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........ and a few wood radios, too!

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Wood Radios: Superdyne Restoration

Click for a larger picture I purchased this Superdyne radio off e-Bay in January, 2004. I'm getting more and more interested in chrome grille radios, and this one looked like it could be restored. This radio isn't found in any price guides, but it appears to be identical to the Pla-Pal model 586DC, from 1935. The grille is actually aluminum, radios with chrome or metal grilles were popular only in 1934 and 1935, and are uncommon and hard to come by these days. Chrome grille radios tend to be highly collectible, so I was excited to win this radio at what I considered to be a bargain price.

Cabinet Restoration

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As can be see in the photos, the radio had been painted white sometime in its long life. After removing the chassis, grille, and dial hardware, I began by stripping the radio. As the layer of white paint came off, the former colors of the cabinet could be seen. The photo to the right shows the black trim that was on the top, as well as the front and sides. The pictures of the Pla-Pal model in Stein's book also showed this, so I would have something to work from. I carefully documented the look of the radio as I was stripping it, so I could re-create it later.

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The photo to the left shows the radio after stripping. I spent a lot of time stripping this radio, as I wanted the radio to be quite the show piece when done. Once all the white paint was off, I noticed that the radio itself was quite cheaply made. All the wood is un-remarkable, there are no fancy walnut or mahogany panels on this radio. It's just a simple case which had been toned, and trimmed in black. I lightly sanded the case to remove any vestiges of the white paint, and then filled the grain of the wood, which wasn't really neccesary, but did even out the overall tone of the cabinet.

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Spraying trim..

The photo on the right shows the case after spraying most of the black details. I used gloss black lacquer from Ace hardware. This involved a lot of taping off, trying to get all the lines of the black details straight. You can also see the wide variation in colors of the wood, this is before the wood was toned. I used a medium walnut toner to even out the tone. I also touched up some black detail areas with acrylic paints, areas that could not be sprayed easily. The radio also received multiple coats of clear gloss lacquer, and was rubbed out with a mutli-step process to perfection.

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The photo to the left shows the complete radio. The dial hardware was polished up as was the aluminum grille. The knobs were cleaned and polished. The grille cloth is the original, it's not in the best shape, but it's a silver colored pattern which has no replacement from the many grille cloth sources out there, so it will have to suffice. Overall, I'm very happy with the way this radio turned out. It's quite a change from the sad looking white radio that arrived at my home!