Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Renewing an old Westinghouse console radio

I have had this Westinghouse console radio with chassis number 512  for a number of years and now that I have the extra time it seemed appropriate to fix it up. I don't know what model number it is but as is the case in many of these old radios and Westinghouse is no exception, the 512 chassis found it's way into a lot of radios, consoles and tabletops alike. If you happen know the model number please let me know. I do know that it was made in 1936.

Westinghouse console radio
I thought it needed total redoing but a couple of things concern me. In the photo you can see a view of a geometric-style design (upper part of the clock along the sides) which might be very hard to duplicate, so let's stay with a mild rejuvenation rather than wholesale stripping. 
This design would be very difficult to duplicate
It also looks like someone (not me) tried to spruce it up by applying a new coat of lacquer(?). Not unsightly but I can work around that. Some of that lacquer got onto the dial cover which is problematic.
Chassis #512
You can see tin or brass plates above two of the knobs. Did the other knobs have the same feature? I really don't think so though it looks a little off balance. The knobs appear to be original, great! When you buy these old radios there is typically a knob or two missing which is a pain because it is so difficult to find matching knobs.
Plates above first and third knobs
Dial cover is old and yellowed
The dial face is dark and yellowed with age. Can it be replaced? Apparently,yes. There is a company in the USA that sells after-market dial covers. Right now I am trying to see what I can do with Murphy's soap and toothpaste.

Radio chassis removed from the console
I spent part of the day re-gluing some veneer; always a necessary first step. Thankfully there was little to clamp and glue, not like my previous project. The frame is in great shape and the veneer has weathered time quite well. In the above photo the veneer on the left side lifted about 1/4 of an inch and that was the worst part. It is important to have a good assortment of spring and pressure clamps when you are restoring old furniture. Use yellow carpenter's glue rather than the white stuff, it holds better. Purists please note: I probably would have used hide glue if this was an authentic step-by-step restoration.

Next is taking off the seemingly thousands of drops of white paint. Why don't folks cover their furniture when they paint rooms. A bit of a pain but very do-able though time consuming.

I will report on my progress but in the meantime here is a Stromberg Carlson 662 that I recently finished.

Stromberg Carlson 662
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