Friday, June 27, 2008

Another Restoration Project

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We are getting into the full heat of summer here in Alabama. The days are clear and hot. There has not a drop of rain for the past few weeks. It appears we will have a continuation of the drought that has plagued this area for the past few years.

Tuesday I started to dismantle the Edison “Schubert” phonograph to start on the cabinet restoration. It is such a cheaply made piece of furniture when compared to the machines Edison produced just some 15 years earlier. The finish is “brown mahogany”. Typical of the finish and color of the 1927 era, this translates to a muddy brown that pretty much obscures any wood grain showing through. The grain of the wood is boring, so there is not really much of a loss. About the only interesting aspect of the finish is the two tone effect on the doors. Still with all these faults I’m against stripping off the original finish. The interior finish is in good condition with decals and markings that should never be removed. A refinish job would result in a smooth finish and shine, but the wood would still be ugly. I will keep the original crackled varnish finish: once it is cleaned and rubbed out it should have a bit of gloss.

Perhaps the best gauge as to the grimy condition of this machine is the paper label that attaches to the record slots. A cursory cleaning with an art gum eraser removed most of the grime. The paper is pretty fragile so the cleaned portion is about as far is I’m willing to go.

Looking at the inside of the cabinet: The felt on the turntable cleaned up to where it looks pretty presentable. Again you are always ahead to keep things original. The paper record guide goes on the left side where it holds down dividers that separate the stored records.

View of the machine with the left door “rubbed out”.

Saved Again By the Internet!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Before I close out the last day of the road trip to Chicago, I need to catch up on the current happenings. Anybody who knows me is not surprised when I become all obsessed in a restoration project. The latest has been the preliminary work on the Edison Schubert phonograph. I’ve been able to track down a needle which should be on it’s way.

The cabinet needs a good rubbing out. The exterior varnish is highly alligatored, but I’m hoping to be able to bring it back. The past few days have been trying to track down a suitable cloth for the front grill. The cloth original to the machine was ripped out long ago. There were some remnants of that fabric still glued to the sides. It was a patterned purple lightweight cloth. I made a preliminary visit to some fabric stores. Naturally I was treated like I was from outer space! I could not find anything even close.

Then I made my first forays to fabric sites on the internet. I looked at thousands of patterns with no luck. This morning I was running errands and I made the mistake of going to Michael’s craft store. They do not carry fabric, but I was totally grossed out regardless. Upon entering the store the color scheme for all the fake flowers was orange, brown, and yellow. Yup… they have the Fall collections up already! My God we just had the longest day of the year and they are three months ahead already. In a way this shows my ignorance in shopping in that I still register shock at this kind of thing.

I am on a mission to find a suitable cloth to fit behind the wooden grill. It has to be right, maybe not a perfect match, but close as possible. I have seen too many fine restorations marred by the wrong grill cloth.

If anything I’ve learned how to narrow down my searches. After a couple hundred views I realized I had to use the word “Jacquard” in my search as that would bring up material with patterns woven in. Using Google as an initial search engine I somehow got onto a site where I discovered the perfect material.

The color is an almost identical match to the remaining bits I have of the original. The pattern is not a perfect match, but it is in the same genre.

I ordered two yards in case someone needs some, I can save them the aggravation I went through. Also, it was only $4.00 a yard!

What a great way to round out the evening! Time to pull up Amos and Andy on the internet and relax with a cold glass of my box wine!