Last winter I built a replica of the original 1929 RCA 1264 Theremin using (mostly) original-era parts from late 1920′s and 30′s radios. Here are a few images from the first step- the cabinet. Enjoy.
I used mahogany and followed Mark Mckeown’s RCA Cabinet Dimensions. They are very helpful. Thanks, Mark!
I had fun doing the splines. Five years spent building wooden boats had prepared me well.
I decided to give my RCA removable legs using kerf-mounted leg brackets, so I had to “free-style” it a bit on the bottom and rear bead and skirt piece. It’s not really clear in the drawings/build notes, but the back piece, under the door, has a vertical-grain veneer to match the doors.
I chose to go with a hand-rubbed spar varnish finish rather than the dark stain and polished-lacquer-look used on the original instruments. It’s much more forgiving to apply and maintain, and personally, I think it is a lot prettier. The result is an irresistible-to-touch, silky smooth finish that really showcases the natural beauty of the wood. I used no stain! This is the natural color. This image was taken just after I had sanded/finished the cabinet and the color has since darkened, developing a rich patina.
…or How to completely tear apart a rare antique radio.