Restoration of a Radiola 60
See our local restoration contest: SQCRA 2012-2013
Bought from a retiring hobby technician, this candidate wasn't
meant to be one. I bought it with a bunch other stuff and really had no
intention of making anything with it. My passion is for consoles, but a
loaded schedule left me with little time for a big project, so I
thought this would take less time. Error...
As can be witnessed, the case was as good as firewood can get. No parts
of the cabinet held
together and a fragile temporary assembly was necessary in order to
figure out how the cabinet was assembled and assess what was missing.
The lower mouldings except two small broken pieces were gone and most
of the bottom except for a piece of veneer
and a piece of planck. They would be helpfull as templates in
order to reproduce the original pieces. The sides were in terrible
shape, broken surface veneer and delaminated plywood base made it
difficult to recuperate. The top had two holes for who knows what
purpose...??? It was the only fair piece.
Temporary assembly (upside down)
chassis is made of two seperate sections, one for power supply and
other for the other functions. The frames were thoroughly rusted and
the main transformer had it's HV
coil open. So the previous owner fiddled some diodes on a perfboard and
made his HV directly from household current (120Volts AC in North
America). A large coil with aligator clips were used as an antena, far
State of the chassis below. Wiring was
fair but those which protruded outside were in poor shape requiring
replacement. Not too many components as can be seen.
of a main transformer from another chassis. This one has three
secondary windings instead of two like the 60. I would find out it
meant less power on the 2.5 volts winding and that meant powering all
the tubes would be difficult, voltage dropping seriously and imparing
reception. Choosing tubes surprisingly lowered the consumption and
increased this voltage from 1.4 to 1.8, permitting fairly good reception. So began the dismantling of the electronics.
Detail of the interconnections between the chassis and pited rust.
Dismantling the tuning chassis.
The terminal strip between the two chassis was quite oxidized. Completely dimantled, it dipped
in some rust removal solution for a whole day. It came out quite clean
with the zinc plating in good condition.
The stripped chassis ready for paint.
The tuner section and power supply repainted with the replacement power transformer in place. Wiring replaced.
Replacing wires with period correct coton covered conductors and power cord.
Connection to mains by solder then taped with coton electrical tape
(left), as the original.
Resistors were measured and within tolerance and used as is except for one, preserving originality.
Next began the task of restoring the cabinet. Figuring out how to
fabricate the missing pieces from what was left and no other references
proved to be an investigation of Sherlock Holmes level...
Copying what was left of the original lower moulding
One missing corner reproduced. A combination of router bits and bench saw moulding blades were necessary to reproduce the old profiles.
The round part in each corner of the lower mouldings had to be shaped
without a router bit, but with a moulding blade on the saw bench
which proved to be difficult and dangerous but it did the job.
More work with files and sandpaper was necessary to properly fine tune
and ajust the pieces.
I used a birch log and proceeded to make plancks out of it in order to
fabricate the bottom, then these plancks were laminated as the
original. One planck was left from the original and reused.
The old bottom veneer, the only piece left was used as a template to drill all the necessary holes.
Holes drilled, the reproduced mouldings glued to the new bottom and a rough staining complete the base.
Clamping the delaminated side boards. Diluted carpenters glue
was injected with a large medical seringe between the many layers A heavy board 2 inches thick is
used to apply uniform pressure over the entire surface.
Applying new veneer to all side boards with contact cement.
After regluing some of
the base laminates, a proper veneer had to be applied for a nice
finish. Unfortunately, this birch which was applied without a flaw had
to be redone entirely with mahogany which matched the original much
Color matching with homemade samples besides the old top piece.
After many atempts to match the original color, success was achieved
with Mohawk stain. Next came the laquer finish with close to ten layers and sanding
between each layer. At the last layers, sanding through 220, 400, 600,
800, 1000, 2000 grits, then polishing with powders and a final finish was
executed with Rottenstone to yeld a superb surface. The difference
between sanding and polishing can be seen in the left picture. Fifteen hours of
rubbing were necessary for all the individual parts of the cabinet to
achive good results. Working on each unasembled part made the work easier and of better quality. However...
Never enough clamps!!!
Assembly caused many difficulties, as each component was finished to a
bright polish and had to be accomplished in one shot. Not damaging and avoiding spreading glue was quite a
task. Having enough of those clamps is another matter...
Escutcheons stripped of three layers of paint had to be treated gently
in order to save the original patina. A light coat of linseed oil made
them come back to life. They look quite nice on the finished cabinet
The feet are reproductions and were bought on Ebay. A good choice since
I had access to none and would be very difficult to reproduce.
Two holes in the top had to be plugged with dowels and diamond shaped
veneer patches laid in the existing veneer over both holes in order to make a very
clean repair. This allowed to save the top and does not
distract too much once finished. This trick was learned on the TV show The New Yankke Workshop.
More veneer repair. When missing pieces like this corner, a piece of
scrap closely matching the type and grain patern is used and heavily
pressed in position to fill the gap.
The speaker that will accompany the radio is an RCA A100. It was one of
the matches sold with the Radiola 60 back in the late 20's. This one was in fair condition with
one grillecloth and the wire to be replaced. A good cleaning and
some linseed oil brought it back to a nice sheen.
Some new wires for the antena and the pilot lamp, a new bulb, a mix of
the best 26A lamps I had in my stock, installed and complete the chassis.
The radio and speaker as presented at the contest.
Working nicely in this recessed part of the woods for our annual gathering in Brigham, Quebec which has no close radio stations.
This project was a pretty big undertaking, but how satisfying. To be
able to bring back a true piece of junk to its former glory is nothing
short of wonderfull. And this cabinet style is not that spectacular on
its own design, but I have to admit its among the best looking I have
in my collection now.
This is the reason I promote restorations.
Back to Yesterday's Waves restoration page