Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Cup's Retro Radio Project

I've got a list of know, artsy-fartsy stuff....that I hope to do before my Coffee Cup arrives.  Most of them are in the process of being created, but I have finished one completely.  My monkey-mind just spins and spins and I have a really tough time starting and finishing one project before moving on to the next.  My excuse is it's my creative right-brain at work and I'm stickin' to that story!

I've seen some retro-looking radio/iPod players that are cool, but the price tag on those are out of line with what I want to spend.  So I got the idea to find some sort of vintage radio (that didn't work any more) that I could convert to use with my iPod and a speaker or two.  The quest began with looking in all my favorite antique shops and malls here....but nothing I found felt or looked quite right.

When Becky and I were in Williamsburg in early December, we went to a new antique store in Toano and there it was!!  Interesting shape, made of wood, knobs still intact, speaker cover in place, good price, no longer worked....SOLD!

It had a dark streak down the right side and I thought something probably had been set on top of it and it spilled.  That mystery would be solved when I got inside.  My plan was to gut the radio; save the dials, knobs, and speaker cover; and clean it up.  First step was to take off the back and see what I would be working with inside.

OK....this would be pretty straightforward, I thought.  And except for a few screws that didn't want to budge, it was.  After carefully pulling the three knobs off the front and taking four screws out of the bottom, the whole inside assembly slid right out.  It was then that the mysterious dark spot was revealed!

At some point in the life of this vintage radio, there had been a little fire inside!  It still had a faint odor of burned and fused components.  With tools in hand, I set about clipping wires, taking out screws, and cleaning up this portion.  Next I starting removing the tubes and other unidentifiable objects, until everything was neater and cleaner looking.  Then I mounted a piece of cork on top of the metal box for my iPod and compact speakers to sit on.

The last steps in the Cup's retro radio project were to clean the glass dial, reposition the needle on the dial, add a new piece of scrapbook paper behind the dial, remove the speaker, trim the ragged edges of the burlap speaker fabric and reassemble everything.

The only thing left to be done was to clean the wood a bit and use the trick of rubbing a walnut in the scratches to make them disappear.  This project is finished and the next photo of my vintage radio/iPod player will be when it sits in The Coffee Cup!  I promise I'll share that with you this spring.


  1. Hi Sharon! What a cute trailer theme! I loved looking at your decor ideas and the vintage finds! Can't wait to see what's next.
    Nina, Sister #231

  2. Thanks Nina....I'm having so much fun now that I can't even imagine what it's going to feel like when she's parked right outside my door! My next project will be a lamp made from children's blocks, so check back from time to time! Sharon

  3. Sharon what a great find! I love the look and can't wait to the Coffee Cup! What's this about rubbing a walnut in the scratch to make it disappear.....does that really work?