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How much work is too much to save an old woody?

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Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
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Topic starter
 
Just have much work and expenditure are you prepared for to preserve a radio set?
If its something unusual, valuable or rare it is probably worth a few pounds and a lot of time to save it.
I am not talking round Ekcos here, just run of the mill domestic radios of the 1940s and 1950s.

As an example, a Pye 19A woody, from 1948, 

A mains set with MW, LW, and 3 bandspread SW.
Nice blue Pye chassis, no rust, a shapely wood cabinet, no worm but top marked and the weird composition cream trim distorted. 2 outer large knobs missing, dents in the expanded ally speaker grill and a bit of damage to the screen print on the tuning scale glass where the retaining bar at the back presses on it. No back board but the fittings are there.
Switches work, volume control is intact, may be scratchy but likely to be OK as the on/off switch (working) is part of the tone switch, it won't of been turned so often.

Its been worked on, 7 new yellow 1000v capacitors, new 3 core mains lead, some raggedy soldering but seen worse. ( apologies if you did the work, but I speak as I find )
Mains transformer checks out OK, dial lamps have filaments. Loudspeaker is intact and works well. Tuning mechanism all working. No damage apparent to the aerial or oscillator coils and the IF cans look un-twiddled, whether the cores are still attached is another matter.

New looking EBL31 but its a base only conversion from an EBL1 side contact so its a tall one, the top cap connection is short and its the wrong size for the valve cap, A CCH35 instead of ECH35 so a bit out on the heater volts, and an equivalent ARP34 instead of EF39. AZ31 rectifier is serviceable.

Delving a bit deeper I find 2 output transformers! The original on top is lacking a primary, not unusual, but the other underneath is OK back feeding the tone network via the original which has a feedback winding, most odd, very creative solution if it worked.

So cosmetically not too horrible, making a back is a bit of work.
Finding 2 suitable knobs should be simple. The cream trim is another matter, it may need a constructive solution.
Electrically, one valve, an output transformer to rewind, a few bits to tidy up.

Its potentially a good set considering its a 3 + rectifier short superhet, with 3 short waves if you like that sort of thing, I haven't seen too many of these around either.

Now I will ask your opinion, How much time is it worth? Would you restore it, just fix it, or break it for spares?

Advice and comment please, Sam.

__________________

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 1:09 pm
crustytv
(@crustytv)
Posts: 11993
Vrat Founder Admin
 

Hi Sam,

As there are very little if any radio folk left posting at Vrat, I seriously doubt you'll get the level of input your query has already garnered over on UKVRR . I only add this so as you don't get despondent thinking folk at Vrat are ignoring you, even the same query at GVR is lacking in response.

My own personal opinion is it depends if the item is rare or means something to you or you fancy a challenge, if so go for it ? . I once rebuilt an entire TV from an empty cabinet with only the control panel and speaker remaining, most would have walked away. Gathering all the parts required from the fine folk on this  forum and elsewhere.

If interested you can see it here. I gave it the nickname oddbod from the carry on screaming film, he grew from a finger, my TV grew from a cabinet. ? Its one TV that will be with me to the very end as I invested so much time and passion into it.

CrustyTV Television Shop: Take a virtual tour
Crusty's TV/VCR Collection: View my collection
Crustys Youtube Channel: My stuff
Crusty's 70s Lounge: Take a peek

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 1:37 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
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Topic starter
 

Thanks Chris, just thought I would test the water with a radio post, Vrat does seem to be heading away from radios laterly.

Its been a long while since I posted, don't do TVs anymore, that was 57 years ago!

Sam.

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 3:22 pm
crustytv
(@crustytv)
Posts: 11993
Vrat Founder Admin
 
Posted by: Boater Sam

Thanks Chris, just thought I would test the water with a radio post, Vrat does seem to be heading away from radios laterly.

Good on Ya!  ? Only takes a few folk to start the ball rolling and it may then encourage the rest to post their radio collections or project work. Like I say I only mentioned it as I didn't want you to think we were rude and ignoring you should the response be less than you hoped for. It is true historically Vrat did heavily lean towards TV and our reputation grew upon that, however the radio boys and girls have always been most welcome to join and post here.

 

CrustyTV Television Shop: Take a virtual tour
Crusty's TV/VCR Collection: View my collection
Crustys Youtube Channel: My stuff
Crusty's 70s Lounge: Take a peek

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 4:08 pm
Nuvistor
(@nuvistor)
Posts: 4623
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Always interested in radio repairs, I don’t restore or repair anymore but interested in reading and chipping if I think I have something to offer.

To answer the question it’s up to you, how much of a challenge you want and what else is in the todo pile.

 

Frank

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 4:46 pm
Lloyd
(@lloyd)
Posts: 1957
Prominent Member Registered
 

If it were me, I'd restore it! Or at least, do the best I could to make it work and look good again. I once restored a Pye P75 that I was given, it was horrible!! Someone had painted it with nasty poo-brown paint, and it had been damp, gone mouldy on top and some of the veneer was lifting, It also suffers from parts of the dial flaking where it's supported inside the set. I think most would have binned it without a second thought, there are still plenty of nice ones left in the world, so no-one would really miss it! I decided to try out my cabinet re-finishing skills on it, which were non-existant at the time! Stripped back the revolting paint and layer of mould, with proper Nitromors, not this new nanny state version that doesn't strip anything, cleaned the cabinet up with white spirit and wire wool, which revealed a lovely grain pattern, and contrasting light strips of veneer. I then used Halfords spray lacquer, with lots of flatting with wet and dry between coats, and eventually giving the last coat a good polish with Liberon burnishing cream. It came up lovely! It's not perfect, I did manage to sand through the veneer on one of the lower edges, but I did only do it as a trial piece, just to see if I could do it, and I did quite enjoy it too. The chassis was an easy one, just replaced a few old wax caps and the mains lead, and it worked, it still does and it is a rather nice sounding radio. In terms of time and money spent doing it up, it definitely wasn't worth it! I'd never get it back if I tried to sell it, but it was good practice for other projects, and good fun too, and it looks nice up on the shelf now!

Regards,

Lloyd.

IMG 3297
2008 0331Image0075
 
Posted : 04/05/2019 5:04 pm
PYE625, PYE625 and PYE625 reacted
Till Eulenspiegel
(@till)
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There's loads of junk woodies in the shop including a very rusty chassis pre-war Ferguson radio.  I'll take a look at it later today.

Till Eulenspiegel.

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 5:43 pm
PYE625
(@pye625)
Posts: 5118
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I do like to read about a radio restoration, especially if the set is in a bit of a state. Watching life being breathed into old bones as it were.

Nowthen....this topic has just reminded me about a set that is still awaiting finishing off.....

https://www.radios-tv.co.uk/community/radio/a-dusty-relic-arrives/

I have loads of radios that I restored in the past, all stuck in the loft. I really must do something about getting them down for a run now and then.

To understand the black art of electronics is to understand witchcraft. Andrew.

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 7:25 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 
Posted by: Till Eulenspiegel

There's loads of junk woodies in the shop including a very rusty chassis pre-war Ferguson radio.  I'll take a look at it later today.

Till Eulenspiegel.

No contest Till, please! ? 

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 7:27 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 
Posted by: Lloyd

If it were me, I'd restore it! Or at least, do the best I could to make it work and look good again. I once restored a Pye P75 that I was given, it was horrible!! Someone had painted it with nasty poo-brown paint, and it had been damp, gone mouldy on top and some of the veneer was lifting, It also suffers from parts of the dial flaking where it's supported inside the set. I think most would have binned it without a second thought, there are still plenty of nice ones left in the world, so no-one would really miss it! I decided to try out my cabinet re-finishing skills on it, which were non-existant at the time! Stripped back the revolting paint and layer of mould, with proper Nitromors, not this new nanny state version that doesn't strip anything, cleaned the cabinet up with white spirit and wire wool, which revealed a lovely grain pattern, and contrasting light strips of veneer. I then used Halfords spray lacquer, with lots of flatting with wet and dry between coats, and eventually giving the last coat a good polish with Liberon burnishing cream. It came up lovely! It's not perfect, I did manage to sand through the veneer on one of the lower edges, but I did only do it as a trial piece, just to see if I could do it, and I did quite enjoy it too. The chassis was an easy one, just replaced a few old wax caps and the mains lead, and it worked, it still does and it is a rather nice sounding radio. In terms of time and money spent doing it up, it definitely wasn't worth it! I'd never get it back if I tried to sell it, but it was good practice for other projects, and good fun too, and it looks nice up on the shelf now!

Regards,

Lloyd.

IMG 3297
2008 0331Image0075

Nice set the P76, I have several restored. Yours looks splendid.

Looking as though I will have to restore this 19A  now, the to do pile never gets any smaller.

I must off load some of the finished sets to make room.

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 04/05/2019 7:31 pm
Till Eulenspiegel
(@till)
Posts: 4947
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Here's the pictures of the beat-up Ferguson model 502, a pre-war Woodie. If it can be fixed it should be a good performer. Audio output uses a pair of type 42 pentodes so we can expect 8watts of power.

Type 42 = 6F6 or KT63.    From the Radiomuseum: 

https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/ferguson_502.html

Till Eulenspiegel.

Ferguson502 1
Ferguson502 2
Ferguson502 3
 
Posted : 05/05/2019 11:31 am
Nuvistor
(@nuvistor)
Posts: 4623
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That’s the radio or a similar 503 we had at home in the 50’s, heard the Sputnik on it, 1957 if I recall correctly.

 

Frank

 
Posted : 05/05/2019 4:59 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
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Topic starter
 

The consensus on 3 forums is that I should restore this basket case set, Pye 19A are not too common it seems.

Biting the bullet today, strip out the cabinet and clean it out. The speaker was half full of fluff,  cleaned and resprayed  black. Straighten and respray the grill in gold. The glass will have to be left as is, if I remove the gooey rubber strip from the back it will take the screen printing with it.

Woodwork is sound but stained on top, may need to be refinished in colour as a last resort, it will be different anyway. Will have to make a back and find the 2 larger outer knobs. One felt foot is missing

So to the chassis. A rewind on the original output transformer later, remove the second imposter. Removed all the valves and dusted it, reveals a clean blue painted chassis with no damage, its the best part in the set! Turning it over I hear the dreaded click of loose IF cores. Time to find out how hard it is going to be to fix them, this could right the set off.

The second IF has been unsoldered at some time and the  Phantom Twiddler has been here before me.  They come out and apart easily, the construction is 2 paxolin discs, thin paxolin tube former and 4 through stiff wires, quite fragile.

This afternoon's angst is to see if I can fix them. The brass threaded adjusters are in brass knurled bushes pressed into the former tube, a wire spring retains and locks the adjuster.They will not pull out without being loosened a bit first, tried heat, squeezing etc. no go. As a last resort I cut down through the tube where the bushes are with a sharp knife letting the tube open slightly, they come out with a good tug. I find 3 of the 4 of the slugs are loose, having broken off the brass adjusters.

Stuck them back on with superglue ensuring they were as concentric as I could manage. Followed up with a fillet of epoxy. Found some peeling inside the former tubes, this is probably what caused them to break off. Reassembled, tested  and refitted onto the chassis.

That took a full afternoon. Glad I don't do it for reward! Committed now, will have to finish it.

 

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 06/05/2019 6:47 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 

More progress today.
Succeeding with the IF cans spurred me on, terrible weather so inside today, the work on the boat will have to wait.

Removed the Imposter Output Transformer, its a Radiospares universal which I have not seen before. Obviously quite old, grey painted, lots of terminals.

Removed and stripped the original, unwound and counted turns, 3000 in the primary, 1600 in the feedback winding so its a lot of copper. Laminations very tight in the bobbin with some rusting.
Found a bit of greenspot winding corrosion on the corners of the bobbin on the start of the primary, its not burnt at all.

Patiently rewound it with new 0.07 wire, reused the speaker secondary winding wire as it is fine and I didn't have any new of the same gauge, the bobbin is very full. New lead out wires and cleaned up the tag strip.
Reassembled and insulation tested, its a goer. ? 

That's 3 hours, start to finish, a record for me.

Still pondering on the plastic trim moulding, ? its a complicated shape, nothing springing to mind yet. I'll have a go with boiling water but the plastic is degraded and shrunken.
Could try moulding one freehand from Sugru but will cost a lot for a possible failure.

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 09/05/2019 8:54 am
Lloyd, Nuvistor, Lloyd and 3 people reacted
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 

Another gray weather day so more work on the 19A. Incredible thunder storm this afternoon, big bangs and hail, May? Really?

Found a set of valves, an ECH35 instead of the CCH35, a Mazda EF39 that still has the metalising so it may not oscillate, and a short proper EBL31 so that the top cap connector will reach and fit. The original AZ31 is OK. I seem to have lots of red Mullard EF39s and they all oscillate badly, but then they all need re-metalising or used in screening cans.

Onto the isolation transformer via a lamp limiter, no bangs or smoke, a fading glow so give it the beans and there are sounds.

Radio 4 on long wave tunes in, a few whistles and crackles but there is life in the set.

A quick twiddle of the IF transformers and it improves but there is an obvious problem with the frequency changer and the IF amp valves not making good contact with their sockets. Inspecting the sockets reveals several broken pins, they are the horrible paxolin ones with the brittle brass connectors. Two new octal sockets need fitting, luckily I found the last two with the same fixing centers as the originals. Pick off the connections, the usual over wrapped wires are a pain, drill out the rivets and fit new with nuts and bolts.

Refit all the components and wires, power it up, and it works but its coming and going, the HT is intermittent. The wirewound smoothing resistor has a bright spot and is in need of replacing. 2K5, 10W not in stock, make it up with three  5W, 1K, 1,2K and a 300 ohm in series and a tag strip to hold them.

Back on and it is working really rather well, radio 4 longwave, plenty of medium wave stations, the BBC seem obsessed with football, even some short wave stations which is surprising with the workshop short indoor aerial. HT is a little low at 209V, should be 230V  but it will be enough. Run for an hour, nothing distressed, the electrolytics are still cold.

It needs a full alignment of course but the If transformers are peaking "by ear" so that is encouraging. Amazing how well it sounds for what is only a 3 valve plus rectifier set. The EBL31 is a super valve for economy radios. I will finish the chassis and put it away whilst I get stuck in to the cabinet.

Not come up with any good ideas about that troublesome trim yet and not decided whether to do a see-through back or a hardboard one, a lot depends on the woodwork, if it comes good and I can lose the stains I will re-polish it and keep it original, otherwise it will be a colour paint job with perspex back. Its a good looking chassis, shame to hide it away.

 

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 10/05/2019 6:01 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 

Got a snap of the trim today, then the camera battery died and it needs a battery to download to the computer. Rats!

Did a full alignment and everything peaked as it should, the first IF is very peaky, second is wider in tune.
Its working really well now, the HT has come up to 228V so the capacitors must have reformed, can is still stone cold. Stations throughout the medium wave, 4 or 5 audible on long wave with some also on the short wave bands, listened to the cricket on Radio 4.

Its been on all afternoon, no more squeaks or whistles now it has a decent screened iF valve. Strangely with a noisy peeling EF39 the output valve motorboats even with the grid top cap off, it must upset the HT line.
After rewinding the transformer to exactly the same as original I found I had to reverse the feedback winding, it must of been incorrectly connected before and the extra output transformer must have done the reversal.

Cleaned and lubed all the bits on the chassis, I'll put it aside now and get on with the cabinet, stripper, bleach and oil to see what it looks like.
If its too bad it will be grain filler, undercoat and paint. 

Could we have a pole on what colour would look best? I favour Oxford blue or darker.

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 11/05/2019 8:02 pm
crustytv, Nuvistor, crustytv and 3 people reacted
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 

Looked at the cabinet again. Its solid, no worm, a tiny bit of veneer missing on the bottom edge of one side.

But there is this big black stain top and center, possibly a plant pot years ago.

I scraped the varnish off the stain and daubed a paste of Bar Keepers Friend which is Oxalic acid onto the area. Next morning, no stain! Totally removed. It must of been an iron stain.

So the cabinet can be stripped and refinished, probably with Danish Oil unless someone knows better.

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 19/05/2019 6:07 pm
Nuvistor, crustytv, Nuvistor and 3 people reacted
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 

An update on the Pye 19A.

The cabinet has been completely stripped by dry scraping with an old plane iron, rubbed down with wire wool and white spirit, a light staining and Danish oil applied.

I've whitened the inside as the back will be clear acrylic, show piece radio.

A couple of pictures of the problem plastic trim. It does not seem to soften much in hot water, will have to try something else like the oven!

Chassis looks smarter now.

Sam.

 

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 26/05/2019 10:18 am
Lloyd
(@lloyd)
Posts: 1957
Prominent Member Registered
 

That's coming along nicely, always like a freshly done wooden cabinet. The plastic trim could be problematic, maybe someone has a worm-eaten cabinet that could donate one? Chassis looks nice too.

Regards,

Lloyd

 
Posted : 26/05/2019 12:24 pm
Boater Sam
(@boater-sam)
Posts: 511
Honorable Member Registered
Topic starter
 

I had this restoration running on 3 forums originally, now only on 2, but no one has of yet volunteered a trim.

I have the knobs courtesy of a member on UKVRRR, the back I will cut from acrylic so its just the trim to find or restore.

Thank you for your kind comments.

Sam.

Boater Sam

 
Posted : 26/05/2019 7:59 pm
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