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MMD > Archives > September 1995 > 1995.09.25 > 01Prev  Next

Music Box Repairs, New Cylinders and Disks
By Jack Kane

[ Editor's note: I've snipped out about a paragraph of administriva...]

To respond to Larry Smith's query into someone who could work on the innards of a Regina music box: Robin Biggins in California does some of the best comb and mechanism work I've ever seen (he's worked on my Mira, Kalliope and Polyphon.) He is a master at comb repair and I defy anyone to detect a replaced tooth on which he's worked (he's got a slitting machine and is remarkable with his technique.) He is also quite reasonable and is more prompt than most in his turnaround time ( I've heard of wait times from other craftsmen as long as 15 months.) Anyway, Larry, you might file that name away with your list.

Regarding the development of a "new-fabbed" cylinder box -- it's quite a tricky little bugger. I would encourage anyone who was interested in this venture to join the MBSI and get a copy of the bulletin in which they featured Charlie Hind's account of how he made his. The critical aspect (aside from a focus just shy of obsession) is to have the right equipment including a grinding machine, drill press, rotary drill, kiln, quenching bath, etc... I have myself "had" a 27" Regina comb fabricated and, according to a music box authority, it is a "live" comb and, if tuned, would work. HOWEVER, do keep in mind that a slitted piece of metal doth not a comb make. It had to be hardened (the steel used back in the "old days" was a particular grade of steel which was produced specifically for comb fabrication -- I used oil hardening steel) and I had the little pup' slitted with the EDM process (mucho expensive.)

Would I do it again? Probably not. If you want to make a box, you've got to have the tools to get the job done properfly. I will say that the endeavor taught me a lot and enabled me to network with a number of people who were a wealth of technical and anecdotal info on the subject.

On a different aspect of music boxes: anyone out there interested in disc music boxes? I'm interested in arranging new tunes for the machines.

[ Added by Editor: Jack Kane

(Message sent Mon 25 Sep 1995, 01:03:24 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Cylinders, Disks, Music, New, Repairs

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