I work with a local paint shop that specializes in Polane painting. This is a
Sherwin Williams product and was used by the phone companies for painting their phones.
The colors are all perfect matches for Western Electric colors. The shop
rate is $100 per hour with a one hour
minimum, and paint has to be purchased a gallon at a time. At the time of this writing,
the price of Polane is running around $140 a gallon.
Because of the expense, to keep phone painting economical, we have to do
our own prep work and have everything "spray ready". All they do is a final wipe
down for cleaning before painting. With this in mind, my pricing is based on paint shop
costs, not on my time processing and packing parts for people. I consider my benefit to be
lower paint costs by grouping with others. I don't mind doing phone prep, but it won't be
for free. Talk to me and we can work something out. I also don't mind doing fill work in
gouges and sanding work, just be sure to point it out to me. I don't take time to look for
defects on incoming plastics, so you have to bring them to my attention.
What's being painted?
These guys will paint anything, it doesn't have to be phone parts. I also discussed metal
with them. They say the Polane works fine on any surface as long as the preparation is
done properly. All painting done will be high gloss, I won't be doing any matte or
When will painting be done?
Painting will be done depending on a number of factors. When I have time (I am in a very
seasonal business, that has a big impact on scheduling) and when there is enough demand
for a particular color. I will send out notifications on the ATCA and TCI listservs
as to when and what color will be done. If you're not on either of these lists, let me
know and I will keep you on a special email list. Check the bottom of this
page for upcoming paint updates.
I know that colors are limited to the availability of cords. Sometimes I can
provide cords for you. Any color I do, you can count on my having cords available in
modular. Spade/spade is another story. I offer discounted prices to paint customers, let
me know what you need.
Dial Number Rings:
I offer color
restoration for dial number rings. The price is $5 each or 3 for $10.
Plastic: The phones need to be ready to paint. You need to remove all dirt and
debris and also stickers and glues. For optimal finish, use a hand sander with
180 to remove gouges and dings, then 400
grit paper for smoothing off the sanding to a smooth finish. The paint goes
on thin which helps keep lines and logos razor sharp. The downside of this
is that it also shows through defects such as scratches and gouges. Even
scratches from scraping off a sticker will show through. Make sure anything
you don't want painted is removed, such as plungers, rubber feet, etc. Be sure each and
every part is marked with your initials and a two letter abbreviation of the color to be
Metal: Be sure any existing paint is smooth. You don't need to remove the old
paint, the Polane will adhere just fine. The key is smoothness. I like to say that
"If you can feel it, you'll see it". Run your fingers over the transition
between paint layers or paint to metal, if you can feel it, it will show through the new
paint. And remember, smooth, smooth smooth.
Dealing with Surface Issues:
I can help out with repairing cracks, chips, dings, and gouges
for you. If a crack is cosmetic and not structural, then I make a repair
with glue and body filler. This works well with cosmetic cracks like
Princess phones with end cracks. This does not work well with structural
cracks such as corner cracks on 302's. These cracks will likely reopen when
the shrunken shell has been forced back onto the metal base.
If you have a phone with some surface issues or cracks, be sure to bring
them to my attention and I can take care of them for you. If you send me a
whole box of parts to repair, then there will be a minor charge. I'll make a
judgment call on each case.
Just remember, even the finest hairline crack will show through the paint. I
use body filler to cover the repaired cracks.
Marking Parts With Identification:
I like to have
everything marked in a similar fashion, it makes it easier when sorting. On
handsets, keep the caps on half way and put your initials inside the
transmitter end of the handle. Marking the inside of the caps will help
should they become separated from the handle. On phone bodies, find the
largest open flat space inside for marking. Since the painter has
instructions to paint all edges, if you mark too closely to the edge your
initials could become covered. On small parts mark the side that doesn't get
I've seen a lot of phone shells come in for painting and I've seen what can go wrong.
Here's some guidelines to follow to insure your phones make it safely.
|1. Never nest shells. When they get compressed, they split
||6. Don't ship in a giant box, the bottom pieces end up crushed under the
|2. Keep heavier items, such as handsets at the bottom of the box
||7. Wrap a single layer of foam or paper around each piece.
|3. Never ship a handset on it's cradle
||8. If there's threaded machine screw holes you don't want paint in, tape
|4. Bag up small items together so they don't get lost in the packing
||9. Send in handsets with the caps screwed on about half way.
|5. Include an inventory of what's in the box
What constitutes a batch?
I did some number crunching and I find that one gallon of paint will cover approximately
75 average sized phones. This is at the high end of what I would call an economical paint
run. Typically I've been seeing batches pushing 200 phones, so I am basing my pricing on
the larger batches. If the number of phones comes in closer to 75, you can count on paying
about one dollar per phone more. So be prepared to pay more than the posted prices, but
hope for a big batch of plastics.
Nobody is perfect, once in a while paint doesn't always cooperate. A batch of
plastics for painting can be several hundred individual pieces. I don't have time to do
quality inspections of each one. If I do find a defect, I will address it, but you are the
final inspector. Since this is a cooperative, getting paint repairs will not come entirely
free. These guys are good, and they're also good with customer service. They will gladly
take care of anything they did that was defective for no cost. If they determine it's a
cause of surface preparation (which is very rare), then they will fix and charge. You will
also have to cover shipping back and forth. It's best if you hold onto any defective parts
to piggyback onto something else being shipped. There is no time limit on bringing the
parts back, but they do expect a reasonable time frame. No more than a couple months I
would guess. As much as they like to be with customer service, I like to be a good
customer and not ask anything unreasonable.
Finally, I'm getting to the prices. As I've said previously, these are not firm prices,
but the variation will be very little if any. Remember, the bigger the batch, the lower
the cost. If you don't see your phone listed, just look for something similar in size and
go by that. For certain phones, multiple parts constitute "1 phone", the table
below will explain what you get. If you don't see your phone listed, then assume it's
piece by piece. If you're not sure, ask. If you have one item in for painting, the minimum
charge is $5 to cover time, packing, and billing.
PLEASE NOTE: There is a minimum charge of $10. If you only send one
part or a couple of small items that don't add up to $10 on the chart, then
your cost to paint will be $10 plus return shipping.
||Included in paint price
||Shell, handset & caps, grip cover
||Shell, handset & caps, grip cover (NOT the face)
||Shell, handset & caps
||Shell, handset & caps (cradle NOT included)
||Shell, handset & caps
||2 shell halves, screw cover, and dial center in the case of rotary
||Base shell (wall or desk)
||2 base halves, 2 handset halves, 2 caps
||2 body halves, shelf, front frame, chassis cover (handset handled as
||2 body halves, 2 handset halves, dial center
|AE Space Maker
||Body cap, front cover, pivot cover, head, handset and caps
|500 & 2500
|554 & 2554
|4-prong plugs (1pc)
|4-Prong Plugs (2pc)
|TouchTone face plate
|3554 TT Dial Adapter
|AE Space Maker
|Speaker box - small
|Speaker box - med.
|Speaker box - Lrg
|Misc small parts 1-3
|Misc small parts 4+
Western Electric "Pastel Yellow" (-56) to be painted in
early October 2017.
For more information and questions, email: