In the following few
pictures you will see some of the restorations that I have
done over the past few years. I will also have some
educational passages about my restoration processes
including what I do and what I don't do in the restoration
process. This is not 'all inclusive' by any stretch of the
imagination. All restorations are different and every
customer needs or wants something different. The following
is merely a guideline as to the what's, how's and why's of
most of my restoration processes including what is
cleaned, what is replaced and what is restored from
original. If original finishes are good enough they are
always retained. If not, they are restored. I always
replace filter (electrolytic) capacitors. Most of the time
I do a total recap of the radio but sometimes, if the
original parts are exceptional in their present
state, they are retained. I always check all resistors and
original wiring as well as switches, potentiometers and
all dial strings and dial lights (if the set has them). I
always inspect the AC cord and replace it if needed. The
tubes are always checked for filament continuity and
emissions as well as any defects. I clean, inspect and
replace anything that will limit the overall intent of
your radio, which is the listening pleasure that you
expect. Although most of these jewels are very old they
all still play well and will give years of listening and
visual enjoyment. Really, there is nothing like a vintage
collectable tube radio for your audio enjoyment or as a
conversation piece in you home, office, business or
First, some before and
1934 Philco Model 84-B
Before and after restoration
Before and after restoration
1940 Philco Model 40-120
Before and after
1942 Western Royal Model W4B16, Series A
Before and after restoration
The radio above was a battery set that I restored and one
of my battery
eliminators was installed. Now you just plug it in and
play the radio without having to worry about rare and hard
to find 90 volt DC battery packs.
Zenith Model 6D-029
Before and after
As you can see, most vintage
collectable radios can be "saved" with a little knowledge
and some hard work.
So.....don't throw away a family
heirloom or keepsake. Don't throw away that yard sale find
just because it doesn't work or you decided that you just
can't refinish it like you would have wanted to.
Let me give it a try.
Feel free to
email me if you
have some questions about this process or want prices on
something you would like restored.
Here is a list of some of the things
that I do and the levels of restoration that I offer for
tube radios and antique electronics:
no real cosmetic restoration, per se. I can do a tertiary
clean up the chassis and case and get it working for you.
Minimal cost plus shipping. It really depends on what I
have to do to get it up and running.
chassis restoration only. I can clean up the chassis, do a
diagnostic on all parts. Clean and lubricate all moving
parts. Check all wiring and replace dangerous shorts or
potential shorts. Replace the capacitors and filter
capacitors. R&R the speaker but not re-cone (that
costs more) Replace the power cord if needed (or wanted by
the owner) and check out the antenna or add a new one.
Finally I re-align the chassis to factory specs.
involves all of level 2 plus a cosmetic restoration
of the chassis and all internal parts.
involves all of level 2 and 3 plus a restoration of the
cabinet including to but not limited to cleaning and
buffing of all bakelite, restoration of existing wooden
cabinet and all other parts of the radio. In other words,
an electronic and cosmetic restoration, limited to
existing (non-destructed) items
this level of restoration involves a lot of work with very
minute attention to detail. All existing filter caps are
re-stuffed with new components, not just replaced.
That give the chassis a very original look to those
purists out there that want that. Re-coning of the speaker
if necessary. The restoration of the cabinet (case)
involves intricate restoration processes including but not
limited to re-veneering, re-building broken, missing or
damaged pieces of wood or bakelite, and if needed or
wanted, a complete re-paint to factory original colors or
a custom color combination desired by the client. These
can be added to any level of restoration at any
time, just ask.
Most of the restorations that I do are of the Level
4 process, a complete chassis and cosmetic restoration.
All of the radios that I sell are of this level unless
otherwise listed in the sale description. I use UL listed
cords for the replacements and I use era specific cords as
well. So, if your bakelite came with a rubber cord, you
will get a new UL listed cord of the same design, not
rubber but of a like design and appearance. If your wooden
tombstone came with a cloth covered cord and bakelite
plug, then that is what will be used to replace your
original. Yes, you could say ANAL but I like them to sound
and look like the originals. No inch thick poly coatings
here. No 15 layer lacquer coatings here. No sprays,
coatings or WD40 on your bakelite radios either. Don't
even ask, 'cuz I won't do it. Sorry but my policy is that
I restore these beauties not ruin them.
I have recently began installing an external jack on
some of my radio restorations. I have found that these
are very handy when you want to play your iPod, Mp3, FM
tuner, record player, CD player, satellite radio or just
about anything else. I have placed some pictures on a
you to see the installation of the jack. This jack is a
3.5 mm or 1/8 in "mini" jack receiver that will accept
any input from virtually any player of any kind.
Local electronics shops or Radio Shack will have
converters to change your various output jacks to this
mini jack system if you do not have the correct one, (
i.e. RCA jacks or 1/4 inch stereo jacks) They are
very affordable but if you have one of the above
mentioned audio sources, it will probably have one of
these 1/4 inch jacks already. I have more info on the
link page that has the pictures. The picture shown is of
my newest restoration, a General Television and Radio
model 5B5 with a plaskon case, which I am adding to my
Page under Plastic
If you are customer who is receiving a chassis or full
radio restoration I can probably put one of these in for
you. If you are purchasing a radio from me...I can put
one in prior to shipping if it does not already come
with one. I have had a lot of interest in these
and have recently begun offering it to my customers and
I have found that there are a few radios out there with
configurations that will not allow this particular item
to be added. They have fairly non-typical tube strings,
amplification or mixer/detector configuration that will
not allow this sort of jack to be tied into the system.
I would say that over 90 percent of the radios produced
will be able to have this conversion and as such, I will
do the research on your particular radio to see if it is
will also accept your radio and put the jack into it
( if it is compatible ) even if I am not restoring or
refurbishing it. You pay shipping and the cost of
installing the jack.
me for pricing.
that being said, here is a short blurb on the restoration
of a great little metal midget for my personal collection.
Restoration of a
1949 Arvin, Model 442,
metal cased, 4 tube radio made by
Here is where I outline the restoration of a radio
chassis on a little radio that I am currently restoring
for my collection. For this particular instance I am going
to chronicle the restoration of a small metal cased Arvin,
4 tube radio. Most of the restoration is straight forward
and is not much different than some of the larger, more
advanced radios. There are subtle differences in those
larger radios including more capacitors; more filter
capacitors and more resistors as well as much more
intricate circuitry and wiring. There is usually more to
look at, more to test, (including more tubes) and more to
replace. However this “for instance” is merely a tool for
learning the process of what I do and not the end product.
foremost it is very wise to get a schematic on the radio
in question. Riders Schematics are great tools in the
restoration of radios, Amps and other electronic devices.
I got this one from
Nostalgia Air. They are a great source for
schematics and other items including restoration tips,
techniques and a great talk forum for others who have the
same 'addiction' as I do. Some guys will tell you
not to plug it in, always bring up the radio on a variac
(a variable voltage rheostat that starts at 0 volts and
can be dialed up to 125 volts, or in the case of the one
that I have, 250 volts) some say never plug it in until
the cord is replaced or all of the capacitors have been
replaced and so on and so on. I say BUNK !! plug the
little sucker in. If it blows a fuse, there is something
wrong. If it fails to come on, something is wrong. If it
comes on then goes off, something is wrong. If it comes on
and plays but you can’t tune it, there is something wrong.
If it comes on and plays and tunes in but hums, or
“motorboats” or squeals, or does something that it is not
suppose to do, there is something wrong. In most instances
there is generally something wrong with the radio and it
needs the attention of someone that works on and restores
tube radios. Like Me. If you are sending it to me
and you know what it did, does not do, or did after you
plugged it in, please send that information along with the
radio. It’s much easier for me and much cheaper for you in
the long run. I have never seen a radio that did not need
‘a little something’ to make it work better. There are
always things wrong with that collectable antique unless
it was just restored by some (qualified) tech. No matter
what grandma said: “that radio has always had that hum,
that is what old radios do” is not always correct. These
are great sounding, quasi sophisticated electronic sets
that if tuned, maintained and operated properly have great
clear and radiant sound. Note this: THE HUM IS
NOT NORMAL TO OLD TUBE RADIOS!
goes: The radio, as I received it.
Totally original except for some tubes that had been
replaced over the years. click on any of the pictures for
larger pictures of the restoration
The underside of the chassis
chassis above has four tubes, a tuning capacitor (the
right side of picture one) you can see the speaker in
front, and on top of the speaker is the antenna coil, to
the right rear is the frequency coil.
picture on the right you can see the long, cylindrical
tubes (the smaller ones, yellow and green) they are the
capacitors. The large, long cylindrical tube with the
writing on it (upper left side) is the multi-part
electrolytic (filter) capacitor. These will all be
replaced with modern equivalents.
will see that in the first picture, the original
electrolytic capacitor has been removed and the other
capacitors are being replaced. In the next picture all of
the capacitors have been replaced and the three
electrolytic capacitors have now been replaced and the
chassis is ready
Here are the old, original
capacitors that were taken out, and the finished chassis.
Detailed, cleaned, all tubes checked and cleaned. Tuning
capacitor cleaned and inspected. Speaker cleaned and
inspected. All wiring checked and replaced if necessary.
All resistors checked for damage and to be within factory
tolerances. A new cord installed as well as a new long
wire antenna. It plays Great!
The top of the
little metal Arvin, before restoration
now for the cosmetic restoration of the metal cabinet:
Outside shot shows
off the great black Lacquer paint
Inside shot of top
and front after placing the foil dial markings back on
The finished back and
front of my little Arvin Model 442, completely cleaned and
restored. Full electronic and cosmetic restoration. I have
a difficult time showing in my pictures the absolutely
beautiful black lacquer paint. The case was painted with
automotive lacquer and has 6 total coats of paint. Each
was hand sanded and hand buffed between coats. I am very
proud of this little set because of the exceptional paint
job. It is absolutely flawless. Black lacquer if very hard
to put on and is so hard to photograph as well,
especially when you are such and amateur when it comes to
photography, as I am. However it's a real beauty.
Sometimes you just luck out, don't you.
Restoration of a 1939 Sonora
I received this great little Sonora in the "as pictured"
condition (totally original and unrestored) from Jeff
I have purchased several
sets from him in the past couple of years. Check out his
site. Great restorations and great prices on restored,
semi-restored and unrestored radios and other stuff.
It was a real buy
considering the rarity of the set. They are really hard to
find and I feel lucky to get my hands on one. He was going
to keep it for his own collection but (as with most of us)
too much client work and a nagging space issue forced him
to sell it.........My luck, his loss (again, Thanks very
much Jeff. You don't know how long I have waited for
one of these)
I totally restored the
chassis but I am only showing the cosmetic restoration in
these next few photos. Click on any of the photos to take
you to a page with larger (more resolution) pictures.
The 1939 Sonora WAU-243
Bakelite Case (totally original and undamaged in any way,
except for wear on the original cream white paint), 5 Tube
chassis, push button station setting as well as a large
(almost 4 inches across) station dial on the top. Standard
on/off/volume knob in the center front.
Way Deco, Way Kool, Way desirable, and (normally) Way out
of my price range......until now!
Sonora as pictured for sale on Radiotiques website and in
"as delivered" condition
radio stripped of the chassis and knobs
radio in "stripped" condition. Just as a side note:
Removing the original paint from a radio that is nearly 70
years old.....it a real bear. Don't think that you will do
it in an afternoon. Especially these deco design sets with
a lot of bars, grill slots and nooks and crannies. It's
just not a fun or fast job.
The final product. I painted it an
automotive yellow because I liked the color in combination
with the burgundy colored knobs. I use auto lacquer
because it is durable and there is a myriad of colors
available. I got a little tired of brown bakelite, black
bakelite and cream bakelite. I don't usually add much
color to my restorations because antique radios simply did
not come in many varied or vibrant colors....This radio is
an exception as it is going to stay in my collection, So
Yellow it is !!!
(oops, I actually have to go to WORK!!!, check back for
updates to this page in the near future)