...they said it couldn't be restored
A coomon question in restoration of radios of this vintage is how do you recommend restoring bakelite cabinets to their original beauty?.
Basically, Bakelite is a compound of plastic-like component with a clay or even sawdust filler. The molding process leaves a shiny outer surface but once that has worn through there's no getting a shine back apart from artificial supplements like waxes or Glayzit.
Since Bakelite comes in different mixes, there's no single answer. If you are faced with restoring a worn Bakelite finish, try the simple waxes, etc. first. Once you 'fill the pores' it will usually shine up nicely. Stuff like WD-40 and ArmorAll look good for a day or two until they soak in and then you're back to a dull surface. In the case of WD-40, it will dissolve any future waxing effort.
So here's the project. Its important to note that this photo was taken AFTER a thorough cleaning with soap and water.
In these two pictures you see some experimentation. The 'better' side was done using a product called GT-88 which Syl introduced me to. This is a slightly abrasive paste type substance sold on late night TV with a 800 number. Its GT-88 in Canada but a similar product was (is) sold in the US. Remember when they shined up an old car in a junkyard, and shined up a boat? Yeah, that stuff from the makers of DiDi-Seven. It works darn good for this purpose. The other side was a simple non-abrasive paste wax...in this case Boston Butchers Polish which is one of the best...for wood finishes, anyway.
Guess which product I used?
Lets go to Page Three and continue the technical aspect of the restoration