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By: Ronald Baker / WB4HFN
The main tuning knob insert on the Drake 4 "C" Line equipment quickly shows the ware with use. Once the black finish is worn off, little can be done to restore this piece beyond repainting. I've tried several techniques and found this one to work the best.
Before painting you need to remove the insert from the knob. Take a wire brush to all external surfaces, (not the underside or shaft) give it a slightly rough surface. I would recommend using the small circular wire brush attachment and a Dermal tool. This will help the new paint to bond with the surface and this rough surface disappears once painted. There are three coats of paint applied, the first is an enamel primer paint sprayed lightly over all the external surface. Spray lightly in layers to eliminate paint running or pudding the the center of the piece. Let dry over night and then spray the first coat of black satin or semi-gloss paint, let dry overnight and apply a second coat. If you want more shine to the knob insert, the second coat should be a black glossy paint. With each coat of paint take precaution to avoid paint runs or pudding in the knob insert depression, let dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours between coats of paint.
The last step is to carefully remove any excess paint from the back side of the insert and the entire shaft. I would recommend using a small circular wire brush attachment and a Dremal tool. Then reinstall the insert to the knob.
Using this method there is no guarantee of its durability but the ones I've done have lasted quite a while now without noticeable wear. It does add a nice new appearance to the equipment and with careful use this paint job should last.
I've tried several variations of this method which produced undesirable results including paint ware, chipping and flaking. For best results use all three layers of paint as described above. I've found the Krylon Spray Paint works the best.
I found the best way to mount the insert for painting is the take a small piece of 1/4" plywood and drill a small hole in the center slightly smaller than the diameter of the insert shaft. Insert the shaft into the hole about 1/8", this is a tight fit but does hold the insert firmly in place and easily removed with a slight twisting motion after the paint has completely dried.