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These Folks Make Radio Backs!

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Post by danemodsandy on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:53 pm

After some research, I found that there is a company doing radio backs. They make both stock backs for a lot of the more common radios, at an average price of about $17. They can also make custom backs if you have an original to send them, or a measured drawing. The Website says that average cost for that is around $30.

Backs are laser cut, and made of fiberboard or Masonite. Colors vary according to brand and model; it looks like they make an effort to match material and color as closely as possible. Backs are NOT silk-screened with original manufacturer's info; the company is not set up to do that. And while most backs are duplicates of originals, a few are not; the Website is clear on which ones are and which ones aren't.

The Website can be reached at either of the two following URLs:

www(dot)radiobacks(dot)com
www(dot)retro-tronics(dot)com

I have not yet contacted or used these folks, but I intend to soon. If anyone has any experience with them (good, bad or indifferent), please share!

Thanks!
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Post by willy3486 on Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:20 am

Thats great. A laser cut would be a smoother cut than a scroll saw. I think the original way they cut it was a punch press. I worked in a factory and we did similar stuff like that. For the detail and look you want that will probably be your best option. I can settle for a scroll saw cut as for me the part I enjoy is the actual repair. But if I had looked for a long time like you have for this one I would probably be going to that company as well.

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Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:40 pm

Except most original radio backs were actually cardboard.
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Post by danemodsandy on Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:03 pm

Bill:

They say something about that on the site - something to the effect that the original style material is NLA. It would be terrific to have an NOS or minty original back, but I'm not holding my breath about finding one, LOL. I feel lucky enough that Mark Palmquist reproduces the dial cover!
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Post by willy3486 on Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:25 pm

Hey Bill I have a lot of old radios with backs made with a material that is a little thinner than what pegboards are made of and a similar looking material. Is this cardboard? I always thought it was masonite.

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Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:13 pm

Masonite is what clip boards are made out of. Cardboard would be similar, though generally much thicker than toilet paper tubes.
Some back covers are masonite, including some GE radios I've seen.
Also, they had that nightmare printed loop antenna on them.
It's actually a special sharp cornered square foil loop they attatched. Often break loose, and, easy to destroy.
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Post by danemodsandy on Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:28 pm

Bill Cahill wrote:Also, they had that nightmare printed loop antenna on them. It's actually a special sharp cornered square foil loop they attatched. Often break loose, and, easy to destroy.
Bill Cahill

You know, whether it's vintage electronics or vintage appliances, it seems that GE was always doing things differently than anyone else.
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Post by fixinmyphono on Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:56 pm

I emailed them no reply as of yet....
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Post by willy3486 on Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:05 pm

Bill I have a second question on the cardboard. I always thought that the backs of radios were masonite. To be honest I didn't know what masonite years ago as I had not seen it in stores years ago. Anyway I have quite a few old radios with backs that have something thinner than clipboards but has a similar look. I have a fada bullet that has this as well as the truetone I just redid. I also have a belmont radio that is like the repo that came out a few years go that I think has the same stuff.

I am wondering if these backs are the cardboard backs you are talking about. I just thought they were masonite after I heard about it. These backs are dark colored and I have noticed they will break and flake on the corners if you are not careful. I just took the flaking as due to age.

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Post by Bill Cahill on Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:55 am

You are partly correct. Flaking is due to age. It's cardboard. Philco also used cardboard. Some dark, so grey.
Motorola, Admiral, and, Westinghouse tended to use cardboard as well.
By 1953 Admiral was using light masonice on the bottom of their radio-phono. combinations.
Zenith used both.
Emerson was generally cardboard.

In the 40's, RCA tended to use alight masonite board inside for the loop antenna, and, a dark cardboard back.
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Last edited by Bill Cahill on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:02 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fumble fingers hit the wrong key.)

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Post by fixinmyphono on Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:47 am

Got a reply we are in negotiations now Smile
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Post by danemodsandy on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:03 pm

fixinmyphono wrote:Got a reply we are in negotiations now Smile

Please let us know how it goes. Are you getting one of the stock backs they advertise on their Website, or are you trying to get a back custom-made?
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Post by fixinmyphono on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:06 pm

danemodsandy wrote:
fixinmyphono wrote:Got a reply we are in negotiations now Smile

Please let us know how it goes. Are you getting one of the stock backs they advertise on their Website, or are you trying to get a back custom-made?

custom made for my silvertone 7134
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Post by danemodsandy on Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:57 am

fixinmyphono wrote:custom made for my silvertone 7134

I'll be very interested to hear how this goes! I'll look forward to any experiences you can share.

Thanks!
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Post by Resistance is Futile on Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:39 pm

Try pegboard its at Lowes and ACE Hardware
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Post by fixinmyphono on Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:10 pm

Well here it is.Looks pretty good I think.
These Folks Make Radio Backs! Photo0048
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Post by danemodsandy on Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:43 pm

PRETTY good? More like pretty pretty!

Tell me - is that cutout "Silvertone" logo an original-style detail, or did you decide to do that on your own? Looks nice!

Thanks for the update - I was hoping to hear that these folks were okay to deal with. Sounds and looks like they are.
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Post by fixinmyphono on Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:07 pm

Well after I got it done I found the radio with a back on e-bay but Im glad I had it made the way I wanted it because the real one is boring Laughing .They were great to deal with no problems at all! Here's a pic ot the original. Doug
These Folks Make Radio Backs! Photo0053
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