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MMD > Archives > September 1997 > 1997.09.27 > 11Prev  Next


Value of Unrestored Nickelodeon
By Craig Brougher

Damon Atchison was asking about the restorability of unrestored
nickelodeons, since they had probably been botched up with Elmer's glue.

I am working on one right now that was rebuilt that way.  As a matter of
fact, it is very often for that reason that they didn't work, because
carpenter glues dry by evaporation and will not make an airtight seal,
unless large amounts of it are used.  He's right-- it really makes a
mess, but Elmers Glue is still removable, both by a sander and by soaking
small parts, either in water (a few) or lacquer thinner.  It's all fixable.

The real trouble comes when you get ahold of an instrument that has been
glued back together with the yellow Carpenter glues! This comes as close
to ruining things as you can get.  Your best bet here is to saw it apart
and then start from scratch, measuring and making each piece new.

It really aggravates me when owners do this to the few remaining
instruments because they have, for all practical purposes ruined them
for anyone except a skilled woodworker and veteran restorer with lots
of money.  And the ironic thing about it is, carpenters glues are the
absolute WORST product you could ever use to try to get a reliable seal
on anything.

Any glue that sets and dries strictly by evaporation of its moisture
content creates a lacy joint pattern between the parts, unless you want
to take the time to coat each part separately and let them get tacky,
and then at the correct time-- not a minute too late-- press them together
and clamp or weight for 24 hours!  For carpenters who are nailing the
parts together with glue, it's just fine.  But clamping small parts for
24 hours would not work at all!  Probably 1/3rd of your joints will
cipher a little.  Multiply this by the number of bonds you make in a
player, and you will see why rebuilders who use these glues almost
never have a tight, restored instrument when they finish.

Hot hide glue sets by cooling and jelling, then shrinks as it dries,
creating a perfectly airtight bond that gradually becomes perfectly dry
as well, not entraining any moisture at all.  This is what we want to
have.  Any joint that retains moisture, such as fish glue, will creep
with a steady clamping or shearing force, and gradually pull off.  So
fish glue, while still a great glue for many things in player pianos,
should not be used on things like valve blocks which are clamped down,
or on anything that has a continual shear pressure on it.  Gasket
clamping would be just fine as long as no component of the force
is parallel to the bond.

Everything is fixable, ultimately, but some things require much more
effort, time, and materials than others.  So when you do not pay
attention to the correct materials, you yourself will not get a good
job and when you sell it you will have to take less than (possibly)
you even paid for it for the privilege of unloading it.  Seeburg L's
(as mentioned) have difficult enough valves to get into to restore as
it is.  I would surely hate to have to do the job after someone had
botched it with a carpenter glue! I think I would just build a new
stack from scratch.

Craig Brougher


(Message sent Sat 27 Sep 1997, 14:45:50 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Nickelodeon, Unrestored, Value

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