Starr tabletop project

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dzavracky
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by dzavracky »

I’d like some opinions before I move forward with the next step in the project.

I have completely disassembled the case.... so I can properly sand, grain fill, and stain everything. But I am unsure what to do about the lid. Refinishing to match the inside of the lid will be tricky... but the original decal looks pretty nice! Should I leave the original decal? Or sand the lid down to the bare wood and apply a new decal?

Any thoughts would be great. I am keeping this phonograph.. so I want to do the best job I can on the refinish.

David
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Inigo
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by Inigo »

Uff.. I'm not able in refinishing, and besides that, I have a problem. When I see the look of bare wood (actually the look of the applied veneers) I like it so much that I don't want to return to the look that your lid, for instance, has. It is like an uniform color, dark brown with a touch of maroon, where the wood grain cannot be seen. Of course, that lid finish can be revived so the beauty of the wood grain comes out clearly, but I don't like that.
I have a HMV194 whose problem was similar, part of the finish had been previously removed, but the remaining part, in the lid and in the grille, was good looking but to dark too my taste. So I ended removing the remaining finish to bare wood. And it looked so splendid that I decided to leave it except for a thorough waxing with a dark walnut wax, which leaves a beautiful look. Probably purists will grin at my poor and non original approach, but believe me that this gramophone looks fantastic.
I too discovered one thing. When removing the reddish mahogany finish from the remaining surfaces, I discovered that the veneers, or whatever thing is this, were not mahogany, but a much softer wood : cedar. That was a problem, for it is very soft, and it's natural color tends to a much lighter red, almost a brown/orange mixture. The pore is dark reddish brown, but the grain reflects an orangish color at sunlight. I've seen A Decca Salon consolette model with the same look, so I've left it waxed and no more. I tried to apply a finish with clear lacquer. I did it on the motorboard and at the back panel, and it comes out more brilliant, but with this same look.
In total I did a real mess, but I love its looking. Perhaps my appreciation is biased for the fact that it's my queen machine, and I'll never sell it... But...! :oops:
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dzavracky
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by dzavracky »

I didn't really want to totally refinish this machine.. .but it was already refinished at some point in it's past and I didn't like the way it looked. It was splotchy and there were some really rough spots on the finish. I haven't done a mahogany cabinet before.. but I think I can get it to look really nice. I'm just in between on what to do with the lid. A new decal isn't too expensive.. but I hate to remove the original one. :?

David

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drh
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by drh »

I'd do everything I could to preserve the decal and interior finish, even if the match to the eventual outside finish ended up being imperfect. That's what I did with my Edison C-250 and A-150 machines, both of which suffered from bad earlier refinishing endeavors by prior owners. If it's still available, try carefully Minwax antique stripper, which will take off the newer finish but leave a good part of the old stain--unless the prior owner messed the stain up, too.

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Curt A
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by Curt A »

Just my two cents... I, personally, don't like the look of the finish inside the lid. Since you are going down to bare wood on the outside, you will never get it to match the inside anyway, leaving it as is and I don't see a problem with re-doing the interior of the lid so the whole thing matches (only my opinion). I wouldn't be afraid to remove the decal, if you can get a new one from Gregg Cline to replace it. Years ago, you couldn't get good quality decals that looked like the originals, but now you can...

That machine will look much better with a total facelift (I would even try to find a better tonearm). You aren't dealing with a high end expensive machine, so I think any restoration will improve its desirability, especially if you intend to keep it...
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
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"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
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dzavracky
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by dzavracky »

I am definitely leaning towards the new decal plan. I think the fact that the finish in the lid won't match the machine will bother me. I will attempt to clean up the finish on the inside of the lid before I make my final decision though. Maybe I can touch the missing spots on the decal up with some gold paint?

Hopefully by Friday I will have made a decision. :lol:

David

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Frisco The Beagle
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by Frisco The Beagle »

My feelings on this would be to leave the original finish and decal on the inside of the lid (unless it is badly weathered and looks like crap).

The outside of the machine will be very nicely refinished and presentable, but the inside of the lid can show what it was originally and how it has aged. I know this probably doesn't make much sense, but I feel it "honors" or "recognizes" the work of the original craftsmen and their craftsmanship, as well as the age/history of the machine (patina?).

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dzavracky
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by dzavracky »

I think I’ll try to save the inside. I cleaned it thoroughly this morning and it’s just too nice to remove. And if I screw it up.., then I’ll just get a new decal :lol:
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Curt A
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by Curt A »

I agree with you, David... that cleaned up way better than I expected and it looks great...
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
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Inigo
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Re: Starr tabletop project

Post by Inigo »

Yes, that's the way it should be. You're probably getting really the same finish on the outside and motorboard. It looks at having not much staining, it looks as if it was only waxed or slightly shellaced, very natural look! Not glass finish. I bet you could preserve the lid and match the rest with it perfectly. Good!
My waxed hmv194 has a similar look. I prefer this, where you can touch and feel the wood grain, much more than the glass - mirror finishes.
Indeed the color that this finish gets its similar to the natural vivid color of wet wood.
Last edited by Inigo on Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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