Lafayette KT-135 EXPLOR-AIR radio kit

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More KT-135 stuff.
 
 

 
The KT-135 had two different knob styles. This is an older version with the original style. It also matches the picture on the cover of the manual. Apparently there were four styles of "Leatherette covered Wooden Cabinets." If you need to replace the covering, the material is called "Tolex" and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
 
 
This radio sold for $100 on ebay in June of 2015. The seller stated it didn't work. No worries there, on page 18 of the assembly manual it says you can bring it to Lafayette and they'll fix it for you for four dollars!
 
 
 

In addition to the two types of knobs and four styles of cabinet covers, there were three types of speaker grills.
 

There were two chassis types. The older models have the lettering printed on the chassis; the newer ones are stamped.
 
Early and later style capacitors and shaft extensions. The shaft is slightly longer on the newer style.
 
There were even three different manuals. Two are shown here.
 
The dimensions, in inches.
 
The cabinet is made of 1/4" plywood. The side joints are dovetailed. The approximate outside dimensions are 10 1/2" wide, 7 1/2" high and 5 3/4" deep. 1/4" strips of wood around the inside front hold the front panel of the radio in place.

Because the cabinet was sold separately, not every KT-135 has one. It shouldn't be hard to make one, it's a wooden box that has a 10 x 7 opening in the front. When the radio is inside there is 1/2" of clearance on the sides, so you don't have to dovetail the joints. Just use the same strips of 1/4" wood that are around the inside front to hold the sides together.

If you don't want to cover it with Tolex, grab a cool looking roll of pre-pasted vinyl wallpaper and use it instead. Don't worry about the wallpaper coming off the cabinet when the radio falls into the bathtub while you're in there listening to it. Let the new owner worry about that.
 
For a proper appearance, use #4 finishing washers and #4 slotted head wood screws to hold the radio into the cabinet. The finishing washers (called cup washers in the manual) came with the radio but the screws came with the cabinet.
The #4 hardware is hard to find. If you need the finishing washers, email me your address. I happen to have 96 spares.
 
 
 
Box with part number.
 
Dating your KT-135
 
To get the approximate year your KT-135 kit was packaged, look for a number on the speaker. If you see a "20-84", the date the speaker (probably) was manufactured is the middle two digits of the other number. Put the number nineteen in front of it. So "67" becomes 1967.  Doesn't always work. A guy named Bill Shanahan has one that is printed "04". That could be 1964 as 1954 and 1974 are beyond the dates the radios were sold.

 
 
 
LOOK! I cleaned up the mess I made on the card table! For once.
 
It stayed clean for a whole day. I got Art Auch's radio the next day, and started work on it. A week later I was swapping speakers. Art Auch's speaker was DOA. I ordered a 4" replacement for my modified radio (what did it matter?) and put the "stock" speaker into Art's radio. What you don't see is all the crap on the floor. Hey, I only have so much room on the table. 

 
On September 12, 2015 I found my old desk in a bedroom at my mom's house. I hadn't seen it in 41 years. It has a new finish on it thanks to my brother, but my initials can still be seen carved into it at the far right. Today I would never carve something into a piece of furniture.
  
 
Next: Repair Tips!
 
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