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MMD > Archives > April 1997 > 1997.04.08 > 14Prev  Next


Seek Unit Valves for Wurlitzer 153
By Matthew Caulfield

Last night I was out to a friend's house to listen to his Wurlitzer 153
band organ.  Last summer it was playing beautifully, but over the winter
serious vacuum loss has developed.  In the process of tightening up
everything, he discovered that many of the screws holding the unit blocks
to the vacuum chest don't grip the wood tightly any longer.  (This is not
the major cause of leakage, however--as I will explain in a moment,
unless you have quit reading this out of boredom)

I recall that Craig Brougher or someone else here had discussed various
effective ways of addressing the problem of worn and oversize screw
holes, short of replacing a whole board.  My friend has tried toothpicks
glued in using hide glue (the glycerin-urea, non-heated kind) without
much success.  Using larger screws is not an option without re-drilling
the screw holes in the unit blocks; but why not, I wonder, as a last-ditch
measure?

Actually the main cause of the leakage is that the unit blocks themselves
need to be rebuilt.  There are cracks in the wood, and the top metal
covers were sealed with white casein glue instead of burnt shellac, and
even that was applied leaving gaps in the seal, so that the valve leaks
when in playing position.  Small leaks, but small leaks add up.

My friend bought some new blocks from Player Piano Company recently; but
shame on Durrell Armstrong for selling such blocks!  They are made out of
birch or some brittle wood, poorly sawn and drilled.  I wouldn't recommend
them to anyone.  I gave my friend the last block I had, one of those made
by Jill Cooper.

If Gordon Forcier is up and running and manufacturing Wurlitzer unit
blocks, my friend would like to buy a set rather than rebuild the
originals.  Gordon?

Matthew Caulfield


(Message sent Tue 8 Apr 1997, 15:00:10 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  153, Seek, Unit, Valves, Wurlitzer

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