Author Topic: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental  (Read 13350 times)

Larry H

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Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« on: June 16, 2015, 06:32:01 PM »
About a week ago, I arranged to buy a 1957 Magnavox Continental in Weatherford, Texas.  My daughter and son-in-law live about 40 miles north of there, and they went down and paid the guy and picked it up for me.  I thought by looking at the guy's pictures that the cabinet and components were just bad dirty, but after my daughter sent me some closeup pictures, I could see finish loss all around the top glass sliding doors and on the front trim pieces as well. The sides weren't in the best of shape either, with some bad discolorations in the wood and some eyesore scratches.  It became apparent to me that the only solution was to have the cabinet totally refinished.  Here's some pictures of it that the seller posted on Craigslist. 
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2015, 06:43:59 PM »
I spent 7-8 hours last Saturday cleaning everything up and removing components.  I also spent Sunday morning finishing cleaning the cabinet.  I removed and cleaned all the components-- changer, amp, tuner, and speakers-- and I loaded these in the front part of my mini van for the trip home.  Harbourmaster had given me the name of an expert refinisher in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I called him and arranged for him to refinish the entire cabinet.  His name is Fred Taylor, and his shop is located in Garland on the east side of the Metroplex.  Fred is an expert at refinishing antique radio cabinets, and he does television and stereo cabinets as well.  I decided that since the cabinet will require a total refinish-- including the glass doors that were damaged on the underneath side-- that I'd have Fred refinish the cabinet in a satin black lacquer finish.  The end result will be an ebony Continental!!!!!

The metal grills were badly oxidized, and the one on the sliding front door even had rust on the back side.  Fred is going to sand blast both grills on each side to get rid of the rust and oxidation.  If they need refinished, he will spray them with bright gold paint.

The reverse painted sliding top glass doors were done by Magnavox by applying some kind of film (like contact paper) on the bottom of the glass. Magnavox couldn't have achieved a woodgrain look with paint alone.  Fred used a single edge razor blade to see how easy it will be to get the bottom back to plain glass, and he noticed it was some kind of film underneath and will come off fairly easily.  He wasn't too sure about applying paint to glass, so he will likely just install a dark black window film tint on the bottom of the glass doors.

Fred has agreed to send me pictures during the cabinet restoration process, and I will post them here as I receive them. 

I want the finished console to look exactly like the ebony Continental that Harbourmaster sold.  The only difference will be the glass doors won't have the marbleized black and gold look.  I've got to find some legs with mounts somewhere, and paint them gold.  There is no mounting hardware underneath this cabinet for straight legs.  It presently has a set of crappy looking ball rollers under it, and those will be done away with.

The finished product should look like this:
--Larry

Harbourmaster

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2015, 08:05:12 PM »
So far so good!


I'm anxiously awaiting the pictures of Freds handiwork on this one!


How is the finish on the inside of the cabinet?
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 08:26:37 PM »
So far so good!


I'm anxiously awaiting the pictures of Freds handiwork on this one!


How is the finish on the inside of the cabinet?
The finish in the changer compartment is excellent.  The finish in the record storage compartment needs some slight retouching where the LP dividers go into the bottom of the cabinet at the front.  Fred is going to just retouch that with the same color paint to hide it.

BTW, the brass divider bars appear to have some rust on them.  I'll see if Brasso will restore them, and if not, I will have to sand them down and repaint them with gold metallic spray paint.  I'll have them looking good when it's all done.
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2015, 08:32:50 PM »
Here are the removed components.  The changer looks really nice on top once I cleaned it up.  I can hear some metal scraping noises when I turn the platter, which indicates a bad drive wheel more than likely. 

The amplifier cleaned up very nice, and I noticed that every single tube is a Magnavox.  There is one 6V6 tube missing, but I have some extra good used ones.  Also, the underneath of the amp indicates that it's all original, and no capacitors were ever replaced.  I like finding them like that.

The tuner cleaned up somewhat, but I've got some more cleaning to do on it.  I also have to remove and clean the tubes on the tuner as well.  The top of the tuner is one of the most difficult things to clean really good.

The 15-inch woofer and horn also cleaned up very nicely.
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2015, 08:43:26 PM »
I was really worried about the original tuner plate on this set.  Three of the brass tuner knob inserts oxidized real badly, and some of the green oxidation ran down onto the tuner plate below the knobs.  I was scared this stuff wouldn't clean off and that it would be hideous looking.  My restorer friend in Detroit suggested for me to get some Tarn-X and see if that would take it off.  It did, and I found out you can rub over the entire tuner plate with that stuff and it will not remove the painted lettering on the plate.  That was some darned good paint Magnavox used for lettering.  I've been over it with windex, household degreaser, and Tarn-X and it didn't bother it one bit.

I have thought since day one that these mid to late 1950s Magnavox tuner plates were metal since they look like metal.  They are actually painted on the smooth side of a fibre board and not metal at all.

Today I used Brasso and #0000 steel wool to remove the oxidation from the tuner knobs, and they came out looking like new ones.  Even all the bad green oxidation came right off (but with some elbow grease....lol).

Here's the plate with its knobs:
--Larry

624Magnificent

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2015, 08:48:41 PM »
Nice job man!!! I've removed green copper oxidation with vinegar before. It dissolves copper oxide which is often the source of green oxidation. By the way that stuff is pretty toxic so don't breath it in!!!
Tom

Harbourmaster

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 09:04:41 PM »
amazing what a little elbow grease can do!


Looking good already Larry!
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2015, 09:05:11 PM »
I had to do some serious scrubbing with Tarn-X and a rag to remove the green oxidation, and that lightened the paint in a couple of places.  It isn't really noticeable at all unless you are up close to the plate and looking for it.  I'll still keep watching for an extra plate somewhere in the coming months.  But, I'm not going to spend $60 or more for an extra tuner just to get the plate.  It actually looks pretty presentable as it is now.

To restore the brass knob inserts, I dip the steel wool into a pile of Brasso and scrub a dozen or so times, always in a circular motion.  Then, I rinse the Brasso off and usually there are a couple of other places left to clean.  I then clean the entire knob with household degreaser and an old soft toothbrush.  This is a slow and tedious job, but well worth it when you're done.   :)
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2015, 08:56:23 PM »
Fred Taylor is really making some good progress on the cabinet.  Here it is, stripped, and sanded:
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 08:59:10 PM »
Fred was able to remove the original cork under the large top glass door and will reuse it.  He is installing new felt under the sliding glass door.  Here's a picture of the glass doors during the stripping process.
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 09:00:53 PM »
The metal grills were sand blasted to remove oxidation and some rust.  Here's a picture of one door sand blasted, the top one already painted.
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 09:02:11 PM »
More pictures.
--Larry

Larry H

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 09:03:57 PM »
The newly finished front metal grills standing in front of the cabinet outside.  The grills look pretty nice!
--Larry

Harbourmaster

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Re: Restoration of 1957 Magnavox Continental
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2015, 09:17:47 PM »
The grills look GREAT! 


The speed that Fred works at is pretty amazing considering the level of finish that he achieves!
-- Aloha, Ken

No Console Left Behind!