Introduction: Repairing a "pig" Radio Housing

I picked up this radio (a 1946 Belmont) in an antique store.  The radio housing was very beat up, with numerous cracks & chips, and a large chunk of housing had broken off on the bottom.  This is a somewhat difficult radio to find, so I couldn't pass it up even though the housing was in pretty sad shape.

This Belmont radio is known by several nicknames because of it's unusual appearance.  Some call it the "pig radio" because with the tuning knob mounted on the right-hand side it sort of does look a little like a pig's nose, and others call it the "rabbit radio" because the top of the radio looks a little like a rabbit's ears when they are swept back.  But to keep thing simple, I prefer to call it a 1946 Belmont model 6D111.

The chassis for this radio was in pretty good shape, though, and didn't require too much work to get it playing once again.  So, most of my work was on the housing, which is what I will be covering in this Instructable.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Required

In terms of supplies the primary materials I used were bondo (automotive body filler), super glue, various grits of sandpaper, primer, and spray paint.

Tools required were minimal: a screwdriver to remove the radio chassis from the housing, a putty knife, and a small block of wood to use as a sanding block.

Step 2: The Challenge

In the 1st photo you can see that this radio housing had hundreds of chips and cracks in it.  The crack highlighted in the 1st photo went all the way to the bottom edge, then across the bottom (2nd photo) to a large missing chunk of housing (3rd photo).  There were many other cracks as well, such as the long crack in the 4th photo.  Obviously this radio had been dropped at some point in time.

Step 3: Removing the Chassis From the Housing

This was the easy part.  I removed the tuning and volume knobs, removed the back (which was missing its 4 retainers), and removed four screws from underneath the chassis.  The radio chassis then slid easily out the back.

Step 4: Repairing the Giant Hole in the Bottom

I began on the inside, taping a stiff piece of thin fiberboard over the hole (1st photo).  I glued and taped this piece in place.  It's purpose was to cover the hole temporarily so I could fill it from the bottom.

I then mixed the bondo (2nd photo) with the appropriate amount of harderner, and quickly filled the hole using a putty knife (photo 3) and waited the recommended amount of time for it to fully cure.

While the bondo was curing, I filled each crack in the housing with super glue.  First I would glue the crack closed, then slightly overfill the crack with superglue so I could sand it down after it cured to make the crack disappear. 

After the bondo had cured, I then begin sanding it down even with the rest of the housing, beginning with 100 grit sandpaper, then moving to 180 grit, then 220 grit, and finally 400 grit.  Once this area was prepared, I then sanded the entire housing, paying particular attention to filling and feathering all the chips and cracks.

Step 5: Reinforcing the Back Panel.

This radio originally used some press-fit pins to attach the back to the housing, all of which were missing on this radio.  So, I drilled and tapped the original holes to accept machine screws, but before I would be able to mount the back to the housing I had to reinforce where the original holes in the cardboard back had torn through.  To reinforce these, I punched holes in some scrap cardboard and simply glued them to the inside of the back panel.  That way the holes were now reinforced, but the patches would not show.

Step 6: Priming

Before priming the housing, I taped up all the openings from the inside to minimize any over spray, and taped up the original label that was glued to the bottom with painter's tape.

I sprayed it in the upside down position first, then when it was dry I turned it over and finished priming.

Step 7: Final Painting

After the primer was dry, I sprayed the housing and the controls with an antique white finish coat, which matched the original paint.  I then set the unit inside for a couple of days so the paint would fully cure.

Step 8: Finished!

After the paint had cured, I slid the chassis back into the housing and reattached everything I had removed.  My "pig radio" has now been returned to it's former glory!  Or did I mean "rabbit radio?"  No matter what you prefer to call it, hopefully it will have an easier life in the coming days than it had over the last 66 years.

Comments

author
zomfibame (author)2013-06-08

Verry nice. :-) looks great! ....... I'll admit I'm one of the people who replaced the insides of my old radio... I ended up using the innards of a transistor radio inside my 1947 Zenith table-top; truth be told it looks exactly the same on the outside, but it cost less and sounds better than if I'd tried to track down all new capacitors and some new tubes. I love that yours is all stock inside though. :)

author
fender-electric-guitar (author)2012-04-17

well done! I like how you repaired the case and KEPT the insides unlike most people you didnt replace the radio with an ipod or m3 player and also you did a really good job. 5 stars

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Bio: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric ... More »
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