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Walker CJ55 turntable - gem or junk


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Hi to all

 

I have a CJ Walker CJ55 turntable in decent condition (apart from the cover, which is broken at the back). I haven't played vinyl in forever and most of my vinyl has disappeared or been given away to the younger generations. Consequently, I can't see myself getting back into vinyl.

 

To the question in the title of this thread, should I look to sell the Walker turntable (is it worth saving) or should I look to dispose of it otherwise. Thoughts and guidance appreciated.

 

 

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With some great input from you guys I have been cleaning up the Walker CJ55 turntable. So far I have done the following: a good dust, vacuum, clean and polish has brought the walnut veneer bac

Awesome. Thanks for all the advice. I very much appreciate the responses and the information / advice.   I'll give it a decent tidy up and track down a new grub screw. I am reasonably handy

Righto - the second to last update   So, I tried a couple of DIY belts but they didn't work. Fortunately, the new belt has now arrived and fits perfectly. I have set the anti-skate, and the

Further inspection reveals that the pieces are there from the broken lid. The tone arm says 'Grace'.

 

Otherwise, apart from a small grub screw, it all seems to be intact.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Telecine said:

Someone will love it, sell it or give it away but do not throw it away.

 

For sure. I'd rather see this go to someone else. That's why I thought it wise to reach out here before doing anything else.

 

 

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2 hours ago, BuzzzFuzzz said:

Agree. It does seem to have a bit of a following.

 

 

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It seems there is value and it may be a bit of a gem.

 

Now in terms of moving it on should I attempt to glue the dust cover back together and generally give it a clean-up, or should I leave it alone and sell it as it is.

 

What do turntable people and restorers prefer?

 

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If that’s a Grace 707 tone arm, which it appears to be, it was very popular in the 70s, I believe. Not sure how it stacks up now but many have fond memories of it. It might be worth a couple of hundred on it’s own, if it’s in good nick.

Edited by RankStranger
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It certainly looks like a grace 707, great arm, even by todays standard, you can glue the lid, i feel it will make it more complete to sell, Locktite has a 2 part plastic glue using an activator felt pen then applying glue after 60 secs, from Bunnings. My brother is doing mods to his TT lid, he got this glue from a acrylic/plastics supplier/fabricator

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7 hours ago, Fly_by said:

It seems there is value and it may be a bit of a gem.

 

Now in terms of moving it on should I attempt to glue the dust cover back together and generally give it a clean-up, or should I leave it alone and sell it as it is.

 

What do turntable people and restorers prefer?

 

Give it a careful clean and glue the lid.

 

You might want to clean the platter bearing well and add fresh oil of the appropriate type, check the belt replace if necessary and test that it works.

 

Worth checking the make, model and condition of the cartridge as well. If sound, play a couple to records to test the speed.

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8 hours ago, Fly_by said:

It seems there is value and it may be a bit of a gem.

 

Now in terms of moving it on should I attempt to glue the dust cover back together and generally give it a clean-up, or should I leave it alone and sell it as it is.

 

What do turntable people and restorers prefer?

 

I might be one of the few old-timers who remembers selling these. It was a good, honest, basic 3 point suspension turntable in its day, below the Linn and Ariston in performance and well below in price. The Grace 707 is good arm. The cartridge looks like it might be an AKG P25 which came in 2 compliances - high @ 35 and medium @ 24. I would guess this is a P25 MD/24 as it is in Canberra and was probably set up by Abel Audio and would be better suited to the 707.

 

If'n it was me, I would give it a good clean and test it. As for the lid, I would suggest only attempting a repair if you feel confident. Otherwise, leave it up to the new proud owner.

 

I am currently cleaning up and testing a few turntables myself and having to contemplate how far I go with some things like polishing lids, fitting new cartridges, headshells and headshell wires, and whether to attempt to fix a cracked lid. I am also curious to see what the market is like for different levels of turntables as I am getting some fairly mixed messages.

 

I suspect you will get some people who would prefer to do the work themselves but that more people are buying turntables who don't have much experience in setting them up. For that reason, I think you will get more interest and perhaps a better price if you present it in the best light you can.

13 hours ago, Telecine said:

Someone will love it, sell it or give it away but do not throw it away.

So don't throw it away please. Too many good pieces of hi-fi equipment and record collections have gone to landfill. I have nephews and nieces who go shopping for good second hand vinyl and the gear to play them and they are not on their own.  

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The only real obstacle you might run into is sourcing a replacement belt, as the one on it will likely be perished beyond usability. When I was working at Encel in the aughts, many Connoisseur decks of the same era (most also had 707s) were junked because it was almost impossible to find replacement drive belts for them. I think there was one sole supplier in Denmark or somewhere like that but shipping was slow and expensive so many people just gave up and bought a new deck

Edited by RankStranger
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I have one and it is a nice turntable.  Belts were available on ebay, but, are currently out of stock.  I've had no issue with the one I got off ebay.

 

The only issue I have currently with mine is a motor knock.

 

It doesn't come close to my upgraded LP12, ARXA or Strathclyde but was also never at their price points either!

 

It is certainly too good to dispose of.

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Awesome. Thanks for all the advice. I very much appreciate the responses and the information / advice.

 

I'll give it a decent tidy up and track down a new grub screw. I am reasonably handy so at this stage I am inclined to mend the lid.

 

I can't work at the moment for health reason, so I'm happy to put some time and a few $$ into it to make it playable for the new owner.

 

I certainly won't be throwing it away :), and I'll post some progress shots as I tidy it up.

 

Cheers

 

 

 

 

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The broken lid is valuable, if for no other reason that it has the hinge hardware. 

I agree with the above comments, the Grace 707 is a reasonably good quality arm and has value.

I hope you find a good home for it where it will be appreciated and enjoyed.

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With some great input from you guys I have been cleaning up the Walker CJ55 turntable. So far I have done the following:

  • a good dust, vacuum, clean and polish has brought the walnut veneer back to probably 99% of its original state. It does have some scrapes and marks, but you have to look for them.
  • lightly oiled the bearing, and it spins very nicely
  • turned it on and it runs silently
  • glued the broken dust cover using the SCIGRIP 16 suggested above (and also suggested by my local plastics shop). It's not perfect, but it's together. I'll leave it for a few days and then tidy up the adhesive squeeze-out
  • ordered a new belt
  • balanced the platter
  • balanced the tonearm
  • trying to figure out how to set up the antiskate(???)

The Grace 707 arm has a Goldring 1020 cartridge. i have no idea of its condition.

 

I noticed this evening that one of the RCA connectors has come away from its cable. I'll fix that in the next few days.

 

I also found that there are two CJ55 turntables currently for sale on eBay. One for $441 out of the UK without a tonearm, and the other out of the US for $492 with a MAS(?) tonearm with missing parts. Are they dreaming? That would make mine worth about $600!! That seems a bit high, but I really have no idea.

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/C-J-Walker-CJ-55-Turntable-Record-Deck-Walnut-With-Black-SME-Arm-Fit-Board-P-P/303621539876?hash=item46b1410824:g:ijsAAOSwrHNe0lT6

 

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CJ-J-WALKER-TURNTABLE-MODEL-CJ55-W-MAS-TONEARM-FOR-PARTS-OR-REPAIR-WORKING/143201426250?hash=item2157785b4a:g:j8gAAOSwqoxcVi2J

 

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Worth every bit of $600 in my view, tonearm alone would sell for about $500. 
 

These were a nice TT, with a good suspension system, we’re considered a cheap Linn alternative and on par with bit different to the Rega 3 of the day. The were will reviews and considered to have a warm sound. 

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Excellent work. 

 

14 hours ago, Fly_by said:

 

  • trying to figure out how to set up the antiskate(???)

The Grace 707 arm has a Goldring 1020 cartridge. i have no idea of its condition.

 

 

The anti-skate is fairly easy.  From memory, each little slot/mark on the anti-skate tube represents half a gram so slide it along the tube to match the tracking weight you have set on the arm. This from the base of the arm. 1.5gms should therefore be about 3 slots. I checked mine and that is roughly what I have them set at.

 

If the Goldring 1020 needs a new stylus you could check with Duratone HiFi in Canberra and see if they have any stock. They used to be the importers. From the first photos it was a little hard to tell as they have a similar profile to the AKG.

2 hours ago, Chill3 said:

Worth every bit of $600 in my view, tonearm alone would sell for about $500. 
 

These were a nice TT, with a good suspension system, we’re considered a cheap Linn alternative and on par with bit different to the Rega 3 of the day. The were will reviews and considered to have a warm sound. 

Agreed. Without the crack in the lid, with the rca plug repaired, and with a new belt and stylus I would ask more than that. I may be a little over-optimistic but people do seem to be paying higher prices these days for good second hand and vintage turntables. I guess I will find out when I start listing a few for sale.

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2 hours ago, Igotmearecord said:

Excellent work. 

 

The anti-skate is fairly easy.  From memory, each little slot/mark on the anti-skate tube represents half a gram so slide it along the tube to match the tracking weight you have set on the arm. This from the base of the arm. 1.5gms should therefore be about 3 slots. I checked mine and that is roughly what I have them set at.

 

If the Goldring 1020 needs a new stylus you could check with Duratone HiFi in Canberra and see if they have any stock. They used to be the importers. From the first photos it was a little hard to tell as they have a similar profile to the AKG.

Agreed. Without the crack in the lid, with the rca plug repaired, and with a new belt and stylus I would ask more than that. I may be a little over-optimistic but people do seem to be paying higher prices these days for good second hand and vintage turntables. I guess I will find out when I start listing a few for sale.

 

Thanks, and thank so much for the information about the anti skate,

 

I'll try taking take a macro shot of the stylus and see how that works out. I have no idea how to see whether a stylus needs replacing. I've had this turntable for 20 odd years and I've probably used it to play fewer than 30 albums when I got it.

 

I did see that a black Grace 707 tonearm with 25 hours was listed here for $450 in 2018.

 

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I have a Walker CJ55 turntable that I have owned from new, it is fitted with an Alphason tonearm.

It is a very good table with some interesting technology for the time.

Notably the platter material and the unusual wooden inner frame that it is suspended on.

The motor is Swiss made from my recollection, it does not produce a lot of torque, so the platter will need a hand to start spinning.

I have purchased belts for mine without a problem, but I see you have been able to locate one.

Prior to the Walker I owned a Thorens TD160 MkII, the Walker in my opinion, and that of some audiophile friends at the time, was better.
On my Thorens I had a Grace 707 tonearm, it is still the best tracking tonearm that I have owned.

Apart from the fact that the Walker is relatively unknown these days, it is  amazingly good and deserves a good home.

 

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6 hours ago, Fly_by said:

 

Thanks, and thank so much for the information about the anti skate,

 

I'll try taking take a macro shot of the stylus and see how that works out. I have no idea how to see whether a stylus needs replacing. I've had this turntable for 20 odd years and I've probably used it to play fewer than 30 albums when I got it.

 

I did see that a black Grace 707 tonearm with 25 hours was listed here for $450 in 2018.

 

Ebay could be your friend to get a "Currency Detecting with LED Microscope" with 60X magnification! 

It will making an assessment of the needle very easy indeed.

Have had one for many years so I do not know if they are still available.

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@Fly_byWell worth the $600 mate with that arm.

It was a second tier turntable from back in the 80's. Equivalents were the Original Systemdeck,  Ariston RD40 etc.

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On 26/7/2020 at 2:09 PM, Igotmearecord said:

If the Goldring 1020 needs a new stylus you could check with Duratone HiFi in Canberra and see if they have any stock. They used to be the importers. From the first photos it was a little hard to tell as they have a similar profile to the AKG.

Agreed. Without the crack in the lid, with the rca plug repaired, and with a new belt and stylus I would ask more than that. I may be a little over-optimistic but people do seem to be paying higher prices these days for good second hand and vintage turntables. I guess I will find out when I start listing a few for sale.

I checked with Duratone today. A new stylus is nearly $500 and a replacement cartridge is $650. If the current one is no good I think I'd have to loo at a more budget cartridge replacement.

 

 

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Just now, Fly_by said:

I checked with Duratone today. A new stylus is nearly $500 and a replacement cartridge is $650. If the current one is no good I think I'd have to loo at a more budget cartridge replacement.

 

 

Get one of the Audio Technica AT95E equivalents. Under 100 bucks and well regarded.

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20 hours ago, Analog Revenge said:

Ebay could be your friend to get a "Currency Detecting with LED Microscope" with 60X magnification! 

It will making an assessment of the needle very easy indeed.

Have had one for many years so I do not know if they are still available.

Awesome. Bought a set - $12.95.

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7 minutes ago, Wimbo said:

Get one of the Audio Technica AT95E equivalents. Under 100 bucks and well regarded.

I'll start looking for one at a decent price.

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26 minutes ago, Fly_by said:

I checked with Duratone today. A new stylus is nearly $500 and a replacement cartridge is $650. If the current one is no good I think I'd have to loo at a more budget cartridge replacement.

 

 

Hush my lips!

 

Well I just put an Audio Technica AT-VM95E on my Luxman A522 with a Grace 707 and it is working a treat. The added bonus is that you can upgrade the stylus to a higher level using the same cartridge body. I bought a few of these with headshells from Selby Acoustics at Christmas time on special as I had a few turntables to do up and they are great value and working a treat. I also put the complete assembly onto a vintage Pioneer PL45D and used just the headshell on a Technics SL23, mounting an Ortofon FF15XE2 that was in mint condition. These AT cartridges get a good write-up.

 

I am sure that you can find a good alternative to replacing the Goldring stylus at a decent price. Plenty of us here will be happy to give you input into making a good choice to suit your budget.

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Audio Technica have been around for decades.

And looking at my array of carts, it must I like AT carts.

I run a AT Moving Coil 3100XE in my Thorens It has been going for at least 3 decades!

An Audio Dynamics 220X with a original stylus in my Rotel and have a new O/S Nord 530 Swiss replacement Stylus as well for it.

An AT3600L, + AT-XP5 DJ in my  DJ - TT.

Have more different brands of Carts all in their own Head-shells and so one can try out which one goes best on what Table!

It is fun to have a play!

Sadly some of the older TT's have a old Phillips Headshell arrangement , so far have not managed to get a spare.

When one gets older sadly the hearing deteriorates a bit so, stay objective to what you hear and not the figures on the spec sheets!

Edited by Analog Revenge
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11 hours ago, Analog Revenge said:

When one gets older sadly the hearing deteriorates a bit so, stay objective to what you hear and not the figures on the spec sheets!

100%

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How long should a stylus last if it isn't being used?

 

As I said previously, I've probably used the turntable 30 times. Otherwise it has been sitting around unused.

 

 

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Just now, Fly_by said:

How long should a stylus last if it isn't being used?

 

As I said previously, I've probably used the turntable 30 times. Otherwise it has been sitting around unused.

 

 

The stylus will last indefinitely. The suspension can harden and age but you should try using this before you replace it, it may be fine.

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As an update, I ordered a new belt, a bullseye level, an Ortofon stylus cleaning brush, an Ortofon stylus balance, and a set of the"Currency Detecting with LED Microscope" with 60X magnification.

 

With postage delays being the new normal, everything apart from the belt has now arrived.

 

I've checked the platter is level, and the tracking force is spot on. I still have to set the anti-skate.

 

The glued cover seems to be holding well. The lid opens and closes perfectly. The repair is not obvious at all from the front with the lid down.

 

I still need to solder the RCA plugs.

 

I have downloaded a strobe disc. I'll print it out and give it a try, and I might even DIY a belt until the new belt arrives(?).

 

And then, I can give it a spin and a listen.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Fly_by said:

As an update, I ordered a new belt, a bullseye level, an Ortofon stylus cleaning brush, an Ortofon stylus balance, and a set of the"Currency Detecting with LED Microscope" with 60X magnification.

 

With postage delays being the new normal, everything apart from the belt has now arrived.

 

I've checked the platter is level, and the tracking force is spot on. I still have to set the anti-skate.

 

The glued cover seems to be holding well. The lid opens and closes perfectly. The repair is not obvious at all from the front with the lid down.

 

I still need to solder the RCA plugs.

 

I have downloaded a strobe disc. I'll print it out and give it a try, and I might even DIY a belt until the new belt arrives(?).

 

And then, I can give it a spin and a listen.

 

 

Good work.

 

A DIY belt might work, give it a go.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Righto - the second to last update

 

So, I tried a couple of DIY belts but they didn't work. Fortunately, the new belt has now arrived and fits perfectly. I have set the anti-skate, and the RCA plug is fixed.

 

I gave the lid a polish with some acrylic polish, which doesn't seem abrasive at all. Consequently there are still some swirls and such in the cover, but it is shiny.

 

And everything seems to work and the turntable looks pretty good.

 

I have inspected the stylus with the 60x magnification and it looks like  astylus shape. Nothing obviously busted or flattened.

 

How does it sound? Well, of the 3 amps I have none of them has a phone input. I've ordered a phone pre-amp off Amazon based on a review on Stereonet. It should be here next week... such is life.

 

Here are some final pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_4649.JPG

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5 hours ago, Fly_by said:

Righto - the second to last update

 

So, I tried a couple of DIY belts but they didn't work. Fortunately, the new belt has now arrived and fits perfectly. I have set the anti-skate, and the RCA plug is fixed.

 

I gave the lid a polish with some acrylic polish, which doesn't seem abrasive at all. Consequently there are still some swirls and such in the cover, but it is shiny.

 

And everything seems to work and the turntable looks pretty good.

 

I have inspected the stylus with the 60x magnification and it looks like  astylus shape. Nothing obviously busted or flattened.

 

How does it sound? Well, of the 3 amps I have none of them has a phone input. I've ordered a phone pre-amp off Amazon based on a review on Stereonet. It should be here next week... such is life.

 

Here are some final pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4644.JPG

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IMG_4645.JPG

To get the swirls out use brasso and a soft fabric Fisk in a (battery) drill and with plenty of it the acrylic will come up as new

It is messy but.....

Good you did get the loop and you should consider the Max 5gram digital stylus scale also on eBay to set up your TT 

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6 hours ago, Fly_by said:

Righto - the second to last update

 

So, I tried a couple of DIY belts but they didn't work. Fortunately, the new belt has now arrived and fits perfectly. I have set the anti-skate, and the RCA plug is fixed.

 

I gave the lid a polish with some acrylic polish, which doesn't seem abrasive at all. Consequently there are still some swirls and such in the cover, but it is shiny.

 

And everything seems to work and the turntable looks pretty good.

 

I have inspected the stylus with the 60x magnification and it looks like  astylus shape. Nothing obviously busted or flattened.

 

How does it sound? Well, of the 3 amps I have none of them has a phone input. I've ordered a phone pre-amp off Amazon based on a review on Stereonet. It should be here next week... such is life.

 

Here are some final pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4644.JPG

IMG_4649.JPG

IMG_4645.JPG

Great restoration job, that turntable has been transformed.

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3 hours ago, Analog Revenge said:

To get the swirls out use brasso and a soft fabric Fisk in a (battery) drill and with plenty of it the acrylic will come up as new

It is messy but.....

Good you did get the loop and you should consider the Max 5gram digital stylus scale also on eBay to set up your TT 

 

I was really tempted to cut and buff the lid, but I chose to leave it alone. I kind of like that it's shiny but up close it is obvious that it has some age.

 

I bought the Ortofon balance. If I was going to keep the turntable I would buy the small digital scales, but I'm going to sell it and probably won't have an ongoing need to measure <5 grams.

 

Ortofon-Hi-Fi-Stylus-Pressure-Gauge_700x700.png

Edited by Fly_by
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