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How to remove old adhesive from Bakelite plastic? Answered

Recently put back in to use an old Northern Telecom rotary dial telephone.  It works awesome and ironically it has the best sound out of all my phones, huh..  Anyway, the case is Bakelite plastic.  On it was an old label that had its phone number, contact info, yada yada yada...  I peel it off, but under neath the old adhesive made the plastic look matte, as opposed to the original glossy black that the rest of the phone has.  Any idea as to solvents to gently break down the adhesive, yet not effect the old Bakelite plastic?



Best Answer 7 years ago

I think you can use mineral spirits, or denatured alcohol. Test it on the bottom. but I think one of the benefits of Bakelite was it's imperiousness to most solvents.

Try using lighter's fuel, it is a good solvent. Also gasoline is good.

Gasoline is VERY dangerous to use a a solvent. YES I know I did it when I was a kid but I grew up and realized it's about the most dangerous fluid to use for cleanup.

Yeah? Off the top of my head, I thought alcohol was worse than gasoline. Without bothering to look up LEL /temperatures, etc. I think gas fumes are heavier and pool in low spots easier, but I'm not sure. All pretty dangerous, and we get a little sloppy when using them sometimes.

You're the technical expert, but I just looked up the numbers (Wikipedia makes this so easy!).

Gasoline LEL is 1.3% by volume with a flash point of -40 C (yes, that's a "-" in front!). Isopropanol LEL is 2% by volume, with a flash point of 12 C. Gasoline also has a substantially lower autoignition temperature (250 C vs. 400 C), so it's rather easier to ignite by mistake.

What's nice about alcohol is that it evaporates and disperses into the atmosphere readily, reducing the ignition hazard. Gasoline pools as a liquid, then maintains a substantial local vapor concentration, making unexpected ignition all the more likely.

O_o Well, I did take a fire extinguisher safety class, once. Does that count?

I always carry a fire extinguisher on my shoulder. One must be forehanded.


IE: gas, dynamite, nuclear energy, electricity, women, etc, etc.

just get some WD40 it will remove 90 percent of the glues on the market

Isopropanol or acetone should do the trick for you. Bakelite is, by design, pretty impervious (not to be confused with "imperious" :-).