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  • #1631
    Gerry O’Hara

    I picked this table top set up from an antique mall in Cashmere, WA in the fall of 2007 (the same one that has one of the best vintage radio stalls in any antique mall anywhere, courtesy of Roger (KE7NTD) – see The set had been ‘restored’ by some well-meaning person, but unfortunately its resoration had comprised sanding-off the original finsh with an orbital sander (using 150 grit I would say) and a coat of Varathane, combined with a most unfortunate improvised replacement speaker cloth (aka ‘cartoon underpants’ material). Otherwise it was pretty-much complete, except for a couple of missing tubes, including the magic eye (of course). Still, for $20, not a bad deal I thought and took it home to Vancouver…

    The set sat on the floor in my basement until January of this year when I finally got around to sorting it out. The chassis was removed from the cabinet and taken to the SPARC museum for stripping and re-finishing and the chassis was worked on in my basement workshop. The speaker was in a very poor state and the field coil was open circuit. I attempted to find the break in the field coil winding but it was deep within the coil and I gave up, using a replacement speaker from a scrapped set instead. I cleaned the chassis up, replaced all the paper and electrolytic capacitors and a couple of resistors, installed a line fuse, some grommets, the missing tubes, sprayed some de-Oxit on the switch contacts and into the tone and volume pots and hey-presto, it worked like new on first switch-on.

    The cabinet was stripped down (dry scraped) to the bare wood and the remnant orbital sander marks removed by carefully sanding the affected areas (the veneeer was very thin or had been sanded-off completely in parts), some missing veneer replaced and tinted to match the original veneer, and parts of the cabinet re-glued. Once all this base work had been completed, the cabinet was prepared for lacquering using 600 grit paper and lemon oil. Areas of the cabinet not to be accented were masked-off and the remaining areas sprayed with dark-brown tinted lacquer. Once the correct tone was reached, the masking was removed, and the remainder of the cabinet given a couple of coats of tinted lacquer, applying additional tinted lacquer around the top and base of the cabinet where some of the veneer had been sanded through during the earlier restoration attempt, thus blending this in to the rest of the cabinet. Control-identification decals were applied beneath the controls and the entire cabinet given 9 coats of clear lacquer, the final 3 in satin finsh.

    The knobs were cleaned and re-finished using Novus #2 and then given a final polish using Novus #1. The metal bezal was cleaned and polished with Novus #1 and the glass scale cleaned with lukewarm soapy water. A thin smear of moly grease was appied to the tuning capacitor bearings and also along the top of the scale plate to allow the pointer to slide freely. New speaker cloth was fitted (boy was it good to get rid of that green spotty material!) and the chassis and speaker fitted into the cabinet.

    The audio quality improved greatly one the speaker was in the cabinet – altogether not a bad-looking and sounding set! Click on any photo for a larger version.


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