Back to the cabinet. Again. I don't want to be struggling with this paint. I want all the cabinet surfaces to be vertical, so I don't have to tilt the spray can. I also want to paint all five sides at once, which means I can't sit the radio down. A guy named Dave suggested shoving a cardboard box inside the cabinet to hold it. Good advice, but how do you hold the cardboard box?

I came up with this jig, made of scrap. The arm holding the box tilts 180 and the box rotates 360. Instead of shoving a box into the cabinet, you shove the cabinet onto the box.

 
September 5, 2020. Painting day! The humidity is only 55%.
I used Dupli-Color "Perfect Match" car paint. It's Toyota red!
 
It looks better! Two coats of white, three coats of red and four applications of clear coat. No primer.
 
It's nice and red but it doesn't look very smooth!
 
Unfortunately, it has what is called "orange peel."

 
There is either something wrong with the paint or something wrong with the painter. I didn't want to experiment with the radio cabinet while removing the orange peel, so two CD cases were painted and clear coated for that purpose, then everything sat for a week so the paint could cure.

I'll tell you something about this "Dupli-Color" paint. It's awful. I purchased three cans of it - white, red and Clear Coat. While spraying the white, the paint just stopped coming out, as if it was out of propellant. The nozzle had to be pulled off and reseated to get it to work, and it happened two more times. Then while using the red, it started "spitting" big drops of paint on the radio. I took my finger off the nozzle and it kept spraying! Once again I had to pull the nozzle off. It must have looked very funny as I tried not to point the can at anything I didn't want painted while it was spraying uncontrollably.

The failure rate of the three cans was 66%. Two out of three! This stuff is absolute crap, and it's expensive. The label says it's not made in China, but I bet those nozzles are!

 
Surface finishing experiment; the left side was sanded with 1200 grit sandpaper, then the top was polished.
 
Hours of sanding and polishing later, we finally have a smooth red cabinet.
 
I wet sanded with 1200 grit sandpaper and then used a product called "No7 White Polishing Compound," which is made for cars. I also went through about 50 Q-Tips. I had watched a bunch of videos about restoring a car finish and how to get rid of "orange peel," but these guys have a lot of power buffers and an infinite supply of products. Every video shows something different and has different advice. I just decided to sand and polish it by hand. One thing I learned was to not wax it for 90 days or the paint won't cure properly.

 
It looks new! It looks even better in real life than it does in the pictures.
 
 
 
 
So why did I want a red Motorola 53R? What is the earliest thing you can remember? We all have fragmented memories of our very early childhood. Most of it is lost due to changes in our brains as we grow from an infant to a toddler. 

I have several dozen memories of life before the age of five. We moved when I was five, so I can easily place the early memories by where we lived. We lived in a two bedroom apartment in Abbottfsord Homes. Abbottsford Homes (or "The Project" as we called it) is in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. They were built in 1941 by the US Government. My parents (and I) moved there around 1956.

One early memory is of some sort of commotion outside at night. All I really remember is being outside and looking at all the legs of the "big people," worried I'd get stepped on. Nobody was paying attention to me. (WHAT??) Everyone was talking and looking up. Some people were pointing to something in the sky. I realized 60 years later that it must have been the night of October 4, 1957! I was two years old.

A much clearer memory is waking up in my crib and hearing the WIP radio jingle.
 

(Click to hear station jingle.)
 
My dad would get up for work and turn on WIP while my mom made his breakfast. I would wake up to the muffled sound of the radio. I couldn't hear what anyone was saying, but the jingle somehow drifted from the kitchen and into my bedroom very clearly. The radio was a red Motorola 53R, which sat on top of the refrigerator.

WIP was at 610 on the dial. The 5000 watt transmitter was in Bellmawr, New Jersey. This was 12 miles from our home in East Falls, and the signal came in loud and clear.

 
In this blurry photo from 1960, my sister Cindi seems to be perched on the bottom shelf of the bookcase while holding her Easter basket. In the bookcase behind her is the Motorola 53R.
 
This is my brother Rob, my sister Cindi and myself. I'm blocking the radio. Apparently, in some sort of time travel situation, my sister thinks it a riot that I can't show the radio here 60 years later, and it's MY fault. If you knew my sister, you'd know that is entirely plausible.

 
I took a perfectly fine radio, and the more I tried to "improve" it, the worse it got. In the end, it came out beautifully. That could be the story of my life! If I did it over I'd move the numbers on the dial a up little higher. I'm not going to re-do the dial, but if I find a junker I'll restore the dial and swap it.
 
I even polished the spades on the plug. Click on the diagram for the schematic.

 
Thanks for reading this! If you only looked at the pictures then  oh well... (Part 2).