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MMD > Archives > April 1997 > 1997.04.12 > 02Prev  Next

Building a Music Box
By Beatrice Robertson

Greg Przyjemski asked about builing a music box. For the type of
technical information he is asking for, he needs to find the Bulleid
books on music boxes and their restoration.  Mr. Bulleid has some very
definite ratios for bass note to square inches (or centimeters) of the
interior or the box. However, looking at many cylinder boxes in my
collection, made over the last 175 years, the ratios are certainly an
optimum, and the size to sound actual practise varied widely. For
instance, the early snuff boxes have incredible sound when placed on a
table (or another music box) and have no feet, no soundboard, and
certainly no resonance space. At the opposite extreme, late boxes have
their bedplates raised from the bottom and mounted either on boards or
with integral mounting feet built onto the bedplate. They were intended
to be louder, and therefore were designed with more sound chamber.  So
now you have to make a decision about the type of sound you want.

I would like to throw in a word of caution.  While most available wood
finishes are suitable for use in a music box, there are some finishes
that can cause damage to leads over a period of time. One of our MBSI
members did an experiment with finishes after he refinished a box and
found that the leads had oxidized in a very short time. For whatever
reason, (chemist Chuck Walker - any ideas?) Rustoleum type finishes can
cause deterioration in lead almost immediately. Lacquers cause no
problems and I have not heard of any other specific problems from modern
finishes. Just a word of caution.

It sure is nice to have music box strings!

Beatrice Robertson

(Message sent Sat 12 Apr 1997, 12:02:21 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Box, Building, Music

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