used to attach the dowels to the reels. and if you want to make sure the whole thing doesn't tip over, and it is on carpet, one suggestion I had before, on a different post on this subject, was to attach the hook side of velcro onto the bottom of the base reel and let it grab onto the carpet. Won't totally stop it from tipping over, but should help.
Just got an e-mail from HOMETHEATREINTERIORS.COM with some new products on the list. Here is one of the first ones that caught my eye:

Too bad it is $473

The other items are:

for $499 (trays are optional for another $165)


for $499 as well

Both at: http://www.hometheatreinteriors.com/.../quikstore.cgi all in the furnishing section
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Some good info here! I should be getting my second reel in a couple of days, so I'll have to decide pretty quickly as to refinish or go natural. I'm going to try and find some chrome bases and uprights (poles) for my version of the table.
Are all of you buying these reels on EBAY ? Anyone else have a good source with reasonable shipping prices.
I got mine off Ebay. You can find them at some of the online HT retailers, but you're going to pay out the ying-yang....which is quite painfull!;)
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