This was an old Philco that I had owned for 25 years but had no idea what to do with. With the advent of the internet and access to many sites for creative outlets and ideas, this was my first attempt to convert a radio to a wine bar. A functional piece of American history which is a conversation piece and still usable in its new reincarnation!
Step 1: Stripping the Radio
These are the view from the rear of the radio. I removed the radio carriage and speaker assemply using a standard screwdriver (no phillips head screws used back then!)
Step 2: Re-veneering the Top
Unfortunately, when I obtained this radio, it must have been sitting exposed in an attic to the sun. The top veneer was missing and split, but it was the only damage to the radio. The rest of the finish was good and just needed a good cleaning and waxing. I purchased self stick veneer from Rockler Woodworking and cut larger than the actual top. Before applying, I centered and chiseled out the recess for the brass opening clasp. I then applied the veneer and trimmed the edges flush by hand using a fresh razor blade. I then found the chiseled out recess and carefully cut out the veneer in that area. Next I layed out the area of the top to be cut to allow access to the interior for wine glasses etc. I cut it using a jig saw. It was hinged to the radio using a cabinet door hinge since there was no cross bracing in the back to use a traditional hinge.
Step 3: Removing the Center Pole and Installing Wine Glass and Bottle Supports
I determined that by removing the middle rail, I would be able to have 3 columns for hanging wine glasses and storing wine bottles. The middle pole was actually loose and I was able to hand turn until the bottom dowel broke free and drop it out of the top hole. I then sanded and stained the bottom flush. The outline is still visable but it adds character to the piece. I purchased oak wine glass hanging wood from Rockler Woodworking (like T molding)and installed by screwing to the bottom of the interior shelf, making certain to line them up to allow for glasses to be hung easily. I used pine and using a 3 1/2" hole cutter, cut 3 properly lined up holes in the wood. I ripped it down the middle on a table saw which makes two hangers. Repeated this step the same way with 1 1/2" hole cutter for the front wine bottle supports. I painted these gloss black which worked well with the existing finish on the radio.
Step 4: Preparing for & Installing the Wireless Speaker
This model had a very small "window" to the radio dial. I removed the decorative wood surround and removed the metal housing. This left a circular hole to the interior. I used a drum sander attached to a drill to enlarge the circle on the front of the radio as well as on the decorative piece. I made it just wide enough to accomodate the circular front from the Ihome bluetooth speaker. On the inside I built a simple shelf to encase it but to leave access to remove and use or recharge it. As can be seen, its a pretty close fit.
Step 5: The Interior Wine Glass Area
I lined the shelf with two layers of cork. The second layer, i provided cutouts for the wine glasses and left the middle available for a wine bucket or additional glasses. The interior holds the bigger, taller red wine glasses while the the hanging glass area fits the traditional smaller white wine glasses. You can see small shelf which holds the ihome wireless speaker.
Step 6: Finishing the Inside of the Top
I sanded and waxed the inside top and installed a wooden wine slogan piece. From this I mounted 5/8" hooks backwards to accept wine charms. Because they face the back, the charms stay in place whether the top is open or closed. I used a chain to hold the top from opening to far, purchased from Rockler Woodworking. Since my charms can be labeled in chalk, I drilled out the old plug to hold a tapered piece of chalk rather than just throw it out.
Step 7: Installing Lights and a Back
Before cutting 2 pieces of 1/4" plywood, stained dark walnut on the interior side, I installed 3 under-cabinet lights purchased from Home Depot.
Step 8: The Final Project
This is the final project, holds plenty of wine, glasses and makes a great conversation piece!