I know I've done a lot of posts lately about Apple in general. But this blog is actually only PARTLY about Apple - it's primarily about our iOS-centered home remodel/update. And while technology is a big part of the remodel, there are other parts, too. 2x4s. Drywall. Furniture. Cabinets. And a game room.
The first item arrived a couple of months ago - our Deustcher Meister 1970's era foosball table. My family picked this up in the early 1990s, I played it rather religiously through highschool with my friends, and I remember it looking pretty old back then. It looked substantially older when I picked it up from my parents new house last fall.
The players were filthy. The rods were rusted. The ramps (in each corner, to the side of the goal) were chipped and pulling away from the playing surface. One of the players was facing backwards.
Obviously, that won't do.
Now, there are plenty of good aspects to this foosball table. The chrome label is in perfect condition. The coin mechanism is present (although disabled, by me, 25 years ago.) The playing surface is perfect. Every part is original, and present. The wood laminates on the side are in generally good condition, although there are some scratches.
I was able to sand the scratches out of the actual wooden components, and we'll re-stain when we're done.
But some of this stuff is going to have to be replaced. And really, where do you even start restoring a 40 year old foosball table? Where do you find parts? Am I going to have to buy another 40 year old table and part it out?
15 years ago, I probably would have. Today, we have the internet. And it's still difficult. eBay is hit and miss, and even the places that sell parts for my foosball table generally have little to nothing in stock.
20 years of use followed by 20 years sitting in a basement isn't a great environment for chrome rods. The chrome got pitted and wore off in spots, and where that happened, it got rusty. Which wore off more chrome. Several rods were flat-out difficult to spin.
Replacement rods are available online, but it's like $100 for a set, and that's probably in excess of the value of the table. So I went to work with super-fine steel wool, and then Brasso. And the results were... actually pretty good. The rods aren't shiny where the chrome is missing, but they're perfectly smooth and spin well.
- Foosball Men
Now, these guys are just filthy. None of them are broken, which is a plus - but some of them have strange paint: one goalie's face was purple! Moreover, after 40 years, all of the paint starts to get sticky-tacky, and starts to wear off where the ball hits players' heads.
I'd initially thought that I could re-paint each player to look like a Manchester United v. Chelsea match, but that's going to be more trouble than it's worth, and will probably look mediocre anyway. We'll go for a straight up blue-v-red match.
I'm going to really clean one of these guys with Goo Gone tonight - if that works, I'll take all 22 players off their rods and give them a thorough cleaning. If I can't get them clean enough, I'll purchase all new "tournament style" players and be done with it. But I'd prefer to use the originals, if I can.
- Laminate Repair
This will be the trickiest part of the restoration. the "side edge" laminates have some chipped and missing areas. I can't find a replacement, so I think I'll be attempting a "repair" using white kitchen countertop laminate repair compound, and then sanding the filled-in areas to match.
The corner ramps are generally in good shape, but have pulled away from the playing surface over time. Each has two small holes - presumably from where the ramps were previously held down with adhesive or nails, and caused when the ramps pulled off the surface. These can probably be filled in with a laminate repair compound (or frankly, with a spackle) with no issues.
OR - and this is interesting - I could purchase new ramps by acquiring a "conversion kit", available online for $40. Apparently, some foosball tables have three players on the goalie bar, while others (like mine) have one goalie, and 2 ramps to ensure the ball doesn't get stuck in a corner. I won't be "converting" a 3-goalie table to a 1-goalie.... just replacing worn out ramps. We'll see. I think I'll attempt a repair first.
This is going to be a small part of the basement when it's finished - but a cool one.