to those who care
message about my restorations
RESTORATIONS ARE QUALITY!
And so are the items I sell that state
"restored". If I
state "electronically restored", that usually means that the cabinet
and finish is original or as found (although I have likely cleaned or
spiffed it up). Please don't expect me to sell an item that I have spent my time
carefully and meticulously restoring for some low price that you have
seen a similar item sell for on eBay. Believe
me, there is often a huge difference in
those items that claim to work and the items that I have lovingly
I have been collecting and restoring
vintage radios as a hobby since 1962 and before that I repairs &
destruction as a
I have spent my whole life in the
service business as a professional and always made every attempt to
make my repairs as undetectable as possible. I also consider my
vintage radio restorations as
professional and make
every attempt that they be as invisible (above chassis) as possible. I
love the old technology and have always been fascinated by how it all
comes together. I believe when one of these wonderful old relics is
brought back to life it should be done properly and with care.
How many times have you bought an old
Radio that was supposedly restored, get it home and find out it may
work but no where near as good as it should. That's because many of
patch it up,
cap it up
guys only do what it takes to
make 'em work, doesn't matter how good they work, just as long as they
squawk or make a noise. If you pin one of these guys down, he will
wadda ya expect, it's 60 years old!
Many of these old radios made after the mid thirties will play better
than most modern AM radio if properly restored.
When I decide to restore an item, I
only do it one way, it does not matter whether I intend to sell it or
keep it, I do it the same. Many times my original intention is prepare
it for sale and decide to keep it after the restoration is done.
Unlike many (they
in a new electrolytic capacitor and maybe a tube and call it
restored) or "re-cap" it.
Most don't even clean the "crud" from the chassis, let alone
electronically align the set and do all the other things necessary for
a properly restored set.
The first thing I do is clean the
chassis, sometimes I may spend several hours on this alone as I would
much rather work on a clean set than a filthy one. It's is not always
possible to make an old chassis look new, but it will be as clean as
possible. I check and replace faulty tubes and capacitors. I check
capacitors under their full rated voltage for leakage, proper
capacitance plus power factor on electrolytic type. I usually replace
all the paper and electrolytic's but with certain types that are
still good, I may leave in place, the early types (those in the large
sealed cans like used in the Radiola 17 & 18). I also check the value of
critical resistors and replace those that are
tolerance. I clean all controls, switches and the tube
socket contacts. I check for the proper operating voltages and correct
as necessary. If the set is power transformer operated and has no line
fuse, I install one below the chassis. I also make sure that all
visible (above chassis) components look original. I will leave an old
type electrolytic capacitor that is top mounted and
replace it with a modern one installed under the chassis. I disconnect
the original defective one from the circuit (many
type guys will just leave the old one in the circuit to
cause more problems later on). I check the grid bias voltage (very
important for good sound and proper life of the sometimes
expensive power output tubes. The final step is to
perform a complete IF & RF alignment (very important for sensitivity
and selectivity. I also make sure that the chassis and speaker are
properly secured with all bolts and screws in place.
modifications are made to improve safety and performance. I make sure
any such are carefully & professionally done. For example some of the
AC/DC radios made before WW-II had "hot chassis's" (making a possible
shock hazard). Some even used line cords that had resistance elements
in them that could heat up causing a fire hazard.
I re-wire "hot
chassis" radios and add a
polarized line cord
as a safety issue. Simply adding a polarized cord does not solve the
shock hazard, the chassis must be re-wired as well. Radios that have the resistance
line cords are modified and the cord is replaced with a modern safe
cord and the internal circuitry is modified to eliminate the need for
such a cord. I do this in a manner that is safe and does not cause
additional heat build up in the radios like some do by adding large
heat producing resistors inside the cabinet that in themselves create
an additional safety hazard.
If I state an item has undergone a "complete restoration",
that's means the cabinet may have been repaired and or repainted. The
repairs done to the plastic (or any other type of material) is often
very painstaking. To properly repair a fracture or crack in a plastic
case takes a number of steps. 1st the crack or fracture must be
cleaned to remove all foreign material (grease, dirt and other
contaminants). Then the proper adhesive, usually a cyanocrylate or
epoxy (depending on the type of plastic) must be chosen and worked
into the crack or fracture. I then clamp in place until cured. After
curing is complete I "micro-sand" to smooth it out and make the repair
as invisible as possible (micro-sanding consists of using a series of
flexible sanding cloths from 1500 to 8000 grit). Depending on the
staining at the fracture depends on whether the repair will be
invisible or not. Prior to applying the adhesive I also attempt to
"bleach out" any stains. This is not always possible as some plastics
absorb contaminants. After all the sanding is done the finishing touch
is a good rubbing with a plastic polish. This makes a nice solid,
smooth repair even if the fracture or crack is still visible.
If there are chunks or pieces missing and I deem it worthwhile I will
mold in a suitable material that I have dyed to match the original
color, then go through the above process to blend it in. I don't do
this very often as it take sooooooooo much time, but I have been know
to do it just for the challenge.
The above processes are
very time consuming and often is not worth the time it takes. I would
not consider doing it for anyone but myself. My practice is to do the
best I can when I restore something whether I intend to keep it or not.
for more info on Bakelite and plastic repairs.
here for an example of one
of my complete restorations.
C.E. "Sonny" Clutter
PLEASE NOTE: I no
longer offer any restoration services.
Check the "Resources"
page of my site for those who do repairs and restorations