Thanks to those who gave me encouragement, I took the bull by the horns,
and removed both combs from the music box, to find out just what was
causing the terrible tone!
What I saw was a mass of "stuff' which resembled hardened varnish
completely covering the lead tuning weights! I carefully picked at it
with no results. Then, thinking it was probably a lost cause, I decided
to soak the mess in solvent. After two hours the mass had not dissolved
or showed any sign of softening.
I was ready to give up, and did not want to leave solvent on the metal.
I then started washing off the solvent with warm water, and suddenly the
dark brown globs started turning light gray, and were washing away. What
we think is *molasses* was somehow poured or spilled into the combs!
Five hours later, with the help of dental floss and a very soft brush,
I had everything clean as a whistle, and back in the box. The tone is
fantastic, the tuning is good, and the box is now working well, although
could stand a cleaning of the governor gears and re-lubrication. The
dampers seem to be working but of course are very dirty as well as the
Any suggestions on how to properly clean off the old grease and oil,
and what kind of new oil or grease should be used?
Thanking each of you who were so helpful.