Vintage 1946 Sonora AM Radio Restoration – 12 – Dial Scale


Dial Scale:

Next on the agenda was to make a new dial scale. This was going to take some thought and planning! The original dial scale on these old radios, from the looks of the photos anyway, was a piece of clear plastic that was curved on the left and right sides and held in place on the top and bottom by a molded plastic frame. The top frame also had a bell shape molded into it which is part of the Sonora logo and also served as a cover for the dial light. The lettering on the dial scale was on the inside of the clear plastic and looked like it might have been silk screened on.

So, since I was missing the top molded plastic piece of the frame and the dial scale itself, I decided to make one that was similar but maybe a bit nicer than the original. My plan was to use a flat piece of glass or acrylic for the dial scale and make a frame out of a dark hardwood with some brass trim to dress it up a bit.

My first thought was to purchase some clear decal stock for my printer, design the dial scale in Photoshop, print it on the decal stock and apply it to the back of a piece of glass. That is the direction I took, but it ended up not being a very good plan. That did not work out very well since printers basically do not have a way to print “White” or light colors. They are designed to print on white paper taking advantage of the fact that the paper is white to get white or light colors out of the print. I was printing on a clear sheet of decal stock and not something that had a white background, so the decals ended up being very dim and could not be seen very well against the dark wood background of the radio.

So… Time for another plan! πŸ˜‰ I have used the Dial Scale design that I created in Photoshop to order a laser etched Acrylic plaque in the proper size from a place that makes laser engraved acrylic awards. I ordered two of them with a plan to see if I can experiment with one of them to add some yellow/gold paint into the textured etching to give it a little bit of color. The design of the dial scale is as close to the original design as I could get it. But I did make one major change to it! Since this was my grandparent’s radio, and it is a “resto-mod” project instead of an original restoration, I decided to remove the Sonora name in the center of the dial scale and replace it with my grandparent’s last name! It is now going to be a “Kenyon” Radio! πŸ™‚

So that is where I am at this point. (04/03/2013)

Here is the design of the new Dial Scale shown over a wood grain background
Dial Scale - Kenyon

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