Wednesday, June 20, 2018




                                                             RECORD STORAGE                                               PART 1


We have thousands of 78 RPM records which were originally stored in cardboard boxes.   That makes it hard to find one, even if you know which box it is in, so we built wall racks and arranged them alphabetically.


We keep getting more and recently have had a lot of them on the floor in boxes.

Thus it was time to make more wall racks.   We had a good empty space next to the existing racks for a place to put it.

A grant from Home Depot provided the necessary plywood.   We then did the proper millwork to get the parts ready and we were then ready to begin making a new wall rack.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018




                                                      MASON HAMLIN STYLE S


We just received the donation of a Mason Hamlin Reed Organ style S.   It was built in 1885 or 86 and is a quality machine.   It used a lot of mahogany and the rollers are metal rather than the standard wood.


The top cover is hinged with props and is opened for more volume.   At some point, we think the cover was opened and allowed to fall over the back of the organ.   It can only move 180 degrees before it catches on the rear side and apparently it split the rear cover.    We glued it back together and will put a chain stop on the lid, so that it does not happen again.

One of the front medallions is missing and the other was broken.   We glued the pieces back together, then glued the medallion back in place.


The organ plays weakly and probably has leaks in the pumps or reservoir which we will likely not try to correct.  The finish is in good shape and is original.   All in all, this will make a nice addition to our collection of reed organs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018



                                                                       VICTOR VV  I-90


We just received the donation of a Victrola.   As is often true, it needed some work but we are delighted to have one that was missing from the collection.

The mechanical repairs turned out to be easy.   The real challenge was the case.

Made in 1927, this model is the least expensive of the Orthophonic series introduced in 1927, designed to play the new electrically recorded 78 RPM discs.   It sold for $75 when new.   There are not many survivors in good condition, because the veneer used was not well glued and often fails when exposed to moisture.    This one was no exception and had a lot of loose veneer.

The first step in repair is to remove the base.


Then the loose veneer must be reglued.


Of course some cleaning and wax needs to be applied.   A new cloth for the speaker outlet is a must.   When done, we have a fine addition to the collection.


Wednesday, May 30, 2018




                                     MAKING AN ORCHESTRION                                                     PART 8


 As we told you in Part 7, we put the top shelf back in the piano and after getting the test roll in place, discovered a time consuming result of POOR PLANNING.   

We connected the tracker bar, but without considering that the roll drive works from the back side of the paper.   Thus we have the whole tracker bar tubing reversed side to side.   This means that we have to take the shelf out and retube the whole tracker bar.   Not a technically difficult job, but time consuming and very embarrassing.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2018




                                     TOM THUMB REPAIR                                                       PART 8

As 2017 progressed, the Tom Thumb Player Piano lost it's enthusiasm and by the time we closed for the season, it was ready to be worked on.

Some jobs just hate to be finished.   After the unglued action was fixed, tuning was the next step.  While tuning, we broke a treble string.   While replacing it, we undid the wrong mating string, so we ended up replacing 2 strings.    Then at the bottom end of the scale, we broke a wound bass string, so we had to order a new one, made as a duplicate from Schaff.

In order to install it, we had to take the pump out to get at the bottom anchor point.   Then it turned out that the tuning pin would not hold, so it had to be removed and the hole shimmed.




Well, it is back together now, ready for final tuning.   Of course, we might break another string doing that.



Wednesday, May 16, 2018




                                              MAKING AN ORCHESTRION                                         PART 7


The piano we chose for this project is a 1909 Weber.   We have put the top shelf back in the piano and are about to test the piano playing part.


I got the test roll and discovered that the tube it is mounted on is undersized.   I unrolled it, made a correct sized tube and remounted the test roll.


Then I found that we have an interference between the moveable mount and the spring loaded plunger will not retract far enough to put the test roll into the roll drive.



I took the tambourine off, ground the necessary clearance and remounted it.   Now we are ready to try the test roll.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018







                                         TOM THUMB REPAIR                           PART 7


As 2017 progressed, the Tom Thumb Player Piano lost it's enthusiasm and by the time we closed for the season, it was ready to be worked on.

There has been a small leak in the shutoff valve which I could not find.    The back cover which holds the pouch has been modified and has motor cloth patches on the back, so I decided to make a new section.   The center of the photo shows the old pouch holder.    The right side shows the new part before cutting it to size.

There will be no unexplained leaks through the wood after we seal it.