Paint Stripper On Radios?

Fixing up that painted bakelite.

I was probably as incredulous as you when I first heard about stripping paint off Bakelite using paint stripper.

The heavy duty chemicals in paint stripper are not my first choice of things to work with either and in situations where acetone or even non-acetone thinners will work I would opt for them, but at times paint stripper is your only choice and it IS safe to use on Bakelite.

Bakelite is a thermoset plastic. Once it has been set into its mould under heat and pressure it will no longer react with heat, chemicals or other influences.

Unlike many other plastics, Bakelite won't melt if you heat it. And as for strippers and thinners, they don't seem to make a dent in the stuff.

Of course it goes without saying that you wouldn't want to try this on a more modern (Fifties or Sixtes) plastic set.

For more info on stripping and restoring painted radios take a look at Phil's Old Radios. He has a couple on his site that he has done.

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ill titleDelco R-1230 A

Yummy, Yummy, Ribbon Candy.

ill_1Here is another radio from my US eBay spree.

From around 1947 and often referred to as the Ribbon Candy set because of the cute squiggle down the centre of the speaker grill, this one is very popular with collectors in the USA.

Typically, the eBay description was as wrong as L. Ron Hubbard. Stating it was a Fifties model and calling it a an R-1236. Delco did make a model 1236 but it looked nothing like this. And the less said about the quality of photography on eBay, the better. Just take a look below at the original auction photo. A picture speaks a thousand words.

Delco eBay Photo

The hardest thing to get across is just how small this set is. Only a few millimetres wider than the Silvertone 9000 and slightly shorter in height it would have to be considered a "Midget Set".

By the time this radio was made Delco had become a subsidiary of United Motors Company and made very few home receivers, focussing more on car radios. Today Delco is owned by General Motors and is still a well known OEM manufacturer of car radios.

Another All American Five circuit with the standard GT Octal lineup. This one still sported 4 out of 5 original Delco branded valves and all the original capacitors underneath. Despite their age and some obvious deterioration it still worked perfectly on all those 60 year old components.

Delco Tubes

As advertised the factory paint was chipped and coming off in numerous places, but this is no deterrent to me. Just imagine how well that bakelite has been preserved beneath the paint!

The chipped paint did make it look a little sad though and coupled with all the wrong info in the eBay ad, might explain why I had so little competition for it.

Delco Unrestored

I deliberately choose radios with bad paint because I know that paint stripper will not harm bakelite, plus you can find some immaculate cabinets beneath that paint and they almost always looks better than the paint job did anyway.

This one was no exception. So, on went the stripper.

Stripping The Paint

Wow! Underneath that old white paint was the richest, most luxurious, Jet-Black Bakelite you have EVER seen. Kind of like finding a supermodel in a back alley dressed as a bag lady.

The solid (not painted) white knobs cleaned up with nothing more than soap and water and make a spectacular contrast with the black cabinet.

Very Black Suit and White Bow-Tie!

All Cleaned Up

Inside, the chassis needed very little work. For safety's sake I decided to whip out the four ancient paper capacitors as they were looking a little worse for wear but apart from that one small change I have left it alone. Even the electrolytics were in good order and surgery on them was not deemed necessary.

Delco Radio

The new look of Jet-Black cabinet and white knobs is probably more avant garde than the original designers intended back in 1947 but today, for a 60 year old radio, it looks super stylish!

Silvertone 9000

It has good, clear sound and the soft dial light looks gorgeous teamed with the gold foil dial.

I have loved this radio ever since I saw one on John's Radiophile website and I'm just thrilled to add one to my collection.

Silvertone 9000

Valve/Tube Lineup: 50L6 GT Output, 35Z5 GT Rectifier, 12SQ7 GT Detector, 12SA7 GT Mixer/Osc, 12SK7 GT I.F.