Monday, June 20, 2011
Remember that old radio cabinet John and I purchased way back when? Well, we finally dragged it out of the garage about two weeks ago, and have been working on both restoring and steampunking it out ever since.
Here's what it looked like, fresh from the antique mall:
Really, it's hard to tell.
The cabinet was in amazing shape, considering it's 81 years old:
As you can see, the only real damage was to the speaker grill, where a few pieces of the lattice design were broken off.
The radio itself was long gone, with the guts and knobs removed:
This would actually make a beautiful shelving unit by itself, but there was no way I wasn't using that gorgeous center panel. So, we set about repairing it.
First, John carefully pried up the center speaker grill, which was nailed in place with tiny pin nails:
Next, the fun part: I got out my epoxy putty.
You slice off a small section of this putty and knead it together to activate it. It is *extremely* sticky, and you have less than five minutes of open time before it hardens to a cement, so it takes a little practice to get used to. (It's better to work in small sections.) However, I eventually managed to get the two missing sections roughed in, plus one small center patch:
Next I spent two nights painstakingly carving the detail into those patches using a pumpkin-carving bit on my Dremel:
The Dremel takes off tiny, tiny bits at a time, so it's very dusty and very slow going - but that also gives you a lot of control, which is good.
Here are my patches after carving:
I won't lie to you: I am extremely proud of these patches. I'd only used the epoxy putty this way once before (on a project I'll feature here later), and I've never carved anything before, so this was both a learning experience and a ton of fun.
Next I used acrylic craft paints to apply a dark faux wood grain over the patches:
Ready to see the finished product?
Of course, the irony here is that I spent two or three days working on something that no one will ever notice - and that's the whole point. Heh.
Next I'll be showing off the fun, electrical, steampunky features we're adding to our radio cabinet, so stay tuned for those!
Oh, and in case you have something that needs patching, here's the epoxy putty I use. It's about $6 from Amazon, or you can find it at your local hardware store. And believe me, once you start using this stuff, you'll be in love. Just be sure to wear gloves, or you'll be picking concrete bits off your skin for a week. (Heed my voice of experience!)
So tell me, guys, what's your favorite crafty secret weapon? Any tools or products I should know about?
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