Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

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Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun May 29, 2016 1:51 am

I have decided that this will be my major summer project.  I have a 1961 Magnavox 1ST616 console stereo that I bought at an auction for a dollar, primarily to save it from the dumpster.  Someone has tried to strip the finish and there are water stains on the sliding lids.  Interestingly, the sliding lids on this particular instrument are veneered Masonite, instead of photofinish.  The electronics are original, I haven't even dusted it.  I have used it since I got it as a garage radio.  It seems to work just fine.  The main concern I have is that the tuning knob is very difficult to turn and the changer sounds like it is grinding walnuts when it runs.  It plays records okay, although rumble is horrendous.  The drive tire is not only hard as a brick, but is split and cracked, hence the high noise output when running.  This is the only Magnavox stereo that I own with the somewhat-rare "Feather Touch" tone arm.  As far as I can tell, this is just the low-line Collaro Micromatic with a "Feather Touch" sticker on the tone arm.  This instrument has the 88-02-00 amplifier, six tube tuner with no MPX adapter, and the ubiquitous Electro-Voice model 26 ceramic stereo cartridge.  It has two 12" side-firing woofers with two four inch tweeters and two five inch mid-range front-firing speakers.  The amp has a 6CA4 rectifier, two 6EU7 pre-amps and phase inverter tubes and push-pull 6V6GT output.  There is another 6EU7 amplifier in the tuner.  I will bet my last dollar that at least one, and possibly all, of those 6EU7's test bad.  They are allegedly used as a low-noise twin triode, but in practice they are a pain to deal with.  This instrument requires the 7000 series MPX adapter, and the hunt is on for one.  This will give this little stereo a 15 tube complement.  Magnavox sure got plenty of performance from a 15 watt amplifier.  This is the second-cheapest stereo Magnavox built for the 1961 model year with P-P amplifier.  It retailed for $325 new with an additional $35 for the MPX adapter.  You could get three of these instruments for the price of a Concert Grand.  I'm not sure the little one is not as good a performer as the Concert Grand.  

The plan is to pull the speaker boards, trim, lids, all the electronics (carefully document, both with written notes and photography), then tape off the insides and all the paper documents in the cabinet.  This instrument does not have the interior of the cabinet finished as does the Imperial and Concert Grand cabinets.  I have been watching YouTube videos on refinishing.  I have done some, but it is not my strong suite.  I'm gonna try some black grain filler to see how that looks.  This cabinet appears to have been two tones of walnut, darker on the lids and front panel, lighter on the "frame."  I like this guy's video.  This may not be the best method, however.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMDuVTIDRxs

I have nothing to lose and everything to gain in refinishing this cabinet.  The only way to make it worse would be to burn it.  I have to do something so the frau will let me bring it into the house.  I'll try to get some pictures posted and also as I go along.



Last edited by Wildcat445 on Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:42 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:48 pm

I have some pictures of this process.  In digging into this project, I have found that almost the entire end of the cabinet is built around a speaker board.  I have had to do major disassembly of the cabinet to get that speaker board out.















The tubes in the amplifier are coded "61-39" which is the 39th week of 1961. Speaker codes are for the 35th week and the 37th week of 1961. The rectifier was made by RCA, the 6EU7's by Sylvania, and the 6V6GT output tubes by Hitachi. The tuner has FM AFC, which was all-new for later in 1961. It has no MPX adapter. This little Series 100 6 tube tuner has no AM RF amplifier like the Series 200, 8-tube tuners have. It uses the 6AL5 FM discriminator for AM detection duty. All the inputs are run thru the 6EU7 phono input, unlike the Series 200 tuners. This instrument has robust FM and phono output, but, due to the AM being basically an AA5, a long antenna is required down where I live in FringeCity to get any kind of acceptable AM reception.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:04 pm

The model you have was a budget model. The grinding noise is a hard idler wheel. Gary at VM enthusiasts has a stock of idler wheels for other brands, including the colaro changer, which you have. If he doesn't have it, he also has a rebuilder that he swears by to put a new tire on yours. I stand by Gary. He's done well by me.
Good luck. I'd like to see how you fix those Masonite panels, and, the rest of restoration, as well.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 5:07 pm

Magnavox actually built three models lower in price than the Concerto series. They made an AM-FM/record player console with single ended audio. Then they built an AM-only console with single-ended audio. Then they built two record player consoles, one with single-ended audio and one with push-pull audio. This is the lowest priced AM-FM phonograph console stereo with FM stereo capability and push-pull audio that Magnavox made.

Gary is the go-to guy for Collaro parts. That is a bit down the road yet.

Thanks for your encouragement. Stay tuned. Removing the black stain from a sliding lid will be a challenge.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 07, 2016 6:52 pm

It's not a stretch to see that set restored. It looks like the left slider in the altogether photo has a bit of a bow to it.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:02 pm

I have a mono Magnivox portale hi fi. It has push pull 35C5 output, 35W4 rectifier, and, 12AX7 . Has bass-treble controls. It has a deluxe VM record changer with a 12" extended turntable. Gary helped me with the many parts I needed to repair the battered changer. For five bucks more I bought a new old stock cardboard instruction sheet for the top of turntable. It has fairly good bass response, and, ok treble.
Haven't used it a long time due to needle being bad in cartridge. Cartridge is good, ceramic.

It's in a heavily made wood cabinet with covering.
I like this machine.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:35 am

75X11 wrote:It's not a stretch to see that set restored.  It looks like the left slider in the altogether photo has a bit of a bow to it.  

75, I have the cabinet back leaning against the LH side of the cabinet in that picture. Could that be what is causing it to look crooked? Or am I not seeing a defect?

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:58 am

It just looked like it on the left side in the first picture.  It might have been the lens aspherics.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by willy3486 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:42 am

That looks like a 9304 or similar amp with it. The bang and twang crowd goes crazy for them. I rebuilt one a few years ago and added volume control to it. Those 9304 goes for big bucks. One not restored can go for 100 or better. I have seen them go for 600 or better restored. I would rather find a factory stereo amp and just rebuild it than one of these. Glad you saved it from the bang and twang chop shop.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:21 am

This one has the 8802 amp. They are about the same thing really. No twang and bang for this baby. I guess I could play a Duane Eddy record, though..... Very Happy

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:23 am

75X11 wrote:It just looked like it on the left side in the first picture.  It might have been the lens aspherics.

My photography skills leave something to be desired occasionally.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:14 pm

I have the cabinet mostly free of the original finish. I have the cracks and crevices to go over again and some sanding left to do. I'm not going to try to guess what someone was attempting to do, but they sure made a mess. The spread some glop over the original finish, sprayed some black paint on the grille cloth for some reason. I got all that stuff off, and the cabinet looks lots lighter in color. I will have to replace all the grille cloth, both for its being filthy and for the silly black paint. The black stain on the one sliding lid is 99% gone. I really believe that black grain filler will allow the remaining mark to be blended in with no further work. I'm somewhat optimistic that this may turn out okay in the long run. I need to figure out what color stain I need, whether I'm going to have to use a toner to even the wood color out, and how compatible tung oil will be with shellac.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Tony V on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:20 pm

I cant wait to see your handy work. I like seeing before, during and after of peoples projects. It sounds like your off to a good start.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:44 pm

I have managed to clean this cabinet up without the use of stripper. I wanted to avoid using stripper for a couple reasons. First, the stuff is nasty and I dislike using it, and, second I wanted to treat the abused wood on this console as gently as I could. Stripper removes all the stain and grain filler. I wanted to get some idea of what the factory may have done when this cabinet was finished.

I appreciate your kinds words of encouragement, Tony. If you have input you feel would help, feel free to jump in.

I took the time later this evening to check out the amp a little bit. The 220K grid resistors have drifted somewhat high, but only to about 270K to 280K. I have certainly seen worse. I will replace all the 220K resistors, like I always do. All the tubes checked very good, so they go back into service. I'm guessing there are not a lot of hours on this instrument, due to tube condition and the fact that the resistors have not drifted extremely high. It has simply had a hard life. I will do the normal recap and be done with it.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:22 am

They make tung oil finishes with the finish agent, varnish or shellac already in it. I have used it on stocks and grips on firearms and it looks nice.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:11 am

I appreciate that tip, 75.  Does that product build up? Can it be worked like lacquer, i.e.rubbed out? What name brand are you referring to?

I have been reading and am only getting more confused and unsure. I need to slow down and remember that this is a hobby and I am supposed to enjoy this. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:26 am

What I would do is apply, allow to dry and buff with 0000 steel wool. That would bring the built up component down and allow another coat with another app of tung oil. I'd repeat about 3 times for a stock showing porosity as opposed to a liquid gloss finish. It gives you control over the result.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:28 am

I was also going to say we have some excellent refinishers on this part of the forum,too.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:06 am

Thanks, 75. I certainly have the utmost admiration for those who can refinish this stuff both competently and successfully. Oil finish is new territory for me. I may be making it harder than it is.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:03 am

Just do the prep work and cleaning. The oil finish then will impress and satisfy. It can also darken the finish a bit. try it on an unseen portion of the wood to see its' effect.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:32 pm

I certainly appreciate all the input with refinishing the cabinet. The wife and I have not been to "the city" lately, so we are going to load the mutts in the rig and head east about four hours to St.Louis, where there is a Rockler's store. We can eat at Texas Roadhouse and get what I need for the cabinet.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:05 pm

Look for tung oil finish as opposed to tung oil. Read the contents to make sure it is what you want.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:10 pm

Got it. Thanks.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:59 pm

While I am waiting on supplies, I decided to share some of the pictures of progress so far.

I finally got the chance to confer with my Amish friend who has been redoing furniture since Christ was a corporal.  This gentleman knows his wood.  He has advised me that, since some of the grain filler is still there, I should alter my original plan of attack.  I have stained the cabinet and lids first.  Then I'll apply a couple coats of shellac sealer, sanded between coats with 320 grit.  Then I'll use my black grain filler a bit more sparingly than I had planned.  I don't need a lot, just enough for a skim coat over the entire cabinet.  Somebody spread what is apparently Polyshades in a mahogany color on the lids and front panel.  I like to never got my refinisher concoction to start moving the old finish.  After I sanded enough for the refinisher to penetrate the poly and start removing the underlayer, I started having some success.  My friend also advised me that Magnavox, Hammond, Drexel and some others, back in the day, used a combination of shellac, varnish and tung oil to create their French polish finishes.  He recommended that I use a wash of denatured alcohol to remove any remaining shellac, which I did and that seems to have cleaned some remaining goo from the surface.  I now have the entire cabinet stained, ready for shellac sealer and a couple rounds of sanding before grain filler.

Lids free of old finish:



Removing finish from cabinet front panel:



Clean cabinet:



Stained lids.  What little of the black mark remains should be obliterated by black grain filler;



Stained cabinet:



End of the cabinet.



The light in my garage is semi-horrible for taking pictures with accurate color.  This will show better that the color is pretty close, piece to piece.



I searched high and low for a stain that closely matched what was supposed to be on the cabinet.  Magnavox calls this color "American Walnut" in the 1961 catalog, although it is coded "NWAL" on the cabinet.  Perhaps that does not mean "Natural Walnut", but is their nomenclature for American Walnut.  Rust-Oleum is not your typical high end wood stain product.  It was spot on as far as color is concerned.  It went on easy, dries fast, and I recoated and was done is less than a hour.  And, I got it at Walmart!  



So far, so good.  I'll wait for the grain filler and get on that process.  I'm tinkering with electronics and that while I'm waiting for chemicals to dry.

And, he let me in on his super-secret finish that I get to use. I can't reveal what it is until the project has been completed successfully.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:12 pm

Very Happy
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

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