Antique Radio Cabinet Retrofit #9: Part 9: Front Panel Rebuild

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Blog entry by Pags posted 10-24-2016 07:40 PM 1066 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Pilot Light Part 9 of Antique Radio Cabinet Retrofit series Part 10: Part 10 - Project Completed! »

Its been over a year and a half since I stopped working on this project… sorry for the delay to those that have been following this project… hard to believe so much time has passed. Anyway, when I got started on rebuilding the front panel I hit a snag… my integrated amp wasn’t going to fit into the front panel the way I wanted it to. It was very close, but it just wasn’t going to work. I had to stop and rethink the project. So the cabinet has been sitting in the back of my shop for quite some time now.

After exploring some options I had an epiphany… why not put in a vacuum tube stereo amp instead? I mean this is an antique vacuum tube radio cabinet after all. After much time and research I finally settled on a “Dynakit ST-35 tube amplifier kit”. This is a clone of the Dynaco ST35 from the 1960’s nicknamed “The Baby Dynaco”. It is aptly named because it is the little brother to the popular Dynaco ST70 designed by Dave Hafler in the early days of high-fidelity. The Dynakit ST35 is perfect for streaming audio and AM/FM input from the vintage styled table radio I’m also using. It comes in kit form with a stainless steel chassis. You need to have some soldering skills in order to put it together though and some basic understanding of electronics. Also checkout this review for more information about this awsome little amp.

The kit came nicely/securely packaged, everything was well marked, and the documentation was clear ( I spent about a week working on it a just a few hours at a time. I had little trouble soldering it all together and found the the support people at Dynakit very helpful. It was fun and satisfying to put it together but, since this is a woodworking blog, I’ll skip the rest of the electronic stuff except to say it sounds great!

Here’s what it looks like all unpacked and ready to assemble:

And here’s what it looks like all assembled:

Now that I have an amp to mount in the cabinet its time to get back to work and take this project to completion. The next step is rebuilding the front panel assembly. The original assembly slid out to reveal a turntable and looked like this:

I carefully took it all apart and repaired what I could. It was originally put together simply with shiplap joints and screws. It came apart easily as it had not been glued. It was a bit loose and did not fit properly when closed… and it had a bit of a twist to it due to the bottom rail being twisted. One of the vertical slats was twisted as well and I made a duplicate rail to replace it. Another slat was cracked at the end that I was able to repair by cutting the cracked piece off, planing the sawn surface smooth, and gluing a block to it followed by shaping it to blend in.

I also made a duplicate bottom rail of the original which had twisted. The screws fit loosely so I drilled out all the screw holes with a ΒΌ” bit and filled them with a dowel. I sanded it and then carefully refastened it all back together.

Next I made a new shlef to replace the original hollowed-out and broken turntable sheld. The new vacuum tube stero amplifier will be mounted to this shelf. The front panel assembly was completed by replacing the x-shaped self supports with a u-shaped shelf support that will clear the powered subwoofer.

Here’s some pictures showing the process:


Reassembled Front Panel:

New shelf support with clearance for subwoofer:

Front View:

Front View with pullout shelf revealed:

So with this part complete, the front panel now closes square to the cabinet,and when opened will reveal this vacuum tube stereo amplifier kit I built. Next up is applying some ebony veneer trim followed by stain and laquer.

1 comment so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16329 posts in 3222 days

#1 posted 10-25-2016 12:21 PM

That is looking very nice. Wondered what happened to this project blog. :-) And I’m digging that ‘tilt-out’ feature, very cool. Thanks for the update, it’s gonna rock when complete!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

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