I am sure everyone has gotten tips over the years on how to deal with that vintage find but I think the most important one I have gotten besides how to properly use a variac is to bake your new found toy in the oven. Low heat of course and do this before the variac. I know of at least 2 very good things this can do and how much it can help really depends on where you live. The more humid the most this will help. You live in Phoenix it might not help at all.
Here is what you do. Remove all cabinets, cages, the bottom and turn it upside down, put in oven and turn on low heat (around 150-200 F) and bake it for an hour or so. This will get all the moisture out of the insides of your transformers and(here is the biggy!) it will dry out the old resistors and help get them back in spec. This can save you a lot of time, money and lead fumes as you go through it. Have a good time explaining this one to your better half!!
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