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 Post subject: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 6:01 pm 
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Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
I’m refinishing a 53-960 cabinet and I have a question about what to do with the leather trim that sits behind the knobs. The old lacquer is cracked and looks bad. I thought about stripping it, but I’d loose the gold leaf pattern. My goal is to get it prepared and glued back down, the clear coat it with the rest of the cabinet.

So could I spray it with blush retardant to see if it will re-flow? Should I glue it down and let the clear coat reflow it? Not easy for me to decide what is right.

As always I appreciate your help.


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People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


Last edited by Tbone on Apr Sat 04, 2020 3:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 7:00 pm 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
Touch up the nicks with some leather dye, or wax crayons. Using grease-proof baking paper, clamp it tightly between two pieces of ply, or weight down with some 56lbs' or many bags of sand. lol

Leave it for a few days.
If it's not perfectly flat after clamping, lightly mist the back (raw) side of the leather with some water and re-clamp for another few days.

Remove from "press"... feed and polish front with a very light or clear boot polish.

A must... Dust the recessed cutout with an airline and seal the wooden surface with a 50% - 50% mix of regular PVA white woodworking glue (consistency of milk).

When dry... attach leather piece using contact adhesive applied to both surfaces. Use the toothed spreader.

It can be moderately clamped with two pieces of 3/4" ply - - pre-drill and screw the two clamping pieces together through the five control-knob holes.


I would never spray anything on top the leather piece. Too risky in my book, and I doubt that it would ever look right.

The natural leather finish is a big part of your set.
Think of leather covered desks and writing bureaus.

If you don't have leather dye, a brown boot polish may fill in the nicks.

Andy's recent find...
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=372060


Greg.

oh... applied contact adhesive surfaces will never "go-off" (stick to each other) if the humidity is too high.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 8:01 pm 
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Nice job on the cabinet, Tony! It really came out nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Sat 08, 2020 8:44 pm 
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Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
Thanks egg!

I thought the cracks on the face of the leather were cracked lacquer, so that’s why I was thinking of a top coat. That said, your advice sounds like the plan I like. I’ll leave it off and it’ll be the last part of the project. I’ve got time to let it flatten, got my clamps and wood ready to go.

Sam,

She’s not done yet. What you see is the cabinet in its final color state. The Recessed area around the dial has to be sprayed gold. I have two coats of sealer to spray and then the gloss top coat to finish it off. A ways to go.

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People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Sun 09, 2020 7:45 pm 
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Hey Tony,

Nice job regardless that the radio isn't finished. I know you'll make it look amazing, just like the Philco 38-690 you have! Good luck with the remaining steps of the restoration.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Tue 18, 2020 1:31 am 
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Joined: Apr Thu 11, 2019 8:49 pm
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT 84070
Here’s couple photo of some leather I fixed last year.
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Here’s what I did. Leather of this era had been lacquered along with the furniture. So using a small paint brush I painted lacquer thinner onto the leather, careful not to let the thinner get over the gold inlay pattern. I worked in small sections. Maybe 8” x 8”ish. As soon as the thinner took effect, using a cabinet scraper, I scraped off the residue. After a couple sessions I was down to the unfinished leather. I then used a good quality leather die to match the original color and followed up with a glossy leather finish. I got the die and leather finish at and some finishing instructions at a local leather goods store For being so beat up, they came out pretty good.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Tue 18, 2020 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Dec Tue 23, 2014 6:51 pm
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Location: N. Palm Bch, Fl.
I had a radio with a bad finish that needed to be stripped. It had the faux finish on each side that was perfect and I didn’t want to loose that. Frogtape advertised their tape sealed the edges. A test showed it would not lift a corner of the faux. I covered with Frogtape pressing real hard along the edges and covered it with 2 coverings of blue tape to protect it. Stripped and all came out good. The faux was protected.

Do you think narrow strips would work protecting his gold leaf on leather?

Freeman


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Fri 21, 2020 1:19 am 
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT 84070
I think it's worth a try. you could mask off somewhere inside the area your are going to strip first, to see what happens.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Sun 23, 2020 12:02 pm 
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Location: Cromwell, Connecticut
Thanks CRTag55 for the advice. I’ve got the leather so it now sits flat. Keeping it clamped for a week made that happen.

When I can get a day free, I will start to analyze the leather. Perhaps I will take a Q Tip with lacquer thinner on a little spot to see what happens. It sure looks to me that it had clear lacquer sprayed over it at one time. The cracks look like lacquer and not the leather itself. Lots of caution here.

I’ll have to find a good source for dye. I’ll need to get a color that’s close. I suspect a mahogany as the original has red tint.

More to follow.

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People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Feb Thu 27, 2020 6:28 pm 
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT 84070
Tony, Let me know how it works out. I'm always eager to learn from everyone on these forums.
Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish
PostPosted: Mar Tue 10, 2020 11:38 pm 
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Ray,

Here is what I found with the leather. It was sprayed with a lacquer top coat. Under that was what looked like toner on top of some kind of coating. This coating I’m guessing was there to seal the leather so it can be toned and top coated. I had to strip it down as the cracks from the lacquer looked horrible up close.

The gold leaf design is embossed into the leather. I’m thinking once I get it sealed and toned, I might be able to press in some kind of gold material into the indentations, but what? Any suggestions.

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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Update
PostPosted: Mar Wed 25, 2020 8:52 pm 
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Well I managed to get the leather repaired to the best of my ability. There was no way it could have been left the way it was. I stripped the old lacquer off, cleaned it, and used acrylic leather paint for the brown and gold. I applied a clear acrylic leather finish over it. Isn’t perfect, but good enough.


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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.
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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Update
PostPosted: Mar Wed 25, 2020 9:26 pm 
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Nice Job Tony! Glad to see that the leather paint worked out.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Update
PostPosted: Apr Fri 03, 2020 9:43 pm 
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I forgot about this. Excellent job. It looks like the original without the cracks.
Come back with a picture of the finished radio when your done.

Freeman


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Apr Sat 04, 2020 3:13 pm 
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Well after 2 years of on and off work it’s finally done. Thanks for all the suggestions along the way. Here are some pictures. The grille cloth doesn’t shine in the pictures, but if any light hits it, the gold really pops. Once the swap meets open up again, I’ll be selling it. Enjoy!


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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.
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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Apr Sat 04, 2020 10:15 pm 
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Location: N. Palm Bch, Fl.
At first I thought the brown was a little dark, but looks real nice on the radio. A very nice looking radio.
You shouldn't have much trouble selling.

Freeman


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Apr Fri 17, 2020 9:47 pm 
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GREAT JOB! Thanks for the follow up with the photos. The radio looks awesome. I'm going to look into the leather paints. I have another project that this could be "just the ticket".

Cheers,
Ray


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Apr Sat 18, 2020 3:49 pm 
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Thanks Ray,

You gave me the push to tackle the leather! I was dreading it to be honest. Now I have one more skill if needed in the future.

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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Dec Thu 03, 2020 6:36 pm 
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Interesting, the leather on mine has a different pattern around the edges.

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 Post subject: Re: Philco 53-960 leather trim finish Done!!
PostPosted: Dec Sat 12, 2020 2:05 am 
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You are correct about the pattern around the edges. Yours is likely embossed or pressed in gold leaf. I could not duplicate that look, so mine is a square line with the embossed pattern still there. Basically there is extra gold paint surrounding the pattern.

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Tony

People may not remember how fast you did a job, but they will remember how well you did it.


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