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Antique Radio Cabinet Retrofit #1: Intro

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Blog entry by Pags posted 01-23-2015 05:43 PM 2331 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Antique Radio Cabinet Retrofit series Part 2: The Components »

Having a nice sound system has always been a priority on my life since I was a teenager in the 1970’s. My tastes in music have changed over the years but I still insist on listening to good quality audio equipment. These days I find myself seldom playing CD’s anymore, instead I either stream music from the internet, play music ripped to my laptop via iTunes or listen to my local FM radio station. So my audio equipment has dwindled down to just an integrated amp , a tuner, and speakers.

I’ve always been fascinated with those old radio consoles from the 1930’s and 1940’s and decided it would be neat to retrofit one of these old cabinets with my audio equipment. So begins my next project and first posting on Lumberjocks.

I came across this 1940’s Philco cabinet on ebay which I bought for $40 which I found the art deco design very appealing to match my 1930’s built house…. and most important, my wife agrees

It has a lift up panel where the original tuner went which is a perfect size for the tuner I wish to use. It also has a pull panel that housed a turntable which would be perfect for housing my integrated amp.

The project begins with repairs to the cabinet’s framing…



6 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

13738 posts in 2085 days


#1 posted 01-23-2015 05:55 PM

Hey, this looks good! I’ll follow along.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3023 posts in 1718 days


#2 posted 01-23-2015 07:27 PM

I’ll follow along as well. I have a 1946 Philco cabinet similar to yours. BTW, that was a good buy at $40. Did it have the original knobs on it?

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Pags's profile

Pags

34 posts in 686 days


#3 posted 01-23-2015 08:31 PM


I ll follow along as well. I have a 1946 Philco cabinet similar to yours. BTW, that was a good buy at $40. Did it have the original knobs on it?

- Don Broussard

Yup, I thought it was a good buy too…. but I had to drive 170 miles (round trip) to get it… it seems most of these old radio cabinets are $150 and up on eBay depending on their condition.

Yes the knobs were there too. It was an AM/SW tuner, and it had the Beam-of-Light turntable that you could record your own records with, that did not work out so well for Philco. As I understood it, they only made the Beam-of-Light turntable for two years and then discontinued them… today you can’t get Beam-of-Light parts. I read about a couple of radio guys that made their own parts for this turntable… but you gotta know what your doing.

Here's a link for details of the radio.

I have a 1976 Onkyo TX-4500 receiver that I bought brand new. I have used it regularly over the years (its now my shop radio) and am rather attached to it. I’ve never had problems with it except for burnt out indicator light bulbs. Well it recently suddenly stopped working with a loud pop. I brought it to my local vintage radio repair shop. The tech was thrilled to see it and marveled over it. He is in process of completely overhauling it at the moment. To cut down the cost of the overhaul I gave him the components from this Philco console…. knobs and all… to which he was appreciative.

I talked with him about this project to get his thoughts because I know there will be some folks that will object to me retrofitting a piece of radio history. He encouraged me to proceed and pointed out that even though these old vacuum tube radios can be made to work again, the chassis are well aged and even with new electronic parts mounted in them, they are prone to problems that only folks versed in vacuum tube electronics can deal with (you can electrocute yourself working on this old stuff if you don’t know what your doing). He also commented that they are not fused and susceptible to fire if something shorts out. They also consume a great deal of power. As long as I was doing something nice with the cabinet, he was all for it.

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7483 posts in 1473 days


#4 posted 01-23-2015 09:14 PM

This will be interesting to follow along and see how it turns out. Looking forward to it.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7483 posts in 1473 days


#5 posted 01-23-2015 09:15 PM

Oh, and …

WELCOME to LumberJocks!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7933 posts in 1846 days


#6 posted 01-24-2015 06:56 PM

Looking forward to this.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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