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 Post subject: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sat 03, 2020 9:56 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
I have an admiral bakelite TV console that has unfortunately suffered multiple cracks and some missing chunks. I would like to have it glued, filled, sanded, and painted. Does anyone have a reference for someone who does this kind of work? I am happy to pay several hundred dollars plus shipping to have the work done, but I don't have the time or inclination to get into "body work" myself. I know that The Old Radio Fixer Upper Guy used to provide this service and I even had him restore a couple of broken bakelite cabinets for me in the past, but he is out of business.

Best,
Matthew D'Asaro

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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sat 03, 2020 11:05 pm 
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Posts: 26713
Location: Detroit, MI USA
Given the decline in value of these sets, you could probably buy a nice complete one for less than you would pay to get a damaged cabinet restored.

In our area a couple of auto body guys used to take on things like that on the side, they looked wonderful when completed on the outside but you could definitely see every repair from the inside and to me that makes the value of the repaired set close to zero.

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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 04, 2020 2:40 am 
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Joined: Sep Fri 07, 2007 2:27 am
Posts: 6529
Location: Grand Chute, Wisconsin
7jp4-guy wrote:
I am happy to pay several hundred dollars plus shipping to have the work done


Seriously? You could buy complete sets for $100 to $150 at Midwest antique radio meets.

.


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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 04, 2020 6:43 am 
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Posts: 2220
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Sorry guys, I guess I should have been more specific. I have a wealthy client who wants their childhood TV fixed and literally told me "money is no object, I will pay for your time and parts." I said "about $1000" and he said "done." I don't usually do repairs for other people, but I guess everyone has their price. Soo...

Anyway, yes, I wouldn't bother if it was one I just wanted for my own collection.

Matthew

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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 04, 2020 11:59 am 
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Posts: 14175
Location: Long Island, N.Y.
7jp4-guy wrote:
Sorry guys, I guess I should have been more specific. I have a wealthy client who wants their childhood TV fixed and literally told me "money is no object, I will pay for your time and parts." I said "about $1000" and he said "done." I don't usually do repairs for other people, but I guess everyone has their price. Soo...

Anyway, yes, I wouldn't bother if it was one I just wanted for my own collection.

Matthew

Oh, then I can totally understand. You can't put a value on sentiment. I just can't imagine how it could be fixed and retain an unpainted and unscarred appearance. If it's going to be painted then it would be rather foolish of the owner to not just acquire a nice original cabinet. Whatever patina it might have will be gone any way.
Also I differ with the other poster about the value of these. Of course you might stumble on one for sale in a small town swap meet for $50, but clean restored working examples will still be several hundred dollars. That's about what they always sold for. I almost got a nice "as-found" example from the well known vintage TV dealer Harry Poster in the early '90's for $200. A serious TV collection is not complete without one of these, so they will always be desirable among radio/TV collectors.
Good luck with the resto.


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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 04, 2020 6:42 pm 
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Location: Phoenix, Arizona
It has been my experience that there is no way to fix a crack in a Bakelite Cabinet. I like Bakelite TV's by the way

Supposing the crack is in a visible place, I have seen advertising for glue that is hardened by high intensity UV light, and I have not tried this myself, maybe it would stabilize the crack.

Missing pieces are going to be more difficult.

Almost nothing will stick to Bakelite and I have tried Super-Glue, Epoxy, fiberglass, and everything I can get my hands on.

I would think you could find a good cabinet or complete set for a couple hundred (since cost is no object). Admiral apparently sold a lot of TV's back in the day.

If you find a good cabinet the next big trick will be to ship it and have it arrive in one piece.

Once there is a crack the material moves over time due to stress's and it never matches up again.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 04, 2020 8:27 pm 
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Location: San Jose, CA USA
In my experience, J-B Weld epoxy sticks very, very well. For example, I use it to repair broken threaded features on the rear of Bakelite cabinets. Just fill the missing material with J-B Weld (you can make a crude form out of Scotch tape if needed) and then redrill the hole and tap it. The threads are tough enough that they rival the strength of the original Bakelite.

I would certainly expect it to hold very well to repair cracks or replace missing pieces. Surface can be sanded to get ready for painting.

There was a member of CHRS who repaired lots of Bakelite cabinets for radios this way. J-B Weld to fix cracks and reattach missing pieces, sand the surface, prime, and paint. They looked pretty good. Cracks completely invisible on the finished surface.

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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 04, 2020 9:32 pm 
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Location: Long Island, N.Y.
Tom Albrecht wrote:
In my experience, J-B Weld epoxy sticks very, very well. For example, I use it to repair broken threaded features on the rear of Bakelite cabinets. Just fill the missing material with J-B Weld (you can make a crude form out of Scotch tape if needed) and then redrill the hole and tap it. The threads are tough enough that they rival the strength of the original Bakelite.

I would certainly expect it to hold very well to repair cracks or replace missing pieces. Surface can be sanded to get ready for painting.

There was a member of CHRS who repaired lots of Bakelite cabinets for radios this way. J-B Weld to fix cracks and reattach missing pieces, sand the surface, prime, and paint. They looked pretty good. Cracks completely invisible on the finished surface.

Yes. I repaired a cracked black bakelite TV cabinet from the inside once with JB Weld. I used the strongest that they had. The trick is, from the inside notch a deep "V" groove with a Dremel tool. Then I laid reinforcement metal mesh on top and more Weld on top of that. It dries like concrete and likely stronger in that area than it ever was. It's okay with jet black bakelite or a doing a repaint, but the Admiral TV has that nice mellow chocolate brown or "walnut" tone. I can't imagine painting the that big cabinet. Trying to do the deep diamond grill would present quite a challenge too. You would need to bring it to an automotive shop.


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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Tue 06, 2020 7:40 pm 
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Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
Matthew, this may not be what you are looking for but here is a repair that I made with JB Weld.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=381334&p=3236583&hilit=26R12#p3236583

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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Tue 06, 2020 10:30 pm 
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Location: Redlands CA
I've repaired small missing chunks in Bakelite using Super Glue and Baking Soda. The resulting material is so hard it can be difficult to sand into shape, but it is solid.


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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Thu 08, 2020 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Jul Wed 08, 2009 12:17 am
Posts: 930
Location: Wyoming, Michigan
7jp4-guy wrote:
I have an admiral bakelite TV console that has unfortunately suffered multiple cracks and some missing chunks. I would like to have it glued, filled, sanded, and painted. Does anyone have a reference for someone who does this kind of work? I am happy to pay several hundred dollars plus shipping to have the work done, but I don't have the time or inclination to get into "body work" myself. I know that The Old Radio Fixer Upper Guy used to provide this service and I even had him restore a couple of broken bakelite cabinets for me in the past, but he is out of business.

Best,
Matthew D'Asaro


Matthew -

If you're not able to find someone local, I could take it on. Only interested because customer has deep pockets, as I wouldn't be cheap. Not real confident in shipping it all over the country, unless it's the only option.

Much more do-able if it's the gloss black version. Brown-bakelite swirl would be an interesting challenge to match the paint. Guess a lot depends on where the missing chunks are. You need to post a pic or two.

I also have extra cabinets if you decide a swap is better than a patch job.

PM if interested in discussing further.

- Kirk


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 Post subject: Re: Admiral bakelite TV cabinet restoration
PostPosted: Oct Sun 11, 2020 2:13 am 
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Joined: Jul Wed 08, 2009 12:17 am
Posts: 930
Location: Wyoming, Michigan
Well, I'm not gonna beg.

I realize photos below are motorcycle parts, not TV cabinets. Concepts would be the same.

Befores, left. Afters, right.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

My restorations are legendary. Probably 30 motorcycles in 5 years. Have brought grown men to tears. Have won trophies at shows.

I did hunt around the house and found a pre-war Farnsworth table radio in brown swirl bakelite
Image

It was shattered, I glued it together in 2002 with JB weld, including manufacturing a missing chunk. I didn't bother to match the paint, as 98% of the damage was on bottom or back. It hasn't seen a lot of use, but some. Still plays nice and looks fair enough. Rock-solid repair, so some thought on this forum, that JB weld is inadequate, I would dispute.
Image

I do enjoy restoring family heirlooms or childhood memories for grown adults. If the customer in question were in my neck of the woods, I'd do the whole TV for him. Thought I'd bail out Matthew D, above, if he wanted the help. Can take it or leave it though.


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