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 Post subject: Cleaning 'Airplane Fabric' covering on Zenith 6G601 portable
PostPosted: Jan Sun 28, 2018 6:09 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16
Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
I am lining up parts for a restoration of a Zenith 6G601M portable circa 1942 and would love to have some ideas on how to clean the cabinet which is what Zenith call's 'airline fabric'. From a previous posting in this forum, it would appear that finishing up with several coats of orange shellac works well but any suggestions for the cleaning before that?

Overall the case and covering are in good shape but it is a bit dirty and stained. The leather handle is gone but that is for a future fix.

And while I'm here, does anyone have any suggestions for gentle cleaning of the speaker grill cloth? It is the 'clipper' scene and is a bit dim and dirty also.

Thanks for all suggestions.

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Bob Groh, WA2CKY
Kansas City, Missouri area


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning 'Airplane Fabric' covering on Zenith 6G601 port
PostPosted: Feb Tue 20, 2018 3:25 am 
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Joined: Nov Wed 04, 2015 4:04 am
Posts: 331
Location: Winfield, MO
Airplane fabric? Like butyrate/ nitrate dope on fabric a la Piper Cub skin?


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning 'Airplane Fabric' covering on Zenith 6G601 port
PostPosted: Feb Tue 20, 2018 6:04 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16
Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
No, 'airplane fabric' is just a term for covering material for radio's (probably a marketing ploy) although, come to think of it, there is some similarity. It is apparently a cotton fabric, close weave which is stretched and glued to the wood parts of the radio's exterior. Then it is coated with shellac or a similar material. So far I have found no definitive answer on this although there was a lot of use of it back in the day (for radios and suitcases).

FYI, I did find a product from Kiwi called 'Shoe Shampoo' which is intended for all types of shoe material. Seems to sort of work (although getting rid of 70 years of grime is asking a lot). It is sort of liquid soap - you brush it on and then, using a bit of water, work in into the fabric. And then you rinse it off (gently!) and dry it (gently!). I did get some fabric separating from the wood and a bit of separation which I have to re-glue. But it seems to be working. More later.

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Bob Groh, WA2CKY
Kansas City, Missouri area


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning 'Airplane Fabric' covering on Zenith 6G601 port
PostPosted: Feb Mon 26, 2018 12:51 am 
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Joined: Feb Tue 10, 2009 3:16 pm
Posts: 675
Location: zipcode 46235
WHen all else fails--lacquer thinner. I'm not kidding. That dark brown coloring is the lacquer that's tarnished.

After you remove all the old finish (and earning a splitting headache from the fumes) you can respray fresh lacquer on the cloth.


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 Post subject: Re: Cleaning 'Airplane Fabric' covering on Zenith 6G601 port
PostPosted: Feb Mon 26, 2018 6:11 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16
Location: Kansas City, MO, USA
Laquer thinner - I'll give it a try on piece of the fabric out of sight to see what happens. Actually I can just try the laquer thinner all by itself. Thanks for the suggestion. Can also try some shellac thinner as some have suggested that the coating was originally shellac. We'll experiment! Thanks for the idea.

Bob Groh, WA2CKY

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Bob Groh, WA2CKY
Kansas City, Missouri area


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