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Old 12th May 2021, 12:45 pm   #1
David G4EBT
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Default Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

At first sight this might appear to be in the wrong section or maybe not on the forum at all, but as I have a 'woodie' to restore which involves re-veneering the cabinet, I thought I'd mention that I've been exploring the options for gluing the veneer, which has led me to a website called 'The New Yorkshire Workshop' where there are two videos of relevance and interest to us, which I'll give the links to below.

I think it's true to say that most of us find restoring woodie cabinets something of a challenge or even a chore to be avoided if possible, but it's something I enjoy, as woodworking/woodturning is my other hobby.

Since the early 1960s I've always used hide glue and a jacketed gluepot for veneering and have the hide glue and the veneer I'll be using, but it's messy and smelly so I thought I'd consider other options. You can of course get adhesive-backed veneers, which I'm not keen on. Other options include Titebond veneer glue, wet PVA and clamping, or the dry PVA iron-on technique, which as I recall a few members have tried with some success.

As to finishing, over the years I've used polyurethane varnish, French polishing, and Danish oil/Tung oil, but I'm not keen on modern water-based varnishes. In recent years, I've exclusively use 'U-Pol' Clearcoat Power-Can auto lacquer, which is widely used by woodturners and cabinet makers. Using aerosol auto lacquer has several advantages - no brush marks or cleaning up, quick drying between coats, and a tough durable finish, given that it's designed to be use in all weathers and temperatures.

Also, gloss auto lacquer is closer to what radio cabinets were originally finished with at the factory, which was nitro-cellulose gloss lacquer, sometimes with a toner to make cheap nondescript veneers look more interesting. As on the 'Ovaltiny' radio with it's two dark bands of toner to emulate dark veneer banding, (as often as not stripped off by inept DIY restorers who mistakenly assumed that it was bands of dark veneer).

I thought some forum members might find the video at the link below of interest and relevance in that it encompasses several techniques applicable to radio cabinet restoration, albeit by someone at the top of his game, (who modestly describes himself as a 'lifelong carpenter'), with a well equipped workshop.

No shouty dialogue either - he just quietly gets on with it.

8 minutes into the 36 minute video he uses dry PVA iron-on veneering technique to apply bubinga veneer.

18.50 mins in, orbital sanding the veneer, scraping out glue from cracks in the veneer, filling the cracks with bubinga dust and filler gel for an exactly matched filler, followed by applying ruby woodstain, then applying 3 coats of ‘isolator’ to seal the stain.

26 minute in, spraying with three coats of automotive acrylic clearcoat lacquer.

Of interest to audiophiles, at 32 mins, he fits a £5,000 ikeda 345 tonearm, an Audionote 0-10 cartridge, (another £5,000) and a Garrard 301 turntable.

(An awful lot of money just to play a sea shanty at the end!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKFQ8B4cx64&t=25s

We often have radio cabinets in which pieces of veneer are missing, which presents the challenge of how to effect a repair which can be sufficiently authentic to blend in and not stand out like a sore thumb. In this regard, this second video entitled 'Painting Woodgrain' has some useful tips. It concerns using cocobolo veneer and disguising patches of sapwood using natural earth pigments. (Its on another high end turntable plinth). He 'feathers' the ends of the veneer at the corners of the cabinet to overlap them and create an invisible joints.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaohiGAYW-0

Incidentally, for woodworking joints on such thigs as bespoke mahogany handrails, he uses a domino jointer and 20-second medium viscosity superglue).

When I see people attaining such high standards, I don't know whether to be inspired or depressed!

The cabinet I'll be re-veneering is for a Murphy A124 which I bought from a fellow forum ember a while ago. I've got the sapele mahogany veneer for the front and to re-veneer the end, will use sycamore as the exotic veneer used originally isn't easily come by. As the veneer will have to curve against the grain at the top, I'll make a simple steam box and clamp the veneer over a 'caul' until it dries. I guess the reason the original has come adrift at the top is that it was clamped in position to the contour, and it's rather too much to expect glue to hold it to such a tight contour.

I hope the videos are of interest to someone, and maybe Russ's other videos will be too, such as his nixie clock/Dosimeter project.

Some pics below of my rather sad looking Murphy A124.
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Old 12th May 2021, 1:16 pm   #2
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

I found that channel too, and can heartily recommend the video on the plinth. There;'s another one on his batch-making plinths for Linn turntables. The chap seems to be skilled in many areas and has a workshop to match. Some of his videos go far off topic for this forum, but are still impressive in workmanship.

You can certainly learn from seeing how to do things properly.

I'm impressed!

David
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Old 12th May 2021, 3:05 pm   #3
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Funnily enough a friend sent me a link to the video a day or so ago. I saw it was 35 minutes long and thought to myself that I'd watch a couple of minutes or so. Ha, ended up watching the lot, very compelling.
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Old 12th May 2021, 3:31 pm   #4
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Youtube recommended this clip to me yesterday. I was short of time so changed the settings to play at X2 speed; which barely compromised the content at all.

There are the usual satirical comments about the lack of a lid, and audiophile houses being completely clear of dust, fluff and grit, etc etc.

I was mentally totting up the labour (and materials) involved and couldn't (QUITE) get the numbers to fit, and with the nasty inkling that perhaps the tonearm and cartridge were 'extras'.. I can't deny the veneer and polishing is top drawer, suggesting that if the operative doesn't already diversify...he should. Note that the box the tonearm assy came in was worth repurposing!

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Old 12th May 2021, 3:33 pm   #5
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

David, how are you going to remove the existing veneer? I suppose heat application to melt the glue in some form or another?

I've never had to veneer a curved surface, so would be interested to hear how you get on.

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Old 12th May 2021, 3:43 pm   #6
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Quote:
I've never had to veneer a curved surface
It's not bad when going with the grain parallel to the curve, double curves get interesting. For a 10mm "spherical end" (the best way I could describe it) I used contact adhesive and just squashed down the veneer. After a bit of on the job trimming and a bit of filler it looked fine.
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Old 12th May 2021, 5:03 pm   #7
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

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David, how are you going to remove the existing veneer? I suppose heat application to melt the glue in some form or another?

I've never had to veneer a curved surface, so would be interested to hear how you get on.

Gabriel
It dates from 1948, so I'm pretty sure it will be animal glue that will melt on heating and I guess some of it will splinter off anyway. Otherwise, it will be a sharp chisel and some elbow 'grease'.

As it's such a tight curve, the veneer (which is only 0.6mm thick), when bent against the grain would be under stress and it's rather a lot to expect of it to not splinter if just glued clamped and for it not to protest. I guess that's what Murphy did and why it's not stood the test of time.

Hence, I'll make a 'caul' - a wooden template to the same side profile of the cabinet front, and will steam the top 75mm of veneer and clamp it in place around the caul and leave it overnight to take the desired shape. then glue it in position. The front is two pieces of veneer joined vertically which makes it less challenging to bend. (the front is 50cms wide and 30cms high).

I'll post a thread in due course when I get on with it. I'll most likely restore the cabinet before the radio itself.
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Old 12th May 2021, 5:30 pm   #8
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Nowhere near as complicated as the job David is taking on, here's a repair I did on a Pye Fenman II which had veneer torn from a corner.

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?p=768253
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Old 12th May 2021, 6:03 pm   #9
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

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Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
The front is two pieces of veneer joined vertically which makes it less challenging to bend. (the front is 50cms wide and 30cms wide).
Ooops, an intellectual interlude has occurred - too late to edit.

To clarify, the dimensions are 50cms wide, and 30cms HIGH.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
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Old 12th May 2021, 6:10 pm   #10
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

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Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
Nowhere near as complicated as the job David is taking on, here's a repair I did on a Pye Fenman II which had veneer torn from a corner.

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?p=768253
I think many will take heart from that excellent result Steve.

The Fenman II is bonny radio too - four speakers and a push-pull output stage.

Way above the Fenman 1.
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Old 12th May 2021, 6:50 pm   #11
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

[QUOTE=David G4EBT;1373477]

When I see people attaining such high standards, I don't know whether to be inspired or depressed! .[/QUOTE


Now you know how the rest of us feel when we see your superb woodworking skills David!
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Old 12th May 2021, 7:13 pm   #12
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentode View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post

When I see people attaining such high standards, I don't know whether to be inspired or depressed! .
Now you know how the rest of us feel when we see your superb woodworking skills David!
Ken, you just beat me to it - couldn't agree more!

The YouTube link was to a website called 'The New Yorkshire Workshop' so this means David there is an opening for an 'East Yorkshire Workshop' - I'd certainly subscribe to that!
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Old 12th May 2021, 7:55 pm   #13
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

That plinth is stunning the workmanship is amazing.
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Old 13th May 2021, 6:56 am   #14
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Love it! Just straightforward exposition of the process and no blather. Loads of kit properly used. How unlike some other YouTube offerings. As far as I can tell, the actual price of the plinth, as opposed to the luxury-bracket contents, isn't too bad, considering the materials and craftmanship involved.
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Old 13th May 2021, 7:27 am   #15
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
Ooops, an intellectual interlude has occurred - too late to edit.
I sneaked in and fixed it while no-one was looking.

David
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Old 13th May 2021, 8:21 am   #16
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

[QUOTE=Kentode;1373623]
Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post

When I see people attaining such high standards, I don't know whether to be inspired or depressed! .[/QUOTE


Now you know how the rest of us feel when we see your superb woodworking skills David!
Thanks Ken and Donald for the kind comments, but the little comb-jointed boxes I've posted pictures of which seem to impress people, only call for basic skills as they're made on a home-made router jig designed by the late Roy Sutton who wrote a book and a video entitled 'Router Jigs and Gadgets'. It only calls for a basic router and 1/4" or 6mm straight router bit, so it isn't like marking out and making dovetail joints.

Likewise, I went through a spate of making replica slotted backs for radios as for some odd reason, they seem to go AWOL, or get damaged through heat from droppers on AC/DC. Again I designed a router jig for cutting the slots so it's a de-skilled activity, the end results may appear to suggest that rather more skill is involved.

I guess they're optical illusions.

There are a lot of skilled woodworkers on the forum and many threads of complex restorations including cabinetry. As an example, I'd cite Merlinmaxwell's Ekco A22 stand, which he designed and made to replicate the original Ekco stands for round Ekcos. Furthermore, as Ekco never actually made a stand for the A22, the design was entirely his own work. Lots of tricky angled joints to make on quite slim pieces of wood. Tricky too, to accurately line everything up at the assembly stage. His thread is here, including dimensioned plans. Notice that he refers to it as his 'MK2' table, which again indicates how much effort and skill went into producing the final article:

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...ad.php?t=57515

Back on the topic of repairing and restoring veneer on 'woodie' cabinets, there are some useful tips in the video at the link below. In particular, 3 minutes in, how to accurately cut pieces of veneer to shape using masking tape. A neat little tip worth remembering. Also, he details how he re-glued loose areas of veneer using small syringes. Some tips on how best to try to get a reasonable match with the patches to match the original veneer. He admits the end result isn't perfect due in part to time constraints, but unlike him, we have the luxury of no time constraints - what we do takes as long as it takes:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q...tail&FORM=VIRE

Hope the links are of interest.
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Old 13th May 2021, 8:27 am   #17
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
Ooops, an intellectual interlude has occurred - too late to edit.
I sneaked in and fixed it while no-one was looking.

David
How kind. Thank you for your watchful eye!

I hope it doesn't have to happen too often - I don't want be heading for a home for the permanently bewildered.
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Old 13th May 2021, 1:16 pm   #18
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Thank you David for drawing our attention to this , I was so very impressed with the skill and technique, excellent.
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Old 13th May 2021, 1:39 pm   #19
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

Superb workmanship, thanks for the heads up David.
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Old 13th May 2021, 7:19 pm   #20
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Default Re: Veneering a £13,000 turntable.

I can't offer you any advice but I was wondering if animal glue was used on the Murphy radio originally.

Resin based glues such as Cascamite were available in the mid thirties.

They seem to be based on Urea Formaldehyde.

They can be used for outdoor timber and boatbuilding because they are waterproof.
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