Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:04 pm

None of the hoity-toity woodworking companies could match the stain on my cabinet.  I took a lid in to Walmart and a lady who had a 25 year badge helped me pick out the perfect color.

I replaced all the 220K ohm resistors in the amplifier and am waiting for my capacitor order to arrive to complete that project.

I would never have thought those lids would clean up as well as they did. They won't be perfect, but the rest of that old stereo is not perfect.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Tony V on Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:30 pm

Looking good!
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:08 pm

It was 93 here today, with 82% relative humidity.  Probably going to blow up a storm.  The dew point is 77 degrees, not ideal weather for refinishing.  I needed to get a couple mist coats of shellac on the cabinet before the stain got contaminated somehow.  I don't like to leave "open" stain on a cabinet for very long.  I misted a couple coats on anyway.  Normally, shellac dries almost as fast as you can apply it.  The instructions say you can apply the finish over shellac in an hour.  Not today, I can't.  It has been almost four hours since I put on the shellac and it is still not completely dry, let alone cured enough to sand.  I did not put shellac on the sliding lids.  I'm going to process them as a separate project.  I want to get the cabinet grain filled and ready for the finish, then work on the lids.

The cabinet is getting shiny with just shellac on it.  The grain filler is in pretty good shape on the front panel.



I wish my photography skills were better, however I hope you can see that it won't take a lot of grain filler to get this smooth.  The shellac has not been sanded yet, which should help some.



Another point I need to mention here is, that if you'll look closely at the corner I just posted, the shellac does not look smooth.  There is some contamination of some kind on that corner.  This is another reason to use shellac.  It will stabilize that area, so hopefully it will accept the finish without drama.  Shellac is a finish in itself.  I no longer need to worry about contamination or another process changing the color of the stain I worked so hard to achieve.  I am committed for tomorrow, so it may be at least 48 hours before I sand this out.  I don't have my grain filler yet, so I'm not in a hurry.  The finish procedure will be spray two light coats on, wait at least 72 hours, sand with 320 then blow with compressed air, tack with a tack rag, then recoat two more coats.  Repeat this procedure until I get on at least six coats, depending on how smooth my grain filling turns out.  After the final coat of finish is on, I wait at least three weeks to a month, for all the solvents in the finish to flash, then polish the finish out with wet sandpaper, my "hand-rubbed oil finish."  My top secret hand rubbed oil finish.  Very Happy

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before or not, but this is a LOT of work for a $1 stereo!  Shocked


Last edited by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:42 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:33 pm

Looks like it's coming along pretty well.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:44 pm

Thanks, 75. I'm excited about the project. I hope it turns out well.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:52 pm

We've been having plenty of hot humid weather here as well.  The skies opened up this afternoon with a BIG pop up storm. Hope it didn't wash any of my grass out.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 15, 2016 9:40 am

I used Zinsser "Bulls Eye" shellac in a spray bomb this time. My shellac flakes are all old and the mixture looked cloudy, so I was afraid to use it. I have read about shelf life on shellac. Some of my shellac flakes belonged to my grandpa, so they have got to be at least 30 years old. I haven't tried sanding the spray stuff yet. I'm actually following procedures in harmony with the advice of the "experts." Not typically my MO. Scary?

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Wed Jun 15, 2016 10:26 am

Being a resinous material, I doubt if shellac flakes would lose their potency.  I would bet the solvents effectiveness or humidity or temperature would be more at fault.  save what you have mixed in glass and see if it changes with a little time.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:39 pm

I read on the Internet that shellac has a shelf life, a fact of which I was unaware. That and the cloudiness of mine, prompted me to buy the spray bomb for this project.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Bill Cahill on Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:13 pm

I have been using shellac for many years on my antiques, and, I'm very happy with it.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:12 pm

I have only used shellac as a seal coat.  I have never done a total refinish using shellac as the top coat.  It sure is easy to work with, very forgiving. That's good to know, Bill. Thanks.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:23 am

The humidity is so high here, I can't apply shellac. Shellac is the last thing you want to use in high humidity. So, I'm temporarily stalled until the weather breaks a little. It is unusual to see humidity this high around here in June. It is taking 72 hours for shellac to dry enough to sand, and that should take about an hour normally. It's too hot to work in the garage anyhow. All the fans do is blow more hot, humid air on me.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jun 18, 2016 9:28 am

As scrambled as the weather patterns are, It's hard telling when things will get right.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Bill Cahill on Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:51 pm

You sand shellac? If you have everything clean, four zero steel wool is the only thing you should ever need between coats. Also, Not all antique furnature used shellac.. The finer furnature used a more rubbed in finnish. Shelac was used, as far as I know, used nothing, but, shellac. Sometime in the late thirties they started using varnich, or, lacquer..
Shelac is a very nice finnish to use. It's generally a great finish. Edison used shellac on almost everything. If properly taken care of an original finish will last forever. I have a 1901 vintage Edison Standard model A cylinder phonograph with it's original finnish, and, the part they took care of is almost like new.
An Edison Amberola 30 I have dating to at least 1914 has it's original finish, and, it's mint. It's all in the care it is given....





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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:36 pm

I have to sand the surface flat.  Remember, I want to rub the final finish out, like you would if you painted a car.  I only need to do one more sanding operation after I grain fill, before applying the final finish.

I'm a novice at refinishing, I'll admit that.  Just like auto mechanics/restoration, radio/TV repair or most anything else, if you ask ten people how they do it, you'll get eleven different answers.  I'm not going to swear that the way I'm doing this is right, or that it will work at all.  I'm doing what I believe to be the best way for my particular situation.  The good news is that I have not ruined the wood.  The worst that can happen at this point is that I mess it up, have to strip it all down again and start over.  At least I'll have learned something in the process, for whatever that is worth.

I tested a place on the inside of the cabinet on my Concert Grand. I can say with some specificity that the finish on that instrument is based at least on shellac, since denatured alcohol softened the finish. Had it been lacquer, alcohol would not have done that. Acetone may or may not attack shellac, in my experience. The reason it worked on the cabinet I'm working with is that the finish was very poor to start with. I had to do a final cleaning with alcohol, you'll remember. What combination Magnavox used along with shellac may forever be lost to history.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:43 pm

I take it you are seeking a gloss surface with no grain conformity showing.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:11 am

Actually, just before gloss is my goal.  Not semi-gloss, not real glossy.  Somewhere in between, if that makes any sense.  The grain on the cabinet I'm not going to get excited over.  The lids need to be smooth as glass, like they would be if they were photofinish.

The weather will determine the final finish I use. I have a couple options, the "top-secret" method being one of them. It may prove to be too humid to make that finish work. If so, I have to drop back to the backup plan. My wife likes open grain look on furniture. She is fussing about my filling the grain on the cabinet. What if I compromise a bit? Use grain filler, then wipe with the grain with steel wool to pull a bit of the filler out, leaving some slight depressions. This way, I could still rub out the cabinet, and some of the grain would still show to please the frau. She is usually right about these things, so I want to consider her opinion. The lids are a no-brainer. Those need to be smooth and fairly glossy, ala photofinish. I can take certain liberties with this cabinet, since I don't really have a good picture of how it is supposed to be. I am considering a solid dark brown grille cloth, vs the tweed looking cloth there now.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:30 pm

Since I have already let the cat out of the bag, and I learned a couple new facts, here goes:

First, the "top secret' finish I was going to use is pure shellac.  Nothing else but stain and grain filler.  My Amish friend swears by this stuff.  The problem I was having that I blamed on humidity is self-inflicted.  I was putting on too much material in a coat.  Shellac does not build layers, one on the other, like some finishes do.  Each subsequent coat melts the preceding coats until it forms a thicker coat.  I have to go easy on each coat.  Even a tad too heavy and I get what I call blushing, which is really a series of small sags from too much material being applied at once.  A spray bomb is not optimum, either, I have learned.  It is hard to get a uniform, thin coat with a bomb.  Next time, I will either use proper spray equipment or I'll put it on by hand.  I get to rub out yet another sag caused by my getting in too big a hurry.

To set the record straight, my backup plan was to use gloss polyurethane for the final coat.  Humidity is my enemy with this stuff.  It would be Christmas before poly cured enough to let me rub it out.  I know, the old radio guys say that poly is too rubbery to rub out.  I did it on a test board and it worked okay, as long as it is well-cured.  Like letting it set for about a month in low humidity.  It has to be really hard.  All the solvents have to be gone.  We used to do that with cars on a regular basis.  We'd spray on the urethane, then let them sit out in the hot AZ sun for a month before we color sanded and buffed them out.  The humidity got too high too early this summer to mess with poly on this project.  The shellac will work fine once I get more experience with it.  The worst that can happen is that I have to sand it all off and start over.  It would not be the first time on this project.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:18 pm

I took care of the sag. That will be enough of that!

I tinkered with the electronics a bit this afternoon. The turntable had the habit of sounding like a cement mixer when it ran. And it had a weird hum sometimes when the changer cycled. It hummed almost all the time and the volume on the phono was lower than on radio. A dirty function switch caused a couple of the problems. The all-the-time hum and the lower volume. The noise when the platter turned is caused by a wonky drive tire. The motor mounts are completely shot as well. So a set of mounts, a rebuilt drive tire and a new needle should put the changer in the pink. I'll disassemble the motor for a good lube job and grease and clean whatever looks like it needs it. This old changer actually works pretty well. My practice is to not fool with progress. If it ain't broke, I won't try to fix it. One upside to this instrument is that all the electronic components can be run conveniently outside of the cabinet. That is not the case with the larger, bi-amp jobs.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Sun Jun 19, 2016 8:37 pm

That unit will be nice to look at and listen to.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:52 am

I may need to start a thread somewhere else for the electronics. I found an MPX adapter, so that will be a welcome addition.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:30 am

75, I owe you an apology.  I misread one of your earlier posts.  I'm sorry for confusing your astute observation.

You posted a comment that one of the sliders in the first picture had a bow to it.  You are right.  I have been weighting that board in an attempt to straighten it out some.  It will never be perfect.  All of my sliders have a bow to one extent or the other.  This is a result of "set top appointments" in Magnavox-speak.  AKA crap the frau sets on top that is too heavy.  If you need me to be frightfully honest, I have set my drill press on top of that slider, protected by a couple layers of cardboard.  The base on the drill press is perfect for slider lid straightening duty.

I misunderstood, thinking you were talking about one of the upright posts on a cabinet corner.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:33 am

It only looked enough so, that as I said before it could have been lens aspherics.  It's a wonder the lids can put up with so much.  The rest of the cabinet seems to be of quite strong materials.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by Wildcat445 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:13 pm

The lids are typically made of tempered Masonite, which is pretty tough for no thicker than it is.  The big stereos had tempered glass tops, which probably would hold more weight.  The non-glass lids all bow somewhat.  I don't believe I have ever seen a perfectly straight set.  I put a couple hunks of lauan for outside runners, then weight the center to try and straighten them our some.  It works with varying degrees of success, in all fairness.

The cabinet is all hardwood, and is loaded with tenon and mortise joints, held together with pocket screws. Construction methods above reproach.

I now have a total of six coats of shellac on the cabinet, waiting for the last coat to dry. Next procedure will be to flat sand the last coat with Scotchbrite and a homemade plastic block. This will be an experimental procedure. I have wanted for some time to try sanding with Scotchbrite. I have enough material on the cabinet that I can afford to try something different.

I got my grain filler in this morning's post. Crystal clear grain filler! Some idiot (me) ordered the wrong stuff. I did not put a "B" at the end of the part number. Now I get to wait while they send the right stuff.

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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

Post by 75X11 on Tue Jun 21, 2016 3:26 pm

The way they are constructed is kind of like the bimetallic strips used for temperature sensing. The only places humidity could effectively permeate the material is the underside. They would probably even distort with no weight. Your recurve work is probably as effective as any method to stop the sag.
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Re: Restoration on Magnavox Stereo Model 1ST616

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