The Canned Ham Radio

Canned Ham Crystal Radio Art Project

There was no intention on my part to build a radio cabinet that looked like a canned ham. In my mind it didn’t even resemble one until I stained and shaded it a dark orange with the lacquer that I tint here in my shop. And then it slapped me straight in the face. A freakin’ canned ham! Before retirement I sold those things by the thousands so I went ahead and shaped the sides so that the front panel leans back just a little like Hormel’s premium canned ham did back in the day. But I just could not bring myself to spray it black or put an expiration date on it. What it is then is an art deco ham!

A good friend named Dave Schmarder gave me the vernier dial which I dismantled and refurbished before staining it with the same shade as the cabinet. The cabinet’s sides and front panel are made from curly maple and the sides were carefully bent to shape using heat, steam and slight pressure. Curly maple begins to bend between 212-260 degrees and will begin to burn around 360 degrees. That last temp can be reached very quickly and great care must be taken to avoid it. The padauk wood speaker grill, the on/off/volume knob and the volume control knob were all treated likewise before everything was finished with clear nitro cellulose lacquer.

It is a crystal radio receiver and as such requires no power at all to listen to stations using headphones. For that reason many people acquire these sets for times of emergencies when power has been knocked out. For listening convenience I included a small amplifier and speaker that is more than loud enough to hear from one end of my house to the other. It is nice to be able to listen to programs as I work on radios. The circuit used is from the 1920’s and is double tuned with matching 365 variable capacitors handling those functions. A diode detects the signal which is then passed on to the amplifier or the headphones. It is a rather simple layout but a very functional one.

This beautiful cabinet makes it truly a one of a kind piece that any radio enthusiast or collector would love to have. Please e-mail me for price and availability. Order #X-62

Canned Ham Crystal Radio Art Project
Canned Ham Crystal Radio Art Project