In November 2023, we stumbled upon a fun idea captured on a piece of paper several month before. We thought why not and just went for it. Here's a little picture diary of how we put the beautiful 4687 stabilization tube into unexpected yet delightful operation:
Day 01/24. Let's have some fun for the rest of the year and build something… a tube something… a tube advent wreath! And like so often with Neold, it all starts with a piece of paper.
Day 02/24. Christmas starting early this year! In good old Neold style, we'll use some nice vintage components for this project, but here you see all the additional goodies needed delivered.
Day 04/24. First present opened. Here is the basis for our tube advent wreath project… a simple box made of spruce wood. It looks a little bit plain in its original state - let's change that!
Day 05/24. Here's the stuff we'll use to make our spruce box look more appealing: Antique Patina based on an age-old recipe and a hard wax oil to finish the surface later on.
Day 06/24. And that's the star of our project: The 4687 stabilization tube. We got hold of a very nice NOS batch made by the legendary German tube manufacturer Valvo. Stay tuned...
Day 07/24. Today, we're refurbishing some vintage tube sockets. These are P-type sockets with 8 external contacts, here in their beautiful triangular form. Some desoldering and cleaning is needed.
Day 08/24. On to the hardware. Roger sent a little NOS present box with all kinds of switches, power jacks and fuse holders to choose from. Very nice, you'll see some of it again later on.
Day 09/24. The postman just brought some brass. These cap nuts and washers will be used to fix the tube sockets to the housing, matching nicely with the close of the spruce box :-)
Day 11/24. Okay, okay, this is just a one-off prototype. Yet we felt the need to put everything in the right places and therefore created some drilling templates anyway. Sockets, switches, transformer.
Day 12/24. Putting the drilling template to good use today. No stationary drilling machine available on location, and the spruce wood almost being soft as wax… a little challenge, but okay in the end.
Day 13/24. Next step after drilling all the holes is preparing the spruce box for applying the patina and wax finishes. The box is not very big, so sanding can be easily done by hand.
Day 14/24. Coloring day! We're applying two layers of Antique Patina and one layer of hard wax oil finish to the box. And all of a sudden, the rather plain thing really starts to shine. Lovely!
Day 15/24. Now it is time to apply some felt feet in order not to scratch the new old vintage finish. In the same process, the drive-in nuts for the power transformer are carefully inserted.
Day 16/24. Ah! Today is hardware mounting day! The box gets completed with vintage tube sockets, switches, power transformer and jack plus fuse holder. Now it needs some proper cabling.
Day 18/24. We're prewiring the extensive circuitry of our little project now… rectifier diode, smoothing capacitor, and current limiting resistors for each tube. That's it, the rest is sockets and switches.
Day 19/24. We still have some of this nice 40 years old cable on stock. It's really cool since you don't have to cut the isolation, but you can just push it back a little bit to free the conductor.
Day 20/24. Let the wiring begin! Starting with the fuse holder and power jack, then the transformer leads, then on to the switches, and finally the tube sockets. A pretty straight forward task.
Day 21/24. And here is a glance into the final thing. Looking a little bit Frankenstein? Then we got it right! One-offs are not complete without a little bit of chaos. At least in our book, hehe :-)
Day 22/24. Here's the back of the device, presenting a beautiful vintage power connector and fuse holder. And for the fun of it, we made a matching power chord with beautiful natural jute braiding.
Day 23/24. All done! Just a final functional test, and we're ready for Christmas. Hanging with Roger is always fun, and we use to visit a very nice Asian restaurant once work is done. No exception this time.