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Repair and Restoration => Tube Consoles => Topic started by: electra225 on June 01, 2016, 10:28:04 PM

Title: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 01, 2016, 10:28:04 PM
Now that I have my garage painting project all done, I should have time to get started on this little stereo.  This is the second from the bottom in my Magnavox collection comparing selling prices when new.  This stereo was about $325 new, plus $35 for an MPX adapter. 

I was hired to help clean up after an auction some years back.  This stereo was a part of that auction.  It failed to get a bid.  It was headed for the dumpster.  I asked if I could just junk it in my pickup.  The auctioneer stated that he could not let me have it free gratis, but that, if I wanted to pay him something for it, I could buy it.  I offered, and he accepted my bid of $1.  I owned myself a Magnavox stereo.

Someone had attempted, for whatever reason, to refinish the cabinet.  There is a large water ring on one of the sliding lids.  The entire instrument is a mess.  I have been using it in my garage since I got it, totally original, down to the dust.  The radio works well.  The changer actually still changes records, but the speed is uneven and it makes lots of racket as the platter turns.  The drive tire is hard and cracked.  This instrument has the "Feather Touch" tone arm.  It has an 88-02-00 amplifier and the little 6-tube tuner (model unknown), the one with two dial strings.  My only concern with operation is that the tuner knob is very hard to turn.  There is no MPX adapter, so I will need to find one of those.  This particular model is one with the tuner at one end of the cabinet and the turntable at the other.  Not horribly handy, but this is the only one I have like that.  The finish color is "NWAL" and it has black grain filler.  The sliding lids are veneered tempered Masonite, versus photofinished.  It appears that the front and sliding lids are darker than the frame.  I'm not sure if this is right or not, but it looks nice like that.  I'm going to do the work downstairs in my garage so I don't have to drag this entire thing up stairs to my bench.  This may take all summer, as I'm sure my wife will find plenty for me to do as well.

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 02, 2016, 07:50:46 PM
I look forward to this restoration thread.  That will be a decent looking cabinet when done.  You might get by with wiping it down with Minwax stain the same color.........  Howard's Restor-a-Finish is another good product to use.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on June 02, 2016, 09:42:25 PM
If it was going to stay in the garage you could just paint it to match your tool box and put a Snap On logo on it!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 02, 2016, 10:31:19 PM
The only practical choice I have is to do a total refinish.  Somebody partially stripped this cabinet and almost half the grain filler is gone.  I considered something simpler. believe me, but I'm not gonna get that lucky.

Snap-0n red, eh?  I had not thought of that.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 04, 2016, 03:08:41 PM
I have the stereo on my new table, made just for this project.  I have some disassembly done.  This instrument has the traditional hardwood cabinet, but does not have one thimble full more of "hand-rubbed oil finish" than was absolutely necessary to cover just what of the cabinet that you can see.  They even taped off to the cabinet back.  There is no finish under the back at all.  I have also learned that they put the black grain filler on before the finish, which was sprayed on.  Stain and finish at the same time.  This thing is a real mess as far as the cabinet finish is concerned.  Somebody almost ruined it beyond help.  I have pics, and will post them when I get a chance.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 04, 2016, 11:07:45 PM
I Googled "Hand-rubbed oil finish" and got all kinds of good advice, none specific to Magnavox.  I'm trying to find out what " oil" was used for the "up to ten coats of hand-rubbed oil finish" that Magnavox used specifically.  My guess is either tung oil or teak oil.  Certainly it was not lacquer.  My furniture refinisher, which is a 50-50 mixture of lacquer thinner and acetone will barely move the old finish.  Denatured alcohol is nasty stuff to work with, but I'll bet that is what I'll need to remove what is left of the old finish.  I do not want to use stripper. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 04, 2016, 11:32:02 PM
Here are some pictures of this project so far.

The codes are "61-39" on the tubes.  The 6V6's say "Japan" and are likely Hitachi sourced.  The large speakers are coded "61-35" and the four smaller speakers are coded "61-37".  Using those codes, this instrument was built in the latter part of September, 1961.  The 6CA4 rectifier is coded "61-39, 274" which would make it from the 39th week of 1961, RCA sourced.  The three 6EU7 audio tubes are coded "139, 312" which would make them from the 39th week of 1961, Sylvania sourced.  I have not gotten to the rest of the tubes at this point.

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 04, 2016, 11:44:07 PM
My wife made me clean the inside of the cabinet before I could take pictures.  "You are not going to post pictures of that filthy thing on my watch!.  People will think we live like beggars."  My wife.  Ms Neat.  I told her you guys EXPECTED it to be dusty and dirty.  She would not hear any argument.  So that is why everything looks fairly clean.  And, I can see the codes better this way.

You can see the black grain filler and places where it does not exist.

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 04, 2016, 11:53:52 PM
The closest I can find to "NWAL" is "American Walnut".  Regular colors of walnut are too brown, not red enough.  Mahogany is too red.  Cherry is too pink.  I tried mixing walnut with cherry and or mahogany and was not thrilled.  American Walnut most closely matches the front panel, which is in reasonably good shape.  I want to only sand it and put on a new finish.  The rest of the cabinet is a mish-mash of whatever is left over, and the lids are a total disaster.  I'm not sure I can even save them.......

The grille cloth appears in good condition.  It is fairly wavy and needs restretched.  It is felony filthy.  I'm not sure that "Mr. Grillecloth" could clean this stuff.  It looks like generic guitar amp cloth might work acceptably well....

Furniture refinishing is not my kettle of fish.  I have sanded some old radio cabinets down and squirted them with poly, but this is my first real effort at returning a cabinet back to its semi-original state.  We will be taking this little adventure and I will be learning as I go along.   :-\
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 05, 2016, 12:11:13 AM
Your wife had a good idea there.  It looks a lot better cleaned up.  Looks like the fun is just beginning!!!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 05, 2016, 08:59:49 AM
Although worrying about grille cloth is a tad precipitous, what would you do, Larry?  It is not rotten, but I'm not sure I can talk my upholstery guy into "fixing" it.  Put it into the dishwasher, maybe?  It is EXTREMELY dirty.  If you look at the picture with the pilot light and the "Magnavox" emblem, there are actually cobwebs between the weaving.   :'(

This instrument should probably be a legitimate candidate for a parts set.  It works so well, I just could not dump it.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 05, 2016, 12:54:21 PM
I would probably just replace the cloth.  They make some plastic weave cloth for guitar amps that works well in these sets.  I used some in my Magnavox Berkshire and you wouldn't know it isn't original.  I got a dark solid color burgandy cloth.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 05, 2016, 02:13:57 PM
Thanks, Larry.  That may be what I do.

I have determined by looking in hidden spots that the cabinet on this instrument is actually two shades of "NWAL."  The front panel and lids are darker than the frame, no doubt about that. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 05, 2016, 11:10:56 PM
One end of the cabinet appears more faded than the other.  It is possible that sun damage has occurred at some time.  I'm trying to figure out what is on this cabinet for a finish.  Lacquer thinner and acetone will not float it off.  I do not want to strip the cabinet.  I would like to leave the stain, at least at the start.  If I cannot identify the finish, I may have no choice but to use stripper and start from scratch.  A color picture of this model Magnavox would help, but the only picture I have is in the 1961 brochure and it is black and white.  The finish has to be some type of oil....tung oil, Danish oil, linseed, something like that.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on June 06, 2016, 01:53:47 PM
My best guess is that it is probably Tung Oil and if so your only real choice at achieving an even finish is going to be a complete strip and refinish.   


I recently refinished an old dresser from the early 1900's and after a number of attempts at removing the old finish without destroying the original toning and grain filler it became apparent that the only way to get an acceptable finish was a complete Nuke & Pave!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 06, 2016, 07:10:14 PM
I am having to completely disassemble the left end of the cabinet to get the speaker board out.  So far, I have not destroyed anything, maybe left a couple tool marks where I had to pry things apart.  It is an incredible amount of work for a simple procedure.  I believe I can get it back together successfully.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 06, 2016, 08:16:16 PM
Yes, Ken, I'm preparing for a total refinish.  I'm gonna try to shortcut part of it, but that may not work out.  I have completely disassembled the cabinet, save one panel of the record storage compartment.  The motor board laid in the way of removing the left hand ( viewed from the rear, actually Channel 2) speaker board out.  The good news is, that with the exception of raking my knuckles over a partial removed screw and bleeding all over my work, and with the small exception of de-laminating a teeny spot of the plywood front panel, I got the thing apart with no issues.  Fortunately this cabinet is all screwed together and they went easy on the glue.  What little faux pas's that were created are easily repairable.  I was wondering how I was going to repaint the interior of the record storage compartment.  Now I know. 

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 06, 2016, 08:27:12 PM
Aren't you glad that Magnavox used screws to put the cabinet together?  Some manufacturers glued everything, making it virtually impossible to dismantle the cabinet. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 06, 2016, 08:32:35 PM
I am.  This has not been that bad so far.  I'm planning a hand-rubbed tung oil finish.  That seems like the most likely original material. 

This is a lot of work for a $1 stereo.   ;)
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on June 06, 2016, 09:07:48 PM
Nice pile of parts you have there Gregg!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 06, 2016, 10:09:05 PM
Thank you, Ken.  I hope I can turn the pile of parts back into a stereo. 

BTW, this little stereo does not have the "Magnificent Magnavox" moniker printed anywhere.  The only place that "Magnavox" appears is on the script in the grille cloth and on the "Ten Year Diamond Needle" sticker.  So this means it is a Mediocre Magnavox?  This thing sure is simple after digging into a Concert Grand.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 06, 2016, 11:48:57 PM
Thank you, Ken.  I hope I can turn the pile of parts back into a stereo. 

BTW, this little stereo does not have the "Magnificent Magnavox" moniker printed anywhere.  The only place that "Magnavox" appears is on the script in the grille cloth and on the "Ten Year Diamond Needle" sticker.  So this means it is a Mediocre Magnavox?  This thing sure is simple after digging into a Concert Grand.
It looks like a good set, but not good enough to qualify for "Magnificent Magnavox" status.  My Belvedere is like that.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 07, 2016, 09:17:26 AM
"Mediocre" or not, there is no doubt that it's a Magnavox.  They used pocket screws, tenon joints, tongue and groove everything.  It is all screwed together.  I can take the entire cabinet apart, down to the last board.  There is enough room under the amp chassis to run a creeper, I think.  They used the crappy Good-All capacitors and the 220K resistors are all drifted to the moon.  Yep, it's a Magnavox, all right.... ;)

This particular instrument is the only one I have with a "split floor plan", with the tuner on one end of the cabinet and the changer on the other.  This arrangement will play hell with my wife's "set-top appointments", and was not terribly popular when the set was new.  I'll wager that when these were new, and records were stored in the cabinet, the top lids would be removed so they could access records and both ends of the cabinet.

Larry, my belief is that you needed to get a Series 200 tuner (six-knobber) to qualify for "Magnificent Magnavox" status.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 07, 2016, 02:22:45 PM
Greg, four of my Magnavox consoles (1957 Continental, 1956 Brittany, 1957 Serenade, and 1958 stereo Berkshire) all say "Magnificent Magnavox" on the glass of the front facing tuners.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 07, 2016, 03:11:59 PM
Yours are all six-knobbers.  The five-knobbers do not have "magnificent" or "Magnavox" anywhere on the tuner.  I don't know for sure when they started building the "Series 100" or five knob tuners, but I'm thinking 1959.  At least the ones with FM stereo capability.  You know Magnavox.  There is not typically a start or a stop for anything!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 07, 2016, 03:23:15 PM
I actually think Magnavox only used "Magnificent Magnavox" on sets with bi-amps, 15 inch woofers and tweeter horns.  I've not seen that wording on a regular push-pull amp like my Belvedere or your Magnavox you are restoring. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Bill on June 07, 2016, 09:05:39 PM
Wow Greg you sure have yourself a project.  I will probably be that involved with the Motorola, if I ever get that far!  It's interesting looking at your pictures.  My Magnavox stereo with the 9300 amp has the same tuner as the one you are working on.  Also has the same woofer but mine has the horns.  And like yours it does not say Magnificent anywhere. As I looked through the downloads trying to figure out what I have by the model number, I really got confused.  Cabinet was in the 1962 brochure but model number was slightly off and so was the speaker configuration.  I'll need to go back to download and check on the tuner, but I think that was off as well.

As far as refinishing goes I have done a fair share in my life.  When I'm down to the nitty-gritty and ready for the final finish I really like the combo of linseed oil and turpentine. 2/3-1/3 ratio.  Mix the two well, heat it fairly hot, being careful of combustion. Next apply in the sun and again be careful of combustion and keep applying until the wood won't take anymore.  Let it sit in the sun for about an hour and then wipe the excess off.  The finish is beautiful.  Keep it in the garage for about a week then wipe it again.  You may or may not need a little steel wool, it just depends on the grain of the wood. I have excellent luck with this finish. 

Good luck Greg and I'm glad you got the painting done.  I'm still scrapping, sanding, and painting on my outside projects as well as working on landscaping and the sprinkler system.  I guess that's what I get buying a house that the previous owners kind of let go.  But when I get to there age I probably will too. 

Bill

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on June 07, 2016, 09:35:54 PM
Bill, i like linseed oil as a finish too but real Turps is getting hard to find these days and I have not had good results using the crap that everybody is selling now. It seems like the finish takes a month to set up!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 07, 2016, 11:52:49 PM
Larry, my stereo Symphony, 1ST655 has a six knob tuner, an 8-tuber, and it says "Magnificent Magnavox" on the dial, ala Imperial and Concert Grand, and the ones you have.  Only the small tuners in the stereo days do not say "Magnificent" on them.  IIRC, the stereo Symphony "Series 200" tuner is a 5900 series and is basically the same as the Imperial and GC tuners, sans the extra audio amplifiers and the eye tube. 

The first picture is my Symphony.  The lower picture is the Concerto I have apart currently.

Also notice that the Symphony tuner does not have AFC.  The Concerto tuner does.  The Symphony and the Concerto are both 1961 models.  The Concerto is the later build date.  I used to believe that all 1961 Magnavox tuners had AFC.  Apparently, this is not totally accurate.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 08, 2016, 12:08:46 AM
Bill, it is good to hear that you are experienced with refinishing.  I have done some, none to a high standard.  I may be picking your brain before this is over.

I have the cabinet apart all I can get it without tearing something up that is not repairable.  I would really like to get the other side of the storage compartment off, then remove the front panel entirely.  This is not likely to happen, failing some sort of miracle.  I'm beginning to believe that the front panel and lids are what someone tried to redo,  The wood is rough and is a totally different color than the rest.  I am getting the finish to "move" by increasing the ratio of acetone to lacquer thinner.  I'm going to get some sauce to reduce the evaporation time of my refinisher mixture so it will work longer.  I may actually have to use Citrus Stripper on the front panel and the lids to get whatever they put on it off and get my colors a little closer.  There is no toner on the cabinet that I can see.  I'm not surprised by anything I have found so far.  I just hope I can do this right and make it look right.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Bill on June 08, 2016, 07:18:51 AM
Hey Ken,

I guess I have not experienced the NEW Turp as the small town hardware I deal with sells the good stuff. :)  Maybe it s Calif. thing???

And no I have not purchased the Stromberg Carlson...............Yet...........so don't come kick my butt, at least not just yet. 

Bill
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 08, 2016, 03:18:32 PM
I finally got my furniture refinisher concoction strong enough to remove not only the oil finish, but also the glop that some knuckledragger squirted on this poor old stereo cabinet.  I'm not going to pretend to understand what motivated somebody to do such a thing, but they sure made a hell of a mess.  I found black spray paint on part of the cabinet and on the grille cloth on one speaker, so the grille cloth will have to be replaced regardless of anything else.  The sliding lids look really good after I removed the junk from them.  The water mark is 99% gone.  The rest is in the grain, and since I'm using black grain filler, I believe I can hide the remaining mark. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 10, 2016, 09:52:42 AM
I have hit my first snag.  Bugtussle.  I live in Bugtussle, downtown Nowhere.  There is not a soul within 200 miles of here who has even heard of grain filler, let alone used it.  I'm going to have to drive to St. Louis to Rockler's to get the supplies I need.  Yeah, I know, order it online.  Phooey on that.  I want to stare into the face of the guy I give money to.  All I have around here are big box stores with their idiot personnel complement and some mom and pop paint stores who could give two hoots about what I'm trying to accomplish.  Grain filler around here to the old timers who refinish wood is shellac, lots of shellac.  This project is on hold until I can get supplies. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 27, 2016, 09:33:58 PM
I have made progress, but have been too lazy to post pictures.  Let's see..

I solved some of my "Bugtussle" problems.  Some by mooching from a buddy, some by ordering online, something I would rather not do.  I basically have the cabinet to the final finish stage.  I am dividing the cabinet up into four sections, plus the sliding lids.  I am debating with the wife about grille cloth.  Larry kinda opened the door to that discussion, by suggesting he had put burgundy cloth in an instrument he redid.  My wife loves hot-rodding grille cloth, so she has put her powers of persuasion to work.  We have come down to burgundy, deep brown or black for grille cloth.  Something like burlap or guitar amp looking material.  These pictures show the progression from just torn apart, thru using refinisher to remove the old finish, to staining.  I got the color pretty close if you look at the feet and upper cabinet on the last picture.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 27, 2016, 09:38:20 PM
More pictures of refinishing.

American Walnut, exactly what Magnavox called the stain color.  The only place I could find American Walnut, which turned out to be a nearly exact match, was at Walmart!  The last two pictures show the start of the final finish.  I am using shellac as a base and polyurethane as the finish material.  The humidity we are experiencing around here make it difficult to get the proper gloss with shellac as a final finish.  I decided that gloss polyurethane would allow me to control the gloss without being affected to as great an extent by humidity.  So far, this has proven to be a good choice.  It's coming along nicely.  Yeah, I've heard all the scare stories about polyurethane propagated by the old radio guys.  I won't go into that.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 27, 2016, 09:49:06 PM
I have been tinkering with the electronics while I wait for stuff to dry.  This little stereo is different from the bi-amp ones in that I can hook up everything and test it together on the bench.  The Collaro changer in this instrument is the most agreeable one I own.  It makes lots of noise, but it changes records perfectly.  It needs a drive tire, motor mounts, motor service and the usual tune-up, but it works nicely.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 27, 2016, 09:57:48 PM
The biggest improvement so far has been the sliding lids.  Black grain filler has nearly completely obliterated the big black water mark.  Not perfect still, but eons better than when I started.

The third picture shows how shiny the top is becoming.  I have only semi-filled the grain on the top rail.  My wife likes it like that, and it looks good.  I am going to oil sand the final finish to probably 1500 grit.  Not glossy, but just off full gloss.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 27, 2016, 10:18:49 PM
Rust-Oleum has a line of refinishing products out.  I really like their stains.  Their customer service is one step up from CenturyLink, which simply sucks.  Shellac has new (to me, the rookie, at least) designations of which I was unaware.  The old white shellac is now called "clear."  Orange shellac is now "amber" and de-waxed shellac is now "sanding sealer."  Shellac that is not dewaxed is called shellac.  It gets confusing.  Dewaxed shellac can be used with polyurethane, but not lacquer.  Waxed shellac can be used as a top coat, or as an undercoat as long as you use a coat of dewaxed under the final finish.  Shellac flakes to make your own are unavailable anywhere close to here.  I may be making a fool of myself at times, but I am leaning things that aren't taught anywhere.  I have to learn this by trial and error.  Every situation is different, every job is different.  Learning several ways of doing this will stand me in good stead in the future.  If you ask ten guys how they do it, you'll get eleven different answers. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 30, 2016, 12:48:18 PM
I bought a 7003-00 multiplex adapter from an ARF member.  I connected it to the amp and tuner in this instrument and got basically nothing.  I could barely hear anything with the gain controls turned all the way up.  There was lots of static, though.  I had never really attempted to troubleshoot an MPX adapter before.  There is not a lot to one, and even less that is common to both channels. 

I printed out schematic for the amp, tuner, and MPX adapter, all available in "Downloads" at the top of this page.  The codes on this adapter were Run 3 on the 43rd week of 1962.  The 12AT7 input amp and cathode follower is coded week 43 of 1962, GE sourced.  The 6EA8 19hz amp and output is coded week 43 of 1962, RCA sourced.  Both are Magnavox branded.  Both tested good and are still in the chassis.  I checked element voltages and found them right on the money.  I fired up my trusty signal tracer and found signal at the input, at pin 1, the plate of the input amp section, and on the plate of the cathode follower section, pin 3.  I still had signal at pin 7, but nothing beyond that.  I found a 4uf@50 volt electrolytic coupling cap that was open.  I paralleled a pair of 2.2uf@50 volts to replace that and returned my MPX adapter to successful operation.  I replaced another 2Uf@50 volt electrolytic and a couple other coupling caps while I was in there.  I replaced a couple resistors that had drifted high.  I need to order a 30uf @450 volt cap so I can re-stuff the can, since there is no room to put it under the chassis. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on June 30, 2016, 01:06:34 PM
Your cabinet is really looking good.  You'll be at the finish line sooner than you think now.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: TC Chris on June 30, 2016, 08:56:14 PM
I always like hearing of others' finishing choices.  I was laughing to myself about the shellac.  When I was in high school I built a big bass-reflex speaker enclosure to hold the speaker from a Zenith 10-S-155 console radio, for which I had the innards only. In grade school shop class (!), Mr. Sonnevil taught us to use shellac over stain before varnishing, as a sealer.  So when I built the speaker enclosure out of plywood, I stained it with what I found at the neighborhood hardware store, then shellacked, then varnished.  And the varnish would separate from the shellac at the least provocation--a bit of pressure, as from writing on the surface.  I figured it was the shellac's fault.

One day I looked at the can--it was a stain-varnish, a quickie refinishing combo, not real stain.  In essence,  had put shellac over varnish, and then varnish over the shellac.  Not a good plan.  Live and learn.  Still alive, still learning, but making fewer dumb mistakes.

Mr. Sonnevil died just  a few years ago in his 90s.  Before he did, I gathered all the shop projects I could find, mechanical drawings, woodworking projects and sheet-metal ones, and took a photo.  I sent him a letter and told him how fondly I and my brother remembered him and his classes. We all laugh about how we'll stop and think, "Mr. Sonnevil said to do it this way."  Kids today miss a lot.

Chris Campbell

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 30, 2016, 10:46:25 PM
Yeah, Chris, I'm surprised I'm using shellac myself.  I always thought shellac was something cheap that was used on hoe handles and stuff like that.  Not on good furniture.  When I started getting interested in correct furniture refinishing, I asked old-timers only how they did it.  People with established reputations.  Then I started asking younger people, mostly under 50 how they did it.  The main ingredient that I kept hearing was shellac.  Some used it for a sealer, some as a CYA, some as a finish, but all recommended its attributes which are it will stick to anything and anything will stick to it.  It is reduced by alcohol whereas most other finishes are reduced by petroleum based chemicals.  Whether you use petroleum (oil) based products or water-borne, shellac will not lift or separate.  There are some compatibility issues between waxed shellac and some lacquers and urethanes, but this is not universal and varies from product to product.  In my infancy in this business, I always use a test board to check for compatibility before applying a product or procedure to my project.  So, far, I've been more than satisfied with the final product.  I have only had to do one thing over.  If I don't tell you what it is, you'll never see it.

And Larry, you encouraged me to get after this project and have been a staunch supporter the entire way.  I appreciate that and I thank you.  In honor of your insistence on clean grille cloth, and as a way of honoring your suggestion of hot-rodded grille cloth, we will use black grille cloth, most likely, per your suggestion.  My wife is in charge of grille cloth, so this may change.  I understand that is the plan right at this time.  The original cloth is too "guitar" for my wife.  Black cloth should set off the black grain filler nicely.

The sliding lids are getting a piano-finish, foot deep, full gloss ( and rubbed shinier than that!).  It is designed to mimic the glass tops on the bigger Magnavoxes.  The photofinish lids are shiny, so I'm making these shiny.  I'm beginning to wonder if these lids were not originally photofinish.  I have only seen one set of veneered lids, and those are currently for sale on ebay.  These are the only ones I have seen in person.  They will look okay, but I'm not sure they are strictly correct.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on June 30, 2016, 11:21:46 PM
What kind of glue did they use to hold the "Ten Year Diamond Needle" sticker on?  It is stringy and snotty when you lift one corner of the sticker.  If I can't figure out what kind of glue that is, I'm gonna gingerly remove the sticker, wash off the old glue (if possible) with lacquer thinner, then stick it on again with Elmer's Construction glue.  I want to repaint the interior of the cabinet, and that sticker will have to come off.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Consoleman on July 02, 2016, 06:43:29 AM
What kind of glue did they use to hold the "Ten Year Diamond Needle" sticker on?  It is stringy and snotty when you lift one corner of the sticker.  If I can't figure out what kind of glue that is, I'm gonna gingerly remove the sticker, wash off the old glue (if possible) with lacquer thinner, then stick it on again with Elmer's Construction glue.  I want to repaint the interior of the cabinet, and that sticker will have to come off.

You're on the right track with the Elmers. I used tite-bond wood glue on mine, put some wax paper over it then taped it down.

Nice job on that tear-down and refinish and good photos too!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 02, 2016, 08:21:01 AM
I have some Tite-Bond.  I figured to use glue, wax paper, a flat board, and clamp it overnight so it will dry flat.  Yours worked okay, didn't it?  Thanks for the kind comments, Mark.

Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on July 02, 2016, 05:07:37 PM
Appears to be simply some sort of rubber cement.  I have used DAP Contact Cement with excellent results. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Consoleman on July 03, 2016, 08:17:48 AM
What kind of glue did they use to hold the "Ten Year Diamond Needle" sticker on?  It is stringy and snotty when you lift one corner of the sticker.  If I can't figure out what kind of glue that is, I'm gonna gingerly remove the sticker, wash off the old glue (if possible) with lacquer thinner, then stick it on again with Elmer's Construction glue.  I want to repaint the interior of the cabinet, and that sticker will have to come off.

You're on the right track with the Elmers. I used tite-bond wood glue on mine, put some wax paper over it then taped it down.

Nice job on that tear-down and refinish and good photos too!

Yep the sticker is flat and stuck down for good.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 03, 2016, 09:09:53 PM
It was raining all day here, so I decided to get in some bench time on the electronic parts.  FM operation seemed robust enough, I had the multiplex adapter going, so I turned my attention to AM.  The 5900 series tuner does not have a tuned RF section like the bigger tuners do.  More like an AA5 front end.  The AM reception on this particular tuner was not very good.  Even with my longwire antenna, is was mostly static and squealing.  Time for a good alignment.  I found the first IF was badly mis-aligned.  Reception has been restored to what I would expect for an AA5 in my fringe area.  I still need to recap the chassis, but that is my next operation.  I will touch up the alignment again.  Pictures of cabinet progress:

Grain filler on the front panel.  I applied the filler with a brush with the bristles cut off, first with the grain, then randomly.  I let the filler flash, then removed the excess with an old credit card, followed by rubbing in a random pattern with burlap.

The felt runners on the sliding lids were shot.  I got some felt at Hobby Lobby to make replacement runners.



Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 03, 2016, 09:17:11 PM
I learned that one should not leave masking tape on for a week, on shellac, with high humidity.  I pulled the tape off to find a white streak where the tape was.  I had to sand this out, then re-do my shellac coat.

Sanding polyurethane, something the "old radio" guys claim can't be done.  It actually sands much like lacquer and shellac.  The lids are dull from sanding, but are smooth as glass.  I sanded the lids with 320 grit in preparation for the final coat (s), scheduled for Tuesday, weather permitting.  I let polyurethane stand for at least 72 hours after spraying before I sand.  I will wait a couple weeks before I "color sand" after the final finish.  This will adjust the gloss, rub out little dust nubs, and smooth the surface.  I plan to use a DeVilbiss spray gun like is used on cars to apply the final coat.  I have never sprayed poly with a good gun.  I have always used a cheap gun, like a touch-up or jamb gun.  I want the sliders and the front panel smooth as glass.  The plan right now is to sand to get the gloss where I want it.  Pumice and rottenstone are the backup plan.

The bottom picture is of the black grain filler on one end.  The horizontal groove in the end panel will be colored black with a fine felt-tip marker.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on July 04, 2016, 01:22:50 AM
YOU CAN'T SAND POLYURETHANE LIKE THAT!!!  I'M TELLIN YA IT JUST CAN'T BE DONE!!!   ;D
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 04, 2016, 08:38:00 AM
"They" also tell me that I can't use burlap on speaker enclosures, either.  Guess what I'm going to try on this project?  Yep, black and from Hobby Lobby.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 05, 2016, 07:43:30 PM
I got the final finish on this morning.  It is really shiny, but, hopefully, sanding will temper that somewhat.  The finish looks like you could wade in it.  I redid the black grooves in the cabinet with a magic marker.

The second picture is the gun finish of the lids.  This is the one that had the black water stain.  You can see the grids in the shop lights reflecting in the finish.  Sanding should make the finish absolutely glassy smooth.

The last picture is the trim that goes on the front panel of the cabinet.  I had supposed these were gold-anodized "mystery metal" of some type, so I was intending to sand them off and paint them.  They are solid brass!  Solid brass trim on a lower-level Magnavox stereo.  The pulls for the sliding lids are brass, too.  These babies will get a good polish on the wheel, then clear coated.  I'm not certain of how bright they should be, but on this job, they'll be polished.



Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on July 06, 2016, 02:00:11 PM
Looking good Gregg!


Personally I think the brass look good polished up just the way you have it, any more would be too garish, Put a couple of coats of good paste wax on it and let it age out gracefully along with the cabinet.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on July 06, 2016, 03:51:12 PM
A friend of mine makes up a mixture of polyeurethane and water, and brushes it on the brass to keep it from tarnishing again. I suspect spraying it with clear-coat would do the same thing.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 06, 2016, 05:16:23 PM
I like Ken's idea of clean but not brilliantly shiny.  I think I'll go with that.  Larry, I was planning on clear coating with satin poly.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on July 06, 2016, 05:26:27 PM
Home Depot has a spray can that is called clear-coat.  I bought a can and used it to spray the tone-arm on my Bozo record player.  The stuff worked great.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: TC Chris on July 07, 2016, 10:39:27 PM
"Can't use burlap on speaker enclosures"--??  My first home-made speaker enclosures were little vented-back reflex ones.  I had two 8" GE "wide range" speakers from an old background-music system.  Stereo Review (probably HiFi/Stereo Review then) published plans for DIY speakers when i was a senior in high school (1964 or '65).  A neighbor ripped the plywood for me on his table saw.  The plywood got covered with Naugahyde and the front baffle got covered in plain ol' brown burlap.  Together with a Bogen DB-115 mono amp and a Garrard RC-80 changer and Fairchild MC cartridge, I had quite the system. 

A year or two later when i got a stereo amp I built a matching enclosure.  Still have 'em both.  Added tweeters at some point, little paper cone jobs, and then replaced the 8" GEs with something more modern. 

The burlap is sill there.  Maybe it isn't as transparent for high frequencies as something with a more open weave, but then these aren't exactly hi-res speakers anyway.  And they look pretty good, even after 50 years.

Chris Campbell
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 08, 2016, 10:07:45 PM
I had an "expert" offer the idea that burlap is too flimsy to work on speaker enclosures.  I have some muslin backing material for mine to make the burlap stiffer.  The burlap I got is really open-weaved.  The upholstery shop that is doing them for me also recommended using backing for the burlap.  I believe the black burlap will give the cabinet a clean, more modern look.  My wife was not in love with the original grille cloth anyway.

Thanks, Chris for your input on this.  I feel better about my decision. 
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 31, 2016, 02:06:04 PM
I should get caught up with my project on here.

The upholstery shop who was supposed to do my speaker grilles chickened out, as did a couple of their competitors.  They did not want to be responsible for busting the "Magnavox" script nor the little red pilot light jewel.  So guess who got to install the speaker cloth.  Yeah, me.  Not one of my strong suites, but we got thru it.

I busted the little jewel, so I had to repair it.  So far, so good.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 31, 2016, 02:12:33 PM
I had no idea what I was doing.  I had watched videos on YouTube was all the practical experience I had, especially working with burlap.  Stretching is the secret.  And don't be stingy with glue.  Keep the work flat.  And keep your fingers crossed...... :-[
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 31, 2016, 02:31:58 PM
I got all the parts back into the cabinet without much problem.  A misstep here and there, but I had pictures and diagrams to back me up.  I cleaned up all the painted interior parts with Windex and Simichrome.

I wet-sanded the cabinet with 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, and 2000 grit paper.  Then I polished with burlap and Simichrome, followed by a coat of Johnson's paste wax.  I used burlap as my polishing medium rather than a terry cloth towel. 

There is sanding and polishing mud still on the cabinet that will be removed.  I need to complete the work on the electronics and install that, and figure out what I'm going to do with the back.  The lighting in my shop is not good for photography. 

I am beyond pleased with the outcome.  I got the gloss I wanted, I eliminated the polyurethane "plastic" and learned a lot and had a ball doing it.  My wife is thrilled that I "let" her hot rod the grille cloth, her specialty.

I now have a genuine, hand-rubbed oil finish, pretty close to what was on there when it was new, done with polyurethane and shellac.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on July 31, 2016, 03:02:41 PM
Looking very nice.  Guess you aren't too far from the finish line.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Consoleman on July 31, 2016, 03:41:40 PM
Stunning!
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 31, 2016, 04:42:11 PM
Thank you both.

I have caps ordered for the electronics.  Actually, I have electrolytic caps ordered.  The rest is done.  I am in the process of tinkering with the changer to figure out what, if anything, I need there outside of a drive tire, motor mounts and a stylus.  I believe I'm going to install two stereo (LP) needles.  One for playing 45's and one for LP's.  I won't play 78's on it.

I need to redo the felt slides on the lids and replace the stops.  The wiring to the MPX adapter still needs to be cleaned.  Little things like that......

I'm open to opinions on the black grille cloth.  I personally like it, as it compliments the black grooves cut into the cabinet.  My wife hated the original cloth for some reason.  It is hard for me to make changes like this, though, with a totally clear conscience.  I'm pretty much an "all original" type person, although this stereo was so bad, I felt I could play with it a bit, with little to lose...... :-\
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Larry H on July 31, 2016, 07:04:21 PM
The black grill cloth looks great with the cabinet.  Your wife has good tastes....    I like the bright polished brass ornaments on front of the cabinet too.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 31, 2016, 07:25:27 PM
Thank you, Larry.  I appreciate that.

Actually, what I did to the brass trim was to sand it with 1000 grit and leave it au naturale.  Ken suggested that I not polish them totally bright.  The brass trim is clean, not highly polished.  I'm glad you like the look.

There are little trim pieces on the top end of the little speakers.  Those trim pieces are anodized mystery metal of some type, probably aluminum.  I could not make those brighter unless I painted them, which would look totally hokey.  So the brass trim could not be polished very much without those looking dull and old.  I had to strike up a happy medium......
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on July 31, 2016, 08:11:35 PM
I have a thought I'd like to share without belaboring the point...

There is a hesitancy within the "old radio" hobby of using polyurethane finishes.  I have long appreciated the benefits of poly.  And, I'll admit, I 'm not a fan of lacquer.  It cracks, falls off, is fairly delicate, easily damaged.  But it is easy to work with and very forgiving.  I will have to admit, after working poly on this project, I can see the position of the "lacquer only" way of thinking.  Polyurethane is not a "fast" finish.  Lacquer dries quickly and can be worked almost as soon as it is dry.  Poly has to cure.  It "dries" via a chemical reaction that takes place when the material comes into contact with air.  Runs and sags are a major faux pas when you are spraying poly.  They take forever to dry, and, if large enough, may never totally dry.  If you sand into a sag, the finish may roll up and leave a crater in the finish, which must then be filled somehow and refinished.  Don't ask how I found this out.  However, when you get done with a successful polyurethane finish, about the only thing that will potentially damage the finish is fire.  The normal ravages of time and everyday living have no effect on it whatsoever.  It is a totally cat-proof finish.  It is flexible and moves as the wood breathes. 

My next refinishing project will be a shellac and lacquer job on my Philco 38-12.  I want to see how shellac and lacquer work together.  Then, if that works well, I want to refinish my Philco 40-180 in shellac and lacquer.

Fortunately, Magnavox did not use lacquer, at least in the stereo era.  They used a shellac based finish that we have discussed previously.  Should my Concert Grand or Imperial suffer an "owie" and have to be partially refinished, I believe I would not hesitate to use the procedures and materials on them that I have used on this little Concerto.  A poly over shellac finish, to me at least, looks and feels like the finish Magnavox put on at the factory.

Another little tidbit of experience is this.  I would not recommend using a stripper on a Magnavox instrument that is being refinished.  Magnavox had its own formula, apparently, for the different finishes it used.  Magnavox mahogany is the most gorgeous mahogany ever put on furniture, in my opinion.  But if you try to match Magnavox mahogany to mahogany stain by nearly any manufacturer, it won't match.  It is way darker and redder than most mahogany.  If you use stripper, the grain filler and stain may disappear.  The stain was sprayed on with at least one coat of finish after the cabinet had been grain filled.  What I would do instead is to use a refinisher.  This will remove the finish and not bother the stain or grain filler.  Since many Magnavox finishes require at least some alcohol to remove the shellac based finish, alcohol will not likely affect the stain or grain filler, since they are oil based.  I finally found stain for this project that was dead nuts on, but I was extremely fortunate.  I have no idea what it would take, short of having stain computer matched, to match the finish color on my CG.  Since Magnavox cabinets were hardwood, they did not have to resort to using toners to hide cheap or dis-similar woods.
Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: Harbourmaster on August 01, 2016, 07:42:56 PM
That's looking great!


The dark cloth sets off the black pin lines nicely. The sliding tops turned out excellent!


I suspect that the little metal trim pieces on the grills are some form of "Brite Dip" like what is used on Automobiles and any attempt at polishing them would simply destroy the finish. Best to clean them and leave them alone.



Title: Re: Magnavox 1ST616 Restoration
Post by: electra225 on August 01, 2016, 08:17:39 PM
Thanks, Ken.  I put those little trim pieces thru the dishwasher. 

Black grain filler is the bomb for eliminating (actually hiding) a black water stain.  After that was done, the rest of the operation on the lids was straightforward.  Eight coats of "running off the edges" polyurethane, sanded between coats with progressively finer sandpaper.  The final coat got sanded with 1200 grit thru 2000 grit, then polished.  You can see by the reflection of the window frame that the finish looks like glass.

This is the only set of sliding lids that I have that are actually veneered.  I thought at first that these had been photofinished, but that turned out to be in error.  These were just nasty after somebody attempted to refinish them. 

Since I have worked with these lids, if I had a set of photofinished lids that needed a new finish, I would veneer right over the photofinish and put whatever finish on them I liked.  They are flat and easy to clamp.  They would be a snap to trim the veneer on.  I have avoided instrument with damaged photofinish in the past.