The World's Series playfield is made from five ply walnut veneer plywood. There are simple graphics silk screened throughout but most of the playfield is beautiful dark grained walnut with a simple light gloss finish. I'm fortunate to have a playfield in very good condition that only required a good cleaning and some simple repairs.
Playfield cleaning progress Playfield cleaning progress
Careful cleaning with Novus 2 removed most of the dirt and grime. Some of the color came up with the dirt however so clean slowly and carefully.
Playfield touchup Playfield touchup Playfield touchup
My playfield had some kind of color fading or staining which was most noticeable in the orange. Even after cleaning the darkened areas persisted. After surveying playfield photos online it seems that the orange color in other games varies from orange to dark grey. I don't know what would explain the variability. Perhaps the the paint degrades over time or a variety of colors was used over the manufacturing run. But with evidence that this game most likely had a solid orange color I touched up the affected areas with acrylic paint and a very fine brush. Other colors have a similar problem to lesser degree but I chose to leave those as they are to keep most of the originality.
Further research suggests that earlier in the production run World's Series had orange suited players as shown above. Later in the production the orange was apparently replaced with grey. I wonder if the orange fading appeared during the production run and was avoided by changing colors.
The cabinet color also apparently changed from black to blue-green-grey during the production. That would imply that this game has a mismatched early production playfield with a later production cabinet.
There are a few spots on the playfield where the walnut veneer had chipped away leaving the lighter under layer exposed. Rather than use some kind of filler and stain I chose instead to harvest a small piece of veneer from a corner of the playfield. The veneer in this corner was damaged and lifting and would ultimately be hidden by the wooden playfield frame so I thought that it wouldn't be missed. This solution offers patches of the same material with the original finish so it seems like a good choice.
Veneer repair Veneer repair Veneer repair
So I conjured up my nascent marquetry skills and filled a couple of the larger chips. The process is pretty straightforward: square up the hole left by the missing piece, shape the replacement to fit, glue in place, trim any excess. It sounds simple but it was a pretty delicate operation given the size of the missing pieces. I initially tried cutting a piece to fit before gluing only to realize that the piece was too small to handle so leaving any extra material in place until the end was a big help. I only replaced the largest chips. I left the smaller chips hoping that they won't be noticeable once the playfield is put back together.
Outs Counter Window Outs Counter Window
The 655 Cover for Out Indicator is mounted to the playfield with a pair of #4 x 1/2" oval head slotted woood screws.
Installing the Bumper Spring Bumper Spring
The JS6 Bumper Spring is mounted to the playfield at the end of the shooter lane with a pair of #4 x 1/2" oval head slotted wood screws and a decorative plate. The part number (JS6) indicates that this part was previously used on Rock-Ola's 1933 World's Fair Jig-Saw.
Two types of guide rail spacers
A set of ten metal guide rails is mounted around the playfeld to guide the balls as they travel from the shooter lane to the out holes. These rails are mounted above the playfield on metal spacers that are 5/16" tall and about 5/32" in diameter. There are 32 spacers altogether of two different types. A few of the spacers are mounted with #2 x 3/4" round head slotted wood screws. The wood screws use spacers with thinner walls as shown on the left above. Most of the spacers have thicker walls as shown on the right and are mounted to the playfield with 16 gauge 3/4" domed head finish nails.
Guide rails, bridge and spacers. Guide rails, bridge and spacers installed.
These two guide rails form the Hit Runway over the trap door of the 604 Trap-Door Die Cast. Balls not entering the Balls or Strikes runways on either side are guided over the Bridge to the 601 Field Disc (not shown). Once past the Bridge the ball trips the 622 Trap Door Lock which releases any balls held in the Balls and Strikes runways.
The Hit Runway guide rails are mounted with both nails and screws. The lower guide rail in the image above uses screws in both positions while the upper guide rail uses a screw in the center position and nails on either end.
Short guides mounted with nails. Installed guides in the middle of the playfield.
The four smaller guides mounted above the 604 Trap-Door Die Cast are each mounted with a pair of 16 gauge 3/4" domed head finish nails and matching spacers.
Installing the 1st Base side guide rail. 1st Base side guide rail installed.
The guide rail on the 1st base side of the playfield is mounted with one #2 x 3/4" round head slotted wood screw and one 16 gauge 3/4" domed head finish nail with matching spacers. A 689 Base Protection Celluloid is mounted between the spacer and the guide rail and centered over the hole in the Field Disc. The Celluloid keeps the ball from jumping out of its hole when the Field Disc stops rotating suddenly.
There is a tiny dimple on the underside of the guide rail next to the screw that acts as a stop to keep the Base Protection Celluloid from rotating out of position. Note that a reproduction Base Protection Celluloid is shown here, available from Buckwerx.com.
Installing the 2nd base Celluloid. 2nd Base The 2nd base Celluloid installed.
Another 689 Base Protection Celluloid at 2nd base is installed with a #2 x 3/4" round head slotted wood screw and matching spacer. There is no stop to keep the Celluloid from rotating as there is on the 1st and 3rd base sides.
Installing the 3rd base guide rail. Installing the 3rd base guide rail. The 3rd base guide rail installed.
The guide rail on the 3rd base side is installed with one #2 x 3/4" round head slotted wood screw and one 16 gauge 3/4" domed head finish nail with matching spacers. A third 689 Base Protection Celluloid is mounted between the spacer and the guide rail over the 3rd base hole just as it was on the 1st base side. The Celluloid is positioned next to the dimple on the underside of the guide as it is on the 1st base side.
Upper playfield ball guides Ball guides installed Lower playfield ball guides
The 630 Upper Runway Rail and 631 Lower Runway Rail keep the ball out of the playfield until it has completed a full lap around the game. They are both installed with 16 gauge 3/4" domed head finish nails with matching spacers.
Hit runway brad Hit runway brad installed
At the bottom of the Hit runway just before the Field Disc is a 3/8" round head brad. It doesn't attach anything to the playfield but it may be there to help guide the ball onto the Field Disc.
Left side ball gate Left side ball gate installed
Right side ball gate Right side ball gate installed
There are four one way ball gates on the playfield. Two of them (RWS21 Wire Gate (Large)) mount at the bottom of the playfield on either side of the Errors cutout. The wire gates are held in place with posts that mount on the outside of the ball guides. When properly installed the pivot holes in the posts face each other and are approximately 1" above the playfleld. The wire gates (available from Buckwerx.com) are mounted so the gate can only swing out towards the lower part of the playfield to prevent balls from traveling upwards on the playfield.
Home plate ball gate Home plate ball gate installed
The middle ball gate (RWS21 Wire Gate (Large)) mounts at the end of the Hit runway just above the Field Disc home plate position.
Upper ball gate Upper ball gate installed
The upper ball gate (JS1 Wire Gate (Small)) is narrower than the other three ball gates and mounts at the end of the long looping shooter lane. One of its mounting posts is shorter than the other because it is mounted to the shooter lane wall instead of the playfield.
Playfield pins Replacement playfield pins New playfield pins installed
There are dozens of steel pins mounted in the playfield to guide the ball or to keep it out of some areas. The phrase "pinball machine" came about due to the wide use of these kinds of pins in early games.
Most of the pins clean up nicely with some combination of tumbling, steel wool an elbow grease. Some however may be too rusted or pitted to restore their shine. I found that #17 x 1 1/4" bright finish or stainless steel wire nails make a nice substitute. They are several thousandths of an inch wider than the original pins (.055-.057" compared to .050-.052") which provides a snug fit in the old holes and can be cut to the appropriate 1" length.
638 Wire Rail 638 Wire Rail installed
The 638 Wire Rail mounts between the gulde rail and screw head on the 3rd base side, and through a hole in the Hit Runway guide rail at the home plate position.
638 Wire Rail 638 Wire Rail 638 Wire Rail
The 638 Wire Rail serves two purposes. At home plate it contains the ball at the end of the Hit Runway so that it drops into a hole in the Field Disc. Between third base and home plate it guides balls as they're ejected from the Field Disc to the side so that they roll around the Field Disc to the Runs cutout below.
The Wire Rail needs to be adjusted so that a ball resting it a Field Disc hole fits under the Wire rail as it passes from inside the Wire Rail (left and center photos above) to outside the Wire Rail (right photo above).
As the ball approaches Home Plate it rides up on a ramp below the Field Disc and is ejected from its hole. Once out of the Field Disc hole the ball is too tall to travel under the Wire Rail so it rolls to the right and around the Field Disc.
Reproduction Excise tagAvailable from Buckwerx.com Reproduction Instruction tagAvailable from Buckwerx.com
Reproduction tags and decals add a nice finishing touch to the corners of the playfield frame. They're available from Buckwerx.com.
The playfield screws should probably not be installed until very late in the restoration. Chances are that you'll remove the playfield many times before you're done to make adjustments.
Playfield screws Playfield screw installed Beware of slotted screws
The playfield frame mounts to the cabinet with seven #4 x 1 1/2" oval head wood screws. The screws go through the frame and playfield to grab onto rails inside the cabinet that support the playfield. An eighth #6 x 2" oval head wood screw mounts through the lower right corner of the plunger casting, through the playfield and into the cabinet rail.
Be careful when driving any screw into wood. But be especially careful when driving slotted screws into wood that is cosmetic or visible to the outside world. On the right above is evidence of what a screwdriver can do when it slips out of the screw while driving it. Someone managed to let the screwdriver slip twice on the same screw.