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DIY - Motorola Redo

I went to work today and when asked what I did over the weekend, no one in my office could grasp that I painted and rehabbed an aging motorola in our home.

Because this is the kind of motorola they were picturing:

Wrong motorola.

For those unfamiliar with the term NOT pertaining to the above image, a motorola is also a piece of furniture, popular in the 1960s and 70s, that included a radio and some other form of entertainment, usually a TV, record player, or 8-track player. Ours includes a radio, record player, and 8-track player.

Yes, those are 8-tracks. All old Greek music and still play great!!
My in-laws purchased this new back in the early 70s (the estimation was 1972-1973). We know it was before The Captain was born in 1976, because if you look closely, you can see all of his teething marks from when he was 12-18 months, according to Poulos-lore. See all those bite marks? A little shallac never hurt a toddler, right?

We inherited this piece 7 years ago when my in-laws were moving from The Captain's childhood home to their new home nearby. It didn't fit in with the look of the new house, The Captain wanted it, and he appealed to my love of preserving unique antiques, so it came to live with us. Originally it was a lighter Oak color. The body of the piece is solid wood, but the doors are plastic made to look like wood, which presented some issues when redoing the piece. Don't you love those pulls thoough?

4 years ago I sanded and stained the piece a darker shade to go better in our home. With the new remodel efforts, a new look was needed of this great piece.

One challenge I faced was how to recover the speakers.

What, you don't like the textured orange material? 

See the decorative piece of wood at the top of the speakers? I tried plying it a bit with a flathead screwdriver just to see how it was attached, and I split the wood. On both sides. Because I can't learn my lesson after one side. We'll come back to how to repair that, though.

Here are the materials that help the project some together in just TWO SHORT HOURS. That's right. You can knock this out during the average husband's Saturday nap.

I used less than 1" of the quart of paint. I probably could have purchased two sample sizes and been A-OK. I'm a Martha Stewart color faithful (everyone has their favorite brands!) and used the color Wrough Iron (even though it really is a lighter navy blue hue). Other materials were 1 fine grit sandind block, 1 ultra smooth high density foam roller, and of course, my trusty drop cloth, paint key, tray liner, and paint tray. I also used one lint-free damp cloth during the process.

Let's get to sanding. I sanded down the entire piece, using the sides and corners of the sanding sponge to get into the nooks and crannies all over the piece. You don't need to stip off layers of wood here, just rough it up a bit so the paint will have something to stick to. I even sanded up the plastic doors to (hopefully) get the paint to stick to them also.

After the entire piece was sanded, I used the brush attachment on my vacuum, sucked up most of the dust, then used the lint-free damp cloth to wipe down the entire piece. I allowed to dry while I recovered the speakers.

Like I said before, I was trying to pry off the decorative piece of wood at the top of the speakers and split it, unintentionally.

Once I accepted my split wood and decided to deal with it later, I started to peel back the speaker fabric only to find (yay!) a form behind it that I can recover. It appeared this fabric was spray glued to the form, so I decided I would do the same to recover.

Here is a shot of the speaker box with the form and fabric lifted up. The form came apart from the speaker bos easily enough with a little prying from my friendly flathead screwdriver.

The original fabric was stapled around the form.

Remember how easily the first form JUST came away from the speaker box? No such luck the second time -- I split the form as I pulled it away from the box. Hey, it's 45 year old particle board. What did I expect?

I selected a lovely beige muslin fabric for the speakers. I know the sew-ers out there are cringing that I used Don't. I love this material. It's also what I used to recover my kitchen chairs and it'll make another appearance on the wingback chair we're recovering later this week. So calm down.

I cut each piece of muslin (just two -- one for each speaker) about 1 1/2" longer and wider, so we can staple the fabric around. Helpful time: Iron your fabric before the next step!

To hold the fabric in place, I busted out the permanent mounting adhesive. Because it's what I had. I sprayed the entire front of the form with the adhesive, then laid the form directly onto the fabric.

Starting at the middle of each side, I stapled every 1" to secure the fabric to the form. It was a little challenging on particle board, but for the staples that didn't go all the way through, I tapped lightly with a mallet to flatten them down a bit.

Alright, the speakers are covered, and by now, the piece is dry from our wipedown. You know what this means -- Time To Paint! I rolled the piece onto it's back to get the bottom and lower area trim down first. I used a 1" sponge paint for all of the nooks and crannies.

This paint dried quickly, so I was able to apply two coats to the whole piece within an hour. This is after one coat. Didn't forget to paint the decorative pieces of wood I cracked off during speaker fabric removal. This picture looks super light blue. The true color is seen in the very last photo.

Once two coats were on, it was time to put on the new speaker covers! Following the glue lines I found inside, I used adhesive caulk to to secure the forms back into place.

Once I laid the new speaker covers onto the old spaces, gently tapped the form into place to secure to the adhesive we already laid down.

Now what to do about that wood I split off? I couldn't leave it off, because it would have looked busted up. So I gently tapped the pieces back into place, but there was still a tiny gap in the wood pieces on each side. I filled with white caulk, and wiped off the excess. Once the caulk dried (maybe 20 minutes?) I applied two coats of paint and it really blended right in with the rest of the piece.

Now to paint the top for a nice finish. I used the high-density foam roller (which is one of my favorite DIY tools for a nice finish!) to give a line-free finish to the top and sides.

Almost finished!!

Here is the finished product, with our family photos added back to the top. I used all metallic frames (silvers and golds) to give a cohesive look to the photos. As coral and red will be the accent colors as the new room comes together, I am seeking a mercury glass vase or two to fill with coral and red flowers and bring those colors to the piece.

What do you think of how it all came together?

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