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What plywood for Royal Astro (Tasco 7TE) case restoration?

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#1 JoeVanGeaux

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:21 PM

Hi All,

We have had cloudy nights for nearly a month now and all this has done was to encourage me to pick up another early '60s Royal Astro (Tasco 7TE).  However, this one is in need of a bit more serious restoration.  In this case, mostly the case. 

The case has serious enough de-lam on the top side and the bottom (also of the same thin plywood) appears to have been, literally, dropped onto an object/edge that pierced well into the case, also damaging the beveled altitude setting ring on the mount, detached some inside storage mounting blocks and maybe other stuff. (I am still assessing the effort needed and to what extent I will address those issues.)  Anyway, if you are familiar with these cases (meaning the box, itself), the tops and bottom are of some plywood and the four sides are of somewhat decntly joined solid wood of the same or similar species.

Does anyone have a recommendation (or observations on restoration) for what type of plywood I can use that will make a convincing replacement?  (It almost looks like a thin, yet slightly maybe tighter grained, Luan door skin panel, but experience tell me it can't be that simple!)

(Note:  My eyes have gotten bleary while attempting to read various posts over the last few days by using the "search" tool but can't seem to find what I am after.)

Regards,

Joe



#2 shooze

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:29 PM

I would use a luan door skin and attempt colour matching the finish.  A nice poly satin clear over the whole case in the end.  Any photos Joe?


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#3 bobzeq25

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:33 PM

As a woodworker luan is pretty low quality wood.  The question is, do you want to more closely mimic the original (price of wood was no doubt a factor) or do something better?  Better would be baltic birch or appleply.


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#4 ccwemyss

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:49 PM

The original plywood on these is not great. Just some sort of cheap mahogany veneer. There were many tropical woods available at the time, used for veneer and case sides, that you can't get any more. Luan is a reasonable solution if the delamination is just the veneer layer, since that doesn't require removing and re-attaching all of the internal bracing. It's easier to apply than actual veneer, since the thickness makes it more forgiving of imperfections in the under layers. 

 

In this case, however, it sounds like the bottom is not just delaminated but structurally compromised. So you could go with a birch or mahogany veneer plywood for the bottom and luan for the top. Or if you don't mind rebuilding the top and the bottom, the ply on both. Birch is widely available, while mahogany may be a special order in some places. 

 

Chip W. 


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#5 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 02:50 PM

Mahogany is the "pine" of Asia.  Cases were made from it because it was the cheapest wood available. 

 

It can be tough finding replacement wood with grain and color to match, but it can be done.  Lowes used to carry 2' x 4' sheets of thin Luan ply, maybe they still do.  I go to a hardwood distributor for lumber, however, then cut my own boards down.


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#6 JoeVanGeaux

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 03:44 PM

This is an attempt to include some pics.  I have worked with Luan before (aka, Lauan, Phillipine Mahagony, floor underlayment, door skin and others).  I once made a small boat with the stuff.  I am not trying to make the case better but as passable to the original as possible (well, as practical, anyway).

The pictures will show the top, bottom and the inside (I propped up the carnage on the inside to illustrate the extent of the challenge.  I am now thinking (after a grateful reading of the responses) that if I pick through the box store Luan to find the tightest and best-matching grain, I may give that a try.  I have a few ideas on how I can go about handling the "displaced" and still attached mounting blocks... but any  attempt other than just cutting it all out will just be for s***s and giggles.

Oh, and yes, the picture of the damage to the bottom is showing daylight!!  And, no, I will not be trashing it and starting over... which is probably what most reasonable people would do!  lol

Joe

Attached Thumbnails

  • The Top.jpg
  • The Bottom.jpg
  • The Inside.jpg

Edited by JoeVanGeaux, 18 January 2020 - 03:45 PM.


#7 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 04:23 PM

Save all the internal pieces, they can be repaired.  You need to replace the top and bottom.  I've brought them back from this condition without too much stress, just elbow grease.  ;)


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#8 JoeVanGeaux

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 06:26 PM

Save all the internal pieces, they can be repaired.  You need to replace the top and bottom.  I've brought them back from this condition without too much stress, just elbow grease.  wink.gif

Yes!  Its my full intention.  I've certainly tackled tougher restorations than this around the house and garage. 

Those internal pieces aren't going anywhere but back into a repaired case.  I'm looking forward to the challenge to be honest!

Edited:  I found the hardwood panel I was looking for.  The hardware store, apparently taking a lesson from the IT guys, started calling the same ol' stuff by a different name.  Its now called "utility panel" and comes in 1/8" - 4x8' sheets.


Edited by JoeVanGeaux, 18 January 2020 - 06:57 PM.

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#9 apfever

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 11:19 AM

That type of paneling comes in a whole bunch of thicknesses. It's usually measured in mm. I don't think any of the boxes use a full 1/8" thick sheet, but it wouldn't hurt on the bottom especially. You will have distinct extra edge exposure due to thickness.  Here's  a link to some box work I did recently.

 

Box repair


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#10 roscoe

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Posted 19 January 2020 - 07:06 PM

remember to accurately measure the internal block locations before you take things apart.  try to get all the old glue off the blocks, so the new glue will bond well.

 

I'll second Chip, suggestion of thin birch (I think the local big-box sells it), stained to (sorta) match the sides.

 

if you want to put the time in, strip the finish off the sides, and give the top and bottom a coat of your stain, then give the whole box a second coat, (first coat on the sides).  This will help the case attain a more uniform color.  Then a few coats of urethane.  Satin works well, because it tends to obscure, not highlight, changes in grain or texture.


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#11 JoeVanGeaux

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 09:33 AM

That type of paneling comes in a whole bunch of thicknesses. It's usually measured in mm. I don't think any of the boxes use a full 1/8" thick sheet, but it wouldn't hurt on the bottom especially. You will have distinct extra edge exposure due to thickness.  Here's  a link to some box work I did recently.

 

Box repair

I didn't just take a look at your box repair photos, I studied them.  I was particularly impressed with what you did with that dew shield, too!  It looks awesome and I was very much encouraged by your craftsmanship ...  your art! 

When I attempt such restorations I often do it quietly because I just don't want to hear anyone asking me why I go through all that effort (and sometimes actual pain) since I just think my explanation (or lack of an explanation!) will fall on deaf ears.

BTW, if you don't mind sharing, what brand and shades of both white and black paints have you used in your Royal Astro (Tasco) restorations?

 

Joe



#12 apfever

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Posted 20 January 2020 - 10:13 AM

I don't paint.  I hate finish work.  I used to own a high end wood shop and everything was left to the painters/finishers.  Paint/finish work is the longest delay in a rebuild. Paint takes at least a week to cure in order to have normal use abuse. Paint will cure for a few weeks before becoming essentially fully cured, in spite of what any can says. 

Any dent has to have the metal reset. Once a dent has been pushed back into position, the metal around the ridge or crease needs to be tapped in order to reset, or the dent will return when the reforming tool is removed. A dented end of a dew shield rarely has to be beat hard enough to damage the paint unless the paint has already been cracked from the incident. Pencil out the crease that needs to be relieved, then reshape, then tap the crease area. The metal will work with you to go back to it's original configuration. The tapping tool does not have to be a hammer or metal. If using a small hammer, try following around with a piece of plastic between the hammer and dent. 


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