How would I restore the wooden case for this antique radio?

thriftshopApril 28, 2010

It's a Olympic model 410 radio/record player. I know most people say that stripping, sanding and refinishing antiques lessens the value but I don't really care because it needs to be done. The top of the wooden case has the most wear and damage. Nearly all of the lacquer or whatever was on it has peeled and flaked off on most of the outside of the case. Just rubbing it a bit will cause more to flake off exposing the bare wood. A small chunk of wood is missing from the corner of the lid and in one spot the wood is pulled up and needs to be glued back down. Inside the case looks fine but the outside is bad.. really bad.. looks like trash bad. How would I go about restoring the wood? Sand it? Use a solvent to get the remaining finish off? Then stain it? Lacquer it? I really have no idea what I'm doing but the radio was free so I don't have much to lose. Also, the bare wood that is exposed does have a grain pattern that matches whatever stain or lacquer that was applied. Maybe that would help someone in identifying the material/finish.

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I would mix up lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol....2/3 alcohol and 1/3 lacquer thinner...swab on...let sit 30 seconds and wipe off with paper towels....repeat until all is even....then brush on a finish of your choice.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Use Elmer's carpenter wood glue to glue the loose area down & lay a clean rag on it & a heavy book, for a few seconds & then wipe any glue that is around edges & test that way a time or 2 & then use books (like 3-4 inches thick) on it overnight. A lot of other glues will loosen when you go to stain it & put your top coats on, then you have a mess. Repair the loose wood first before using Linda's mix to get old finish off. All the finish is off when there are no "shiny spots" anywhere.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:59AM
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Yes....fix the wood before you work on finish....
I don't lay a rag on the glued spot...I use waxed paper...less likely to stick and if it does water dissolvs it fairly easily.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 1:10PM
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Many of those old radios used a thin veneer for the outer layer of the case, so use caution and be gentle with the wood. It will be easy to sand right through the outer layer.

Clean off the old finish and repair the wood before refinishing. Before destroying the finish, take photos of the details, notable any pin striping and decals around the knobs. You may wish to duplicate the trim decoration.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 5:49PM
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Thanks everyone for all of your helpful advice. I have discovered that the wood that makes up the top hinged cover is made of some sort of Masonite so I'm not sure how I am going to deal with this. I might just have to go cheap and roll on some contact paper as I'm not sure what else I can do.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 8:18AM
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