General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Discussions about the care and repair of cabinet issues and grille cloth.
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Dr. Radio
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18566Post Dr. Radio »

Greg,

Had you thought about using something like 3M "Super 77" spray adhesive?

It takes some getting used to, but I used that......and now I've bought 3M 80 series for car projects. The "80" seems to spray out "spiderwebs" (this is actually how it is supposed to provide coverage) so that might not be that great for precision projects....

It's not cheap, and takes practice, but the benefit of this type of stuff is you spray the material and you spray the item the material is getting placed on. The two "interlock" and provide a quick tacky set so the "grab" doesn't take so long.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18575Post electra225 »

It's main downside to me is that it is messy. I don't have a good area I can work and make a mess. Another thing is that it is so sticky that it won't let me move a piece if I need to. If you had room to work with it, with the mess, and you could handle the fumes (I can't), it would actually be best to use that on the back of the Tolex and with contact cement on the wood, that makes the best bond. Using water-borne Tolex glue and Elmer's White Glue is a compromise based on the above. There are literally no fumes and I can better control the mess.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18598Post electra225 »

Sometimes, the plan doesn't come together. This afternoon, I made my first major faux pas in the installation of Tolex. I cut a panel backwards, that is I drew it backwards. It fits absolutely perfectly only the big end is on the little end and vise versa. I worked four hours and got four panels on the lid and got another one cut ready to glue. I need to have enough Tolex glue for two more panels, than I can use Elmer's on the rest. It is in the 70's here today and the glue is drying slowly, even using a hair dryer. If I get it warm enough to really dry the glue, the panels curl then they are hard to get on straight. I know I"m being too picky. I measure three or four times before I cut. Then I fit before I glue. Fortunately, the "backwards panel" was red, and I have plenty of that. I still need to get more black Tolex to finish the speakers. I figure another month of work at the pace I'm going now is what it will take to finish. All the black is on except the speaker boxes. I am working on red now. Next will be the white in the lid. After that will be grille cloth and piping. Then decals. Then fasteners. Final assembly, then whatever I'm going to do with the changer.

Doc, you suggested using Super 99 as an adhesive. Do you remember the stuff much like that you could get in a tube? We called it "gorilla snot" and used it for sticking gaskets onto things that were hard to install, like the Oldsmobile 307 "Y" motor valve covers under ten miles of vacuum hoses or water pumps you had to more feel than see when you went back on with them. It was yellow sticky stuff much like contact cement. I think it is called weatherstrip adhesive and is made by the same company as Super 99. I might see if I can find some of that stuff and use it instead of Tolex glue or Super 99. Super 99 would work great, except I don't have any way to manage it, which is a shame.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18613Post electra225 »

I have the Tolex all done on the lid. The lid was harder to get done right than the bottom of the cabinet. I finally figured out how to cut the main piece of white in the lid. I measure the best I can, but always get them too large. This time, I carefully measured, then cut the width from 1/8" to a short 3/16" inch narrower, then cut the length from 3/16" to a short 1/4" shorter. This allowed that piece to fit better. I had curled the red under the white in case I got the white a tad brief. I reckon the reason it "grows" when you put the Tolex on is that you can't get the Tolex perfectly flat when you measure it for cutting. When you put it on the cabinet, you get it perfectly flat, so it grows. I had an air bubble captured that I couldn't get to move, right in the middle where the decals go. I cheated. I cut a small slit in the Tolex and let the air escape. When I rolled it back down, you can't see the slit in the Tolex. I'm satisfied with how this has turned out so far. While I'm waiting on more black Tolex for the speaker boxes, I have some work yet to do on the chassis and I need to find all the holes that hold on the hardware. I have pictures, but I was too lazy this afternoon to download them to the computer.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18683Post electra225 »

The lid is done. I have found all the hardware mounting holes. Careful documentation is key.
100_0848.JPG
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18685Post Hi-Fi-Mogul »

Yes, you owe this one to yourself, a keeper.

Looking at your G.E. is like seeing it on Christmas morning
again back in 1963.

Congrats, and thanks for posting all your efforts for us
on this true restoration.

You saw this "parts" unit in your imagination as to what
it could be and made it so.

That's what I like about fixing up these hi-fi gals.
They can still look good and perform good,
when they are cared for.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18688Post electra225 »

Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Mogul..... :D

I have the teeniest of a faux pas I discovered. I failed to document where the holes for the bracket that holds the 45 adapter are supposed to be. I may have to measure Don's before that can go back on. I'll need to remove a lot of the electronics in order to finish the front of the cabinet. I tinkered with the electronics and got a little carried away playing records. I was only intending to play one to check my work.... ;) :oops:

The handle you use to lift the stereo is gray. It goes on the front of the cabinet, and will be surrounded by red grille cloth and white piping. Wonder if it will look okay gray (there is silver inside the cabinet and a gray tube cover) or should I paint it black? Or red? I don't want it bright enough to be featured, yet I don't want it to look out of place, to look unrestored. It's not dirty and the color is appropriate for the four-color scheme on the instrument.

Screws will work to hold on the hardware, so that will save some. I am on the fence of going thru the changer because I don't want to have to take it back apart again, and we know the part you don't restore because it works so well will be the first part to fail..... ;)
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18698Post William »

It looks fantastic, Greg, and I can only imagine how it sounds. The three GE's that I have worked on all sounded good when done. Two were not mine, they belonged to the antique guy that I have done stuff for before. The last on is mine, it's a Trimline SS unit that is missing a 10" woofer. Why someone removed that woofer is beyond me.

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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18790Post electra225 »

I have been enjoying playing 45's on this stereo. Since this is off-topic, I'll move on....

There are four plastic channels that fit on the speaker boards in the external speaker boxes. They are about 3/8" wide and 1/2" tall. They were dirty and scuffed looking, so I decided to clean them and paint them silver. I got to cleaning them and found that what looked scuffed and beat up was just dirt. I cleaned them with Glance, then used Simichrome to polish the plastic a bit. The channel itself is clear plastic, with a gold-toned tape strip on the inside of the front edge. They polished up nicely and look pretty good, so I'll reuse them. Why GE mixed gold and silver trim is beyond me.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18830Post Dr. Radio »

Greg,

That is amazing!

Now, if you didn't want to keep it, you could put it on eBay with a starting bid of $1000 like some sellers!
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18965Post electra225 »

Red grille cloth is not going to work! :oops:

It's TOO much red. It makes the red Tolex detailing look cheap and gawdy. I'm going to have to tone down the grille cloth. GE used both gold and silver trim on this stereo. I don't know what the thinking on that was. My intention was to spruce up the original gray and white color scheme a bit. AES has a grille cloth that is darker red with white, red and gold threads in it. That is a little more subdued than I had imagined, but may be more appropriate.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18988Post electra225 »

The decals are allegedly done. I am to go "preview" the results sometime in the next couple of days. Tres is really particular about how they look, and never tells me they are done, per se. If I don't like them for some reason, he does them again. So far, that has not happened. I'm trying to talk him in to starting 3-D printing. My understanding is he had trouble with the decals for inside the lid. If he had trouble making them, how much trouble am I going to have installing them? ;) :oops:
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18990Post TC Chris »

Relax. Remember that the original decals were applied on an assembly line somewhere in a situation where perfection was not the goal. Good enough was good enough. And also, nobody else notices the minor imperfections that bug us. I used to worry endlessly about all the bits of dust that showed up in the varnish on the sailboat (still do, actually). What others notice are not the bits of dust, but the color and shine of the end product. There's nothing wrong about aiming high, but we need to be realistic about the possibility of perfection.

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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18992Post electra225 »

I have so much time invested in this thing, now it needs to be "right", although GE was not concerned about that when they built it. The round GE emblem in the middle of the "General Electric" script is almost impossible to reproduce on a diecut decal, and even more unlikely to get applied successfully by yours truly. The decision has been made to silk screen the graphics to the cabinet panels. The size and colors are okay, so next I take in the lid and the tube cover where Tres will silk screen the graphics on. If they turn
out like the sample did, they will look amazing. I'm going to be right at $700 hard money in this stereo by the time I'm done. Not including my time and not mentioning the fact I had much of the Tolex I used on hand and I didn't have to buy more glue. That saved about $200. I'm including estimated costs for the changer in this figure. If I sold this for $1000, I would barely recover my costs......

When cars were built, they were built on a moving assembly line to "okay" or "good enough" standards. Good enough to look good in the dealers' showroom. When we restored a car, it was done by hand, piece by piece. The factory built several cars per day, yet it took us an average of a year and a half to do a rotisserie restoration on a single Buick, Cadillac or Packard. Our work was far above the standards of original production. We had to be careful not to over-restore a car, because that looked as bad as going the other way, leaving it looking like it just left the junkyard. Not that we were "better" than the factory workers, it was because we took our time to make sure EACH part was perfect, perfectly installed, and it worked perfect. In the time it has taken me to restore this stereo, GE could have built thousands of them. There is no profit in doing a restoration on a stereo like this one. This is strictly a labor of love, an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to challenge myself in my old age...... :roll:

On top of that, I am having a ball. Ain't that what this hobby is all about? I reckon the possibility of not doing my best is not an option when I start a project like that. Admittedly, I had no intention of getting this deep into this project. I don't know what my thinking was on that. It's just not in my DNA to do something I consider to be a halfway effort. I don't always meet the goal, but I set the goal high and aim for that. Perfection is impossible by mortal beings, so I don't waste my time worrying about perfection. I just want to do my best, regardless of the outcome.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18994Post TC Chris »

I suppose there are two tests of excessive worry. One is when you are afraid to start (or continue) a project for fear that the results won't be perfect. The other is when you are dissatisfied with the results and do the project over, and over, and over. If you're somewhere between those, then all is well.

I was sort of at the afraid-to-start point on the flagpole welding project because i hadn't done much welding in the last decade or two. There was concern about making a big mess and ending up with a bad joint. Finally this fall I said "deleted" with it and got out the torch. The result was not perfect aesthetically but a grinder took care of that, and the joint held when the pole was horizontal, cantilevered out and under the most stress. It didn't fail. After grinding it looked good and it remained intact under the stress test so I call it good.

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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 18998Post electra225 »

I am an admitted over-planner. I get an idea in my mind's eye as to how I want the project to look when it's done. I make a written list of steps I think are necessary to get the end result I want. Then I research anything I'm not familiar with. Then I make a list of what can go wrong, research remedies, then formulate the final plan that just "might" work, that raises my odds of success. But, once a project is done, that's it. I may make changes in the next project when I find areas with which I am not satisfied. Mistakes I make become "part of its personality". I have found that, in many cases, when you restore a record player it will be better than it was originally.
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 19154Post electra225 »

I have the cabinet lid and the tube cover in to Tres' shop to get the decals installed. This will be my first experience with the screen print process. Should have the final product by the middle of next week. The cost was more reasonable than I had expected. Stand by for results....... ;)
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 19158Post William »

And we are looking forward to seeing those results. Photos please when you get them back.

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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 19296Post electra225 »

They are supposed to be done in the morning. He had a glitch in work that pays the bills, so my project is running behind schedule. He "works me in", he can't pay the bills doing work like I give him. My project hasn't been as simple as we had hoped..... ;)
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Re: General Electric RP-1590 stereo cabinet restoration

Post: # 19338Post electra225 »

I have the decals. He used diecut decals after all. This particular Tolex wanted to melt when he tried silkscreening. So, to protect the detailing in the Tolex, he made diecut decals. These are a pain to install. I never would have gotten them on successfully, my hands are not steady enough anymore. I'll share pictures after I get the hardware installed and have the main cabinet totally done. Then I get to start on the speaker cabinets, which I have been procrastinating on. :oops:
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