Small Tip #6

Most all cabinets are made up of some sort of wood, and to protect the edges of the wood, the manufacturers used T-molding. T-molding is a rubber-like plastic which fits into a slot that has been routed at the edge of the wood, and protects the edges from splintering and chipping. Sometimes the T-molding did its job but took a bad beating. And sometimes the T-molding would get loose and people would rip them out of the wood. Either way, you end up with an ugly, maybe severed, piece of T-molding on your game. Now you want to replace it. Here's how.

Purchase the T-molding that your game requires. There are all types of T-molding, though. Some are smooth, some are textured, some are deeper, some are wider, some are black, and some are colored.

Mazzco, Happs, Wico, are all sources for T-molding. Arcade games typically use 3/4" wide T-molding. Measure how much you will require for your game, and add an extra foot just to be on the safe side.

Once you get your T-molding, CAREFULLY and slowly remove the old T-molding. Some manufactures use tacks or staples to hold the t-molding in place; be sure to remove these or else you'll have trouble inserting the new T-molding. Another trick is to take a Dremel tool with a cutting disc and clear out the grove if there are old staples or tacks lodged in the there. Take the new T-molding and do a "dry run"; place the T-molding around the wood panel (not fully inserted) to verify you have enough T-molding to make it around. For example, imagine this ASCII art is a Tempest game (side view):

|    \
|      \
|      /
|      |

There are 6 straight edges on this game (the bottom is only partially T-molded). Do one edge at a time. When you get to a corner, take a utility knife and make some notches in the T-molding at the bottom of the "T", like so (more ASCII art):

Side view of T-moulding
______________ <--- top of the "T"
         /\        /\
____/   \__/    \__ <--- notches in the bottom of the "T"

These notches allow more flexibility of the moulding, allowing it to bend more at the corners, and STAY bent (prevents bowing). If the corner is an inside corner, you can simply put slits in the T-moulding.

Once you've done your dry run, go ahead and fully insert the T-molding. If the slot is broken out or the cabinet is starting to split such that the T-molding won't stay firmly, you may want to get some Liquid Nails (a common construction caulking tube dispensed adhesives) and squirt that in the slot first. Clamp the cabinet side until the glue dries if the cabinet is splitting.

Moving around the cabinet, insert the T-molding into a straight edge, tapping it in with a rubber hammer. I sometimes use a towel in between to keep the hammer from marking the new t-molding.

Repeat until the entire game is finished. For the bottom, you may want to consider driving some tacks or nails into the T-molding center in order to make sure the T-molding doesn't pull up from the bottom when moving the game around.

All done!

Utility knife
Rubber hammer (optional)
Liquid Nails (optional)

Wico, Mazzco, Happs, just about any ammusement/vending supplier should have a source for T-molding. Just make sure you take the proper dimensions from the existing T-molding, including style, color, depth, width, and length. The rest of the materials you should be able to pick up at a local hardware store.

Advanced Tips
If you need to cut your own T-molding grooves for your own cabinet you're building, you'll need the correct T-molding router. This router piece can be picked up for around $25 from these stores:
Woodworker Supply (1-800-645-9292. 24 hr. order number) P/N 132-053.
The Woodworkers store (1-800-279-4441) P/N 48876 (1/16 Kerf) or P/N 95332 (5/64 Kerf), depending on what size you need. They also sell T-molding.

Bob Roberts warns to use extreme caution and care when working with the above routers. He also adds that if the slot is widening, you may want to use spring clips or clamps until the glue dries.

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