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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Intro

Having a nice sound system has always been a priority on my life since I was a teenager in the 1970's. My tastes in music have changed over the years but I still insist on listening to good quality audio equipment. These days I find myself seldom playing CD's anymore, instead I either stream music from the internet, play music ripped to my laptop via iTunes or listen to my local FM radio station. So my audio equipment has dwindled down to just an integrated amp , a tuner, and speakers.

I've always been fascinated with those old radio consoles from the 1930's and 1940's and decided it would be neat to retrofit one of these old cabinets with my audio equipment. So begins my next project and first posting on Lumberjocks.

I came across this 1940's Philco cabinet on ebay which I bought for $40 which I found the art deco design very appealing to match my 1930's built house…. and most important, my wife agrees
Furniture Table Wood Wood stain Flooring


It has a lift up panel where the original tuner went which is a perfect size for the tuner I wish to use. It also has a pull panel that housed a turntable which would be perfect for housing my integrated amp.
Table Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


The project begins with repairs to the cabinet's framing…
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Intro

Having a nice sound system has always been a priority on my life since I was a teenager in the 1970's. My tastes in music have changed over the years but I still insist on listening to good quality audio equipment. These days I find myself seldom playing CD's anymore, instead I either stream music from the internet, play music ripped to my laptop via iTunes or listen to my local FM radio station. So my audio equipment has dwindled down to just an integrated amp , a tuner, and speakers.

I've always been fascinated with those old radio consoles from the 1930's and 1940's and decided it would be neat to retrofit one of these old cabinets with my audio equipment. So begins my next project and first posting on Lumberjocks.

I came across this 1940's Philco cabinet on ebay which I bought for $40 which I found the art deco design very appealing to match my 1930's built house…. and most important, my wife agrees
Furniture Table Wood Wood stain Flooring


It has a lift up panel where the original tuner went which is a perfect size for the tuner I wish to use. It also has a pull panel that housed a turntable which would be perfect for housing my integrated amp.
Table Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


The project begins with repairs to the cabinet's framing…
I ll follow along as well. I have a 1946 Philco cabinet similar to yours. BTW, that was a good buy at $40. Did it have the original knobs on it?

- Don Broussard
Yup, I thought it was a good buy too…. but I had to drive 170 miles (round trip) to get it… it seems most of these old radio cabinets are $150 and up on eBay depending on their condition.

Yes the knobs were there too. It was an AM/SW tuner, and it had the Beam-of-Light turntable that you could record your own records with, that did not work out so well for Philco. As I understood it, they only made the Beam-of-Light turntable for two years and then discontinued them… today you can't get Beam-of-Light parts. I read about a couple of radio guys that made their own parts for this turntable… but you gotta know what your doing.

Here's a link for details of the radio.

I have a 1976 Onkyo TX-4500 receiver that I bought brand new. I have used it regularly over the years (its now my shop radio) and am rather attached to it. I've never had problems with it except for burnt out indicator light bulbs. Well it recently suddenly stopped working with a loud pop. I brought it to my local vintage radio repair shop. The tech was thrilled to see it and marveled over it. He is in process of completely overhauling it at the moment. To cut down the cost of the overhaul I gave him the components from this Philco console…. knobs and all… to which he was appreciative.

I talked with him about this project to get his thoughts because I know there will be some folks that will object to me retrofitting a piece of radio history. He encouraged me to proceed and pointed out that even though these old vacuum tube radios can be made to work again, the chassis are well aged and even with new electronic parts mounted in them, they are prone to problems that only folks versed in vacuum tube electronics can deal with (you can electrocute yourself working on this old stuff if you don't know what your doing). He also commented that they are not fused and susceptible to fire if something shorts out. They also consume a great deal of power. As long as I was doing something nice with the cabinet, he was all for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Components

At the heart of this system will be my 10 year old Marantz PM7200 Integrated Amp. It operates as both a Class AB and a Class A Amp. Class A operates much like the vacuum tube amps of yesteryear.
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It will get mounted, face-Up in the front tilt-out panel.

The tuner is a high-end European brand table radio made by Tangent Audio called the Uno. I chose it primarily for its art deco style glass bezel tuner dial. Also because it is simply controlled. It produces an exceptional sound for a table radio, pulls in the local stations (both AM and FM) nicely, has an auxiliary selection for input from Apple Airplay for streaming music, and a stereo output jack in the back to input into the amp. It will fit very nicely under the console's lid.
Output device Gadget Audio equipment Circle Musical instrument


It has a glass bezel, and the knobs have a very solid quality feel to them when you turn them and sort of match the knobs style of old radios. It also has a tuning light indicator that glows or dims indicating how well your dialed-in which was common on old radios like the famous Zenith Magic-Eye.

You can't buy the Uno anymore as Tangent Audio no longer produces them. C.Crane used to distribute them here in the USA. I found this one on eBay for $80.00. Crosley makes a look-a-like called the Solo. I don't know if its the same thing or a cheap look-a-like.

Mounted in the base of the console will be an 8" sub-woofer.

A pair of stereo speakers will be external to the radio console and will site on shelves on the wall. I plan to rebuild the speaker cabinets to match the style of the radio console.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Components

At the heart of this system will be my 10 year old Marantz PM7200 Integrated Amp. It operates as both a Class AB and a Class A Amp. Class A operates much like the vacuum tube amps of yesteryear.
Font Technology Electronic device Audio equipment Electric blue


It will get mounted, face-Up in the front tilt-out panel.

The tuner is a high-end European brand table radio made by Tangent Audio called the Uno. I chose it primarily for its art deco style glass bezel tuner dial. Also because it is simply controlled. It produces an exceptional sound for a table radio, pulls in the local stations (both AM and FM) nicely, has an auxiliary selection for input from Apple Airplay for streaming music, and a stereo output jack in the back to input into the amp. It will fit very nicely under the console's lid.
Output device Gadget Audio equipment Circle Musical instrument


It has a glass bezel, and the knobs have a very solid quality feel to them when you turn them and sort of match the knobs style of old radios. It also has a tuning light indicator that glows or dims indicating how well your dialed-in which was common on old radios like the famous Zenith Magic-Eye.

You can't buy the Uno anymore as Tangent Audio no longer produces them. C.Crane used to distribute them here in the USA. I found this one on eBay for $80.00. Crosley makes a look-a-like called the Solo. I don't know if its the same thing or a cheap look-a-like.

Mounted in the base of the console will be an 8" sub-woofer.

A pair of stereo speakers will be external to the radio console and will site on shelves on the wall. I plan to rebuild the speaker cabinets to match the style of the radio console.
Making progress! I used to have a Sansei 9090dB and I miss that amplifier.
I have an Advent tuner/amp that I bought in 1972. Have been thru 3 sets of speakers, but the Advent still works great
A friend had the very same Sansei… they were popular and good. I remember Advent being pretty darn popular too. The technician repairing my Onkyo said that he thinks the audio components of the 70's were the last of the ones worth repairing. With Audio equipment made after the 70's… when they break, you throw them away and buy new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Repairs

I began the project this weekend with repairs…. nothing too exciting here. The first problem I addressed was the lower frame which was falling apart. On the back side of the console cabinet there is a screw block holding a rail to the side of the cabinet. A screw was missing and the rail had come loose.

Window Wood Building Fixture Interior design


Check out the huge adjustable double loop AM antenna… going to keep that and use it for the tuner for better AM reception… looking forward to listening to a few baseball games.

All this needed was some glue and a new screw. I glued it up, clamped it in place and installed a new screw…. pretty straight forward.

Next was the top. The veneer was in tough shape and was delaminating here and there.
Wood Table Wood stain Rectangle Hardwood


The top was also separating along a seam of two pieces joined together to form the edge molding.
Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Floor


Brown Wood Rectangle Wood stain Flooring


To repair this I pried the seam apart enough to get a glue injector in there, and glued and clamped it until dry.
Wood Hardwood Wood stain Table Rectangle


Wood Gas Machine Engineering Metal


Table Furniture Cabinetry Wood Floor


I decided instead of trying to repair the veneer on the top, I would replace it instead. So I used a heat gun and putty knife to remove the old veneer…. it was in such bad shape it simply and easily peeled off. Looks like the substrate is poplar…. took a few swipes off that surface with my block plane to clean it up and flatten it.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
More Repairs

After gluing and clamping down the top piece to the frame on the outside edges, I found that the inside edges, by where the radio control panel is, on both sides, started to crack, separate and lift.
Wood Wood stain Hardwood Gas Plywood


To repair this, I was concerned that if I pried this area open enough to insert a glue injector, I would do more harm than good. I felt that if I opened up the crack by sawing a kerf, and filled the kerf with thickened epoxy that would act as both a filler and an adhesive, that didn't need clamping, would be a good solution… so that's the path I chose.

First I made a kerf (on both sides of the control panel) with my Japanese pull saw.
Wood Flooring Hardwood Wood stain Art


Then I injected some thickened epoxy in the two kerfs.
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Then I cleaned it up and left it alone to cure.
Wood Cabinetry Wood stain Hardwood Varnish


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Also, after removing the veneer from the top substrate, splits were revealed that needed attention… I used the same method to repair the splits. The epoxy should help to prevent these splits from splitting further as well as filling the void created by the split.
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Automotive tire Wood Thigh Hood Bumper


Wood Floor Wood stain Composite material Flooring


Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plywood Flooring


Wood Floor Flooring Wood stain Hardwood


Wood Table Wood stain Flooring Hardwood


These epoxy filled splits are no concern visually as I plan to put new mahogany veneer down on the top and to paint the edge molding black.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
New Face

This weekend had me working on replacing the face of the console where the tuner is mounted. The old face came out easily… just had to remove about a dozen screws and give it a few taps to loosen it up. It wasn't glued, but the original lacquer finish held it in place some.

Then I had to come up with a way to mount the new radio. I took the new radio out of its case. It came out pretty easily. Just four screws held it together and another pair of screws secured to a pair or retaining clips. I discovered the radio was essentially two parts… the tuner, and the amp. They were held together by four screws that sort of clamped itself together inside the case.

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Now knowing how it assembled together, I came up with a way to mount it to the new face using the four screw mounts.

Rectangle Flooring Floor Tableware Wood


Wood Camera lens Cameras & optics Rectangle Gas


To make the face I began with some scrap ¼" marine plywood I had in the shop and glued a 1/16" thick mahogany veneer to it that was left over from my last project (I need to make myself a veneer press one of these days). This is thinner that the original face, but the marine plywood is better quality and stronger even though its thinner.

Wood Flooring Hardwood Gas Machine


Brown Rectangle Wood Wood stain Flooring


Then I trimmed it to size and cut bevels to match the old face and also made a cutout to mount the new radio.

Wood Rectangle Floor Composite material Gas


The old face was made with a spline to join the front and top together. This was doable because the face was ⅜" thick. I felt my new face was too thin to use a spline so I put my boat building skills to work and epoxied them together utilizing an epoxy fillet.

First I made a clamping mold.
Wheel Wood Flooring Tire Floor


Then I taped the two pieces together with packing tape that acted as both a hinge and a means to temporarily hold the two pieces together.
Wood Flooring Floor Table Automotive design


Wood Rectangle Composite material Automotive exterior Gas


Then I applied thickened epoxy to the seam, folded it in place in the mold, clamped it, then applied the epoxy fillet. Note that I also laid down some packing tape to the mold so that I didn't accidentally epoxy the face to the mold.

Wood Floor Flooring Bumper Gas


After curing for 24 hours it came out pretty decent.

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Wood Composite material Gas Flooring Hardwood
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Mount Sub-Woofer

Simple task last night… mounting the subwoofer. For speakers, all that will be in the console is a sub… I'll hook up an external set of speakers on wall shelves.

I just mounted a piece of scrap plywood to the bottom of the cabinet, drilled a 3½" hole for the vented down firing bass port on the bottom of the subwoofer. Then I screwed the subwoofer to the plywood from the bottom-up.

Hopefully I'll have no vibration issues… if so I'll deal with it then.

Wood Gas Door Machine Fixture


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Fixture Gas Machine Composite material Metal
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Mount Sub-Woofer

Simple task last night… mounting the subwoofer. For speakers, all that will be in the console is a sub… I'll hook up an external set of speakers on wall shelves.

I just mounted a piece of scrap plywood to the bottom of the cabinet, drilled a 3½" hole for the vented down firing bass port on the bottom of the subwoofer. Then I screwed the subwoofer to the plywood from the bottom-up.

Hopefully I'll have no vibration issues… if so I'll deal with it then.

Wood Gas Door Machine Fixture


Automotive tire Shelf Wheel Tire Wood


Fixture Gas Machine Composite material Metal
When finished, this thing will be a wolf in sheep s clothing…

- JoeinGa
Ha Ha! Damn Straight!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
New Veneer for the Top

Next-up was reveneering the top. I have some 1/16" thick mahogany veneer left over from a previous project that was perfect for this project. In order to do this precisely as the veneer can't be trimmed after it has been glued down, I needed to make a pattern. With a pattern I could precisely shape the veneer before glueing it down.

Also, I prefer to use wood glue for veneer, but in this case the veneer has to be precisely set in place, so contact cement was a better option.

First I began by laying a piece of drafting mylar over the top and sketched out the perimeter of the new veneer.
Wood Table Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Next I transferred the lines from the mylar to a piece of thin scrap plywood to be used as the pattern. I cut the pattern to size and fussed with it until it was the exact shape required. Finally I traced the pattern shape onto the veneer.
Wood Flooring Floor Rectangle Hardwood


I cut the veneer to size using a veneer saw on the straight edges and carefully used a sharp utility knife on the curves.
Wood Table Hardwood Gas Wood stain


Then I cut out the lift-up top from the pattern so I could use a grain matching piece of veneer for the lift-up top, that attaches with hinges.
Wood Gas Composite material Font Rectangle


With that I done I carefully cutaway the veneer for the lift-up top.
Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


Finally, I carefully glued down the new veneer using contact cement.
Wood Hardwood Gas Wood stain Plywood
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
New Veneer for the Top

Next-up was reveneering the top. I have some 1/16" thick mahogany veneer left over from a previous project that was perfect for this project. In order to do this precisely as the veneer can't be trimmed after it has been glued down, I needed to make a pattern. With a pattern I could precisely shape the veneer before glueing it down.

Also, I prefer to use wood glue for veneer, but in this case the veneer has to be precisely set in place, so contact cement was a better option.

First I began by laying a piece of drafting mylar over the top and sketched out the perimeter of the new veneer.
Wood Table Wood stain Hardwood Composite material


Next I transferred the lines from the mylar to a piece of thin scrap plywood to be used as the pattern. I cut the pattern to size and fussed with it until it was the exact shape required. Finally I traced the pattern shape onto the veneer.
Wood Flooring Floor Rectangle Hardwood


I cut the veneer to size using a veneer saw on the straight edges and carefully used a sharp utility knife on the curves.
Wood Table Hardwood Gas Wood stain


Then I cut out the lift-up top from the pattern so I could use a grain matching piece of veneer for the lift-up top, that attaches with hinges.
Wood Gas Composite material Font Rectangle


With that I done I carefully cutaway the veneer for the lift-up top.
Table Wood Rectangle Wood stain Hardwood


Finally, I carefully glued down the new veneer using contact cement.
Wood Hardwood Gas Wood stain Plywood
My concern is how to get the edges of the veneer registered against the edge of the table - even a 1/32nd error would show up. How did you achieve it on your antique radio top?
Well, the trick was making a pattern. And then cutting the veneer exactly to the patterns shape. One the veneer was cut to the exact shape, the next challenge was adhering in the exact spot. The was to do that was using contact cement as the adhesive (I usually don't use contact cement for veneer, but in this case I did so that the veneer would stay exactly in place… it would slide around slightly if I used hide or wood glue). With contact cement you apply a coat or two (depending on how porous the substrate is) to both the substrate and veneer and let them. When applying together they stick instantly.. theres no room for error, so you gotta get it right the first time in placing the veneer in place. To help that lay down wax paper on the substrate, then put the veneer on top of wax paper ,and maneuver the veneer into place. Once you have it the exact position, slowly, and carefully slide out the wax paper, allowing the veneer to come in contact and stick to the veneer. You really have to be patient and do it slowly and carefully, to keep the veneer in the exact position with out creating air pockets.

You might want to give your self a little margin of error and allow for 1/32" overhang over the edge(s) which you can lightly sand down…. I'm not sure if that is an option for you though
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Pilot Light

One last task to attend to for the console base before I start refinishing it. There was an existing hole drilled for a pilot light. I decided to install a new LED pilot light in its place.
Vehicle Trunk Wood Motor vehicle Automotive exterior


I found an appropriate one at Dig-i-Key here in MN.
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In order to install it properly I needed make a flat countersink as the wood surface is curved. The only way I knew to do that was with a forstner bit. But I needed a center point to drill on but there was an existing hole. So the only solution was to plug the hole and use the plug as a center point for drilling the countersink.
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With the hole plugged and the glue dry, I drilled the counter sink, then I drilled a smaller through-hole effectively drilling out the plug I just glued in.
Wood Table Wood stain Hardwood Gas


With that, the new LED pilot light fit in very nicely. I'll wire this to the switched outlet in the rear of the amp which will light the pilot light whenever the amp is turned on.
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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Part 9: Front Panel Rebuild

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:
Automotive design Audio equipment Table Electronic instrument Technology


And here's what it looks like all assembled:
Circuit component Passive circuit component Audio equipment Gas Electronic engineering


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:
Wood Gas Machine Window Building

Table Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


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.
Wood Floor Natural material Wood stain Hardwood

Sports equipment Wheel Tire Wood Road surface

Tool Bumper Wood Automotive exterior Road surface


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 ¼" 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:

Disassembled:
Wood Road surface Flooring Hardwood Composite material


Reassembled Front Panel:
Road surface Wood Asphalt Floor Flooring


New shelf support with clearance for subwoofer:
Wood Gas Machine Composite material Hardwood


Front View:
Motor vehicle Vehicle Wood Automotive design Wheel


Front View with pullout shelf revealed:
Wood Floor Flooring Hardwood Art


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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Part 10 - Project Completed!

I completed the project last night. I intended to write two final blog entries this morning… one for the finishing process and one for the electronics installation. However I discovered that all but one of photographs for the finishing process that I took were not on my digital camera… bummer. So, I'll write what I can about the finish process and have only one photo to work with.

After making all the repairs to cabinet, re-veneering the top, modifying the control face for the new retro radio, and modifying the front tilt-out access panel for the new vacuum tube stereo amplifier kit, and powered subwoofer, it was time time to refinish it.
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I started with applying some trim veneer. I used ebony veneer and applied a 1" band along the bottom of the top edges and also along the top of the bottom base. The cabinet was originally veneered in the same manner. I also applied strips of ebony veneer along face of the slats. The slats were originally veneered with some type of tiger patterned veneer. It sanded off so easily I wondered what it was made of… perhaps it was vinyl?

Next was lots of sanding. The cabinet is 75 years old and had lots of damage, scratches, delaminated veneer, etc. To get a nice finish it had to be repaired, stripped, and sanded very carefully to remove all the scratches and other damage, yet not too aggressively as to sand through the veneer. So I took my time and carefully sanded it down to 220 grit.

I also bleached the new veneer on the top and on the new control panel to lighten it up in preparation for staining… I didn't want any contrast between the new and existing veneer.

After satisfied with the sanding phase, I stained it dark walnut. After completing the stain I was really nervous and concerned that I had stained it too dark. Without any lacquer on it yet it was really looking far too dark and than I intended… I was worried I had made a mistake and there was no correcting it… I don't think I could have sanded off the new stain without sanding through the veneer. So I continued to move forward with the project… with a pit in my stomach.

The next step was the art deco styled scrolled edges and base. On the original cabinet these edges, along with the base, were simply stained and lacquered. I loved the art deco look of the edges and base on this console and I wanted to give them some emphasis so I decided to finish them with a solid colored toning lacquer instead of just clear lacquering them. I used extra dark walnut colored toning lacquer from Mohawk. I had never heard of this product before until I recently read about it on an antique radio forum. I applied this toner lacquer to both the top edges and along the base. I'm really pleased with how they came out and it accomplished just what I was after… putting some emphasis on the edges and base.
Output device Wood Table Wood stain Hardwood


I continued on with the refinishing process by applying a few coats of Mohawk lacquer sanding sealer followed by three coats of Mohawk satin finish clear lacquer. Then I applied the waterslide details (ON/Off for the power switch and the PHILCO logo - available from the Radiodaze website.). I completed with two more coats of lacquer.

Next I glued new antique style speaker grille cloth (available from the Radiodaze website) to the front speaker panel and attached that to the front panel.

Then came installing the electronics. This was pretty straightforward except for the subwoofer. I was concerned about vibration from the subwoofer and wanted to isolate it from the cabinet. I made a sandwich isolation mount if you will(for lack of thinking of a better way to describe it). What I did was: removed the original foot mounts from the powered subwoofer cabinet bottom, then I screwed a piece of plywood to the bottom of it (with a cutout for the port hole), then I placed a set of "isolate it" rubber pads on the platform on the bottom of the cabinet, then put the subwoofer on top of it creating a "rubber sandwich", if you will. I fastened the sandwich together with some self-made aluminum mounts that were lightly screwed together and also isolated with rubber washers. The result is no vibration except at extremely loud volumes.
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Automotive tire Audio equipment Studio monitor Wood Output device


The Tangent Audio Uno table radio fit in its mounting bracket as designed.

The Dynakit ST35 vacuum tube stereo amp kit was simply screwed down to its shelf and held in place with some self-made aluminum mounting brackets.

The pilot light mounted in place as previously shown. I did have to solder a wire and plug to it and covered the soldered part with shrink wrap.

I mounted an antique styled primary power switch and knob on the front control panel, that switched power on and off to a 4-outlet electric box that I had installed in the back of the cabinet and wired the switch to. This allowed me to run all the components off and on with the turn of a single swtich.

I finished by carefully routing all the wires so they were organized and clamped in place so they wouldn't be a tangled nuisance.

I also installed an Apple Airport Express, configured for Airplay, and plugged it into the auxiliary jack of the radio for streaming music from my iPhone and Apple laptop.

So here's how it came out, my apprehension about the dark color turned out to be for not. After lacquering it, it became a really rich looking wood grain and more importantly, my wife loved it.
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Furniture Table Wood Lectern Cabinetry

Furniture Table Shelf Wood Shelving

Wood Table Flooring Floor Hardwood

Wood Gas Engineering Desk Machine

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I can't emphasize enough how nice the vacuum tube amp sounds… I'm really happy that I opted for it. Its new home is now in the corner of my living room.

Next up, remaking the speaker cabinet into antique speaker replica cabinets and making a set of art-deco styled shelves to mount them on… but that will be down the road some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Part 10 - Project Completed!

I completed the project last night. I intended to write two final blog entries this morning… one for the finishing process and one for the electronics installation. However I discovered that all but one of photographs for the finishing process that I took were not on my digital camera… bummer. So, I'll write what I can about the finish process and have only one photo to work with.

After making all the repairs to cabinet, re-veneering the top, modifying the control face for the new retro radio, and modifying the front tilt-out access panel for the new vacuum tube stereo amplifier kit, and powered subwoofer, it was time time to refinish it.
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I started with applying some trim veneer. I used ebony veneer and applied a 1" band along the bottom of the top edges and also along the top of the bottom base. The cabinet was originally veneered in the same manner. I also applied strips of ebony veneer along face of the slats. The slats were originally veneered with some type of tiger patterned veneer. It sanded off so easily I wondered what it was made of… perhaps it was vinyl?

Next was lots of sanding. The cabinet is 75 years old and had lots of damage, scratches, delaminated veneer, etc. To get a nice finish it had to be repaired, stripped, and sanded very carefully to remove all the scratches and other damage, yet not too aggressively as to sand through the veneer. So I took my time and carefully sanded it down to 220 grit.

I also bleached the new veneer on the top and on the new control panel to lighten it up in preparation for staining… I didn't want any contrast between the new and existing veneer.

After satisfied with the sanding phase, I stained it dark walnut. After completing the stain I was really nervous and concerned that I had stained it too dark. Without any lacquer on it yet it was really looking far too dark and than I intended… I was worried I had made a mistake and there was no correcting it… I don't think I could have sanded off the new stain without sanding through the veneer. So I continued to move forward with the project… with a pit in my stomach.

The next step was the art deco styled scrolled edges and base. On the original cabinet these edges, along with the base, were simply stained and lacquered. I loved the art deco look of the edges and base on this console and I wanted to give them some emphasis so I decided to finish them with a solid colored toning lacquer instead of just clear lacquering them. I used extra dark walnut colored toning lacquer from Mohawk. I had never heard of this product before until I recently read about it on an antique radio forum. I applied this toner lacquer to both the top edges and along the base. I'm really pleased with how they came out and it accomplished just what I was after… putting some emphasis on the edges and base.
Output device Wood Table Wood stain Hardwood


I continued on with the refinishing process by applying a few coats of Mohawk lacquer sanding sealer followed by three coats of Mohawk satin finish clear lacquer. Then I applied the waterslide details (ON/Off for the power switch and the PHILCO logo - available from the Radiodaze website.). I completed with two more coats of lacquer.

Next I glued new antique style speaker grille cloth (available from the Radiodaze website) to the front speaker panel and attached that to the front panel.

Then came installing the electronics. This was pretty straightforward except for the subwoofer. I was concerned about vibration from the subwoofer and wanted to isolate it from the cabinet. I made a sandwich isolation mount if you will(for lack of thinking of a better way to describe it). What I did was: removed the original foot mounts from the powered subwoofer cabinet bottom, then I screwed a piece of plywood to the bottom of it (with a cutout for the port hole), then I placed a set of "isolate it" rubber pads on the platform on the bottom of the cabinet, then put the subwoofer on top of it creating a "rubber sandwich", if you will. I fastened the sandwich together with some self-made aluminum mounts that were lightly screwed together and also isolated with rubber washers. The result is no vibration except at extremely loud volumes.
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The Tangent Audio Uno table radio fit in its mounting bracket as designed.

The Dynakit ST35 vacuum tube stereo amp kit was simply screwed down to its shelf and held in place with some self-made aluminum mounting brackets.

The pilot light mounted in place as previously shown. I did have to solder a wire and plug to it and covered the soldered part with shrink wrap.

I mounted an antique styled primary power switch and knob on the front control panel, that switched power on and off to a 4-outlet electric box that I had installed in the back of the cabinet and wired the switch to. This allowed me to run all the components off and on with the turn of a single swtich.

I finished by carefully routing all the wires so they were organized and clamped in place so they wouldn't be a tangled nuisance.

I also installed an Apple Airport Express, configured for Airplay, and plugged it into the auxiliary jack of the radio for streaming music from my iPhone and Apple laptop.

So here's how it came out, my apprehension about the dark color turned out to be for not. After lacquering it, it became a really rich looking wood grain and more importantly, my wife loved it.
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Furniture Table Wood Lectern Cabinetry

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I can't emphasize enough how nice the vacuum tube amp sounds… I'm really happy that I opted for it. Its new home is now in the corner of my living room.

Next up, remaking the speaker cabinet into antique speaker replica cabinets and making a set of art-deco styled shelves to mount them on… but that will be down the road some.
Thanks for kind words Jon and Dean.
 

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