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    Well, I am a new member of the Society, and have only decided that I was going to restore radios after I turned 65, that was two years ago. I had some training in Electronics when I was younger in the Canadian Navy as a Radioman. However, I only stayed in the service for 6 1/2 years, and was only trained in Electonics as a Trade Group Two. To be a fully trained technician, you had to be a trade group Four. However, it was enough to give me the basics, and not be intimidated by schematics and following them on the Chassis.

    Two years ago I found a AC/DC Northern Electric Model 5500 on Holidays in Prince Rupert. It was in tough shape with the cabinet broken in half and a piece missing out of it. But I had another model 5500 at home that I needed the second IF Can and the Oscillator Coil for. So I purchased this poor old broken Northern Electric Model 5500 for parts.

    I did indeed take the oscillator Coil and 2nd IF can out of it, and repaired the other Model 5500 on my work bench, that had a good cabinet.

    In December of 2007, I decided to use the poor old cabinet and Chassis from the Northern Electric Model 5500 as a learning tool in bakelite cabinet repair. I was also keen on learing how to stuff the old Electrolytics cans with new capacitors. Up to this point I have been leaving the cans in place and replacing the individual caps underneath the Chassis. Other forums have talked about stuffing the cans, and I wanted to try that.

    I left the Electrolytic can in place on the Chassis, and cut it off about 1/8 inch above the Chassis. I then cleaned the old can out, and decided that I would use number 4 3/8 inch bolts with 40 threads per inch as studs inside the can. I did not end up doing that, as I was able to push the pins up from under the Chassis, and use them as connections for the new Electrolytics. See Photo below. I did run a new ground wire from the minus end of the Electroylytics through a new hole in the bottom of the Chassis, and soldered it right to the origional ground connection. I then glued the can back in place with Super Glue, and am reasonably happy with the results. You can still see the cut, but it is not that noticeable. Since then I have purchased a product called Bare-Metal self adhesive paper that is chrome in color, and next time will cover the cut with a small ring that goes from the bottom of the can up about 1/4 inch.

    In order to repair the old Chassis missing the 2nd IF Can and Oscillator coil, had a junk Chassis from an old AC/DC Trav-ler radio, and took the 2nd IF can off that. I then ordered the Generic Broadcast Band Oscillator Coil from Antique Electronics Supply. (Part Number PC70). replaced the rest of the paper capacitors, and it came to life. Plate Voltage was down on the Detector B+, and only that one resistor had to be replaced. I found that dressing lead wires to the generic oscilllator coil fussy on positioning, but other than that, worked just fine.

    Now the Cabinet. I had a hole piece missing along the top corner, and needed a backing board behind it. I went to the Langley Industrial Plastic retailer, as he carried Moulding release materials. I got talking with the salesman and told him what I wanted. He suggested I use then Mylar Plastic. As he said, "Nothing sticks to that stuff". It’s cheap, I bought about 3 square feet of it for around $3.00. Then when I got home, I prepared a backing board made from recycled clear plastic covering material, that covers most products you buy today. I keep that stuff in a large box in the basement. Then when I need a certain Profile, I go looking and cut it to fit. Found what I needed, and placed the Mylar under it. Then used regular Auto Bondo to fill the holes. (First step was to glue the case back together with "Super Glue", This stuff interacts with the bakelite and welds it togther really nice.

    A lot of time was taken to sand and get the right profile on the corner. I used a product called, "Plus 1", available at auto paint distributers, (this is a spreadable polyester finishing putty), which you need for fine finishing over the bondo. When I was happy with the profile, I did a final sanding with 1200 Grit, then went to Canadian Tire, and selected a can of Duplicolor Auto Spray Lacquer, really close to the Northern Electric green color of the origional cabinet. Found out that it takes a lot of patience to use these spray cans with any kind of results. One think that I did discover was in the store they take the spray nozzels off the cans and keep them at the checkouts. This can be a problem. If your shopping for spray cans, look on the can to see if their is an option for the spray pattern. Some cans have them, and others do not. Try and get the can that offers the spray pattern. This allows you to create a spray pattern similar to a regular spray gun, and get a better overlay pattern. If no options are highlighted on the can, the spray pattern will just be a circle, and laying down overlapping layers will be more difficult. Then the other problem, is to make sure they give you the proper nozzel at the checkout.

    I am happy with the results, and hope that this experience can help someone else.

    I wanted to include pictures with this post, but cannot figure it out, Not the brightest guy on the block when it comes to the computers.

    Regards, Abbotsford Gerald

    Forum Participant

    If you are having trouble posting your picture , feel free to email it to me and I be happy to post it for you.

    Basically you do it when you are in the window where you are making your post. I think I put instructions in the Help forum, also there is a FAQ
    (see where it says FAQ top right)

    I have a few cabinets that I have been saving for this type of repair. I was going to attempt to mix the brown powder (available from mowhawk furniture supplies) into two part epoxy resin. Bondo and other body fillers will work and if you plan to paint the radio this is a good way.

    Painting a metallic color with a spray bomb is difficult. Metallic paint is hard to work with, you need to keep the metal particles in suspension.(stop and shake a little between coats) temperature is important, and the distance to the can, and speed, it takes practice.

    I had some auto (acrylic ename) paint mixed the right color at lordco, to match my crosley D-25 ( greenish metallic) and put a clearcoat over it . I had to wash it all off and start fresh a few times before I was happy. I think the color may be similar to a colr northern electric used, an unusual green. I found the chip from an old 50’s car, in an old paint chip book.

    The clear coat, I needed to buy from a body shop, (lordco wanted to sell a large quantity) I hadn’t worked with clearcoat much but evidently it is the way almost all cars are repainted now. putting on the metallic paint, and then doing the gold lettering on the front took a few tries, with washing / sanding thing clean in between.

    Then the clearcoat didn’t go on as smooth as I would have liked. I sanded it with wet or dry, carefull not to go through the clearcoat, then rubbed it out with fine steel wool and wool soap. The results were quite impressive many hours later. the clearcoat did give a very nice sheen.


    Forum Participant

    Gerry sent in the pictures of his Nothern electric before, during and after the repair.
    It looks Great Gerry. If no one told you, you certainly couldn’t spot the repair, and the color looks just right.

    Download NE_cracked.gif. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Download NE_cracked1.gif. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Forum Participant

    … and here it is during and after restoration.

    Download NE_repair.gif. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Download NE_finished1.gif. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Download NE_finished.gif. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)

    Forum Participant

    Very nice work!

    Radio Nut
    Forum Participant

    Nice Gerry.
    I have tried a few, you sure don’t do it to make money as you would loose. You do it for the pride of showing how nice they are.I have a few where I spent more to fix one then it’s worth.It’s a labor of love and you have shown us that.Wish I lived closer would love to learn how you did it. I have several more to do and am going to try and follow your steps.

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