Victrola Restoration

Unfortunately most Victrola’s out there in original condition have not been taken care of over the years and were improperly stored in basements, attics, storage sheds and other unsuitable locations because when radio and vinyl records came out and they were no longer all the rage and considered obsolete. 

The fragile original shellac finish is almost always ruined beyond reasonable repair and in a lot of cases, black or alligatored or both.  The spring motors originally were lubricated with something similar to Vaseline and graphite, this is almost always dried up and as hard as a rock. 

Victrola phonographs were very well made and used beautiful wood veneers that can normally only be seen in their entire beauty if they were either very well taken care of in the first place or restored like the Victrolas I sell.  Now that these are 100 years old or more and records have become popular again, a fully restored high end Victrola like this can be not only entertaining to discover old 78 recorded music that some of which was never released on any other format, a beautiful addition to any home and can also become a cherished family heirloom. 

I truly believe that the restoration methods I use will withstand the test of time and preserve these phonographs well into the future.  The others that have been neglected and are falling apart will slowly get scrapped, parted out etc. making the ones left in good condition more and more rare if they were not already to begin with.

All Victrolas are fully remanufactured top to bottom to museum quality condition, nothing is overlooked. Everything will be original to the unit unless noted.  A Victrola restored to this detailed condition is extremely rare.

I have been remanufacturing Victrolas in the New England area for many years and have a fully equipped shop with professional tools and supplies.  For a detailed step by step tutorial on the current remanufacturing/restoration process see Victrola Restoration Tutorial.

The remanufacturing-restoration process I use is very detailed and involves complete disassemble and reassemble that includes:

Wood Cabinet:

Bottom: cleaned, sanded, original shipping holes patched with two part wood putty, stained and sealed to prevent future water damage or moisture getting into the storage area.  The castors removed, holes filled, new sleeves installed, trim rings cleaned and polished and castors installed.

Outside: stripped, sanded, dyed with color matched (mixed) to original finish Mohawk Dye, sealer applied, grain filled, multiple coats of high quality Mohawk Finishers Choice lacquer sprayed with professional spray setup and sanding in between coats.  The final coat is Mohawk Buffcote lacquer mixed to the proper sheen to match original.  After final cure, the entire unit is hand polished.

Inside: Cleaned from top to bottom, tops of shelves scuff sanded and dyed if necessary and entire insides sprayed with Mohawk finishers Choice lacquer with multiple coats. The underside of the top is scuff sanded and clear coat restored saving the original Victrola Logo. The underside is the top is used for the outside dye color match.

Internal Horn:  Wood portion separated from metal corner with mounting flange, old gasket material scraped off where the metal and wood were connected.  The metal is degreased – cleaned and painted with color matched brown or black paint, wood section horn with slats is cleaned and sprayed with clear coat and reassembly includes clear silicone seal inside the joint where the metal and wood connect to prevent air (sound) leakage..

Spring Motor:  Entire motor and governor are fully disassembled and parts including springs soak in mineral spirits for a week.  Then each spring, part and chassis is fully cleaned in a degreaser detergent and all nickel plated and brass parts of the motor and governor are polished with 0000steel wool.  The governor shaft and main worm gear drive shaft get their ends lightly ground and polished to remove the dent where they were they were riding on the ball bearings and brand new high quality carbon steel ball bearings used when reassembled.  The main springs are re-installed using top quality Amsoil Synthetic Polymeric grease with 5% Moly for very long lasting protection that will outlast the original grease.   The governor gets new flat springs where the weights attach.  The speed control and speed indicators where they touch the governor get new top quality rawhide leather oiled with Mobile 1 synthetic oil and the entire motor is re-assembled with Mobile 1 synthetic grease and oil on all gears.  The Motor is then fully tested and adjusted if necessary until it runs as good or thanks to the advanced lubrication, better than when it was new.

Tone Arm:  Fully disassembled, cleaned, and polished with Simichrome polish.  Tone arm mount is degreased, scuff sanded, repainted with black lacquer paint, new gold pin striped painted on using 24k gold paint.  New carbon steel ball bearings are used where the tone arm rides on the mount and are lubricated when re-assembling with Mobile 1grease.  This makes for an extra smooth moving tone arm.

Sound Box:  The reproducer sound box is fully disassembled, cleaned, polished and reassembled using new gaskets, mica and rear rubber flange.  The tone arm elbow that connects the sound box is lubricated with Mobile 1 synthetic grease during assembly for extra smooth operation.

Platter/Platen:  The platter has its felt removed, the original adhesive chemically removed and then the entire platter is fully washed-degreased with edge polished with steel wool and Simichrome paste polish.  New top quality precision cut green felt is applied using Krylon spray adhesive.

Brake:  The automatic brake is completely disassembled, the friction rings are scuff sanded, and the entire unit is cleaned and polished, new leather installed and oiled with synthetic oil, spring adjusted and reassembled and tested.

Crank:  Wood handle removed, scuffed and repainted with black high gloss lacquer and brass retainer screw and washer polished.  The metal crank is cleaned, degreased and polished.

Speed Indicator:  The speed indicator needle is sanded and repainted with black lacquer paint, the bezel polished, the scale is reproduced with an exact copy and installed and the original (yellowed) plastic window is replaced with a duplicate polycarbonate copy that will never yellow or break.

Hardware, knobs &Hinges:  All brass knobs are cleaned and hand polished as are all the brass hinges.  Every screw for the entire unit has their heads polished to a bright shine using a polishing wheel.

Final adjustments and testing:  The entire unit is tested using a78rpm strobe disc.  The speed indicator and speed adjustment are calibrated if necessary.  The Victrola is completely tested for perfect operation before being shipped out.

I professionally pack and ship to anywhere in the continental United States.  Included are Needles and some random 78 Records, a copy of the original owners manual and a guarantee the unit will work when received and email or phone support if any questions or issues are encountered after receipt.

 

 

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