Updating a 1960s Radio / Phono HiFi

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Project by jcastle posted 08-13-2008 10:05 AM 8478 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I guess this doesn’t really count as a woodworking project, as the closest I came to cutting wood was working with some fiberboard, but some of you might find it a neat idea on what to do with an old HiFi set.


This was originally my Grandparents Hifi. It is a Sears Silvertone AM/FM/Phono set. I am going to guess that the year is 1967 since there was a 1967 Fischer Hifi catalogue inside the base. Also inside the base was a complete electrical schematic of the unit, complete with a part list down to every resistor. They made these sets easy to repair back then. There were even a few repair tags found throughout on various wires and spots on the circuit boards.

It has been sitting in my mother’s hallway for a few years, holding plants and not being used. I decided to give it a new purpose. Since the Radio and amps still functioned great, I decided it would be a good candidate for an iPod update. The idea grew to incorporate some of the ideas behind the WW Gadget Station.

New Tray

I have replaced the turntable with 2 1/8” fiberboards laminated together. This has been painted white to match the iPod plastic piece. The iPod plastic piece is the thing that would go in an Apple-made dock, to let the Nano fit. I modified it with a mini jack and a spare iPod cable, to turn it into a full functioning dock. The cables are attached with some epoxy paste, kinda like JB weld but thicker. Beneath the white tray is a powerstrip which just happened to fit perfectly.

iPod Dock
iPod Dock 2
Wiring, eventually cleaned up

The iPod is wired directly into the Phono inputs. On this particular unit, the Phono is the same as being “off”, so when the turntable was switched on, the amp would power up. I handled this by installing a 5A 125VAC pushbutton SPST switch next to the iPod.


In the back of the tray is a powered USB hub, so I can plug in all my various USB devices (BT headset, cellphone) to charge. I will also be putting my camera chargers in here. That is what the hole/slot in the rear of the tray is for.

The whole tray is held down to the drawer with 6 bits of Velcro, for easy to access the wiring.

-- John Castle -

8 comments so far

View Mike's profile


391 posts in 4955 days

#1 posted 08-13-2008 10:58 AM

I moved into my house in June’07 there were 2 cabinet Hi-FI’s in the garage. The newest has an 8 track player and the plastic was still on the face. Never used. I am working out how to make the best one, the solid wood high end at the time, into a rolling bar.

I want to bar to pop up as you open the top. Haven’t got around to it yet.

-- Measure once cut twice....oh wait....ooops.

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 5041 days

#2 posted 08-13-2008 12:27 PM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6879 posts in 5318 days

#3 posted 08-13-2008 01:17 PM

Hi John;

You went way over my head on this one!.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 5054 days

#4 posted 08-13-2008 07:11 PM

Great job!


-- jeanmarc manosque france

View Dean's profile


44 posts in 4914 days

#5 posted 08-14-2008 04:13 AM

Great repurpose of that old hi-fi! Have you been to ? They would love your post there, and you could look at dozens of different mods.

You are right, not a whole bunch of woodworking, but I really enjoyed it!

-- "Skol, Vikings"

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 5058 days

#6 posted 08-14-2008 06:14 AM

In the early 1950’s I wore out a Davey Crocket record (and probably my mom), standing in front of the phongraph/radio in the living room. This project reminds me of good ol’ Davey.

Thanks for posting.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View jcastle's profile


6 posts in 4922 days

#7 posted 08-14-2008 07:47 AM

Yeah I’ve been around That is where I got my inspiration. I’ll be cross-posting this guy there.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

-- John Castle -

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 5137 days

#8 posted 08-14-2008 12:27 PM

interesting adaptatio

-- making sawdust....

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