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Victrola to Serving Station

Hubby was tired of storing this old Victrola. It was in good working order, but no one wanted it. We couldn't even give it away. He was going to put it by the side of the road to see if there were any takers, or eventually donate it to our fire pit. Always ready to save a piece of old furniture I told him I wanted to keep it and make it over as a storage/serving station. Initially he wasn't that thrilled with the idea, but he let me bring it into the studio for it's remake.
Not thinking of the future, I didn't take a "before" picture. This picture was taken after I repaired the broken/missing applique pieces on the left side.
Because this piece is going to be used as a buffet, server and warming area, I wanted a top that would withstand heat, and I wanted it flush with the wood, so that meant routing out the area where the slate tiles would be placed.
I chose the largest slate tile I could find at Lowes without breaking my budget. I positioned the slate on the center of the cover and scored the wood with a utility knife making sure to stay close to the edge of the tile for a tight fit.
Once that was done I set my router at 3/8" depth to accommodate the thickness of the tile and began removing the wood from the center.
I haven't used a router in years, so it took some time to get reacquainted with the process. I found it easier to rout out a line grid and then go back with a chisel and remove the 1/4 - 1/2" pieces. I suffer from carpal tunnel, so this method gave my hands and wrists a break.
The original purpose for this cabinet is to house my deep fryer. I wanted to be able to use it, but also to not have the oil splatter on the wall. No matter how careful one is, it always splatters. The recessed shelf and the raised top solve that problem. It's easily cleanable too!
After I gutted the cabinet, I installed shelf bracers 5" below the top of the cabinet. Hubby cut a 1/2" piece of plywood to act as a shelf and another piece of slate tile was inserted as a heat barrier.
Opening up the victrola area now leaves me with plenty of room for my pitcher as shown or my deep fryer. I removed the 33 rpm record dividers from the cubbies on either side opening up that area for more storage.
Hubby stepped in and helped by routing out the panels on either side and cutting the tiles to fit. His task was a bit harder than mine as jigs had to be made up to ensure that the edges remained straight. The tiles were set in place with tile cement, and a black vinyl grout was used to fill small gaps around the tiles for cleaning and sanitary purposes.
Spring hinges were added to the speaker panel, allowing it to become a drop down door, giving easy access. A piece of 1/4" plywood was cut to size and placed behind the decorative wood for support.
Swivel wheels were attached to the cabinet, making it easier to move it from one room to another when entertaining. It's really quite versatile.
Finishing Touches ~
A little cleaning of the wood and a coat of Briwax Dark Brown Polish and it looks like new!
I found a picture of a French Cafe on the internet that I liked and printed that out on printable iron-on cloth that I attached to a piece of heavy fabric. I placed that where the speaker cloth was and placed it between the fascia and the backer board. I selected 2 areas of the first picture as focal points for the doors on either side and painted a cluster of grapes on each using water colors so that they would be the same texture as the printed piece. Once attached to their backing cloth, I used a spray adhesive to mount them on the door front.
So what do you think? Does my hubby like it? Yea or Nay

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Ask the creator about this project

  • Laura L
    Laura L Paris, TX
    on Jun 13, 2014

    You should have left it alone and sold it. Working Victrolas are hard to come by and people are looking for them! I hope you at least kept the parts and will sell them on eBay to repair Victrolas being restored, not destroyed.

    • Joan Hurst
      Joan Hurst Colebrook, CT
      on Jun 13, 2014

      @@Laura L They are a dime a dozen here. Antique and junk shops don't want them, working or not.

  • Sue Salley
    Sue Salley Bristol, TN
    on Jun 13, 2014

    That was a lot of work but it was worth it. Love the tile you chose and the Paris print is really pretty. Good job.

  • Kelly S
    Kelly S Bremerton, WA
    on Jun 13, 2014

    What a great transformation. It looks so much better than it did before.

  • Christina Stricklin
    Christina Stricklin Cobb, CA
    on Jun 13, 2014

    This could have been sold for over $350. I agree with Laura L.

    • Joan Hurst
      Joan Hurst Colebrook, CT
      on Jun 13, 2014

      @@Christina Stricklin Not here. I picked up this cabinet at a large antique shop for $165

  • Jeanette
    Jeanette Alvord, TX
    on Jun 13, 2014

    It is beautiful functional piece - I love that you made it portable, and I applaud you for being brave enough to re-purpose an old classic as antiques do not bring very much $$ these days. More fun to do what you did than to stress over selling and shipping. It'll be great to have the extra work space during your gatherings and the holidays. Great job!

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