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Author Topic: Hallicrafters Re-finish  (Read 161 times)

Posts: 29

« on: January 14, 2019, 05:19:59 AM »

I am in the process of refinishing a Hallicrafters S38B receiver cabinet which has a black wrinkle finish -  factory standard. I'd like to re-finish it with a "black texture paint." Upon completion, replacing the decals would be next, but I had seen where placing decals on this shows the plastic transparent area around the decal itself against the black on the cabinet.

Any suggestions on another way to make this look nice?
Thanks very much

Posts: 230

« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 03:46:33 PM »

look at the decals RADIODAZE has.
also Krylon has the correct paint for the B in both black and gray wrinkle. i had lowes order me a case a few years back.
if the factory wrinkle is not chipped ect you can just clean the old paint and do a light over spray with black paint. then apply the decals. i have also used painter tape and cut small amount to cover the lettering and pilled it off after a light over spray.
73 Tony WA4JQS

Posts: 45

« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 06:53:30 PM »

What is the condition of the cabinet right now?  Is the wrinkle finish intact, any chips or scrapes?

Is it your intent to completely refinish it or just make it neat and clean but recognize that it is over 60 years old.  I am looking at the 38B I worked on for one of my kids, and since the paint was intact just grungy, it got a good washing, a day in the sun and a massage of Armor-All.  Literally put some in the palms of your hands and rub it in and let it dry.  It will restore the color, leave a sheen and make your life a lot easier!  If the color is faded or uneven, try thinning out some semi-gloss oil base enamel using mineral spirits, and wiping the cabinet down, that may add just the black you need, just be careful of the lettering.

Good luck and 73

Posts: 76

« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2019, 11:17:25 PM »

I've had good luck with the slide off paper-backed decals.  If you're using that type, here's what worked for me.  After you've placed them where you want them on the face of the radio, let them dry overnight.  Then give the entire painted surface three or four light coats of Krylon clear spray.  Follow the directions on the can to the letter to avoid the orange peel sagging.  As I recall the instructions said to wait a minute between coats.  I waited for about two.  Whatever you do, use very, very light coats.  After three coats there should be a uniform sheen to the paint.  I let that dry for several hours before proceeding.

Then I used a heat gun to gradually cure the clear coat.  The goal is to heat it enough to have the clear coat melt through the decals and fuse with the colored paint underneath.  If the clear coat starts to bubble you've gone too far and the paint will need to be sanded off and the whole job restarted from the primer coat up. I practiced on some scrap metal boxes and decals before I got the job just right.  The decals can scrape off if not enough heat is used.  When the cabinet is heated to the point when you just start smelling the clear coat, the job is done.  Then let everything cool down for several hours before handling the cabinet.  If it's done right, the base coat, the decals, and the clear coat will fuse into one layer.  The decals should then last a long time.  Some of my stuff has been in daily use for years, and it looks like the lettering was silk screened.

It took me three projects to get the method right, so I'd practice the technique until you're ready to do the receiver.

There is a feathering technique that can be used to keep the decal edges from becoming noticeable.  It involves lightly brushing a decal solvent on the edges, and can yield some nice results.  I've avoided this by using a graphics program, sheets of clear decal paper, and a laser printer to make templates that cover the entire face of a project box.  The edges of my decals are folded over the edges of the faceplate, so they can't be seen from the front.  As always, the more careful work that's put into the project, the generally better it looks when it's done.

GL & 73,  Jim  W9FI


Posts: 29

« Reply #4 on: Yesterday at 04:12:42 PM »

Thanks to all, much appreciated.

My intent was to completely restore the cabinet and ( chassis - which I already did ). Now comes the cabinet. The cabinet itself is not "terribly" scratched or blemished and the paint is basically that of a 60 year old radio. Like the radios I have fun restoring, I'd like to get it back to looking new again. Was thinking of a light glass beading and starting from scratch. I know I can get the cabinet to looking original,  it's the replacing of the decals that I'm concerned about. Don't want it to look cheesy.

Some good ideas posted.

I might try and bring the cabinet around with what was suggested and then if no positive results take it further. It's all fun!

Posts: 5

« Reply #5 on: Yesterday at 08:14:03 PM »

A few years back, I got into the "business" of restoring and selling S-38s. For the legends (lettering), I invested in a DRY decal process. As I recall, it is/was (?) marketed under the name of DecalPro. The process requires an investment that's probably too $$$ for just one job but it took all the hassles of 'wet' away. I always took the cabinets down to the metal and put on a coat of primer before color. Since I always re-wired them to keep A/C off the cabinet on or off, I hated the 'B' model with it's interlocking line cord. I had to use a chassis punch to cut a hole in the rear apron to install a standard polarized line cord, etc.

Posts: 728

« Reply #6 on: Today at 02:39:13 AM »

Way back when, National recommended black shoe polish put on with a stiff brush and then brushed....
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