DIY Record Cabinet Restoration

before and after furniture restoration

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a vintage flip with you guys, but this one is a special one! I have been wanting to restore my great grandfather’s record cabinet for years but haven’t had the time or the guts. I knew it would need a lot of work, and I wasn’t mentally prepared. However, recently, I partnered with DAP Products to make it happen. Spoiler alert, there was a lot of sanding involved, but the record cabinet restoration was worth it!

DIY Vintage Record Cabinet Restoration

Want to watch this project in action? Check it out on my YouTube channel!

My great grandfather’s record cabinet is from the 1960s and has been moved around from house to house for years. It’s so busted that it hasn’t played a record in over 30 years.

how to fix a broken record cabinet

In fact, not only was it broken internally, but the outside needed some tender love and care as well. The feet were busted, there were deep gauges, and the stain was flaking away (woof).

zenith record cabinet

I have been wanting to restore this baby for years, but have been super intimidated. More specifically, I knew that it would need a full strip down, which meant a lot of sanding (and you guys know how I feel about sanding – not good). But, with the right tools and some patience (okay, a lot of patience), I was totally able to restore this cabinet and get it to spin again!

Here’s how!

What You’ll Need:

how to restore furniture

Box Cutter
Putty Knife
Paint Brush
Safety Goggles
Dust Mask

DAP Plastic Wood -X
DAP Plastic Wood
Wood Finish Repair Kit
Painter’s Tape
Plastic Wrap
Gel Stain
Polyurethane Finish
Spray Paint

The Steps:

1. As with any vintage piece, I spent some time vacuuming and wiping down the record cabinet to prep it for work.

how to clean thrifted furniture

2. Next, I taped of all of the areas that I didn’t want touched. That included the inner portion of the record player (because it was pristine) and the speakers.

how to protect furniture when staining

Bonus Tip: Keeping a razor around helps keep the taping neat and clean.

how to fix furniture

how to restore a record cabinet

3. After everything was taped off, I started the sanding process. I switched between power sanding and hand sanding, depending on the area of the cabinet. Whatever method I used, I always made sure to end the sanding process with a 320 grit hand sanding.

how to rebuild a table leg

4. After sanding everything down, I used my DAP Plastic Wood -X and DAP Plastic Wood in walnut to fill any holes or voids in the piece. I allowed them to dry overnight before sanding them down.

how to use wood putty dap walnut wood putty

5. Next, I stained the piece in my color of choice. I initially started with a walnut colored wood stain, but hated it. So, I switched over to a dark walnut gel stain, which left for a really rich color.

how to use gel stain

6. After the cabinet was stained, I taped off the hardware, gave it a good sanding, and spray painted it gold.

how to spray paint hardware

7. Last step was to bring the unit inside and tinker with the mechanics to figure out what was wrong with it. Make sure you check out my video for all of the details (it’s easier to see than explain in this post)!

zenith record cabinet restoration

After a few days of work, my great grandfather’s record player was back in my parents’ home and ready to rock and roll!

record cabinet restoration

My favorite part of this project was watching my mom’s face as she listened to records play on her grandfather’s cabinet. It’s what made all of that sanding worth it! We can’t wait to put it to good use at family parties and show it off to my own grandparents who haven’t seen it used in decades!

1960 zenith record player

Thinking of doing a project like this in the future? Make sure to Pin This post for later!

In the meantime… off to listen to some music with my family and plan my next project!

This project is sponsored by DAP Products. For my full disclosure policy, click here.

Sam Raimondi

Sam is a full time psychologist and part time content creator from Long Island, New York.




  • Ted

    Hi Sam!
    Thank you for the stereo cabinet restore video. I am going to restore a similar piece and your video really helped me prepare.
    Did you happen to replace the speakers when fixing the record player?

    • Sam

      That’s so exciting! We didn’t have to replace anything – we were able to get the original mechanics to fully work!

  • Jennifer

    Hi Sam, I know you didn’t replace it but do you happen to know what the netting type material is covering the speaker area? I’ll need to replace that on my cabinet but not really sure what it is.

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