I recently dismantled a Standard Player action I had repaired in 1970.
The gray cloth was still good on the pneumatics, though slightly stiff.
Coincidentally I recently used a piece of cloth manufactured in 1990
(natural black rubber over cotton) to recover a hammer rail pneumatic
and discovered that the pneumatic would not hold a vacuum well at all.
I removed the cloth and found that it was full of pin holes, many
pinholes. I recovered it with old gray cloth and it held fine. (Next
month I'll put new cloth on it, when the material comes in the mail.)
I guess it's been said before, but pneumatic cloth varies from shipment
to shipment; age and sometimes even manufacturer have little to do with
quality since the stuff is made in such small batches and the formulas
vary and techniques of manufacturing vary as well. The best you can do
is hold a new batch up to a bright light and if enough pin holes show
up, send it back. As of this writing I'd trust the dull gray cloth
As for tubing, the 1970 job was a Welte with several different types
in it. The clear tubing was rock hard, the gray split at the nipples
and hardened wherever oil had touched it. Some of the thin black
tubing had collapsed at tight bends and the standard black neoprene
was tubing in good shape.