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 Post subject: gramophone leatherette?
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 1:04 pm 
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Victor Jr
Hello there!
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 3:45 pm
Posts: 3
Location: England, UK
Hello all,

I have recently acquired a HMV gramophone 101 and want to restore it, I know it's not valuable but I really want to restore it! I bought some leatherette of ebay and unfortunately it isn't suitable at all, would someone please be able to provide a link or information on where I can buy suitable leatherette for my gramophone?

Thank you very much
Jess


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 Post subject: Re: gramophone leatherette?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:50 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:02 pm
Posts: 555
Location: Edmonds, Washington
I am certainly n o expert, but I have restored several Victor portables - and of course, much depends on the state of the one you are working on.

I have never removed the old leatherette - to me, the original covering, scars and all, is more appealing than anything new. I glue down the bits that have come loose, even leaving the corners exposed where the leatherette has shrunk. I then clean the whole thing with Go-Jo, which takes a lot of rubbing, and once that has been wiped away, I polish the whole surface with shoe polish - this masks scratches and exposed bits, and once that has dried, I laquer the whole thing with three of four layers. It looks very good, though in a dignified"old" way, which in my mind is much better than faux-new.


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 Post subject: Re: gramophone leatherette?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Victor VI
I have good days...this might not be one of them
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:23 pm
Posts: 3805
Location: Albany NY
Nat, your point is valid but sometimes damage is so severe that it is disfiguring. I have a very nice 30's portable which is is fine shape except for the left side - dampness and worms destroyed most of the cloth on that side and even ate into the wood. Some time I will need to find a close match so I can fix it.


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 Post subject: Re: gramophone leatherette?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:40 pm 
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Victor O
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:12 am
Posts: 67
British made gramophones were never covered with leatherette to my knowledge. They were covered with leathercloth, the most common being rexine. This was made from cloth coated with a mixture of cellulose nitrate, camphor oil, pigment and alcohol, then embossed to look like leather.

"Rexine" brand "leathercloth" has not been made since 2005, but if you google those 2 terms, you may find a local supplier of leathercloth, or someone with remaining stock of Rexine.
One such company is a book binding supplier, Ratchford Ltd in Cheshire. http://www.ratchford.co.uk/Maincategory.aspx?id=22

I would email them (and others) a clear picture showing the grain of the leathercloth currently on your machine to see which of their cloth grains is the closest match.
You could also try asking on the Britich gramophone forum, as someone there may be aware of a place where an exact match is available for the HMV 101.
If you can find any antique/vintage camera collectors forums etc, it wouldn't hurt to ask there either, as leathercloth/Rexine was widely used on camera bodies too, such as the box brownie.

Although a rough looking portable can be patched and made to look acceptable for the sake of keeping it original, these are a common machine so I don't think preserving a ratty covering is all that important, and the few portable machines I've seen properly restored with new leathercloth do look truly magnificent.
Hope this helps, and good luck with your search.
Keepin' it real.


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 Post subject: Re: gramophone leatherette?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:23 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Cellulose nitrate is the stuff that photographic film was formerly made from. It deteriorates over time and is extremely flammable. See http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg469.htm .

Be careful with your hot records around Rexine. :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: gramophone leatherette?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Victor O
Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:12 am
Posts: 67
Henry wrote:
Cellulose nitrate is the stuff that photographic film was formerly made from. It deteriorates over time and is extremely flammable. See http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg469.htm .

Be careful with your hot records around Rexine. :roll:


It's also an ingredient of early lacquer, so be just as careful with your Credenza's :)
Keepin' it real.


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