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Restoration advice C1924 Thorens “Picnic” record player and Edison C1905 Cyliner player

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Hi Guys,

 

I have fortunately just acquired a C1924 Thorens “Picnic” portable record player and Edison cylinder player that I’d like to restore.

 

I have done some antique restoration in the past, so I can probably handle the wooden components and possibly the horn, however the mechanical components, whilst incredibly simple are possibly beyond my capabilities - in particular the Thorens main spring has broken and apart from a watchmaker, I’m not sure where to start?

 

The Edison works perfectly, but lacks a support arm and adapter sleeve for the horn.

 

Any advice would be welcome.

 

Thanks,

 

Malcolm

 

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What a cool project! Looking forward to seeing this progress.
Springs are an interesting one. I've seen clock springs on eBay. If you have the dimensions on length I'm sure a decent one could be found on the old interwebs.

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records played through a horn system doesn't get much better than that.

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I'm fairly sure the white stripes next album will be released on Edison cylinder, so this is good timing.

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2 minutes ago, eltech said:

I'm fairly sure the white stripes next album will be released on Edison cylinder, so this is good timing.

Can’t wait!

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1 minute ago, Unsound said:

Can’t wait!

It will be a box set. 12 cylinders with one song on each

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Any ideas on restoration of the horn?

 

It’s got surface rust all over?

 

Thanks,

 

Malcolm

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Any ideas on restoration of the horn?

 

It’s got surface rust all over?

 

Thanks,

 

Malcolm

Might be worth trying a couple of things on some test peices first. But Bicarb soda and a little water made into a paste is one that was suggested to me recently. Vinegar would be another. The issue with the vinegar is that you'd need a reasonable quantity and a decent sized container to do at least half at a time. Maybe a combination of both to get right down into the throat. Or does it come apart along the join? Hard to tell with the photo.

The real issue is painting all the way down into the throat to protect it once your done. I've found that the much larger throat sizes I work with (1"-3") can be very difficult to get a good finish. Maybe some form of electrostatic sort painting?

 

What I'm getting at is, be careful not to strip away what little finish it has if it can't be replaced.

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Thanks. There’s not much of the original surface coating left. Thanks. Malcolm

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13 hours ago, Unsound said:

Any ideas on restoration of the horn?

 

It’s got surface rust all over?

 

Thanks,

 

Malcolm

 

I'm not sure how much you want to spend on it. I suspect sand or walnut shell, or bead blasting should get the rust and old paint off. You might need to treat the surface with something before its sprayed. I'm sure a professional painter will know what to do.

 

If you want to do it yourself, perhaps steel wool followed by wet and dry sandpaper, then rust converter, then spray from a can?

 

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15 hours ago, Unsound said:

Any ideas on restoration of the horn?

It’s got surface rust all over?

Does it need to be restored?  There are different philosophies on restoration.  One is to return it to as-new condition, and I don't have any problems with that if the item is worth the time/money.  Another is to restore it to newish-order, good working condition but not necessarily accurate to it's original form - I personally don't like this approach.

 

The other is to keep the patina of age - it has it's own character which tells the journey of the item.  Restore it to working condition, clean it and make it nice, but don't over-do it. 

 

I love the look it currently has.  So I would fix the wood work, get it in excellent mechanical working condition, clean it up but keep the existing character of the horn and other mechanicals. 

 

 

Edited by audiofeline

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7 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

Does it need to be restored?  There are different philosophies on restoration.  One is to return it to as-new condition, and I don't have any problems with that if the item is worth the time/money.  Another is to restore it to newish-order, good working condition but not necessarily accurate to it's original form - I personally don't like this approach.

 

The other is to keep the patina of age - it has it's own character which tells the journey of the item.  Restore it to working condition, clean it and make it nice, but don't over-do it. 

 

I love the look it currently has.  So I would fix the wood work, get it in excellent mechanical working condition, clean it up but keep the existing character of the horn and other mechanicals. 

 

 

Thanks audio feline,,

 

I’m inclined to agree with the minimal intervention model I think that I’ll clean it up and see how it looks, but the horn is an issue, as if you touch it or brush up against it, you get dirty hands/clothes, which is not conducive to a happy home environment. I also worry about the rust continuing to eat away at it and causing it to eventually break up.

 

Cheers,

 

Malcolm

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4 hours ago, Unsound said:

..the horn is an issue,... I also worry about the rust continuing to eat away at it and causing it to eventually break up.

I take your point.  There may be a treatment you can get to halt the rust process.  I know there is a "kill rust" paint, but the tin I inherited from my father is a silver colour paint.  There may be a treatment that is more invisible.  Ask my research team at Google. 

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I work a bit with Patina finishes on steel, there is a number of ways to halt the rust, basically you need to seal the item to stop oxidation.

 

for the horn I would suggest the following two methods.

 

step one is the same for both methods, cleaning - warm water and sugar soap, lightly sponge clean the horn to remove the dirt and any loose rust, dry with a lint free cloth.

 

dull finish - coat sparingly with pale boiled linseed oil, you will find the oil will feed into the rusted areas and pool on what is left of the paint, wipe dry with a lint free cloth. May need a couple of coats but leave for a day or two in between. 

 

Luster finish - this is what I'd go for, there could be a store brought product but we make our own 

45% natural bees wax

45% pure gum turpentine 

10% sanding sealant (can be deleted) we use it to speed up the drying process 

 

Use a gas cooker outside and melt the wax in an old pot, careful highly flammable.

once liquid, remove from the heat and add the turps and sealer

as it cools it will thicken, if I'm applying to timber I use it fairly hot and thin so it drives deeply into the wood, for steel I let it go a bit thicker and coat with an old brush. It will take a day or so to dry then you can buff it with lambs wool or a lint free cloth. Eventually the turps will evaporate and leave a hard wax that can be buffed shiny for years.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Powerglide

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Fantastic Powerglide!

Much appreciated.

I was aware of that method for the wood, but the metal could be a lifesaver!

Cheers

Malcolm

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Fantastic Powerglide!

Much appreciated.

I was aware of that method for the wood, but the metal could be a lifesaver!

Cheers

Malcolm

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The linseed approach will turn the rust quite dark

 

the wax is the way to go the only trouble you could get into is, if its too thick it won't buff out smoothly, if this happens re heat with a hair dryer or hot air gun to melt the wax and remove some with a cloth 

 

Don't those needles look savage !

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I've heard of a product that collectors of tobacco tins or oil cans use to rejuvenate the finish but I can remember the name of it. Could be worth investigating 

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13 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

@Unsound Any updates on the restoration, Malcolm?

Now that you remind me:

 

Here are some photos of the finished products - both play well - the Rexanola could probably do with a new spring, but it still works, but runs out of puff quickly (like me)!

 

Before

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After - handle is now restored and installed

 

IMG_0331.thumb.jpeg.8bb4c4ef2232e9b2e4c750327f72ca24.jpeg

 

Detail

IMG_0338.thumb.jpeg.2f2e56509180847a0fe7790b22190f88.jpeg

 

Rexanola

 

IMG_0323.thumb.jpeg.b5546b560735981aff1545c4ac1c058d.jpeg

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A wonderful job, you have done very well! 

Looks like you went for the full refinishing of the horn. 

 

Are you pleased with the sound you get from the cylinders?

 

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