Forums :: NEW! Web Resources :: Features :: Photo Gallery :: Vintage Radio Shows :: Archives
Support This Site: Contributors :: Advertise


It is currently Oct Fri 15, 2021 10:34 pm


All times are UTC [ DST ]





Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Tue 21, 2021 3:45 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Mon 09, 2020 3:17 pm
Posts: 43
After a three month detour working on other radios, I've returned to my RCA Victor T-60, and I am undertaking my first veneer cabinet work.

I've mined the forum for old discussions and as usual most of my questions have been already addressed here in the past. However, there is one judgement call I would like some guidance on before I proceed.

The one lesson that has been hammered into me across several threads is "Don't sand or scrape so much that you go through the veneer!" So the attached photo shows the before and after as to where my cabinet stands today. After two applications of Citristrip and several sanding passes with 100, then 150, then 400 grit sandpaper, I am very happy that all the scratches and chips are gone, and the finish is removed. However, I was expecting the main veneer to be much lighter. I have no idea what kind of wood was used when it was built, and I don't have the experience to judge whether this is the right place to stop, or if should I go deeper to try to get to lighter wood.

Any observations or suggestions gratefully accepted.

Bruce

Attachment:
T60_before_n_after_sanding_sm.jpg
T60_before_n_after_sanding_sm.jpg [ 280.65 KiB | Viewed 488 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Tue 21, 2021 5:13 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16852
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
I have noticed on radios I have re-finished a certain amount of veneer has become "dull" actually oxidized and normal wood color has gone away. I sand through this until I achieve color. Test for color with a bit of water.

IMHO the purpose of re-finishing is not only to put a new, enduring, top coat to protect the wood but to "bring out" the highlights of the veneers. Some woods even have a sparkle caused by the cells of the wood. The highlights are obscured by oxidation and damage from UV and strippers. Stains can enhance the wood or hid it if it has "wild" grain but if the natural color is under a "layer" of oxidized wood, no amount of stain will bring back that "twinkle"...

In a sense, one has to be an artist to bring out the best qualities...

So sand but be careful how far to go, this can be tricky so stop often and do a water test, (dampened rag) to see where the color is at...

Note color can be added with stain, enhanced with wood filler in colors, color in the top coats in transparent color or opaque to hide wild grain...

Look at the work of Chaz in Canada from his past posts. Yes, Canadian radios to have more decoration but Chaz methods bring out all the beauty built into the cabinet...

search.php?author_id=8026&sr=posts

_________________
List' & I will Enchant Thine Ear


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Tue 21, 2021 8:02 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Mon 09, 2020 3:17 pm
Posts: 43
Thanks Chas. That was an interesting and informative experiment. The water test revealed a deep gold that I was oblivious to on three of the surfaces. The fourth surface had a dark, lifeless look, so it looks like more sanding there.

It also showed me how poorly I had cleaned the surfaces after sanding, since the rag pulled up a bunch of powder.

I had encountered some of Chaz's postings earlier, but it looks like I need to do a deeper dive.

The next steps after completing the sanding are a little intimidating and overwhelming. Even after narrowing down to a specific approach it appears that there are a huge number of options regarding colors, products, spray vs brush or wipe etc etc etc. I'm sure I'll be back here with lots more questions.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 2:27 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9347
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
I advocate for sanding the least amount necessary. Unless the surface has nicks and scratches you are trying to sand out, there is no need to sand at all except to remove any fuzzy raised grain from the stripping process (very light pass with sandpaper).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 3:01 am 
Member

Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 4960
Location: British Columbia
Keep in mind that these cabinets were made on a production basis, not much different from how the rest of the radio was made. More often then not they did not use a 100% water clear finish on them, but a tinted one, because they knew that there would be natural variations in the grain, and colour of the veneer, even if it came out of the same log, uniformity was what they wanted. They also used a tinted finish to cover up flaws in the cabinet, quite often you will find filler in parts of the millwork, and even parts of the veneer sanded through, which you would not want seen anymore now, then the factory did then.
Regards
Arran


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 3:06 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Mon 09, 2020 3:17 pm
Posts: 43
Alan: There's one thing that makes me wonder if I should sand a little more--in one spot I had a dark "loop", and it looked like a brush stroke from the Citrustrip. I kept sanding away and it lightened up enough to blend with its surroundings. I've read several comments that the current formulation can darken the piece you are stripping. I'm thinking that the side that came out relatively dark may be from something I did differently with the Citrustrip.

Arran: If my stripped cabinet is uneven, how do you suggest I even things out without sanding? Try to emulate the original manufacturing proces with different applications of stain? Bear in mind that I have zero experience with this phase of the project.

Do you guys have any experience with Citrustrip darkening your projects?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 5:28 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 16852
Location: S. Dartmouth MA 02748-1225 USA
I have not used Citri-Strip. So I cannot vouch for any peculiarities it may or may not have.

I have used powerful solvent strippers with good results. Because of waste solvent disposal, wood shavings are used to cleanup the wood cabinet, the shavings soft enough not to damage but course enough to "scrub" carvings and other detain while caring away the spent stripper and finish. I usually wait until all the solvent has evaporated then dispose of the shavings.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Try the dampened cloth test to that area and see if the color of the wood still shows the "distressed" area, even though darkened from the moisture.

The area may be a wood flaw caused by compression of the wood fibers. IMHO I would not sand any more as the danger of cut through will be a disappointment and difficult to repair or must be hidden with opaque toner. Such deliberate, rogue coloring will be noticeable.

If the distressed area remains then the choice of a transparent toner as an undercoat is an option. That also means that the amount or depth of tint for that side will have to extend to most of the cabinet excluding the tiger veneer trim.

The molding is almost always a Van-Dyke brown, a very dark brown that in some light looks like black but is more "softened". Using black "frames" the cabinet panels to lead the eye to them. In the case of the distressed side, that is not so good...

If I were you I would test the finishing materials on similar wood samples to both gauge their effect and how to create shadings with the toner.

Staining the wood can also be part of the process, however, stain is generally a one shot deal, it cannot be, generally, improved by a "second coat" as the stain will no longer penetrate and can lie on the surface and "muddy" the grain. After coloring the wood is lightly sealed then any open grain filled with a colored filler, wiped smooth, sealed lightly to lock in the filler and prevent any color bleed of the filler. Then any toner is applied, for transparent toner, it is applied "light coat" after coat until the desired depth of color is achieved. A final shot of clear evens out the effect and disperses light so the final depth is achieved giving a warn glow to the cabinet.

This all seems labor intensive and it is because of the limited range of products, many steps to have to be taken. In the production environment the cabinet would have been finished with custom materials that remove the steps from the process.

Mentioned was picking up dust with the dampened cloth, there is a product called a "Tack" cloth. A tack cloth can be made but must be stored and disposed carefully as it can catch fire from the curing of oils in the cloth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tack_cloth

GL

Chas

_________________
List' & I will Enchant Thine Ear


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 22, 2021 5:54 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 10798
Location: 13 Critchley Avenue, PO Box 36, Monteith Ont, P0K 1P0
One of the more underused cabinet refinishing tools is a scraper. The old lacquer that is sprayed onto these radios at the factory is often easier removed with a scraper, leaving a nicer surface than any sanding you can do. Follow that up with a VERY light sanding (120-220gr) and use a hard sanding block on flat surfaces to keep them flat. All that last sanding does is create some "tooth" for the tinted lacquer spray to grab onto.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Thu 23, 2021 4:04 am 
Member

Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 4960
Location: British Columbia
bfrederi wrote:
Alan: There's one thing that makes me wonder if I should sand a little more--in one spot I had a dark "loop", and it looked like a brush stroke from the Citrustrip. I kept sanding away and it lightened up enough to blend with its surroundings. I've read several comments that the current formulation can darken the piece you are stripping. I'm thinking that the side that came out relatively dark may be from something I did differently with the Citrustrip.

Arran: If my stripped cabinet is uneven, how do you suggest I even things out without sanding? Try to emulate the original manufacturing proces with different applications of stain? Bear in mind that I have zero experience with this phase of the project.

Do you guys have any experience with Citrustrip darkening your projects?


The factory did not use stain, certainly not the oil stains they pedal in the hardware stores, they used tinted lacquers, some were pigment based, others dye based, Mohawk has a range of these available in aerosol cans. A cabinet scraper is a good suggestion, though washing the cabinet down with acetone or lacquer thinner is a good first step. If you do use sandpaper I would not go bellow 320 grit, but I don't think it needs it.
Regards
Arran


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 9:43 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9347
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
Chas wrote:
Staining the wood can also be part of the process, however, stain is generally a one shot deal, it cannot be, generally, improved by a "second coat" as the stain will no longer penetrate and can lie on the surface and "muddy" the grain.

Staining wood should not be part of the refinishing process, although using stain might be. If you use a wash coat of shellac and then apply a stain layer, the stain will sit on top and become a transparent layer, just like using a toner would. If you do that, you can seal the stain coat with another wash coat of shellac and add a second stain layer on top to adjust the hue, intensity, or tint of the color layer.

If you are removing the original finish, none of the colorations will have seeped into the wood as it was a toner layer sprayed onto the surface. If you are getting spots, use some lacquer thinner and lightly scrub with the grain using either #0000 steel wool or wood chips.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 24, 2021 7:28 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Mon 09, 2020 3:17 pm
Posts: 43
Thanks for all the great responses. I'm going to digest what has been suggested, do some additional reading, then try to come up with a proposed set of specific steps that I will undertake. If you can validate my plan and keep me from doing something stupid, I will be very appreciative.

But first I need to address one major structural issue that is not obvious from my previous photos. I'll start a new thread for that later this afternoon since it is not a sanding or stripping issue.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 4:00 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9347
Location: Baguio City, Philippines
https://antiqueradios.com/features/lacquer.html


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 25, 2021 2:20 pm 
Member

Joined: Nov Mon 09, 2020 3:17 pm
Posts: 43
Thanks Alan. I actually saw that page at one point, but I've seen so many different posts and suggestions and approaches that I lost track of that one. Seems like a straightforward, authoritative series of steps. Wish me luck.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 11, 2021 12:10 am 
Member

Joined: Nov Mon 09, 2020 3:17 pm
Posts: 43
Just want to close the loop on this thread (and on the "fixing-a-curved-corner" thread) and thank everybody for their help.

This was my first attempt at cabinet work. My first radio was a TO G500 with Tolex in reasonably good condition, and my second radio was a well-preserved 1960s Hallicrafters
WR-1500 that just needed cleaning and polishing. Given my long history of disappointing encounters with furniture, I had no faith in my ability to undertake this T-60 job. Having completed this first attempt, I recognize where I made errors and took ill-advised shortcuts, and my next job will be much better. But the helpful suggestions from ARF members kept me from totally screwing it up, which was all I was hoping for on this initial pass. Thanks.

Attachment:
rca_t60_before_after_corner.png
rca_t60_before_after_corner.png [ 838.81 KiB | Viewed 103 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: RCA Victor T-60: How much stripping & sanding is enough?
PostPosted: Oct Mon 11, 2021 12:57 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2452
Location: Lafayette, CO
That looks superb, Craig


Top
 Profile  
 
Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 15 posts ]  Moderator: Peter

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests



Search for:
Jump to:  


































Privacy Policy :: Powered by phpBB