May 19, 2008 at 4:55 pm #1036Gerry O’HaraKeymaster
After the dial, the speaker cloth is perhaps the next focus of your eye when looking at a radio. After 6 or 7 decades – many not in ideal conditions – the original speaker cloth is often dirty, faded or ripped. Sometimes it has been replaced with an odd scrap of material a former owner thought was suitable (but isn’t). On rare occasions, the original cloth can be carefuly removed, washed, streched and re-installed in the radio (I have a GE console rasio where I managed to do this), though most often a replacement is needed. Good news though – there is quite a selection available from several sources, including Antique Electronics Supply (https://www.tubesandmore.com), Radio Daze (https://www.radiodaze.com) and others – even on Ebay. Cloth can be bought in small pieces (usually from one square foot upwards) or as a length cut from a roll. Prices vary upwards from a few dollars a square foot, depending on how ‘fancy’ the design is. Some very good reprductions exist of original designs, eg, the Philco 16B chevron design.
To install, remove the old cloth, making note of any orientation of th pattern. Often the cloth is stuck onto a cardboard form or directly onto a wood cut-out. In some cases the old glue will need careful softening with water or steam to prevent damage to the form. The new cloth can be cut using sharp scissors/pinking shears as the otherwise cloth can be difficult to cut. Be careful not to skimp! For fixing the new cloth in place, I have had good success using spray-on Elmer contact adhesive, sprayed onto the form (not the material) – this alows some maneouvering of the cloth once it is placed onto the form. When placing thh cloth, make sure it is orientated correctly regarding the pattern and that it is facing the correct way (most cloths have two distinct sides), stick the material down on one edge first and gently stretch – evenly along the width – to the opposite edge, repeating for the other two edges, the end result being that the cloth is under slight tension to stop wrinkling. If the cloth is creased when recieved from the supplier, dampen and iron out the creases before fitting (press between two pieces of cloth or paper to avoid damaging the material). Once glued down, check to see if there are any screw holes in the form that pass through the material – if there are, gently cut through with a scalple and open the hole with a small awl to a size that the screws will pass through without binding on the material when rotated.
Some photos of the repalcement of the speaker cloth in my Sparton 270 are attached.
If anyone has any tips or techniques that improve on this I would be glad to hear from you.
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Download DSC00080 [1024×768].JPG. (Caution: This file may not be virus scanned.)July 26, 2009 at 12:16 am #1449Dan WalkerCVRS Member
I agree with everything you say Gerry,,,,and I would like to add something.When I want to put the holes in the grill cloth for the speaker screws,,,,I first use crazy glue where the holes will be and this stops any material from fraying.After the glue has set up I use the scalple to cut the holes.July 26, 2009 at 6:19 am #1450Gerry O’HaraKeymaster
Good tip Dan – thanks – making neat holes in speaker cloth can be a problem and this should help a lot. I will certainly give it a try next time!August 7, 2009 at 11:58 am #1441John BartleyForum Participant
This is a good thread – lots of good advice given.
There are two things that I do when installing a "new" grille cloth that aren’t mentioned, so I’ll suggest them for folks to try.
1) For making neat clean screw holes that won’t fray, I mark the holes and then put the tip of the soldering iron on the mark. It makes a nice round hole and the cauterising effect of the hot iron keeps the cloth from fraying.
2) Once the cloth is on the frame (before installation in the cabinet), I use a heat gun to gently shrink the cloth. If done carefully it will stay straight (no wavy patterns), and will pull nice and tight.
John BartleyFebruary 25, 2013 at 9:30 am #3896SpencerForum Participant
hi I was wondering what that grill cloth was called and where you got it from I am looking for the same pattern for my rogers majestic radio.
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