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Old 18th Aug 2020, 7:57 pm   #1
kestrelmusic
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Default Decal for Wartime Civilian set

I have a wartime civilian set to restore, but the cabinet is pretty knocked about. The easiest thing will be to sand it down and re-polish, but that will destroy the decal on the top.

Does anyone know of a source for these? Or alternatively is there any way of producing one on a domestic printer?
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Old 18th Aug 2020, 9:40 pm   #2
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

I made some waterslide transfers to that design some time ago, basically for my own use. I printed off an A4 sheet and still have a few left. (I claim no credit for the design - I can't recall where it came from). If you haven't applied waterslide transfers before, it's an acquired skill, so it's as well to have more than one to hand. (I'll provide details of how to best apply the transfers). If you'd like a strip of four in case you'd mess up, I'd be happy to supply a strip for £1.75 including post.

They adhere well and are quite durable.

Bear in mind that they'll look 'new' rather than 'aged', which is difficult to replicate. Whatever the model of 'woodie' radios, opinions vary on whether old cabinets and their transfers should be left alone as 'patina'. Others may feel that it's just an old radio - not a Chippendale chair so will look better if 'pimped up'. Entirely a personal decision and no-one's business but the owner of the set.

I've attached a pic of one of my transfers applied to an offcut of wood as an example.

The second pic is of a decayed original transfer on an unrestored cabinet. I didn't see the point in trying to replicate that.

PM me with your postal name and address if you'd like a strip.

Hope that might help.
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Old 18th Aug 2020, 10:49 pm   #3
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

Quote:
Originally Posted by kestrelmusic View Post
The easiest thing will be to sand it down and re-polish...
There's been discussion here and elsewhere before, but one view, which I incline to on the basis of sets I've seen and the two I own, is that when these radios were originally issued there just wasn't any polish applied. Darkened columns at the front are often seen, probably at least sometimes the work of owners, as more clearly are some of the varnishes up to (or down to?) and including polyurethane. One option, then, would be to sand as required avoiding the badge, and then to leave the cabinet to darken again naturally (and, of course, I'm guessing that the sets when new had the look of newly sanded pine).

This is the better preserved of my Wartime Civilians, wearing a replacement 'speaker cloth, which I stole from a scrap 1940 Pye set and washed to substitute for the tattered one as-found. The darkened badge is original, as to the best of my knowledge is everything else, and the cabinet doesn't look to me as though it's ever been in receipt of any sort of coating. Your radio is of course yours, so whether or not the cabinet was originally polished it's your choice whether to treat it now, as I think many owners did with their sets in the '40s to make them look less plain: and whether to give it a new and more legible badge.

Paul
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 1:52 pm   #4
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

At least they are made of proper tree wood, to preserve it I would go for a proper and careful sand down, new label and a satin finish (danish "oil"?). That will preserve the wood, show what it was and be easy to clean. Not that many were made and I am sure as soon as possible they were replaced with a better set and not "loved and enjoyed". A like new look would be more historically accurate. On the other hand many would have made the way to the shed. like my grandad had, and been splattered with paint etc..
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 2:55 pm   #5
kestrelmusic
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
I made some waterslide transfers to that design some time ago, basically for my own use. I printed off an A4 sheet and still have a few left. (I claim no credit for the design - I can't recall where it came from). If you haven't applied waterslide transfers before, it's an acquired skill, so it's as well to have more than one to hand. (I'll provide details of how to best apply the transfers). If you'd like a strip of four in case you'd mess up, I'd be happy to supply a strip for £1.75 including post.

They adhere well and are quite durable.

Bear in mind that they'll look 'new' rather than 'aged', which is difficult to replicate. Whatever the model of 'woodie' radios, opinions vary on whether old cabinets and their transfers should be left alone as 'patina'. Others may feel that it's just an old radio - not a Chippendale chair so will look better if 'pimped up'. Entirely a personal decision and no-one's business but the owner of the set.

I've attached a pic of one of my transfers applied to an offcut of wood as an example.

The second pic is of a decayed original transfer on an unrestored cabinet. I didn't see the point in trying to replicate that.

PM me with your postal name and address if you'd like a strip.

Hope that might help.
Many thanks for the offer. PM sent.
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Old 19th Aug 2020, 10:15 pm   #6
Richard_FM
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

I've noticed the finish on the utility sets varies a lot, even when you take into account the amount of different makers.

It seems a lot of surviving ones had been smartened up over the years.
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 8:52 am   #7
crackle
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

This is my WCR, as you can see it has 2 mahogany type wood strips on the front. The cabinet appears to be made from pine veneered block board.
http://www.kbmuseum.org.uk/kb_images/kb_wcr/kb_wcr.htm
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Old 25th Aug 2020, 2:40 pm   #8
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Decal for Wartime Civilian set

The 'cabinet' (really just a ‘box’ with a single coat of varnish), was made of two layers of native pine veneer with a single low grade core, so not really ‘plywood’ in the traditional sense. It had no glass in the dial, but why not? Glass is made from sand – hardly a scarce resource, and only about 2” x 3” was needed. Thousands of acres of glass were being produced weekly to replace bomb-damaged windows. Much of that new glass was recycled as off-cuts that could have been used, but at least the lack of a glass dial obviated damage in transit or use.

Maybe due to its austere utilitarian appearance, the WCR is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a Wartime ‘Utility’ Receiver (even by Wikipedia) but that isn’t correct. 'Utility' had a specific meaning, and had the set been a 'Utility item' it would have been a ‘controlled commodity’ stamped with the 'CC41' Utility logo - a British Board of Trade requirement that appeared on footwear, utility furniture, textiles and utility clothing for just over ten years from 1941.

Many such items required coupons – CC41 furniture for example was mostly reserved for people re-housed due to bomb damage, and for newlyweds setting up home. CC41 meant "Controlled Commodity" indicating that the item met the government's austerity regulations. The austerity provisions governed precisely what could or could not be used in the manufacture of clothes and shoes (E.G: the number of buttons, pleats or pockets, the height of heels, amount of lace or embroidery, no turn-ups on trousers and no double-breasted suits).

A ‘luxury’ - not a 'necessity':

The WCR - as with many goods, carried Purchase Tax, which meant it was in the ‘luxury goods’ category – not a ‘necessity’. At £12.3s.4d inc Purchase Tax, the WCR wasn’t cheap either – that equates to £530 in 2020. In contrast, the Pilot Little Maestro, introduce in February 1939, cost £5.5s.0d (Equivalent to £335 in 2020).

Purchase Tax was levied between 1940 and 1973 on the wholesale value of luxury goods sold in the UK. It was introduced on 21 October 1940, with the stated aim of reducing wastage of raw materials during World War II. Initially set at a rate of 33⅓%, it was subsequently set at differing rates dependent upon the individual item’s degree of "luxury" as determined by the government of the day. Items deemed as 'necessities' were designated as tax-free. (Sometimes a cabinet would be taxed as furniture - the chassis taxed at a different rate).

By 1942, an estimated 1 million domestic radios were out of action due the lack of spare parts or valves as industry was geared to the war effort.

There was also a shortage of skilled people to repair them as most were called up to the Armed Services. Though it wasn't known how long the war would last, the WCR didn't come onto the market until June 1994 (after D-Day), and few were produced relative to the pent up demand for new sets - 175,000 AC models, 75,000 Battery sets. If anyone really needed a radio it would have been Hobson's choice and as soon as more appealing sets came along, I dare say many WCRs were discounted to shift them off the shelves. I think they'd have little appeal except to the likes of us.

It's often said that 'a camel is horse designed by a committee'.

Given how many vested interests were involved in bringing the WCR belatedly to the market, I think the WCR is more of a camel than a horse. An interesting anachronism which didn't really fulfil the brief of using minimal materials, but succeeded magnificently in creating what was priced and taxed as a luxury item, but which looked like what many thought (and still think), was a 'Utility Radio', befitting the austere times in which it came to market. I'm surprised that so many have survived to this day.

Mine was in a sorry state when I bought it at a car boot sale many years ago. It had no back, a shabby dial and a drab cabinet (box/case?), and torn speaker fabric. For it to earn its shelf space it just had to be 'pimped up'. I stripped the cabinet and applied a coupe of coats of Danish oil. New speaker fabric, I made a replica back and paper label and created a new dial. Some pics attached. There was an article in March 1990 BVWS Bulletin, which can be found at the link below to the Bulletin Archives, but I've attached it as a PDF.

https://www.bvws.org.uk/publications...olume15number1

Hard to create an authentic set-top transfer because the originals have degraded so much that we haven't got much idea what they looked like when new. The one in my earlier post is someone else's best efforts, which I shamelessly copied. I've no idea who it was that created the design, so can't give them credit for it, but if they're reading this, thanks for your efforts!
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File Type: pdf BVWS_Bulletin_15_1.pdf (3.41 MB, 22 views)
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