Picture of Fix a vintage radio tuner string
There's already some very nice tutorials on vintage radios, but I had a specific problem:  
  • the radio turns on
  • the radio makes noise, and gets louder with the volume knob
  • but turning the tuning knob does not move the needle or change the station
Fortunately this can be solved: we have to re-string the tuning knob.
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Step 1: Disassembly 1: remove knobs

Picture of Disassembly 1: remove knobs
We need to get the radio open.

On these old radios, the last thing to go on was the knobs.

Therefore, the first step for us is to remove the knobs.

These knobs pull straight off; they aren't glued or screwed on.

Pictured: the offending tuner knob.  The inner knob is the AM/FM selector.  The translucent ring is the tuner.  You can see how it's toothed on the inside.

Step 2: Disassembly 2: open case

Picture of Disassembly 2: open case
An old radio is like a car - it was hand-assembled, and requires the proper tools.  In my case I needed 5/16" and 1/4" socket wrenches.

The back panel is wood and is screwed to the case with wood screws.

Step 3: Disassembly 3: workings

Picture of Disassembly 3: workings

The back panel on my radio pulls out; it has the antenna embedded in it, and attaches to the rest of the workings with a plug embedded in the radio chassis.

Wood tube radios will have a metal case inside protecting all the electronics. This is because the tubes run real hot and at high power, the metal case is to physically protect the fragile tubes from any jostling, and also to insulate the flammable wood from scorching from the heat of the tubes.

This metal chassis is bolted to the wood body in some way - on mine it used wood screws on the bottom. Remove what you have to and pull the metal chassis and works out of the radio body.

cool quite through. I like how you did more of an explanation & overview than a instructable on that specific model.
bcarroll31 year ago

Bullfrog Snot (google it :)) may be very helpful with the string traction problem :)

I think old fashioned braided Nylon fish line would work, along with some kind of "Findings" barrel clamp. I ended up working on an old all wood Tube Type Radio that stood about a foot, with f holes and big half circle Display on the front, curved sides, A beauty.! . That's what I planned to use if the original string snapped. I was more concerned by the wooden pulley wheels. One the size of a nickel had to make a 90. "One of those - Hay-Bro - projects". He'd already gotten the string Twists & Twurils diagram from R.C.A.? the original string went back on like stretching a 24' truck tire over a Bud wheel, or something. I was proud A' Myself and thanking Goodness that Every Thing Held (right)
Well done.
knife1413 years ago
This is a very well done Instructable. Thanks for posting this.
foobear3 years ago
adjustable capacitors are so cool. expensive too