It comes apart
too, after a little persuasion, revealing that its end is
fastened by two nails.
It is then
decided to remove both plinths. This will enable them to
be restored separately from the cabinet, producing a neater,
tighter looking final result down bottom-side. Also this
will facilitate better access to the woodworm for treatment!
(untouched) plinth needs more persuasion to come off. The
screws are tighter and the surfaces have also been lightly
glued. A blow from a soft faced hammer soon breaks the bond.
are the two plinths ready for critically matching in length.
a Stanley knife, the mortise section is broadened by the degree
of shortening required on the plinth. The cut out section
is then put back so it sits on the other side of the tenon.
In this way the rear skirt mounts further in. Everything is
glued back together and the slight excess length that now
sticks out is ground off. Result: a plinth that's still as
strong as before but ¼ inch shorter !
check of the cabinet reveals several tiny chips and pits
needing filling. Here's one on the inside of the rear-facing
On the whole
though, I am highly impressed by the thickness and high
quality of the veneers on this cabinet. Just as well, 'cos
there's so much of it !
will remain off for now. After another hour or two of rubbing,
at last the cabinet preparation is completed. This view
is somewhat deceptive - in places there are still patches
of veneer dust obscuring the grain pattern.
a good idea to let a cabinet 'settle' few a few days at
this point, before the first finish goes on. Tiny dimensional
changes can still occur in the seating of the veneers.
In a cabinet
such as this, where a lot of filling and shaping has been
required, there will be places where spots of plastic wood
have to be camouflaged so they will be invisible. A lot
of this is done by playing various tricks with the toner
(clear wood-tinted lacquer) that will be going on later.
no harm in making this process easier, by right now filling
in some detail with a cotton bud charged with wood stain.
To get this right, a quick wipe over with a little White
Spirit helps merge in the borders and also gives a useful
preview of how things will later look, once the lacquer
The first coat of high-build primer goes on. As you can
see I'm doing this outdoors. Even so, appropriate face masking
must be used. Note a mask been made to preserve the original
cabinet label from any damage.
To prevent runs, the surfaces will be turned horizontal
for the heavier spraying that follows...
more elbow grease and correction of fine detail, three flatted
coats of high build have gone on. No more grain pits! However
the appearance is still wrong - the veneers are too light
and the contrast between them is too great. This will be
rectified during the next stage when the toner is applied.
This will restore the general walnut 'glow' that the cabinet
I always think
it's a shame when restorers use materials such as clear
Danish Oil on an old radio cabinet. Although the grain pattern
is then well seen, the cabinet looks nothing like it did
goes on. It was mixed with a little high-build to give better
control of the colour during application. At this stage
the finish is still matt. This will be followed by clear
buffer coat before being rubbed down ready to take the final
layers of finish. The actually colour is not very well shown
here because of the fluorescent lighting...
first top coat has gone on, it's time to attend to the edge
surfaces, such as the screen rim and the edges of the front
veneers that sweep round the top and front.
Here the screen
rim is masked up ready. This will be finished in a very
dark brown, like the plinth at the base of the cabinet.
However, the requirement for the edges of the front veneers
is different. Rather than being contrasting features, these
must not stand out. So a medium brown will be used.
At this time
other little touches are attended to, such as dressing the
underneath and interior of the cabinet and oiling the castors.
The HMV transfer
is added to the top and at last the cabinet is finished.
It won't be polished for several more weeks, until after
the set's internals has been restored.
speaker and socket panel after being cleaned up. This is
a rare and valuable set so will be a sensitive restoration.
It's very important to preserve originality.
sleeves have been cleaned up so their bright colours can
once again be seen and they have been gently conditioned
by rubbing in Waxoyl. They should now be good for another
75 years... at least.
main deck. I always take copious digital close-up photos
- about ten times as many that appear here - as I go. This
way, I finish up with what is in effect an in-depth illustrated
guide that records the dismantling. This is a great help
later when everything goes back together.
I'm also keeping
all the many small parts and their fasteners in individually
labelled polythene bags. So, on reassembly the right fasteners
will be matched with the right parts.
First I remove
the band indicator lever mechanism and the dial. Dials are
always removed early on and put away in a very safe place,
well away from the rest of the action. Break the dial, and
you can lose the whole job!
Here we see
the light-absorbing card behind the dial is in poor condition.
Somebody's been here before! This later will be re-flocked.
This is a
general view of the underneath, once the screening can covering
the RF and oscillator sections has been removed. It doesn't
look too bad on this tiny picture but in fact the set has
had a lot of previous service attention. Some attempt has
already been made to make the replaced components look 'vintage'
but in general there's too much 'new' stuff tacked on.
My task will
be to return this to the closest I can manage to its original
1938/9 appearance. Some of this can be gleaned from studying
the manual but I am now issuing an appeal... has anyone
any pictures of the underneath of an unrestored HMV
907 chassis I can work from?
orginally a capacitor block at the rear of the main chassis.
This was replaced around 60 years ago with an ugly stack
of cardboard-cased electrolytics, which in turn had been
disconnected by the previous operator and replaced with
modern capacitors underneath.
I now am seeking
to make up a new 'block' that looks more like the pre-war
original. Here are some of the parts. The actual capacitors
to hide inside it will be ordered after the Bank Holiday