Stephen Schauer's Baseball Collection
Just a few items from my collection
Crosley Field Seat Restore
Step by Step in the Restore Process
I purchased a row of 5 Crosley Field seats that unfortunately were painted grey. They were removed from Crosley in the 70's and used in a fairgrounds until being removed and auctioned off. A total of about 200 rows were sold. Pictures
I decided since displaying a full row of 5 was difficult it was almost 8 ft long and hard to move around I'd split them into 2 pairs and have the middle seat sacrificed.
The first job was removing the seat back slates a total of 3 wood planks they were held in by a few wood screws that easily removed but the ends were held on by a nut and bolt system. After 70+ years in the weather even though they were under a roof the moisture still corroded the bolts. I was successful in removing 1 of the 4 but had to resort to cutting the others off with the saw. The slates then just slid out. I cut them to the new length and then they were ready for refinishing.
Next was removing the seat from the seat. They were held together by 2 shoulder bolts which also has similar rusting to them but after a lot of hard work and big wrenches I was successful in removing 9 of the 10 bolts there is always 1 problem maker and after torqueing on that one it finally gave up and I sheared the bolt in half which resulted in its removal. Pictures
Now that everything was apart I was going to sand blast or soda blast them but that was more expensive than planned so after much research I tried a few things. First did the wire scrapping with the drill with for the most part was very successful but took a long time and was dusty had some worries about the paint being lead and being airborne from the process. My next idea was a home made electrolysis tank this had the added benefit of removing rust and paint. Here's my setup (small, large) actually very cheap if you already have a power source just need some rebar, wire, tub, water, and soda wash downside is the time each bracket took about 4 hours cooking time in a small bucket the larger uprights I let go for 24 hours in the large bucket. With the larger parts had to bump up the power supply as I killed up 2 adaptors with the little charger I converted a ATX computer power supply to do the job quite well. I must stress if you don't know what you're doing this setup it can kill you water and electricity is generally not a safe combination.
I cleaned some loose paint and rust off after about 8 hours just to make it go a tad faster and I'm impatient and wanted to see how it was going. Once fully cooked the loose paint and rust pretty much falls off some areas need a little light scrubbing but for the most part the electricity does the job for you. Once I let it dry I buffed all the parts with a very fine wire brush on the drill this removes the carbon deposits and any loose paint left over. Once done with that I immediately painted the parts with the metal primer. Failure to do this or waiting just a little bit the parts will lightly rerust and the work will be for nothing.
Before and after pictures of the cleaning and setup. I did find one interesting bit after stripping and cleaning the patent date was on the underside of the seat March 21, 1916.
Then the fun part actually restoring them.
I painted the metal supports with rust-oleum clean metal primer and the wood parts with regular primer. Then had the fun task of the color matching having never seen Crosley Field in person I wasn't even born when it closed I searched the net for any clues. I knew it should be a green color but that leaves a wide range. I finally remembered I had a Topps card with a green piece of Crosley Field seat inserted in it. So off to the paint store with the card. It was too small to get their machine to color match it so going by eye came up with deep hunter green by Rust-oleum in flat finish. It took 4 cans of spray paint for primer and another 5 of the green to finish 4 chairs.
On the wood parts I sanded them smooth and took off a few layers of paint off as you can see in the photos the original green was still there at the bottom of it all. On the slates I used wood putty and filled in all the old screw holes and sanded them smooth then primed and painted them.
I also decided to replace the rusted bolts with new since they were pretty standard all except the seat bolts. They were a square head 5/16 shoulder bolt with a 7/16 shoulder only 3/8 long. Not a standard home depot type bolt so after a few hardware stores and emails on the internet I finally found a solution without going to the extreme of custom making them. A standard 5/16 bolt with the 3/8 smooth end and a bearing bushing to make it 7/16. Then just the standard hex nut. Not an exact choice had to cut the bolt to length but once together and painted will not be able to tell. Pictures.
It took me a good 3 weeks from breakdown of the chairs to finial rebuilding but it was a very fun job and well worth the results. Total cost of this little adventure as MasterCard says priceless. But here's the break down.
New shoulder bolts $25
New wood screws $4
New wood bolts and nuts $4
Electrolysis tank setup $30
Paint and supplies $40