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 Post subject: Saving a Zenith Cube
PostPosted: Jun Sun 13, 2021 5:29 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 25, 2019 12:43 am
Posts: 170
Location: Minneapolis, MN 55414
I bought this a few weeks ago for $30 on facebook marketplace.

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It obviously needs a lot of work, but these Zenith cubes do not come up often and they have such great styling. Upon buying it, I noticed it was missing its glass, showed evidence of being inhabited by rodents, appeared to have been dropped, but did have all of its wooden knobs and seemed complete.

I disassembled the chassis, cleaned it, clear coated and painted various parts and reassembled it, along with a new glass I purchased online. Here it is mostly complete.

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The chassis proved to be in decent condition but the speaker was a disaster. I bought a new cone for it after disassembling it and only later noticed that it also needed a new spider. A little while later I discovered the field coil also needed to be rewound. I suppose this is to be expected from a radio with an upwards facing speaker and with less than ideal treatment. This will be a project in the coming week when the materials arrive.

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The cabinet came along quite smoothly since it is so small and simple. Both sides were in complete ruins and had to be removed for repair. Fortunately, the top, bottom, and front surfaces were virtually pristine.

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I removed the old veneer and plies from the solid wood substrate, used biscuits to glue the solid wood boards back together and sanded them to remove the warp and attain a flat surface. I then cut new veneers and plies to size, and veneered these to the solid red gum substrate. Originally, there was only one veneer on one side and one ply on the other and these were both extra thick. To replicate this, I built both sides up in two layers. To avoid warpage and to allow the moisture to dry, I added the first layer to both sides, waited until the next day, and then finished the next layer. Because I treated both sides in exactly the same way, I managed to avoid warpage, which is common when veneering since it introduces more moisture into only one side of the board.

I had to preserve the grooves cut into the side panels that attach to the top/front/bottom surface. I probably chose the worst way of doing this. I cut the plies around the openings and tried to reassemble the puzzle while veneering. Veneering is a hectic process that requires more hands than one has and it doesn't help to have to assemble a puzzle while doing this.

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In the end it turned out and it glued together easily. Since taking the photos, I have filled the grain , stained it, and painted the inside, feet, and edges of the speaker grille. All that it needs now is lacquer and decals.

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I'll post some more photos when I've made some more progress.


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 Post subject: Re: Saving a Zenith Cube
PostPosted: Jun Sun 13, 2021 7:48 am 
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Joined: Apr Sun 08, 2007 6:47 am
Posts: 5010
Location: British Columbia
I have a bit of a different method for taking warps out, but usually I only do it as a last resort. What I do is run the piece through a table saw, and cut it up into pieces, unless it is already coming apart, keeping track of how much the saw removes with each pass, then I glue filler strips inbetween to make up for the lost material to the now 90 degree edges. You may have done something like this before using the biscuit joiner to tie the pieces together. In some cases patience seems to work, I had one console with a cupped top, and over time the cup seems to have all but disappeared, I guess thanks to where it was stored, so somehow the moisture either left the convex side, or entered the concave one.
Regards
Arran


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 Post subject: Re: Saving a Zenith Cube
PostPosted: Jun Wed 16, 2021 1:04 pm 
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Joined: May Fri 10, 2013 4:09 am
Posts: 2533
Location: Dallas, TX
Great job, time consuming I know.


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