Wednesday, March 21, 2018

                                       TOM THUMB REPAIR                          PART 2

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

After removing the box pump, we found a piano action part in the bottom of the case.

A little checking identified it as coming from this note.

The fix will be easy as the part has just come unglued and is not broken.   The challenge is that in order to get the piano action out, we have to remove all the upper player parts.   The piano needs to be tuned, so that will be done when the player parts are out.

Just another of those small jobs that grows as you progress.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

                                            TOM THUMB REPAIR        PART I

As 2017 progressed, the Tom Thumb Player Piano lost it's enthusiasm and by the time we closed for the season, it was barely playing.

In February of 2018, we moved it to the office, where we had some heat and started looking for the problem .   The first check was the box pump.   It sits in the bottom of the case.

We removed it and started checking.   With all the inlets blocked, it could be turned with almost no resistance, indicating a leak or maybe several leaks.   So disassembly was started to allow the four sections to be individually checked.

Future installments will tell you what we found.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

                                                               WHICH ROLL IS THIS

A lot of the music rolls in the DeBence collection have seen serious use.   The first damage that happens to a roll is often in the leader, done while threading the roll onto the machine.   It is easy enough to cut some off for a fresh start and eventually splice a new leader in place.

Often when this is done, the information as to roll number and tune list is cut off and not recopied.  At some point when you want a clear identification, it becomes necessary to completely unroll the roll and get the number off the inner end.   

To do this, you put it on the roll repair frame and hand crank it to the inner end.   You will probably patch a few tears during this process.   When you get to the inner end, you are apt to find the roll number on the inside of the roll.   Then you need a rollography to tell you the song list.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

                                                 MAKING AN ORCHESTRION    PART 5

The piano we chose for this project is a 1909 Weber.   We have the upper section placement worked out, now we have to get serious about the lower area.

The vacuum box is placed on the right side against the top.

The xylo valves go on the bottom front.   The soft pedal pneumatic goes on the left, tucked about as high as we can get it.   The next step will be routing the vacuum hoses and pipes to feed all the instruments.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


                                                           PATCHING UP A VICTOR R

A nice Victor Model R "Royal" was brought in for a minimal cost patch job.    The mechanical part was easy, one of the three governor springs and weight assemblies had a screw come out of one end.   The screw was in the bottom of the case, so putting it back was easy.

After that was done, the turntable did not have enough torque to play a record.   This is a simple spring motor, so I thought maybe it needed to be cleaned and greased.   Did that.   Not much improvement.   The spring seemed to have lost much of its tension.   The short term solution was to decrease the needle pressure, by adding a counterbalance to the  horn, thus getting by with a reduced motor torque.

Rule #1, is do not make irreversible changes, so I made a small clip to hang the weight on.   If a proper restoration is made in the future, this can be removed and no sign it ever existed will remain.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

                                                  Making an Orchestrion     Part 4

The piano we chose for this project is a 1909 Weber.   Having rebuilt the stack and getting it properly fitted in the case, the next issue is placing the other items and instruments.

We have placed all the pieces on the shelf and think this will work out, subject to finding that we have to readjust due to unforeseen problems in the future.

Based on the hope this will work, we have run the valves to the manifolds on the deck and have started tubing the tracker bar for this configuration.

We have not yet found a home for the triangle.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

                                          REPAIR OF A ROLLER ORGAN      PART 7

Earlier we wrote about an Autophone Concert Roller Organ we received for evaluation and repair.  When it came to us, this is what we saw.

After rebuilding the pumps and reservoir, repairing the case, making the missing parts for the case, cleaning the reeds, making a new base and finally recovering and adjusting the valves, we have declared the job a success.    The valve adjustment took way longer than anticipated, because the adjustment is done by bending the tabs that contact the roller pins.   I assume in the factory they had gauges and fixtures to help with this.   Anyway, this is what we now have.