As a young teenager I remember being seduced by the flashing lights and sounds of pinball machines in local arcades, amusement parks and in the dimly lit corners of smokey pool halls.
Fast forward to 1999 when I purchased my first machine, a 1977 Williams 'Big Deal' from a local coin op vendor. When I got it home and set it up, I looked 'under the hood' and said 'holy crap', I hope this thing never breaks down. By now, all the newer machines were 'solid state' or 'digital' and trying to find someone that could fix those old electro mechanical games was challenging as I found out. I was tired of hauling the game to the 'big city' for repairs.
Fast forward again to circa, 2006. By this time I had acquired another game, Bally 'Old Chicago' and it was time to roll up the sleeves and learn how to repair these machines. Being a 'tinkerer' by nature from a very young age, I ventured on a journey of Pinball Repair 101 or should I say 1.0.
The 'repair' process quickly evolved to the 'restoration' process of these games - specifically playfield and cabinet restoration. It was a natural progression for me as it allowed me to put my artistic talents to work. When a playfield has sunken inserts, or where the paint is gone and down to bare wood near outholes, inserts, slings etc. playing the game will just make it worse and besides, most of these games 'look' terrible and game play is often sluggish. Clear Coating is then applied to 'lock in' the touchups. My objective is to make these games look and play like they just came off the assembly line or show room floor.
The same goes for cabinets. 40+ years of nicotine stains, gouges, sun faded paint and graffiti take their toll on the original artwork. When re doing cabinets I stay 'true' to the original look so now you have a game that will look great in any games room or man cave! Does every game get the 'full' restoration process? Heck no! Only if it makes sense.
Lastly, I'd like to acknowledge my lovely wife for her support and patience and allowing me to turn our basement into a pinball workshop and to our 2 Sons for their encouragement and muscle power over the years!