Tom's Antique Radio Repair

Lets Get That Old Radio of Yours Working Again!

Cabinet Restoration



 Old varnish is removed inside and out.

 stain is applied.

10-15 coats of Formby's Tung Oil Varnish.

The speaker grille cloth is replaced.

New knob decals and the brand name is put back on.



Refinishing Radio's like those shown above.

$135 - $235

Price includes the speaker grille cloth, knob decals and cabinet feet if needed.



Console Radios

    A simple cabinet refinishing will start at $495 with an average cost at around $700. This would include refinishing your radio console inside and out, new speaker grille cloth, knob decals if needed and cabinet feet.





For those do-it-yourself people here is what I do. It is not hard, just time consuming. 


Before starting, remove everything from the cabinet. This would include the speaker, grille cloth and the dial plate escutcheon. Tape 3x5 cards over any tube layout or radio information that you would like to keep. Tape heavily over the 3x5 cards and then trim the masking tape.

I use Acetone to remove the old varnish. Using steel wool # 0000 grade, rub the Acetone in and wipe the old varnish off with a rag. Use a tooth brush and a 1 inch paint brush to help you get the Acetone in those cracks and corners.

Once you are sure that all the varnish is removed, take the console out into the sunlight and check it over again. You will be surprised at what you've missed. Wipe the Acetone residue from the cabinet using a clean rag wet with Acetone.

Using Red Oak or Red Mahogany (its a little darker) stain, apply over the whole cabinet generously so that it soaks into those cracks and corners. Do the inside also and wipe it all off with a clean cloth. If you are doing a large cabinet or console, stain in sections and then wipe off. Stain can be tough to get off if you let it dry.

Using Formby's Tung Oil Low Gloss varnish, you will apply roughly 20 coats until no noticeable change is observed when applied. This is very thin and will soak in and dry quite rapidly. You can apply 4 - 5 coats every day. When the surface has a rough feeling, buff it smooth with your #0000 steel wool. Applying 3 - 4 more coats of Tung Oil will really bring out the wood grain. You will be amazed how nice your cabinet will look.

Most radio have a bezel made of brass. These look really nice when shined up again. Yes, you can do that also.

Carefully remove the glass/plastic dial cover if it is attached to the bezel. Place the bezel on a flat plate or in the laundry tub and cover with catsup! It works best if you can lay the bezel down into the catsup. Wait 1 -2 hours and buff that black oxide off with your #0000 steel wool. If you have a Dermal with a wire brush,  use it to get into those tight spots. You must work fast because the cleaned brass will start to tarnish again. Dry the bezel, smooth out the finish with # 0000 steel wool and spray some gloss clear coat over it to seal that brass from the air. This will keep it looking nice for a long time.



Dial Cover


If your bezel had a plastic dial cover, you can buy a new one here or have him replace it for you:



Speaker Grille Cloth


Buy new grille cloth here. No one is making the old style grille cloth anymore, but these guys have some nice cloth::