Recreating the past— Local craftsman brings 20s-style Art Deco radios to life

Larry DuVall of downtown Sylvania-based Sylvan Studio and Mad Dad Woodworking has fashioned a variety of wood creations in his basement woodworking shop. Many of the wooden plaques, trophy bases and assorted parts for awards have come straight from his “magical kingdom down below.”
In addition, for many years, DuVall helped his Main Street neighbor John Mitchell, of the former Mitchell’s Clock Shop, repair damaged wooden clock cases to house the clock works Mitchell had brought back to life.
So, it was no wonder that two years ago, a Sylvan Studio customer happened to ask DuVall if he could make replicas of a circa 1920s’ Art Deco radio. Of course, the answer was yes.
“This was a great project but quite challenging,” DuVall reported. “My son Matt and I worked on this together and we made the two radio cases our customer had ordered. We fashioned both radio housings just as they were done 100 years ago, using no metal fasteners. We also had to work with birch and a walnut veneer to create the curved lines for the housing, which was our biggest hurdle to overcome.”
The two crafted cases were then equipped with old style radio tubes, speakers and receivers to replicate the original radio, making them ready to be sold.
Recently, that same customer returned to ask DuVall to make four radio case replicas.
“This time, my son Dan worked with me on the project and we found the same challenges to complete the task. And, once again, it was a great experience. Both of my sons were able to experience how early day craftsmen created objects of beauty, learning by doing. And, for me, this was a real treat working with my sons and creating a project that was more than just the usual rectangle most woodworking projects usually are,” DuVall said.

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