Crosley 516 Restoration May 26, 2009

I picked up a Crosley 516 AM/SW radio at a hamfest for $30 last year; electrically it worked fine, but was in terrible cosmetic condition; the wood was chipped and warped in places, it was missing knobs, the grille cloth was completely rotted away, and it had been painted over several times:

Cabinet Front View

Cabinet Front View

Cabinet Top View

Cabinet Top View

Inside The Cabinet

Inside The Cabinet

Underneath the layer of off-white paint was another layer of baby blue paint; even the knobs and brass had been painted over. After much sanding, and scraping, I finally removed all of the paint from the wood. I was able to chip the paint off the brass with a small screwdriver and then shine it up with brasso. The brass screws for the dial plate had to be replaced, but a replacement set was easily found at Lowe’s. The internal chassis was also cleaned up with a touch of brasso and a can of compressed air.

After applying a couple coats of wood stain and re-affixing the brass dial plate, the cabinet was looking much better:

Chassis after wood finish and brasso

Cabinet After Wood Finish And Brasso

I found some replacement grille cloth from Antique Radio Grille Cloth. It only cost $7 and was an exact match for the grille cloth that was being replaced (although I don’t believe that it was the original pattern used by Crosley). Per their instructions, I ironed the cloth out, then fixed it in place with spray adhesive and a staple gun. With the grille cloth in place, the internal chassis could be placed back in the cabinet:

Cabinet with new grille cloth and chassis in place

Cabinet With New Grille Cloth And Chassis In Place

All that was left now were the knobs, which had to be replaced. Unfortunately, antique radio knobs are not cheap; I found some original replacement knobs for this model radio, but they were selling for $30 a piece and were not a complete set. Instead, I purchased a set of four replica wooden knobs for $5 each from Radio Daze which I think look even better than the original plastic knobs that the set came with. After a quick wipe-down, it was ready for display in living room:

Radio finished

The Crosley 516

Way cooler than it’s faux counterparts (and a fraction of the price)!


[...] I restored my Crosley 516, I was faced with a new problem: what was I going to use it for? Short wave [...]

JaneRadriges June 13th, 2009

Hi, gr8 post thanks for posting. Information is useful!