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How to repair a vintage TV and record player

A reader wants to repair this cabinet’s built-in TV and record player. (Reader Photo/Reader Photo)

Question: Several years ago, I bought a cabinet at Eastern Market from a vendor who was selling estate furniture. At the time, I was more attracted to the cabinet’s beautiful exterior wood than to the interior, which has a built-in TV (RCA Victor Deluxe) and a record player/turntable. I thought I might have someone remove the electronics and refinish the interior so that I could use it for additional storage. Lately though, I’m wondering if I should have the TV and record player repaired. Who in the D.C. area might still do this type of work, and what would it cost?

— Washington

Answer: Brett Mullins at HiFi Heaven in Falls Church (703-932-4825; can fix the record player, but trying to repair the TV would be a waste of money. “The TV is totally useless now,” he said. “Even if I got it working, there is nothing to watch.” Television signals are all digital these days, so an analog TV, which yours is, wouldn’t receive anything.

Repairing the record player is likely to involve replacing capacitors, tubes, corroded switches and rubber parts on the turntable. To get an accurate estimate of the cost, you’d need to bring the cabinet to Mullins’s shop. But repairs on 50-year-old pieces similar to yours typically range between $250 and $700, he said.

A shop that works on antiques could probably outfit the television space with a shelf or two. But Mullins suggested that you might want to leave it. After taking a look at the pictures you sent, he wrote in an e-mail: “It’s kind of beautiful in a classic furniture sense and just plain interesting with the TV set still inside.”

Question: We have polished marble floors in our foyer. Over the years, the shine has worn off the marble and dulled the floors. In addition, at certain angles you can see stains here and there from pet accidents. We have tried buffing the floors with a hand buffer. We have also tried a sealer recommended for polished marble. The sealer looked great when it was wet, but once it dried, the marble was still dull and the stains were still visible. Is there any way to restore the shine and remove the stains?

— Churchton, Md.

Hire a company that refinishes stone floors to grind and polish the floor, giving it a like-new finish.

Mark Hoke, field superintendent for Dimensional Marble & Tile in Rockville (301-987-1960), said this costs about $5 per square foot and can usually be done in a day. The final polishing, with 1300-grit abrasive, will leave the floor smooth and glossy. To keep it looking that way, you’ll just need to sweep or vacuum off grit and mop periodically.

There is a lower-cost solution: For about $2.50 a square foot, Dimensional Marble could etch the floor with an acid and then coat it with a glossy acrylic finish. But this option is more suitable for commercial or multifamily buildings where janitorial crews bring in a buffing machine each month or so to keep the finish looking glossy.

The traditional solution, polishing with abrasives, “sustains itself over time,” Hoke said. “The chemical solution costs less. But it needs upkeep.”

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to Put “How To” in the subject line, tell us where you live and try to include a photo.

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