charlie mccarthy making charlie

CHARLIE IS REBORN!!!

In 1938, the Majestic Radio Company took advantage of the popularity of one of that era's most notable entertainment duos. Edgar Bergen and his wooden-headed buddy, Charlie McCarthy.

Majestic produced a novelty radio bearing the likeness of Charlie, cast in pot metal, proudly sitting on a set-front step.

This radio has become a highly collectable item today for several reasons. Since this set came complete with an attached "toy", it was an obvious attraction to children. You know what happens when kids and bakelite get together...... That equals a shortage of surviving radios.

The casting of Charlie was quite detailed and well painted, and I've been told that when the radio had outlived its usefulness, Charlie often found himself detached from the set (one small fastener) and perhaps sitting on the kitchen windowsill, while the radio ended up in the garage or garbage.

Needless to say, these days a complete Majestic Charlie McCarthy radio is not too common.

I've had a couple of them, one complete and one missing his Charlie......... Can't be much harder than making a knob........

Start with one beat up original Charlie.... Strip him down to the bare metal...Embed him in degassed RTV... Once cured, remove carefully... Fill mold with acrylic casting compound and apply pressure. When cured, remove acrylic Charlie.

or

Start with one beat up original Charlie.... Strip him down to the bare metal...Embed him in degassed RTV... Once cured, remove carefully... Fill mold with melted wax.... When cold, CAREFULLY REMOVE WAX CHARLIE....Then start the process of building up a coating of plaster on your wax Charlie..... very runny at first - then a bit more gooey. You can sprinkle silica sand over the wet plaster for reinforcement while it's still damp. I stopped at about a quarter inch coating. Let him dry for a few days.

Make an opening in the plaster coating at a natural low point - I did the bottom of his foot - sanded through it to avoid the possibility of breaking the coating. Put charlie in a hot oven, low point down with a container under him to catch the melted wax when it drips out of him. Bake him for a looonnng time. You have to drive every bit of moisture out of him.

When he's dry, all you have to do is melt a small block of lead with some antimony added for hardness, and fill 'em up through the hole in the bottom of his foot.

After everything cools down - hopefully your plaster cast didn't shatter when you started filling it - give it a tap and a reborn Charlie should emerge from his plaster cocoon.

This process is called Lost Wax Casting, and although it is incredibly finicky, its really neat when it works.

It should be stated that working with molten lead is a potential killer. If you don't know what you are doing.....DON'T DO IT!!!!!!

 

 



old charlie mccarthy
Charlie As I Found Him - A Good Start


new charlie mccarthy
Charlie Reborn in Lead - All Polished Up!
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