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HMV 163 restoration. Finally done after 4 years


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Hey everyone. I wanted to share with everyone my HMV 163, that I found 4 years ago here in NC of all places, for 400 bucks. The lady who owned it told me a family member of hers brought it over with him in from overseas when he was in the navy during WWII, I don't quite remember the details. When we got there we realized it was down in the basement, and the only access was this narrow, steep staircase. Mind you, this machines is HEAVY. So I took off what I could to reduce the weight, and my mom helped me haul the cabinet up the stairs. How we managed, I have no idea, but it definitely wasn't very safe. Once it was out, I realized that it had suffered some serious water damage, I can only imagine that the basement had flooded at some point. Someone had done an amateur "restoration" in the past, it was poorly refinished with I don't know what long ago, and the veneer had nails all around. Shown are pictures of the peeling water damaged veneer, as well as extensive severe damage on the lid. During the restoration. Not a single panel of veneer was replaced, only patched, which was very difficult and took a lot of time and planning. The finish and decals on the inside are original, and unfortunately despite my efforts, the inside of the lid is a bit darker than the rest of the cabinet. 


I have attached some photos of the process. The large chunks of wood missing were filled with a white wood filler, then the top was patched with new quarter sawn oak that was as grained matched as I could find. I use an overlapping method on the veneer to make the transition between new and old a bit more seamless. All together there are 12 different new pieces of veneer patched together with the original on the lid, and there 4 more on the rest of the machine. The veneer on the cabinet was also a lot. The veneer itself consisted of 2 layers, and the layer underneath had rotted away in a few places. I went in with an exacto-knife and cut off the worst parts. I then traced the shape of the cabinet and cut new pieces of veneer to be able to slip underneath. I then pushed wood glue underneath the lifted veneer and clamped everything down. There were also some bubble in the veneer which require cutting the veneer open and injecting liquid glue with a tiny spout. Once all of the veneer was repaired to the best of my abilities I began the refinish. I used one pass of water based black grain filler, mohawk van-dyke brown penetrating stain, shellac, mohawk semi-gloss spray lacquer, and some Aquacoat clear grain filler in between. The reproducer was rebuilt by Wyatt. 


During the 4 years of owning this machine, I have worked on it on-and-off, little by little, gone through some extensive life changes that made me keep pushing this project back. I am so glad to have it basically done and have it off of the back of my mind. It still needs the proper turntable felt, grill cloth, and key escutcheon, but that's the easy part








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Here are the results. The corner it usually stays in is quite dark






Edited by Martin_P
lid photo
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  • 3 weeks later...

Absolutely fantastic restoration! So much work and I love how it retains a bit of patina and an original feel about it.

Must be your daily player?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 4 weeks later...

You did a beautiful job on this phonograph cabinet! Being a woodworker and wood finisher myself I can truly appreciate your hard work and skill. Good choice of products, btw.
Best regards, Robert P.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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