Sunday, March 18, 2012

Radio Refinish Project, Part 1

1929 Philco Lowboy Radio
We picked up this Philco Radio at a flea market in April of 2011 for only $20. It is in rough shape. The top veneer is missing and the speaker cover and speaker are totally busted out. A photo of this in it's original condition can be found here. Still, we have it setting in the corner of our kitchen with a cloth covering the top and a plant and few items on top, it's nice piece for the area.

I've always admired the radio restoration project Jake Von Slatt featured on his site where he took an old radio and turned it into a guitar amp. I also recently found where restored an radio with new speakers, LED's and an iPod connection.

Motivated, I decided to finally clean up ours. Since the case was in such bad shape, I couldn't see spending the money to get the radio working again. We decided to simply clean up the case, replace the missing knobs and replace the broken speaker cover with a etched, brass plate. This is mainly going to be a decorator piece, but we are going to use it to hold our internet and wi-fi routers.

First I removed the speaker and speaker cover. The speaker cover had clam-shell motif which I traced and worked up a floral pattern which I'll etch and place within the speaker opening. The brass has been ordered and I'll be working on it over the coming months (in-between all my other etching projects).

Dust encrusted vacuum tubes.

Next I removed the tuner assembly. Here is where all the weight of the radio resided. I've stripped the tuner of all vacuum tubes and all electrical component that I could remove. Once cleaned up, I'll replace the assembly so the station dial and knobs can be reassembled. There were 6 vacuum tubes. Once the decades of dust has been removed, they're quite nice. I'm saving these for a future project.

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