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saba: 9; Freudenstadt - Refinishing the Cabinet

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Forum » Radios and other type of sets (Physics) etc. » MODELS DISPLAYED » saba: 9; Freudenstadt - Refinishing the Cabinet
           
Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
 
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23.Dec.10 18:37

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Hello Friends,

 I recently purchased this radio. The chassis is in wonderful condition, but the cabinet is in sad shape.  With over 50% of the original finish missing, I decided to refinish the cabinet.  I carefully stripped off the remaining laquer, taking measurements and making notes as to the location of the three gold pinstripes.

I could not see a good way to remove either the plastic speaker covers on the sides nor the brass trim on the front side, so I left them in place and carefully worked around them.  I did make some surface scratches on the brass with the sand paper, but I'll buff them out with a polishing wheel on my Demel.  I also accidently got some stripper on the plastic which messed it up, but I'll bite the bullet and wear my fingers out buffing away the bad spots with Novus plastic polish.  Fortunately, I had wonderful results removing the grill cloth from the pressboard backing and cleaning it in the sink with some Woolite.  After it air-dried, I was able to stretch it back over the board fixing it in place with spray adhesive and staples.

I purchased some palisander colored wood stain and will top that with several coats of Tung oil. I also purchased some 2mm gold pinstripe stickers to replace the former pinstripes (which appeared to have been painted on?)

My question is this:  When should I apply the pinstripes?

1st thing?  After the toner? or after a coat or two of the Tung oil (laquer)?

 

Any other suggestions about what I have done or plan to do are also welcome.

Thank you!

Bob

James MacWilliams
 
 
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23.Dec.10 20:36

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Bob, I think you'll find it easier to wait until after you have stained the cabinet before applying the pin stripes.  Beautiful radio.  For more information concerning Saba radios (besides this forum), try the German website: saba.magnetofon.de/index.php  , which is dedicated to Saba anything.

It is in German, but you can post English questions.  I use Google Translate to translate the site to English, since my German doesn't go much beyond being polite (and ordering beer).  They like photos, so you'll get more response if you post some.

Regards, good luck, Jim

James MacWilliams
 
 
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23.Dec.10 20:56

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You may be interested in this: shop.antikradio-restored.de/product_info.php, where you may purchase stripes made for the Saba radios.

Regards, Jim

Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
 
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23.Dec.10 23:54

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Thank you for the suggestions Jim, I will check out that SABA site.  I was thinking they'd best go on after the stain, but I've read several accounts of radio restorations and there doesn't seem to be a consensus on applying them before the lacquer or after one or two coats.  Perhaps someone at that SABA site will know how the company did it.

And in a nice coincidence, ATR is the place where I bought my pinstripe stickers!  Ha ha!

(he also carries a nice selection of NOS old-style German resistors!)

Thanks again,

Bob

Omer Suleimanagich
Omer Suleimanagich
 
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27.Dec.10 09:14

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Why stain? 

James MacWilliams
 
 
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27.Dec.10 11:46

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 Omer, not sure what your question is.  You seem to be suggesting an alternative, but don't state it.  Please enlighten us.  Regards, Jim

Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
 
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27.Dec.10 12:53

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Hi Omer,

 I'm trying to replicate the original finish as closely as I can (given what is readily available - and affordable - too me).  I took some high resolution pics of a portion of the remaining finish and played around with the brightness/color hues until it printed out in the exact same shade, took the paper to a local hardware store and matched it to a stain as close as I could (in this case, a dark palisander). 

It took two coats of stain to get to the proper shade, and even after only the first coat of tung oil I can tell it is going to look very close to the original finish.  The original lacquer was extremely thick, so I suspect I'll have to apply five coats (or more) of tung oil over the next week.

I plan on posting a few sequenced photos once I'm finished. (on an aside note, my wife applied the pin stripes with even more precision than the original artist!)

 

Cheers,

Bob

This article was edited 27.Dec.10 12:54 by Bob Isaac .

James MacWilliams
 
 
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27.Dec.10 21:16

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Hi Bob,  Looking forward to seeing the finished product.  It is indeed worth taking your time to produce a nice finish. 

I'm working on a Saba Freiburg 7, which had a lot of problems.  Electrically it's all working and it is now cabinet refinish time, but it's the wrong time of year to do it.  This one had some small patches of veneer missing, which I've managed to fix, plus numerous other cabinet problems -- all now addressed.  It is, however, too cold to work in the garage and I don't want to work in the house with stains and laquers.  I can heat the garage, but with it being so cold, it's not worth it.

Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
 
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27.Dec.10 22:24

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Hi Jim,

  Perhaps you'd care to post some pictures of yours as well?

I hear you about where to do the refinishing.  I actually do it in my basement where I have one highly ventilated room with a dual fan window box fan, and another smaller room where I run a small space heater to dry the various stains and lacquers.  It works pretty well and doesn’t cost me a fortune.

If I had any patience, I would do like you and wait for spring, but I don’t.

Typical American…  :-)

 

 

Omer Suleimanagich
Omer Suleimanagich
 
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28.Dec.10 06:59

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After stripping, put 100% alcohol over the area that you would like to place lacquer.  I guarantee you that it will be very close to the original finish!                             

Putting stain on that cabinet, will give it a shade that never was used for a SABA radio!

We had this discussion many times before on North American radio forums, and the conclusion is, that radio manufacturers didn't waste time or money staining cabinets, in North America or in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omer Suleimanagich
Omer Suleimanagich
 
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28.Dec.10 07:11

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I understand that radio restorers in the UK prefer tung oil rather than lacquer, but my preference on German radios, pre catalyzed plastic finishes era, is to remove the varnish, and cover it with the highest quality lacquer, with grain filler placed before.

If you would like to even take it one step further, after the grain filler, cover the radio with one coat of shellac, then cover it with lacquer.

 

Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
 
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28.Dec.10 11:44

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Hello Omer,

 As for staining this particular radio, it was in fact, necessary to achieve the same finish (almost) as the original.  Age and/or environment may (or may not) have contributed to the overall patina, but I have no doubt that the veneer on this radio had been stained originally.  I inspected the underlying veneer where there was some chipping along the bottom edge and you could see quite clearly that the wood was several shades lighter than the surface.  If this wood had been natural, it would have been equally dark deeper into the grain.  Unfortunately for me, I can't get any alcohol over 71% here, so I use denatured alcohol.  The acetone in it removes any trace of oil, and sets up a nice surface that laps up stain and lacquer.  I’m a posing this question on the SABA forum to see what my Germans friends think about this.  I’ll let you know what they say.

Thanks,

Bob

Bob Isaac
Bob Isaac
 
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28.Dec.10 11:51

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Hello again Omer,

 Like I mentioned earlier, I am using what is readily available to me (as well as affordable).  If I had my druthers, I'd use the old style (flakes) shellac, but I have never used it before and have no one close by who could teach me.  So, I go with what I know, and that is tung oil.  The end result can be quite beautiful, and will hold up to scrutiny, if done correctly.

As for the popularity of tung oil amongst British radio enthusiasts, I cannot say. I've never been to the U.K.

I'm from Texas, but live in Germany.

Bob

James MacWilliams
 
 
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28.Dec.10 15:34

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Hi Bob & Omer,

Of the four Saba's I've restored, all have had some kind of dark finish applied at the factory with a lacquer top coat, maybe it wasn't a stain, but it was darker than the wood.  On two of the Saba's I've not refinished the cabinet beyond cleaning and waxing since the original finish was good enough.  However, on the other two, I've had no choice.  The first, a Konstanz 8, I stripped, sanded, applied a grain filler, stained, and finished with many coats of lacquer.  I'm happy with it and so is my son who got it for Christmas.  The second, the Freiburg 7, I'm working on now.  I'm no expert on refinishing -- far from it -- and am always looking for better ways to do things.

An interesting thread to follow on the Saba forum is this one:

saba.magnetofon.de/showtopic.php

Which shows what lengths one individual went to restore his Saba.  Posting your question on the Saba forum would be most useful.

BTW - I'm not British either, I'm an American who just happens to be living here.  The British forum does have folks who extoll the benefits of finishing with Danish oil due to its ease of application, and I've used it on an old Murphy A242 that was in sad shape, but I hadn't considered its use on the Sabas, which had a high gloss finish.

I'll try to post some pictures.

Regards, Jim

Omer Suleimanagich
Omer Suleimanagich
 
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28.Dec.10 17:42

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Looking back at some of the Telefunken Gavottes I restored, I did have to add stain to the lacquer spray to get the, "rainbow" finish.

If anything, ask the folks in that forum if they concur with the method I employed.

Again, I don't believe that there was a manufacturer out there, that would apply stain first , then lacquer.

Possibly, the grain filler that was used, acted as a stain.

I am just glad that you didn't throw a coat of polyurethane on that radio, like what many novices do State Side! 

  
rmXorg