The K-Chuck Cabinet restoration, Part 2

Yes, I’m still working on restoring the K-Chuck Cabinet, a former radio cabinet from the 1930’s that I’m repurposing into a hideaway film and lens storage cabinet.

And when we last left this project, I had removed the old varnish from the cabinet with a combination of Citristrip spray, some plastic scrapers, paper towels, and elbow grease.

That which has been removed… must now be re-applied.

First up – a can of Minwax pre-stain compound, to prepare the cabinet for a new stain.

After that pre-stain soaked into the wood, I added a neutral Minwax stain – I didn’t want to re-color the cabinet, I just wanted to bring out the natural beauty of the vintage walnut wood.

And finally, once the cabinet was fully re-stained, I added some coats of shellac to preserve the wood and make the whole cabinet glisten.

As for the old speaker grill fabric, I tore that out.  It was already ratty and disgusting, there was no reason to keep it.

So here we are.

What do you think?

The K-Chuck Cabinet with shellac and natural stain.
The K-Chuck Cabinet with shellac and natural stain.

Does that beauty have a shine on it or what?

Ooh… Chuck likes a lot.

In fact, the cabinet top makes a great display piece to show off vintage camera gear.  The original finish of this cabinet had water stains and scratches and discolorations.  And now … IMG_20160704_1156380look at the reflective shine it gives a cool camera like Leica Green.

This really looks awesome.  And I have to tell you – for never doing any sort of wood restoration before, I’m kinda proud of what I’ve achieved here.  Okay, I’m not going to take over for Norm Abram on the New Yankee Workshop, but still…

I like the way this cabinet looks.  I really do.  Honestly.

But still…

There’s something that’s bugging me.

Twelve things, actually.

The twelve openings in the front of the cabinet.  They include the semicircular opening at the top of the cabinet front; the four tiny circular openings below that; and the seven openings at the base of the cabinet.  Those openings represent the radio dial, the control knobs, and the speaker grille.

And since I’m not returning this cabinet to any previous radio-worthy status…

Those holes need to be covered.

I took a scrap of pearlized stained glass and covered up the semicircle where the dial used to be.  Since I didn’t have either the original dial, nor a suitable replacement dial… let’s just add a little color here.

Wow, look at that pearlized stained glass... mmm...
Wow, look at that pearlized stained glass… mmm…

So now I’m thinking… maybe, just maybe, I can do something with the lower grille.

And I had an idea.

A couple of art projects ago, I acquired some water-rippled mirror glass from my stained glass supplier.  It looked good, but I wanted to find some colored mirror glass.  You know, something that didn’t already have ripples or waves in the glass.  Something that was totally reflective in shades of color.

Did you know that nobody makes this stuff?  I can get colored glass, but I can’t get colored mirror glass.

You know what?  I’m not one to give up on things.

Home Depot sells a special spray paint that, when sprayed on glass, turns that glass into a mirror.  And I can get colored clear glass…

Good news and bad news on that front.  The company that made the clear colored glass, Spectrum, was going out of business.  That being said, my stained glass distributor, Delphi, sent me sheets of whatever was left, and I was able to match up the missing colors with some glass panes from Hobby Lobby.

I pre-cut the glass panes to fit the panel openings, then sprayed each cut glass piece with the mirrored spray paint.  A little application here, a little adjustment there…

And I get this.

Seven colored glass panes with mirror paint. Holy jukebox cathedral, Batman!

You like?

I’m not done.

I still have those four knob-holes in the middle.  And since I’m not using those for volume controls or anything like that, I ordered some glass repro pull-knobs – the kind you find on dresser drawers – and screwed them in.  One iridescent knob, then three red-white-blue knobs.

All holes filled.

Check this out.

The completed K-Chuck Cabinet.

It is complete. #kchuckcabinet

A photo posted by Chuck Miller (@kchuckradio) on Jul 18, 2016 at 12:49am PDT


Not bad for a first-time furniture restoration and upscale project.

Next thing to do is put my film and spare cameras in the back.  In other words, I can make this cabinet both functional and beautiful.

Which is a good thing.

Thanks for following me on this restoration journey.

It’s been fun, hasn’t it?