HOW TO TURN ANOTHER UGLY BACKGLASS INTO A DECENT ONE

by Alan Lewis

Previously I showed how to reconstruct portions of a SPOOKS and AROUND THE WORLD backglass using water slide decals.This time I tackle a bigger project that includes some translucent areas.

The candidate backglass this time is from a 1955 Gottlieb Southern Belle.This one is an original backglass that has quite a bit of ink flaked off or separated from the glass.(NOTE: The Shay reproduction backglass is not currently available.I either had to live with the damaged backglass or turn it into another education project.Since I couldnít stand to look at this backglass on my machine I made my decision).

Letís get right to it:

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BEFORE AND AFTER

This backglass had a much more complex graphic area that needed reconstructing and it had backlit scoring numbers scattered in the graphic area.1950ís woodrails used backlit numbers for scoring rather than reels.The 10,000 pt. numbers are hidden behind the graphic, the 100,000 and 1 million pts. are shown directly as graphics.

Not only did the visible graphics need reconstructing but the hidden 10,000 pt. numbers had to be reconstructed too.IMPORTANT: MAKE A TRACING OF THE CORRECT POSITION OF EACH NUMBER SET BEFORE SCRAPING THEM OFF!USE A LARGE SHEET OF TRACING PAPER ALIGNED TO THE GLASS AND TRACE IN PENCIL AROUND EACH SCORE NUMBER SET.THIS TEMPLATE WILL SHOW YOU WHERE TO PUT THE REPAIR DECALS.

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THE SCORING NUMBERS ARE VISIBLE HERE.THE 10,000 AND 90,000 ARE THE ONLY ONES LEFT INTACT

I decided to remove all damaged areas by outlining with a hot knife and scraping with a razor chisel.I found that I had to remove 25% of the graphic area!Triple Thick coat the backglass before removing the damage.The following photo illustrates this:

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In addition to reconstructing various colors and graphic elements and getting all of them to match up in size, I had to figure out a way to replace 7 of the 9 scoring numbers and still be translucent.

The basics of how to reconstruct the graphic areas are shown in my previous backglass project HERE.I used the same technique here.Briefly it consists of:

1)      Scan the entire backglass at 300 dpi and stitch together.

2)      Reconstruct the damaged areas using a photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop Elements.

3)      Resize the image so all graphic elements are identical in size between the glass and a printout

4)      Match colors by printing out color swatches printed on decal or glossy photo paper.

5)      Print out the areas to cover damage by printing a MIRROR image on CLEAR water slide decal paper

6)      Spray paint flat white on the decal graphic to make the new white background

7)      Trim decal to be slightly larger than the damaged area to allow overlap

8)      Apply decal and position

9)      Paint over decals (except for any translucent areas) with flat black paint

 

 

SIDE NOTE:I bought this pen mouse setup (Bamboo Fun) for the graphics touchup.It works great!I highly recommend a good digital pen mouse.

 

The two items that are different with this project versus the previous one are the complex graphics matching and the translucent scoring numbers.

GRAPHICS MATCHING

For the graphics matching challenge I learned that once you stitch your scans together you must resize your stitched image for both width and height separately.You have to disconnect the aspect ratio relationship in the resizing command in the photo editor.To determine how to resize each you need to print out a section of the backglass image on plain paper.Find two points on the image that are far apart and measure the distance.Measure the backglass between the same points and compare.This will tell you whether you need to increase or decrease your image size.Divide original backglass measurement by the print measurement to get the ratio(%) to resize.Do this for both the width and height; your resizing ratio will probably be different for each.Once you resize then reprint and compare both again.Readjust if needed.

Now every decal you print will match the backglass graphic elements in size.

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THE PROGRESSION FROM DAMAGE TO RECONSTRUCTION

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This is the technique I used to determine where to trim the decals:

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AFTER THE DECAL IS TEMPORARILY ALIGNED PROPERLY TO THE BACKGLASS IMAGE A LIGHTBOX IS PUT UNDERNEATH THE BACKGLASS.IT WILL SHINE THROUGH THE DAMAGED AREA ILLUMINATING THE DAMAGE OUTLINE.DRAW A PENCIL LINE A LITTLE BIT OUTSIDE THIS AS SHOWN AND TRIM.

 

 

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I PRINTED OUT LARGE SINGLE DECAL SHEETS TO COVER MORE AREA THAN I NEEDED.AFTER TEMPORARILY ALIGNING THE DECAL IMAGE TO THE BACKGLASS IMAGE I USED THE LIGHTBOX TO ILLUMINATE ALL THE VARIOUS AREAS NEEDING RECONSTRUCTION.I CUT OUT ONLY THE SMALL AREAS NEEDED FOR ACTUAL REPAIR.

 

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THE FINISHED RECONSTRUCTION DECALS

THE TRANSLUCENT SCORING NUMBERS

Now that all the graphics are reconstructed I needed to add the scoring numbers to the rear of the backglass.Here is the technique I used:

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Make new reversed numbers with a graphics editing program.I used Microsoft Publisher.One of the fonts was very close to the original font.

 

I printed this onto clear laser decal paper using a monochrome laser printer.Laser printer blacks are denser than inkjet blacks and the light masking function is important for these decals.

The sheet was sprayed with clear lacquer for protection.

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Place the tracing paper template (made before scraping off the damaged areas) over the backglass to show where the decals need to go.

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The new number decals are cut from the sheet and applied to the correct location per the tracing paper template.

 

Note that the black around each number is already the light mask for the backlight.

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After all the decals are completely dry paint flat black over the white decal areas except where they are transparent.You only have to paint around the outside of the score numbers since the laser print decal number is already masked with black.

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THE ORIGINAL 10,000 GRAPHIC

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THE NEW DECAL 20,000 GRAPHIC

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THE NEW DECAL 80,000 GRAPHIC

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THE ORIGINAL 90,000 GRAPHIC

 

CONCLUSION

My goal was to retain all the original graphics that were still adhered to the glass.I wanted to have as much original good ink as possible.I ended up with a very presentable 75% original backglass.I think that is very good since I started with a ugly 75% backglass.†† After all a Shay reproduction backglass is really 0% original (but great looking).This glass now looks very nice on my machine.

I probably removed a little bit too much graphic area, but once done it is not reversible.So choose very carefully your trim path for the hot knife.

The translucent score numbers came out excellent!Iím very happy with those.I canít believe how good they look.

I did not do anything to the original translucent 100,000 or million score numbers.There is some damage but not too bad, I can live with it.I could not live with the initial damage to the main graphic areas though.

The total cost was approximately $50.You will almost certainly use up a full supply of ink plus the decal paper.

My weak area is always color matching.I have a hard time fine tuning the colors to match.I missed a couple by a little bit on this project and I hit a few perfectly.I did not do a perfect job.What I have shown is that in the hands of a person who has good color matching skills this procedure can produce excellent results.

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COPYRIGHT 2009 BY ALAN LEWIS