Show us your Workbenches! OK, fun time, y'all!
I'm collecting photos of the Radio Attic's visitors' workbenches; please send me a photo of your workbench (with you at it, if you want) and I'll publish it here.  Send a caption too, and your radio club affiliation, if you have one.


Pictured here is Marvin Shepherd, chief engineer for the Alabama Historical Radio Society, at his workbench after just completing the cabinet for our latest acquisition, a Superflex radio from the early 1920's. A charter member for the AHRS, Marvin has a shop in a detached building he designed and built himself. The shop is heated and air conditioned for year round comfort and has some really high class test equipment, some of which you may recognize. The easy chair Marvin is sitting in is quite comfortable and I can see no reason why he couldn't get away from it all in his shop and catch 40 winks surrounded by all the things that he loves.


Here are Stan Saeger's workbench and some of the radios waiting to be worked on. Got some pretty metal sets there, too!


Paul Dietenberger says, "Welcome to the disaster!" [F.W. says Paul never saw my old bench!] Paul has a pretty small space to work in right now, so unfortunately this is as neat as the bench ever gets. (That's a Zenith 6-V-27 chassis on the bench, just starting to get a recap.)

Chuck Braun has two workshops (the lucky dog). One is in his garage, used during the warm months. He keeps most of the grungier consoles there, and a lot of table sets and chassis on shelves. But the winter workshop he's showing is in the basement, with a removable table top on top of a bar. It's nice because Chuck can work on either side of a radio on the bench. Plus, all his test equipment, soldering and desoldering gear, heat gun, shrink tubing and tools stores nicely in the bar. He's in one corner of the basement, which is a family room. So, Chuck can talk to his wife when she's watching TV or doing laundry. The only problem- the cat likes to jump on the bench and play with everything! [F.W. note: I told Chuck I was going to make a joke about his being the only workbench so far with a wet bar, and he fessed up about the bottle of Bourbon he keeps handy for those reeeeally tough radios!]


This is Mike Clark's workbench. Mike has only been working on radios for just over a year now. Mike's been learnig from his father. Old radios have been his hobby for over 45 years. Mike's collection is slowly growing. He's rebuilt four basket cases, two Zenith consoles and two Phico table radios, an Atwater Kent and a few others. He's 39 and really enjoying the Hobby.


Here is Brian Hill's workbench. No, this is not his entire collection. But you can sure tell that he is busy here.


Here's Ross Hochstrasser at his bench working on a Telefunken Hymnus console chassis. Ross is a member of the New England Antique Radio Club (NEARC). His interests are European radios, Boatanchors and he's also an amateur radio operator W1EKG.


This is Keith Park's workbench. I like it because it has a Zenith on it. Looks like a busy time on the Park bench! Keith has radios for sale at Keith Park's Radio Attic.


This is Ed Engelken's workbench. The item with the Variac and meter (highlighted) is his most used piece of test gear. It consists of a 5-amp Variac feeding a 320 VA isolation transformer. The isolation transformer output is fed directly to one side of the duplex outlet and through a 100-watt light bulb to the other side of the duplex outlet. The meter reads the output of the lamp side of the outlet. The 100-watt bulb acts as a ballast. Its cold resistance is about 10 ohms; the hot resistance is 144 ohms. The lamp bulb limits the maximum current in the circuit to 0.833 amps. He uses the ballast to power up sets for the first time to limit potential damage if something shorts out. And he doesn't power up sets up without checking them out first! If fact, he usually does a full recap job before powering up an old radio. Once everything is determined to be OK, the direct outlet (without the 100-watt ballast bulb) is used. He also has a 3-amp circuit breaker between the Variac and the isolation transformer. He built this system about 5 or 6 years ago and uses it every day. Ed is Secretary of the Texas Antique Radio Club.


Here is Paul Shinn's work area. At upper left is the file cabinet full of docs and the computer with all the Sam's and Rider's on the hard drive (about 3 Gigs worth of info). The PC also runs circuit board software for plotting traces on boards for etching. The toolboxes are sitting on the floor since Paul was using the wheeled cart to steady the camera for the photo. The workbench (right) has parts in drawers underneath and some test gear on the floor below it. Equipment across the top shelf are variac, scanner, waveform generator, variable power supply, Weller soldering iron, light, ECG cap meter, Fluke meter, IFR 1200 Super S service monitor. On the bench is the IFR AM/FM 1500 Service monitor and another Fluke meter. The cabinet next to the bench contains the chemicals and some other gear. On top is the distortion analyzer and some other stuff. Lower left is some of the huge parts inventory. This shows the tube section. Not shown are the drafting table with the plotter on it for making computer drawn circuit boards.


Ken Gooding's bench is an old 100 year old oak desk located in his kitchen: he had to restore it before he could use it! Ken keeps all the tools in the top drawer and capacitors & other things in the other drawers to keep things clean and un-cluttered. Fridge is close by for refreshments, and a jukebox for some old music when in the mood. The door to the right goes out into the garage where the other bench is. This is where he works in warmer weather to pre-clean & dust out radios and refinish cabinets.


OK - you asked for it! This is the normal condition of my workshop, and I don't care who knows it. I can work on anything from DC to maybe 50 Mc, including digital circuits. Right now it's where I'm building model shop prototypes of a biomedical device. And I can almost always find what I'm looking for.

Dick Parks


Here's a montage of Tim Guy's work bench. On the left you can see two pickup winders he built; Tim makes guitar pickups and does rewinds on the guitar pickups. He rewound a push pull output transformer for a Silvertone console radio on the pickup winder; it works great! Also in the photo is a four tube matcher / variac / bias meter in an oak cabinet he built. It's a little heavy but it will put out 550 VDC and up to -75 volts for bias; he added jumpers to the thing so he can also use it as a transformer substitute rig. And a Tek 465M oscilloscope. On the right side of the bench is an oak box that houses a variac with an AC meter, an amp meter and an isolation transformer. You can also see an RCA T4-9A radio that Tim just finished, and it is running in the photo. Tim does a lot of guitar amp work, recapping and fine tuning old tube amps.


Earl Almdale says, "OK this is My workbench, I have been at it since the 50s. However I found that working on other peoples stuff was not going to provide for me in later life. So closed up shop and went to work for a company repairing electric forklifts and other equipment. Worked for them for 25+ years, Then I retired with benefits. However I have always enjoyed collecting and repairing old or odd equipment. Since I live in Alaska it is hard finding a lot of the old stuff. Most people coming to Alaska brought very little with them. So I pick them up where I find them. Salvation Army, Other thrift stores, Garage sales and now I have E-bay and craiglist."


Tim Sullivan gets my prize for the neatest workbench to date. He rates two photos because he has two workbenches, too. He must have been on vacation when he took these photos, because he has lots of radios waiting to be worked on...


This is Ben Martin at his workbench. Ben was my very first advertiser back in the RadioGallery.com days and is still selling old radios, replicas, and some nifty flea market stuff at the Radio Attic almost twenty years later! He's a real gentleman and a good friend. If you're not one of the hundreds of people who have purchased a radio from Ben, you need to visit Ben's Radio Attic! -- [F.W. note: you eagle eyes who will ask why Ben is advertiser #0002 need to know that Friendly Webmaster hisself is #0001!]

This is Steve Strapach and his workbench. Steve was a member of the Arizona Antique Radio Club for about eight years, prior to moving to Alabama this past summer. [just to be closer to the Radio Attic!--F.W.] He's also a member of AWA.


Tom Albrecht's workshop is in its very own building... DROOL! Tom says, "The workshop building itself was a building project of mine a couple of years ago. These pictures are a few years old now, and I admit it is a bit more cluttered than when I took the pictures."


From his workbench in Santa Catarina, Brasil, Joacir da Silva e Souza tends to his collection of radios manufactured in Brasil.


This is Peter Bertini's workbench! I spliced his two photos together to show all this stuff in one photo. From left: Tool cart with spectrum analyzer, Boonton 102F signal generator, Cushman CSM50A service montor. Rotary parts storage cabinet system for small parts (resistors, caps, etc.) The shop's Tek 465 scope is on its cart. Moving right is a full 8' x 4' bench. High and low voltage variable AC and DC supplies, two Clemens SG-1 signal generators, Heath IM-13 bench VTVM, backup Tek scope, ultrasonic tank cleaner, various RF wattmeters and 50-ohm loads, Boonton RF millivoltmeter and Boonton RF microwattmeter, signal tracers (including a Hickok Indicating Traceometer undergoing restoration), Hickok tube tester (under bench), HP 500 MHz counter, Fluke 1 GHz counter with high stability TXCO option. Lot's of other misc. equipment. Start of Ham Radio station can be seen at far right.


This is Joe D'Ambra's repair shop. He has been repairing radios since 1949. He worked at RCA service Co. from 1960 until he retired in 1995. The TV monitors were used for the repair of VCR's, now all history. Joe still repairs radios, amps and phonographs, and loves the work. Notice the timer; it's used to turn off the soldering iron station.


Marcos Figueroa lives in Venezuela; he is an Electronics Technician, fond of vacuum tube amplifiers and Antique Radios.


This is Dr. Carlo Tarozzi's workbench. Carlo is a retired physician. His call sign is IZ4SJP, hometown Bologna, Italy.


Jim says his workbench is cramped for space right now, but he will retire soon and take care of that problem by moving the shop to a new home.


These are pictures of Ryan Meldahl's bench in between repairs. The bench has a regulated 110VAC power strip and a separate outlet with a built in variac, an current and line voltage meter. Above the bench are some of most often needed test equipment and drawers of most often needed capacitors, resistors and other misc parts. In the second picture in an other workbench Ryan recently built with a slide out drawer for tube testers; this keeps the tube testers out of the way when they are not needed. Also there is space for more test equipment and other drawers for more supplies.


This is my late friend Nicolo Salerno taking a break while working on a very sick radio. Who says bigger is better? Nicolo had ample room for test equipment, spare parts (including the necessary hammer), music and refreshment while working on old radios. Note the hatchet on the signal generator for when there's just no hope, and the handy capacitor dispenser just above it.


Richard says, "I am 75 and retired from Utah Power & Light. I live in Southern Utah, a little town called Toquerville. I now restore old radios and thoroughly enjoy this hobby! I have restored 36 radios and they are all like new."


This is Steve Johnson's work bench. Steve says he still has most of the tools and test equipment he had when he was a kid. Steve has a page dedicated to his workbench. Click here to get all the details!


This is Fran Emrich sitting at one of his many (five) workbenches along with some photos of his surrounding equipment. This is only a small percentage of his Ham and vintage radio collection. It's out of control! He even has several Tesla coils that are in working order. He's had his amateur radio license for over 60 years now and has the call letters of W2VDI. He joined the 838th Radio Relay Company in the Army back in 1950 for three years. He has been a member of the Schenectady Amateur Radio Association and the Schenectady Antique Radio Club for many years now.


William Grassa's (N4ATS) Yaesu FL-7000 Repair Shop. Highly modified laundry room but practical. I have rebuilt over 400 Yaesu FL-7000 Amplifiers on this bench in my spare time after work. I had a small building as a repair shop but did not need too much space so I rebuilt the laundry room. Works perfect.

Peter Wieck's workbench shows that you can still enjoy the hobby even when you're deployed overseas!


Larry Long says: "Here is a photo of my workbench area. I live in eastern Pennsylvania. After being away from the old radios for over 50 years I started getting back into it in early 2010. My collection is small; two Zenith H500 Trans-Oceanics, a 1941 Philco console, 1941 Emerson portable, 1946 Emerson table top, and a Majestic portable as well as a 1948 GE Roll-Top portable."


Here is Terry Decker's workbench.


Here is Russ Stauffer's workshop. The brewskis come in handy for those difficult radios.

Sylvain Vanier's workbench is SO BIG that he had to splice two photographs together to take it all in!


Mark Jachim-Skalla says, "Here it is, not much, but I did just get into the hobby! This is my chassis work area, just a spare room upstairs. My shed serves as the operating room for case rehab."


This is Sal D'Ambra's workbench! Sal says, "The bench is in a corner of my 'Radio Room,' a room devoted to my antique radio collection. I have been involved in electronics as an technician, engineer and professor since the 70's but have only been restoring antique radios the last few years. The bench itself is a massive US Gov't surplus desk which was in the house when I purchased it. A lot of the equipment has been accumulated over the last two decades and just recently been put into service for radio repair. The Hickock tube tester and HP RF Generator were pulled from a dumpster. They were thrown out when a former employer cleaned out their labs. Of all the equipment the simplest stuff gets the most use. The variac and dim bulb tester are my favorites. I don't think I ever used the scope on a radio repair."


Andreas Kuhn says, "I found the Radio Attic web site (very interesting site). I'm repairing radios and reel-to-reel machines (it's my hobby not professional). So here's my workbench, located in Switzerland, ZIP 3700, Spiez (close to Interlaken)."


Brian Stead says, "OK we're all nuts but somebody is got to have this much fun! I think my shop is at it's cleanest, take note the walls never got painted but it's my room and I like it that way!! The picture with me in it is my office and the other are my shop on the second floor.. Luckily my wife is also a tech so I guess you guys could figure that the entire house has wires and things all around. My shop has equipment to fix electronics from the 20s to now. Our brains are full of vacuum tubes right through to data communication networks and fiber optics. OK, keep on fixing up them good old sets, where the static sounds like music to our ears!"


Hi Guys, this is my hobby work bench. Jacques Schalckens in Florida.


Donald Patterson sent this as a humorous entry, to point out those heavy-duty tools needed for the really tough radios & TVs. While it looks like Friendly Webmaster's old bench (except for the drill press), he reminded me of a widely-held radio safety point. The item I've highlighted near the picture tube is a variac. When you find a radio that hasn't had power applied to it for years, it needs to be brought up to voltage nice and slow, in case of problems. It gives you the chance to shut down the radio more quickly and at a lower voltage if the set starts to smoke or spark; it may reduce the damage to the radio caused by the problem. Which brings me to another safety point, this one for you. Before you work on any old AC powered radios, get an isolation transformer to protect your body from becoming a path to ground.

If John Hartman's radio repair bench looks like what you would expect to see on board a WWII Navy battleship there is a good reason! Almost all his test equipment is high quality, military surplus, tube type test gear he has restored himself. The only exception is a solid state frequency meter calibrated to government national standards and an HP 200 mHz oscilloscope. Both are required for accurate calibration and signal tracing of radios he repairs. This room is actually the tack room in his 100+ year old barn that John has converted into a ham radio shack. Not shown in the picture is about a half ton of old WWII military transmitters and receivers he has restored and uses regularly on the ham bands (all tube type stuff, of course!). The top level of the barn is a storage area for hundreds of radios waiting to be restored. Also six file cabnets of Sam's Photofacts for those tricky repairs. In the bottom of the barn is a complete wood cabinet restoration area and painting area and a compressor for painting and blowing out dust and grime out of tuning capacitors, IF cans and chassis. John has some nice old radios for sale at John's Radio Attic, too. Battle stations!!


This is Paulo Moniz from Portugal with his workbench.


Here are a couple of photos of David Martin's workbench. See David's radios for sale at David Martin's Radio Attic.


Here's Freddy Cordero's workbench. Freddy says, "Yup, my wife enjoys the mess too.....Not!"


John Hagstar's workbench.


This is Paul Wennekes' workbench. Paul lives in the Netherlands, so I'll let him tell you about his bench himself:

"Ik zag de foto's van de werkplaatsen. Ik wou mijn foto ook toevoeggen. Dit is mijn werkplaats in beetgumermolen (friesland). Groeten van paul uit Nederland."


Steve says, "I took this picture because this bench will never be this clean again. Radios and audio gear mostly. I build a lot from scratch with my friend Rick N6TXA."


John Kusching's workbench.


Greg Mercurio's workbench includes many different locations depending on whether the radio is having chassis work or body work. Most of the kitchen in his New York apartment is the main work area. Greg's wife permits him to use the kitchen for radio repair as long as everything is kept "neat and tidy." Tools are kept in a tool box at all times. All capacitors must be organized in plastic cases with cubicles. All tubes are stored in spare bedroom drawers. Radios are neatly shelved wherever space could be found. Packaging supplies are bought as needed or temporarily stored in a large walk-in closet. Greg's wife gave him strict rules to follow for his hobby: "Clean up your mess when finished for the day, and keep it neat and orderly." YES DEAR!

Peter Balazsy's workbench.


This is Louis deGonzague's workbench. He said this ia as organized as it gets. [It looks organized to ME! -- F.W.]



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