Introduction: 1940s Radio Bar
I will show you how to take an antique 1940s radio and turn it into a personal mini bar. This project was a lot of fun. It did take up many weekends but it was well worth the time and effort.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Gutting & Cutting
First things first, you need to completely gut out the radio. Luckily all of the main electronic parts were already gone, but I still had additional supports to remove. Don't worry about making it weak because you are going to build your own supporting structure.Just leave the bottom supports so you can attach the floor piece. Keep any spare screws and wood just in case you want to use it in the cabinet. I used a few pieces to make the main bar top and a few screws to add that vintage look, modern screws just don't look the same. After gutting the radio you can now accurately measure and draw out plans. Every radio console is going to be a little different so you might have to modify your plans from mine.
The next step is to carefully cut the outer part. Be extremely careful because the outside is veneer. I used a Dremmel to cut everything out. This part will take a lot of planning and a steady hand.
Step 2: Main Frame
Take accurate measures and cut a piece of plywood to fit on the bottom of the radio. I used 3/4 plywood for my project because it fit flush with the bottom moldings. I then built the main cabinet in which the rest of the pieces such as shelfs and dividers will be built off of, you don't want screws and nails sticking out of the radio itself.
Step 3: Shelfs and Extremities
For this part I took a couple of different size liquor bottles and made measurements for the shelf inside the cabinet as well as the display shelfs on the outer parts of the cabinet.
Another challenging but most needed part is reattaching those pieces you cut off. The side panels and top panel were too thin to use nails or screws to attach any hinges so what I did was cut out small wood blocks and wood glue them wherever the hinges needed to be attached. I was then able to screw the hinges in place, remember you are going to have to readjust the hinges to accommodate the placement of the wood blocks.
For the top bar section I used old pieces from the radio to build the bar top/ bottle display. I also put a chest hinge to keep the top part up.
I didn't have the original dials so I used copper colored handles. You could use the original dials if you have them.
Step 4: Bringing It All Together
After building the frame and shelfs I used wood glue and wood putty to fill in any gaps, sanded everything and painted the interior. I didn't have the original dial so I cut out some pieces of wood, painted it with black chalkboard paint, and glued them in place. The wood I used was much thinner, I picked it up from the scrap wood pile at Home Depot.
This is my first big project as well as the first project I have ever posted on Instructables. I am working on another project and will hopefully post it soon.