Capiz Shell Console

A few weeks ago, went down to Morro Bay to pick up a 1950s capiz shell stereo console / cabinet I inherited from my grandmother, who recently went to live in a home. Forgot to write about that trip – went via Amtrak, enjoyable but slow, and also picked up a nursing rocker from my mother – her favorite one, she’s sacrificing for the baba, so sweet. The console originally belonged to my dad, who bought it before he was married. I’ve always loved it, was fascinated by the shells as a child, and it was an honor to be asked to take it over. I also wanted to get all my stereo gear out of reach of the baba, and to (finally) get all of my records out of tacky wooden crates.

The built-in speakers sound pretty bad, not worth saving, wanted to use the cabinets to store LPs, so yesterday started ripping the old speakers out. Like opening King Tut’s tomb – cracked open the wood and the “Hi Fi” lettering hit me square on from gold foil stickers. “Roger Charles III, Custom Construction.”

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The speakers hadn’t seen the light of day for 50 years, and were perfectly preserved. What really amazed me was that the wood inside the cabinets was finished to a polish just like the outside, even though it was never meant to be seen by anyone. They don’t do things like that anymore.

Also had to remove the turntable from the center section (not original), then scour all – starting to smell musty. Let the whole thing dry in the sun all day today – hot. This afternoon, extra long bike ride through Oakland hills, then came back to finish the job as the sun set.

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The inside height of the cabinets was 24.5″, barely enough room for two layers of LPs, so will have to use a plexiglass separator between layers rather than real shelf, as planned. Also didn’t count on the fact that two of my components have rack mount face plates, which makes them too wide for the center area. They had to go on top for now – will probably just run them faceless eventually and put all inside. Also had to take one of the speakers off its stand and put on top of the console, which sucks, since it’ll send vibrations right into the turntable. Argh. Only one solution – buy a house. But no room to do it any other way for now.


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My grandfather cracked the marble in the 60s by dropping a hammer on it after hanging a picture. Shame about that. Anyway, this looks so much better than it did with the wooden crates and all the components all over the damn place. Amy’s psyched about it too, and it’s one tiny corner of the house that’s now partially childproofed – just need some of those inside-door latches.

14 Replies to “Capiz Shell Console”

  1. Re: Capiz Shell Console

    Hello,

    Your LP cabinet turned out great – inspired me to consider modifying one myself. What caught my eye, however, were the Roger Charles speakers. I’m a fan of the brand. Would you consider selling them? Thanks for your time.

    Best Regards,
    John Luksich

  2. Hello,

    I have some Roger-Charles High Fidelity Speakers I would consider selling. They are a larger 2-way bookshelf design finished in a lighter color walnut which almost looks like Teak with tan color cloth grills which are recessed about an inch and a half from the face. They are quite attractive. If you are interested, please post a message with your contact information and I will email you back.

  3. Hey, Cool Idea.
    I’m building a computer into a console stero unit. Was looking for pictures of on so I can play with color schemes and such.

  4. I was looking for info on RC III, full range speakers and came across your page. mine are also 12″ and came in their “custom cabinets”. the cabinets have cloth covering,like old style speakers from the 50’s – early 60’s design.they have openings with 3 wood slats at both ends.it seems they were made to lie horizontally.i don’t know when they were made, but were very surprised when i hooked them up and gave them a listen ! very open and and dynamic, great imaging. any one out there that can provide me with the spec’s on these would be greatly appreciated.

  5. you ruined it, you urnec it into some tacky wood cabinet and deprived it of its original sentimental value, you fool

  6. Joe, who are you to say I “deprived it of sentimental value?” The whole reason I wanted to keep it was for sentimental value. My dad owned it first and he’s delighted with the transformation.

    How did it become “tacky” — the exterior is untouched and all original.

  7. I realize this blog post is 7 years old, but I’m curious about those Roger Charles speaker drivers. Did they really sound bad? I’m surprised that several people responded wanting to buy and/or sell some if they perhaps are less than terrific.

    What did you end up doing with them?

    And to Kevin: I’d swear I just saw the speakers you describe at a thrift store in Southern CA. ;)

    Thanks!

  8. dkfuel – To be honest, I don’t remember what became of the drivers at this point. I don’t have memories of them ever sounding great, definitely not as good as the outboard Spicas shown in the picture, or the Operas I’m using now. Sorry :(

  9. Hi iike Dkfuel and responding over a decade later LOL. I’m trying to find out about the Roger Charles speakers and their history. I am not so interested in finding out their specs. But I am interested in finding out are they a subsidiary of another company? Is it simply a West Coast company or was it a Nationwide company? Did somebody else by the Roger Charles name and our brand? Any help would be greatly appreciated !

  10. Hi Ken – Sorry, I wish I could help but I have absolutely no information about the Roger Charles company or their speakers. Good luck with the resarch!

    Broken images fixed.

  11. I have some pictures of the 15″ red cone Rogers charles woofers .I also have a midrange, tweeter and crossovers as well.

  12. I’ve come across some R.C.3rd 1968 cust consrtn speakers perfect cond never opened except by me 2days ago

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