Monday, February 22, 2016

A timely Gift

From the class of 2015-2016
Well, retirement had to come sooner or later and the end of January seemed to be the perfect time. My hour had come, so they say.

I was invited into the classroom; wait a minute I thought. Is something happening? A few seconds later they presented this very timely gift, a memento of my retirement, a clock. I have to give them a big hand!

The second year class whom I had taught for nearly two years knew that I had an interest in clock collecting and repair and thought that a timepiece would be appropriate as a retirement gift. And it was and I was touched. They even had it inscribed.

An appropriate memento
Interestingly enough it is probably the most accurate clock in our home. I have 25 mechanical clocks, all shapes and sizes and not one can maintain the accuracy of this small clock, such is the state of modern technology.

I looked on top and said, "what in the world is this? And it spins too. I thought my wife and I could use it to travel the world. You know, spins it with eyes closed and see what area of the world I touch that we could explore.
What on earth is this?
I will miss this class and I will miss my years of teaching. However I hope to see the smiling faces of the second year class at graduation in June as they proudly walk across the stage.

Go here to see my collection of clocks.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Westinghouse console radio progress

Masked and ready for trim painting
There was not be as much work to do on this project as I had thought. Firstly, the side panels are in very good shape. I though it would be a real shame to strip it all down. I have seen disastrous results of wholesale stripping and I did not really want to go there.  

I did some light sanding and applied clear lacquer to the existing finish to fill in small scratches and gouges. The results were very positive. I then applied a clear polyurethane coat over the top of the sides and front to bring back the original finish and that glossy look.

Following side renewal I decided to do something a little more radical on the trim sections. Most of the unsightly damage was to those sections; the base plate sections were the worst.  

I had two options, sand those sections down to the bear wood and recover them or cover over them with paint. 

I selected the second option and after a good cleaning, taking the grease and oil off and light sanding I applied three coats of Espresso furniture paint to those areas. The photo above shows those sections masked off for painting. The Espresso colour has the effect of bringing the case up to date while retaining that original 1930s charm (1936 is the actual year of manufacture). I believe it takes nothing away from the radio itself. In fact I think it enhances it very nicely. I have some grill cloth draped in the back of the cabinet to eliminate back light and to see how the trim came out.
Trim completed
The next area is the chassis and the dial cover.
Dial cover showing significant yellowing
The dial cover will be a challenge. I have used Brasso and toothpaste as well as plain old water and while I can get most of the grime off it still is not what I want it to be. I have heard that hydrogen peroxide works so that might be the next step. A clear dial cover is really going to show this radio off so it has to be just right. The actual channel numerals are on a glass panel behind the dial cover and aside from a lot of grease and oil buildup over the years it is in great shape, fortunately. If all else fails my plan B is to buy a reproduction dial cover from a company in the USA.
Back of the radio chassis
Next will be cleaning the radio chassis. I have already used compressed air to blow out most of the loose dirt. Now a little elbow grease to get years of grime off the tubes and electronic parts. 

Do I want the radio to work? I have been loath to turn it on because the power cord is in such poor condition but I may replace it and we'll see what happens. It was never my intent to have a fully functioning radio but what if it did work after all these years?