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 Post subject: GE E-86 project
PostPosted: Jan Mon 29, 2018 1:47 am 
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Joined: Dec Sun 21, 2014 5:03 am
Posts: 205
Location: Traverse City, MI 49684
This GE E-86 was the last radio in the door and got promoted to top priority because it was sitting just inside my garage door, where its peeling veneers threatened to get torn off twice a day when I moved my commuter bicycle past it. This radio was a freebie, from the local Freecycle. My mantra is "no orphan radio gets turned away." It was intact except for knobs and all the veneers were attached more or less, even if coming unglued. The first photo is "before,: showing how bad the original finish was, apparently from moisture exposure. On top, there was a black ring that I couldn't bleach out completely, so it remains as "patina."

I'm looking for grille cloth. The original is a gold and copper/red weave like cells under a microscope--elongated cells. Please suggest sources--I saw nothing in the usual sites.

The speaker baffle is cardboard (!!) behind that grille. I cut some thin plywood to replace it.

Here are photos, before and then post-veneer gluing and staining.

Chris Campbell


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 Post subject: Re: GE E-86 project
PostPosted: Jan Mon 29, 2018 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Jul Mon 25, 2016 11:34 am
Posts: 320
Location: Wilton, IA
Wow it is looking good!

Great job,
Noah


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 Post subject: Re: GE E-86 project
PostPosted: Jan Tue 30, 2018 3:05 am 
Member

Joined: Dec Sun 21, 2014 5:03 am
Posts: 205
Location: Traverse City, MI 49684
Tonight it got a wash coat of shellac, which is getting me closer. It's interesting that GE was so frugal, using cheap veneers on the sides and grille. There's real walnut on top and around the knob/dial area, but the rest is some very plain white wood. Most manufacturers used more walnut. But the stain helped and pretty soon it will be better. I found a grille cloth that looks very similar to the original. Later tonight I'll paint the new speaker baffle board with some flat black or maybe some old dark-brown shellac.

Chris Campbell


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 Post subject: Re: GE E-86 project
PostPosted: Feb Mon 12, 2018 3:53 am 
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Joined: Dec Sun 21, 2014 5:03 am
Posts: 205
Location: Traverse City, MI 49684
OK, I'm going to risk my blood pressure level by trying to post a current photo. The E-86 now has a bunch of layers of varnish, and after it sets out for a few days I'll start rubbing it out. Working in brushed varnish is a lot more time and labor intensive than for you guys who can spray lacquers but it is my option. It can turn out pretty well. I used a gloss varnish from Sherwin-Williams (harder to come by these days; everybody wants to sell polyurethane). It was hard to keep a wet edge as it came from the can so I have been adding Floetrol to make it level better. Let's see if I can perform a miracle and get the photo added. Remember--it will be rubbed out.

Chris Campbell


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 Post subject: Re: GE E-86 project
PostPosted: Feb Mon 12, 2018 3:57 am 
Member

Joined: Dec Sun 21, 2014 5:03 am
Posts: 205
Location: Traverse City, MI 49684
Replying to myself. Sorry about the two identical photos--it didn't seem to take the first try. Usually it shows an indication when an attachment has been added.

That grille cloth is glued to its backer board, a new one I made to replace the corrugated cardboard one on the original. It's just propped up back there for the photo. The cloth came from one of our suppliers and is a quite-close match to the original in both color and pattern. Not perfect, not NOS, but very good. The portions of the old stuff that had been exposed were badly faded and I used the unexposed portions for matching.

Now I'm looking for knobs in the classified section. Anybody got 1936 GE knobs?

Chris Campbell


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 Post subject: Re: GE E-86 project
PostPosted: Mar Mon 12, 2018 1:35 am 
Member

Joined: Dec Sun 21, 2014 5:03 am
Posts: 205
Location: Traverse City, MI 49684
I've been working on the radio in the usual small sequential steps that such projects always involve. After varnishing, I wet sanded or steel-wooled, then rubbed with pumice and rottenstone. Then some areas needed some more varnish, sanding, and rubbing. Today I declared it "good enough" and applied paste wax. Then I mounted the new speaker baffle board (the original was cardboard) and the speaker. The grille cloth, as noted before, is very close to the original as it looked under the grille where it was not faded.

This isn't perfect--some of the veneer isn't glued perfectly--but it is good enough to fool amateurs. And since the device was two steps from the burn pile when I got it, it's a big step up.

The bezel is out on the garage heater with lacquer drying. I'll put that on later tonight.

Chris Campbell


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