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  • #1109
    Gerry O’Hara

    One of my latest projects to reach completion is a Marconi Model 142 table-top dating from 1938 (this is the one with the Mallory bias cells described elsewhere on this forum). The set was bought from a local second-hand store and was in rather a sorry state, with the cabinet having been the subject of long-term abuse from a plant pot or similar. This had resulted in bad discolouration and warping of the veneer on the upper surface, with some areas becoming detached from the underlying plywood. The chassis was also in a poor state: rusty and with many tired-looking components. Even so, the set looked like it had potential and I am a sucker for those Marconi dials…

    The chassis and speaker were removed and the cabinet taken to SPARC to be my Sunday afternoon project there for a few weeks. The old lacquer was painstakingly scraped off (no stripping chemicals were used), the detaching and warped veneer glued down, and the surface prepared for re-lacquering by sanding with lemon oil as a lubricant. Three coats of shellac were then applied, each being rubbed-down with 0000 steel wool. The cabinet was then masked, exposing only the shoulders, front trim strips, flutes in the lower front panel trim strip, Magic-eye/dial cut-outs and the edges of the loudspeaker cut-outs. These areas were sprayed with several coats of dark brown semi-gloss lacquer to act as acccents as per the original finish. Once this stage was completed, the masking was removed. Using an air-brush loaded with brown-tinted lacquer, a slight remaining dark discolouration on the centre of the cabinet top was colour-blended into the surrounding wood and the entire cabinet then given one coat of brown-tinted lacquer and threee coats of clear semi-gloss lacquer. The knobs were similarly treated.

    The chassis was fairly straightforward to restore – mainly cleaning, re-capping plus a few resistors replaced, some minor re-wiring plus of course the bias-cells replaced with alkalie cells. Otherwise just a general clean-up and realignment.

    The set took quite a bit of effort to re-assemble though – I first glued the new speaker cloth on the wire-mesh form and tacked it into the cabinet. I then mounted the speaker baffle into its ‘proper’ place (ie. where the screw holes on the cabinet indicated it should be), fitted the speaker and the found that the chassis wouldn’t quite fit. After a lot of fiddling about, I found that the speaker baffle needed to be pushed a half an inch further in towards the case (low and behold, there were more screw holes at this location) – it eventually became apparent that the speaker fitted in this unit is a replacement (and likely belongs to another radio) and the guy that had fitted it long-ago had re-located the speaker baffle to accommodate the (larger) electrodynamic magnet assembly and output transformer beside the chassis.

    The result is a fine-looking and sounding table-top with a great-looking dial (I am a sucker for Marconi dials). All I need now is a Magic-eye tube that does not require the room lights to be turned-off to see it working!… (6G5).


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    Forum Participant

    Wow ! that radio sure came out beautiful , just look at that finish ! Great Job Jerry !!

    Dan Walker
    CVRS Member

    I too am a sucker for Marconi dials and I love the different colors.I have two floor models,one with 5 bands and the other one with 6 bands.You sure did a bang up job of restoring the one you have.
    It just goes to show,what can be done in the hands of someone who cares about these old radios…Great job

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