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Other Radios - Wood Tabletop: Firestone S-7403-3 Restoration
I picked up this 1938 Firestone at a local antique mall for $15. I really like Firestone radios - they are just about my favorite brand. I've got quite a few of the models, but many of them need work. This looked like an easy restoration. All it really needed was to be refinished. The lacquer was flaking off in places, especially around the knobs. The brown trim on the lower sides was in poor shape and flaking off. There was a knob missing, but it was a common style which are not hard to find. The dial cover was yellowed and scratched.

Electronically, the cord was cut on the radio so I was unable to power it up.

After stripping

Cabinet Restoration

The lacquer finish on this radio was quite bad. The only choice for this radio was to completely strip off the old finish and apply a new lacquer finish. I removed the finish with steel wool and Park's Refinisher. It took about 30 minutes to get all the finish off, and I ended up using a toothbrush to get into the detail areas on the front grille. The case looked pretty good after stripping, as you can see on the right.

Applying Decals

The edges on the sides are rounded pieces of wood that were done in a dark brown trim. I carefully taped off these sections and painted them with brown spray paint. The paint wasn't quite as dark as I would have liked, but it still looks pretty close. I then stained the radio with Minwax Early American, then applied several light coats of clear lacquer. At this point, I applied the decals. This radio had a Firestone decal, as well as decals above the knobs. I carefully applied decals which were purchased from Rock Sea Enterprises, making sure that they were straight and aligned in the proper position. Take a photo of the radio before stripping to make sure you get the decals right!

It's done!
Click for a larger picture...
Once the decals had dried, I applied multiple coats of clear lacquer to finish the radio. Once the lacquer had been applied, I let the radio sit for a week, then carefully sanded out the lacquer finish using 600 and 1500 grit paper with lemon oil. The finished radio is shown on the right - it turned out quite well! I still need to find an exact knob replacement. The one I had on hand is a tad bit darker than the other.

Electronic Restoration

I'll probably take a look at the chassis this winter - for now, I'm concentrating on getting cabinets done.