So, after reading how the real experts do restoration (see previous post on this radio), I decided to pick up some citrus stripping gel to give it a shot. I also picked up a stripping tool, which is a step above a putty knife, but seemed well suited for the job, and some steel wool, in case I needed to clean things up before staining.

According to the instructions, the gel gets applied with a paint brush (I have to replace Melissa’s purdy brush now…), and then sets for between 30 minutes and 24 hours. After it sets, it gets scraped off.

I didn’t want to do all of this at the kitchen table, since it is somewhat caustic, and we do have little ones in the house, but Melissa and I set it up to do a trial run on the top of the radio for a half hour dwell.

that half hour dragged on… I will admit there’s something satisfying about the elbow grease used in the deglossing process, since it’s not just sitting around and waiting. After a half hour, I looked at it and it didn’t look like it did anything… but I took the scraper to it, and it just scraped off black goo – the old varnish (and whatever stripping gel hasn’t soaked in).

there’s still some gel on this shot, but it really shows how well the wood is lightning

Once we saw how well that worked, I took the radio to the basement, and coated the whole thing. Now it can sit until tomorrow evening, then I’ll strip it down, hopefully one last time before giving it a final clean, and staining.

On a whim, once i finished coating the whole thing, I took the scraper to the first side i had painted the gel onto – this was the side with a bad color patch on it that we thought was wood filler… turns out it must have just been paint or a really crummy stain repair, because I can barely find the spot now.

the “damaged” side after stripping it after less than 5 minutes of sitting – the patch was near the back… it looks like a thumb print
this is the sludge I stripped off after only about 5 minutes

On a related note, just on a whim, I asked the facebook group about the wood, because this radio is a bit heavier than it would be if it was 70 plus year old pine. Here’s what I found (a cursory web search didn’t turn anything up, so I went to facebook):