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 Post subject: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoration
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 4:08 pm 
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Location: Lexington KY
A friend dropped off a Masterpiece VI recently requesting a full electrical servicing. I wanted to share "before" pictures. Little data exists on the Masterpiece series. I have always found the company quite interesting as they were E.H. Scott's competition for a time, but also shared manufacturing with the Capehart Corporation (prior to Farnsworth purchasing). For a time, both McMurdo and Capehart had their chassis built via Howard Radio Corporation!

As I collect all three of these manufacturers mentioned above, the Masterpiece VI peaks my interest. Acquiring such set for restoration also brings forth a great question:

Do we know how many documented Masterpiece VI sets exist today? I know they are one of the rarest of the MP series to come across in modern times. I understand other than the 15-17, this was the last of the Masterpiece series.

The original owner of this set as appearing on the engraved name plate: Alexander McIntosh

This set was purchased at auction months ago, prior history is unknown. It is possible this set came from the Dr. Machow estate in Chicago IL. I will verify this information with the seller if possible.

The tuner, power supply, and original 18'' Jensen "Super Giant" are breathtaking! I find the dial and McMurdo "Clifton" model cabinet quite striking. Picture #7 & #8 show a size comparison of the 18'' Jensen next to a 10'' speaker (typically seen on several standard production sets during this time frame). Size difference is astonishing from what was typically seen as the standard 10''/12'' speaker during 1938. Such a shame these fine McMurdo Silvers, Capehart’s, and E.H. Scott sets are parted out via Ebay from time to time. Rest assured, this set will stay together! The tuner is 98% untouched. The power supply has been re-capped. Not to my standards though. Both tuner and power supply will be "gone" through top to bottom. The chrome will also be polished. I plan to start a topic in several months for those interested.

One interesting side note: I took apart the cabinet for cleaning and polishing (reassembled last picture/grille cloth on order). I have come to discover this "Clifton cabinet" is a beautiful reproduction!! There are no markings anywhere on the cabinet, I do not know whom reproduced it.

Comments welcome!

Jon


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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 4:20 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 5:04 pm 
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Hey, I'll take that off your hands if he doesn't want it back.... :P


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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 5:13 pm 
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You might be interested in these:

https://www.russoldradios.com/blog/masterpiece

https://www.russoldradios.com/blog/mcmu ... -from-1935

And this one for fun - -

https://www.russoldradios.com/blog/mcmu ... er-adaptor

Good luck

Russ

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 5:44 pm 
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:lol: NIce.........

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 5:50 pm 
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Which grill cloth available now are you going to use?


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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 10:44 pm 
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I have a MPV and a 15-17, both great radios. Glad to see one that won't get parted out for the benefit of some Aduiophile.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Thu 14, 2019 10:46 pm 
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otherzenithguy wrote:
Which grill cloth available now are you going to use?


I'd opt for something in a fairly plain gold for the Clifton cabinet.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 12:58 am 
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I would recommend this one, only toned a bit darker, as I have discussed doing before.

http://www.radiodaze.com/grille-cloth-02-item-grc02/

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 4:08 pm 
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Bob,

Thank you for your input. While the MPVI is in for servicing, I own a complete unrestored MPV with 18'' Jensen. Both will likely be completed at the same time. I plan to document a performance test best I can with both sets, post electrical restoration.

How would you rate performance of your V compared to several of your other large tube count sets? I have always heard performance of the 15-17 is quite good as well.

Jon

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 4:19 pm 
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Russ,

I have read your blog. Your restoration work as a whole is quite astonishing, thank you for sharing your work via your blog and website. I appreciate your direction to reading the restoration work you performed on the Masterpiece series. Your work will be a model to follow regarding this upcoming VI restoration. Could you please direct me to your solution regarding darkening the grille cloth you mentioned previously? I really like the cloth selection you posted above. I too would think such a pattern would complement this set.

Thanks

Jon

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 5:17 pm 
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That is an amazing radio!
I will be seeing Ron's this weekend.

It will be a wonderful restoration I'm sure! :D

-Steve

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 5:33 pm 
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azenithnut wrote:
That is an amazing radio!
I will be seeing Ron's this weekend.

It will be a wonderful restoration I'm sure! :D

-Steve



Thanks Steve!

Jon

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 5:36 pm 
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ketron281989 wrote:
Russ,

I have read your blog. Your restoration work as a whole is quite astonishing, thank you for sharing your work via your blog and website. I appreciate your direction to reading the restoration work you performed on the Masterpiece series. Your work will be a model to follow regarding this upcoming VI restoration. Could you please direct me to your solution regarding darkening the grille cloth you mentioned previously? I really like the cloth selection you posted above. I too would think such a pattern would complement this set.

Thanks

Jon



Well, I used this technique on the Stratosphere grill cloth. The new stuff is similar to the old pattern GCH02 (#2) but really needs to be like GCH24 (#24) - #2 is way too brassy.

What I did was to lay out the cloth and spray it with a diluted mix of Mohawk Medium Walnut dye. This is NOT the stuff in spray cans but comes in quarts (I buy in gallons since it is cheaper) and can be diluted with alcohol or lacquer thinner.

I stand back a couple of feet and mist the cloth with the diluted dye solution to slightly darken (reddish) the fabric. You do not want to wet the cloth, so just mist it on until you like the tone. Sprayer required.

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 7:35 pm 
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ketron281989 wrote:
Bob,

Thank you for your input. While the MPVI is in for servicing, I own a complete unrestored MPV with 18'' Jensen. Both will likely be completed at the same time. I plan to document a performance test best I can with both sets, post electrical restoration.

How would you rate performance of your V compared to several of your other large tube count sets? I have always heard performance of the 15-17 is quite good as well.

Jon


IMHO the 15-17 and the MPV are pretty similar as far as their front ends, but the audio on the MPV is noticeably better than that of the 15-17. (I haven't found much use for the three selectivity settings on the 15-17 compared to the two on the MPV.) That being said, my 15-17 has the speakers from a Scott Philharmonic, but I doubt that it's the only reason for the difference. I like having the adjustable bass and treble on the MPV, and that 18-inch Jensen is an amazing speaker, at least for the range of frequencies you'd encounter on AM broadcast. Just for fun, I hooked up a Jensen tweeter to the MPV and it didn't seem to improve the audio at all, though perhaps it would have for a source with higher audio frequencies. My two best radios by far are the MPV and a Philco 38-690. I can't really say I prefer one over the other. Both are easy to tune and have excellent audio, sensitivity, and selectivity. (The 38-690 has variable selectivity, but the two settings on the MPV seem to be perfectly set and more user-friendly, so it's a wash to me. The MPV has a tuning eye, but the Philco has the AFC/magnetic tuning and presents, which is a nice BC band feature.) I also have a Zenith 12U159, 12A58, and 16A63 Stratosphere, but the MPV and 38-690 are far better radios. Among the three Zeniths, I think that the 12U159 might have the best audio, though the 16A63 is by far the prettiest radio. The 16A63 does have the advantage of variable selectivity, but it lacks the sensitivity of the MPV and 38-690, so its use is somewhat limited. My "performance test" for BC band is to try and tune KNX Los Angeles at night. There is a strong SF station nearby. The MPV, 38-690, and 15-17 can bring it in, as can the 16A63 to some degree. The 12A58 and 12U159 can't tune KNX at all. The MPV, 38-690, and 15-17 are also better at tuning what few worthwhile SW stations there are these days too.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 9:38 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Fri 15, 2019 10:08 pm 
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Great discussion-I have pretty much had all the radios mentioned above and my current best sounding radio in many visitors opinions is the MP 6 restored by Bill Liers who is very dedicated to getting the most out of any radio he works on.

Before that my best sounding radio was a Philco 38-690 which I believe is now over in the state of Indiana in good hands.
Sadly I have NEVER tuned in any radio stations West of Denver KOA. I would love to bring in live traffic reports out of LA or San Francisco :)

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 16, 2019 3:40 pm 
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Thank you all for the replies.

Russ, appreciate you sharing your method. I may try this with the grille cloth you suggested.

Bob and Bruce, appreciate your analysis/comparison of the McMurdo's to other high tube count sets.


I look forward to starting this restoration soon! Other McMurdo restorations may take precedence over this VI in the coming months so stay tuned!

Jon

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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 16, 2019 9:27 pm 
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I have a Masterpiece V, un-restored original condition (almost perfect) in the Clifton cabinet.

I did replace some capacitors in the Amp / Power supply chassis, but the radio is untouched.

My M-5 works very well and sounds like a jukebox with a little gain up in the Bass. We play it daily

The three can electrolytic's in my set are either original or early replacement.

You need to be careful in the amp chassis as they use some odd resistor values to match up the phase invert'er circuit.

I will put a light on the front and try and capture the color of the grill cloth which is dark brownish no gold color.

I also have an accurate drawing of the original back panel I have shared here on the forum but I can send the file if you PM me.

My power supply is sitting on rubber feet because the chokes tend to hum a bit (I believe "swinging chokes"). I believe it was not intended to be screwed down nor the speaker.

All metal tubes except the rectifiers with caps on the ones with either plate or grid on top. There was a metal version of those rectifiers way-back-when.

I keep a stash of 6U5's as they don't last long.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: 1938 McMurdo Silver Masterpiece VI: Upcoming Restoratio
PostPosted: Feb Sat 16, 2019 11:07 pm 
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I believe that the chokes make noise because they are in each others magnetic field. Coupled with dried out rubber isolation grommets, these can buzz loudly. You might try replacing the grommets and possibly reversing the connections on one of the chokes.

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