Mechanical Music Restoration

Supplies & Services

This section will be the repository for techniques, hints and tips for restorers. If you have techniques you would like to broadcast to a wider audience, e-mail me on


and I will add it to this page, with due acknowledgement.



Every effort will be made to avoid infringing the copyrights of any other Web site or any copyrighted published material. If you feel any items do infringe such copy right, please e-mail me immediately on


and I will remove it as soon as possible and then investigate as necessary.


General Advice
Always find as much information as possible about the instrument before you begin. Find other collectors who have restored similar items and get their advice. Buy or borrow a book , if there is one. When you are confident you know what you are doing, dismantle methodically and make a note of every stage. Note where all screws came from (use a cereal box with a drawing on it and poke holes for the screws. You can also use a slab of polystyrene (keep bits from packing or use ceiling tiles). Little boxes, or boxes with compartments are also useful for keeping small bits - add notes on pieces of paper. Use egg cartons if no boxes available. If you have the facility, use a digital camera or cam-corder (these are also invaluable if you decide to write up your experiences for a society journal - or even post on this web site!)

Take extra care where dismantlement means taking apart glued joints (e.g. in player pianos and some organettes). Proceed carefully with limited force to try and avoid splitting the wood, otherwise you could end up haveing to make completely new wooden parts. If you do have to make parts, try and find old wood which will be good and dry and less likely to warp. Pieces from instruments which are too far gone shoudl be kept for this purpose. On reassembly of any glued joints it is best to use hot (hide) glue which will give the best chance of disassembly by future generations of restorers.

If you are in any doubt at all about your ability to successfully complete a restoration, stop, and consider the services of a professional restorer. Every botched or scrapped instrument is a serious loss, and must be avoided at all costs. Consider that you are really just a custodian of the instrument for the present - it will eventually be passed on to future generations for them to enjoy.