Introduction: 1942 Philco Radio Wine Bar

Picture of 1942 Philco Radio Wine Bar

I picked this radio up on craigslist for $55 in a nonworking condition. The challenge will be cutting the front to allow for access to the inside since the 1/4" top did not lend itself to cutting and hinging.

Step 1: Cleaning Out the Radio

Picture of Cleaning Out the Radio

The first step in this type of project is to remove the carriage and speaker assembly. This model 42-380 has an antenna assembly in it. All were easily removed using a standard screw driver. The speaker is mounted to a plywood board which comes out easily when the screws are removed. This took all of 20 minutes..

Step 2: Preparing for It to Be a Wine Bar

Picture of Preparing for It to Be a Wine Bar

The first step when doing this is to determine the best way this particular radio lends itself to a conversion to a wine bar. I determined after measuring that by removing 6 of the 8 vertical rails, it would leave me 3 channels for stacking wine bottles or hanging wine glasses. As can be seen, the rails were screwed in at the top and could be lifted out of the bottom as they we simply doweled into the bottom (but not glued) portion of the radio. After inspecting the top, it was found to be rounded 1/4" veneered plywood. This combined with the shape of the top do not allow for cutting the top to access the interior. So I removed the radio grill and will eventually cut the front and have an open type access to the interior glass storage.

Step 3: Interior Shelf Old Vs New

Picture of Interior Shelf Old Vs New

The old shelf which held the radio carriage was placed to properly support the radio and allow the knobs to properly protrude the front. I removed that shelf and installed a new 1/2 plywood shelf (using the old one as a template) and installed it lower to allow for larger red wine glasses. The photos show the "rough in" The top shelf will eventually be covered in cork. This top shelf will also allow for the under-mounting of the wine glass hangers to it prior to covering with cork and installing permanently. The radio had no bottom so I cut a 1/4" piece of plywood to serve as a bottom. It wont support anything but will be stained dark walnut for a strictly cosmetic purpose. This will provide a more finished look when everything is installed and lighted.

Step 4: Making the Wine Glass Hangers

Picture of Making the Wine Glass Hangers

With the new shelf cut and placed, the next step it to make the wine glass hanging racks. I used 1/2" poplar as its a hardwood and easy to work with. I determined the drop down height to hang glasses and ripped and cut to the proper width and length. Looking from the front I determined the proper opening with to be able to insert a standard wine glass and positioned the racks on the bottom of the shelf. I drilled pilot holes and attached via screws through the shelf. (these will be hidden when the shelf is covered in cork). For the racks I recycled the 6 posts that I removed and glued and finish nailed them to the poplar runners. Everything had to be measured and eyeballed to see that it would work. The result is the above. After installing the shelf I marked with tape the where the wine glasses reach down to and was able to determine that I have room for 3 rows of wine bottles leaving enough clearance in each row to be able to insert and remove them. (The wine glass was a casualty of an overcrowded work bench but with some tape it can still be used as a guide for layouts!)

Step 5: Installing Stained Bottle Racks

Picture of Installing Stained Bottle Racks

After determining the spacing of the racks, I drilled holes through the side they were to be attached to. Since space was so limited, I used screws which had hex heads and which could be driven through the holes and into the racks using a ratchet wrench. First the front and back racks were stained dark walnut and finished with 2 coats of polyurethane. I filled the 6 holes on the bottom outside using the dowels which originally held the columns in place. I cut them off, sanded the area and stained using the same dark walnut to match the existing finish as best as possible. I constructed the racks by using hole cutters to cut 3 space holes which were then ripped down the middle on the table saw. I trimmed the ends as needed to ensure a tight fit before screwing them in place.

Step 6: Cutting the Opening

Picture of Cutting the Opening

In order to cut the opening into a rectangle large enough to facilitate the placing and removing of wine glasses, I used an oscillating saw as pictured. I clamped a wood guide to ensure the blade did not stray from cutting a straight line. As can be seen I didnt have to remove too much and got a pretty accurate cut. I still need to sand the edges and stain to match.

Step 7: Adding the 3 Lights

Picture of Adding the 3 Lights

I used under cabinet LED lights from Home Depot. As can be seen I ran the wires in the front of the cabinet so that they cannot be seen. The electrical wire feed in from the bottom front so as to not be visible and continues out the back from underneath the unit.

Step 8: Finishing the Conversion

Picture of Finishing the Conversion

After installing the lights, I decided to refinish 90% of the exterior. I did not sand of what appears to be a plasticized brown finish with the Philco label on it and the two vertical posts with the same finish. The rest, I sanded and re-stained with a light brown stain. I applied light brown Briwax over the stain and then a coat of Johnson's paste wax. I measured, cut, stained (dark walnut), polyurathaned and installed the top and lower backing boards to complete the conversion. It now hold 9 bottles, 12 hanging white wine glasses and 7+ larger red wine glasses on the interior.

Comments

deluges (author)2017-05-18

That's beautiful and I really like the inside lighting.

Although it may have been even better if you could have kept the exterior as-is and made some hidden doors to keep it looking like a radio

Great job

Radio Dude (author)deluges2017-05-18

Thanks, it nice when lit in the dark. This was the first one where its an open access to the interior since the controls created a hole which I enlarged. I prefer to cut the top but the curve and the 1/4" thickness didnt lend itself to that handling in this case.

ThirdEarthDesign (author)2017-05-16

That's some awesome work, kudos to you, like that a lot.

Thanks, I appreciate your kind words.

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