Antique radio refinish

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Project by Rickterscale posted 05-27-2015 08:58 PM 1442 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an old radio from the 40’s that belonged to my grandmother. I refinished it for my mother. The veneer was water damaged in numerous place and had to be patched. It’s walnut as best as I can tell. The patches aren’t perfect, but overall it turned out pretty good (you can see some on the side shot). Not so easy matching up almost 80 year old walnut, which I understand fades a little over time.

I stripped the finish off, applied some light walnut stain, and finished with satin arm-r-seal.

The plastic faceplate was destroyed and had to be replaced. I couldn’t find any online, so I made one out of a piece of 1/4” walnut.

7 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3340 days

#1 posted 05-27-2015 10:13 PM

Indeed, finding cellulose acetate board with the same properties nowadays is quite hard, unless you score some NOS on ebay or similar place. Nice restoration!

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Grumpymike's profile


2425 posts in 2822 days

#2 posted 05-27-2015 11:42 PM

I can’t tell you how many of those old relics I repaired back in the day, and when the old electromagnetic speakers went bad we would convert them to permanent magnet. Those that had them loved and cherished them.

You have done a wonderful job on this guy … Congrats

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Oldtool's profile


2788 posts in 2697 days

#3 posted 05-28-2015 12:52 AM

Fantastic restore on this radio, looks like new. Great work on that dial cover too.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View ralbuck's profile


6112 posts in 2773 days

#4 posted 05-28-2015 01:23 AM

Very well done and a good save too!

If it works it still sounds better from one speaker than many new ones do from several speakers.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View HokieKen's profile


10886 posts in 1645 days

#5 posted 05-28-2015 11:45 AM

Beautiful job! I’ve done a couple re-finishing jobs for family. It usually takes me longer than it would to actually build a new piece. The faceplate looks great. Wonderful craftsmanship on that. I’m sure your Mother is very happy and can’t wait to show everyone what her son did.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View AtlanticBryan's profile


30 posts in 2351 days

#6 posted 05-28-2015 07:20 PM

Nice work. I’ve been doing some similar work on the contents of an old house. Water-damaged veneer is tough to handle.

-- I'm not talking to myself ... I'm consulting an expert!

View jeffswildwood's profile


4051 posts in 2484 days

#7 posted 05-28-2015 08:11 PM

I really love those old radios and you did a fantastic job on this one! I had an old Kaiser radio, complete with short wave many years ago that I had hoped to restore. Lack of space and tools and it continued to go bad, unrestored, until now it’s gone.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

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