Gramophone Renovation

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Project by Don Johnson posted 06-10-2011 10:50 PM 1779 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Gramophone Renovation
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This HMV Model 130A Gramophone (called Victrola in the USA I think) had been used as a plant pot stand. The top veneer had started to peel in several places, and there was a large bleached area in the centre – all caused by water leaks. (Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it in its awful initial state) However, I managed to scrape out some of the old glue in the areas where the veneer was curling and re-glue them. I then stripped and sanded off the remaining varnish on the top. It took about 8 coats of new varnish – plus some judicous use of touch-up pens between coats to blend in and disguise the edge of the bleached area – to get the top looking pretty close to the rest of the case. (This part of the project is made of wood, so I hope I’m not breaking the rules posting it here !)

Two springs (one broken) provided the drive for the gramophone, and they were originally coated in graphite grease. Since 1930, this grease had leaked from the spring container, over the drive and governor. As all the volatile part had evaporated, this was now like hard black putty. Getting this off was difficult, as no solvent was effective – just scraping and elbow-grease.

Removing the 14 ft long springs from their container was difficult, but putting new ones back inside was even harder – once started, there was no letting go until each was in place! It took all my strength and determination, and I ended up with as much new black graphite grease on myself and my overalls as there was on the springs. The drive mechanism was cleaned, greased and tuned, and set so that the turntable actually rotated at 78 rpm when the adjuster pointed at that figure.

Finally, some new ‘acoustically transparent’ speaker material to replace the silk front that had shredded over the years, and the unit almost looked like new!

When it actually played ‘Yes Sir! That’s my Baby’ by Hari Kari – borrowed from a friend – all the hard work was justified. When I returned it to its owner he was ‘Over the moon!’

-- Don, Somerset UK,

2 comments so far

View Erik van Baarle's profile

Erik van Baarle

85 posts in 2866 days

#1 posted 06-10-2011 10:58 PM

Nice work my friend. :-)
Greetings from Belgium

-- Erik, Merksem Belgium

View BarryW's profile


1015 posts in 3902 days

#2 posted 06-11-2011 02:35 PM

Bring the past alive….now that’s a worthy great project…

-- /\/\/\ BarryW /\/\/\ Stay so busy you don't have time to die.

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