Paint Information and Pricing


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 semi-gloss finishes.

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.

Finding Cords:
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.

Surface preparation:
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 painted.
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 painted. A lot of times ID markings get painted over, so you'll get back a part the same as you sent, but not necessarily the exact one you sent in. If you want to insure you get exactly your parts back, put a piece of masking tape over your ID so that paint won't cover it.

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 weight
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 them over.
4. Bag up small items together so they don't get lost in the packing material 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.

Model Included in paint price
500 Shell, handset & caps, grip cover
2500 Shell, handset & caps, grip cover (dial face NOT included)
554 Shell, handset & caps
2554 Shell, handset & caps (cradle NOT included)
Princess Shell, handset & caps
Trimline handset 2 shell halves, screw cover, and dial center in the case of rotary
Trimline base Base shell (wall or desk)
Sculptura 2 base halves, 2 handset halves, 2 caps
Noteworthy 2 body halves, shelf, front frame, chassis cover (handset handled as Trimline)
Genie 2 body halves, 2 handset halves, dial center
AE Space Maker Body cap, front cover, pivot cover, head, handset and caps

Important Notice, Please Read:
As much as I beg and plead to send paint ready plastics, I still end up doing a lot of cleaning and prepping, or, more honestly, my wife ends up doing a lot of cleaning and prepping. I do not offer this service, I just don't have time for it. I also don't want to just paint over dirt and sticker goo because then I'll just get a complaint. Therefore, I will make a judgment call on final prep surfaces, and if I need to do any additional work, there will be an additional charge proportional to what I have to do. It won't be cheap, but it will be fair.

Model Price
500 & 2500 12.00
554 & 2554 12.00
Princess 12.00
Trimline Base 6.00
Trimline Handset 6.00
Genie 12.00
Sculptura 15.00
Noteworthy 22.00
AE Space Maker 15.00
2554 Cradle 3.00
4-prong plugs (1pc) 3.00
4-Prong Plugs (2pc) 3.00
TouchTone face plate 2.00
3554 TT Dial Adapter 2.00
Single Handset 4.00
Speaker box - small 7.00
Speaker box - med. 8.00
Speaker box - Lrg 9.00
Misc small parts 1 sided 2.00 each
Misc small parts 2 sided 3.00 each


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