Nothing’s more annoying than getting well into a project and discovering that you need some little part or supply. Here’s my suggested minimalist’s list:

  • Solder Purchase thin, 60/40 tin/lead solder on a big spool. Do not use acid core solder!
    Small Screws, Nuts and Washers It’s inevitable. You will misplace and/or break some of the small screws, nuts and washers as you work. American-made sets use miniature, (4-40 and smaller) hardware, while radios made in Asia and Europe typically use metric hardware.  You will want some of each. You can either purchase assortments, or simply get in the habit of saving it when you cannibalize sets. At a minimum, keep separate the metric and “American” hardware. On a rainy day consider sorting hardware by size and thread type.
  • Hookup Wire At a minimum, stock up on some thin black and red stranded wire. The thinner the better. Other common colors include blue, green, and yellow. Small spools should be fine. Get enough different wire thicknesses (gauges) to match the sets you are repairing.You might also want some bare “bus” wire for rebuilding broken circuit board traces. Advanced hobbyists also purchase or recycle stranded “Litz” wire for repairing or building antenna coils and other RF components.

Save and reuse authentic, vintage wire, components, and even case parts when
you disassemble “parts” radios.

  • Contact Cleaner Many problem radios can be made to work with a few squirts, or even drops of contact cleaner. You will see how later in this book. Every bench needs a can of environmentally (non-CFC) spray contact cleaner like the one shown here. I also like to keep a “pin oiler” filled with liquid contact cleaner handy.
  • Surface Cleaners Once you have a radio apart it would be a shame to not clean it up. Some 409, Ivory dish detergent, and Novus cleaner/polishers will all come in handy
  • Heat Shrink Tubing This stuff comes in handy for covering splices in wires. Get an assortment of small sizes and colors.

What Do You Think?

Do you have tips and experiences to share? Questions? Suggested corrections or additions?  Leave a comment below. I’ll review comments and post or incorporate the most useful ones. Your email address is required if you choose to comment, but it will not be shared.

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