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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:32 am 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:40 pm
Posts: 1498
Location: Holy Loch in Argyll and Bute
The horn is definitely mahogany as martinola has already suggested. It is only veneer and would have had that very dark red shellac finish applied to it originally. In some areas it has been rubbed off / faded. The horn is a UK horn but the decal has been quickly slapped over the US logo. These are the same identical horns as the Victor type because HMV only imported them from Victor in the first place, sans finish, and then applied the finish and decals itself.

Maybe HMV was running low on stock and had to accept pre-finished Victor horns to keep up with demand at some point? I have seen HMV decals slapped on over Victor decals like this before. It's nothing unusual.

Is the cabinet really walnut? I suspect it is also mahogany and has been stripped back and refinished long long ago as others have suggested. It has been badly bleached by daylight. I have a dark red mahogany HMV horn machine where one corner of the motor-board is almost this same light color through wear and tear / acidic fingers grabbing it whilst winding it up.

What should you do with the horn? I agree with others: do not strip the inside down and refinish it as it actually appears to be quite good and salvageable. This mahogany stain / shellac finish can be brought back to a fairly decent shine with deep red colour with a little work. I actually find Brasso is great for buffing tired looking shellac. I only use a soft cloth to apply it with a little white spirit (not meths!) and let the Brasso act as the abrasive rubbing compound. I once had a horn that looked identical on the inside. After a whole morning using nothing but cloths and Brasso it looked amazing again with deep shiny surface and all the grain was visible again. Admittedly you have to work hard to remove the white chalky deposits that dry in the grain. But I use neat white spirit for that and then something like Topps Scratch Cover to add a little zest back into the colour and finish. Once dried you can buff it all day long with a clean dry cloth. It works but be patient; the rewards are not instantaneous.

As for the outside of the horn, that's a different story. I'd polish the inside and then see how you feel about the outside based entirely on the shining original appearance of the inside. You will not remove the alligatoring of the finish without attempting to dissolve it! I would NOT attempt this, to be honest. We refer to this as "crazing" on this side of the pond and it is perfectly acceptable and normal to see on old shellac surfaces. If you can buff the shine back into the surface as I've suggested, the alligatoring becomes far less prominent and is quite acceptable to most eyes.

I doubt Gojo and Kotton Kleanser will touch this problem to be honest as the reason for the dullness is not dirt alone. It is degradation and oxidation of the surface of the shellac caused by heat and light exposure. This causes tiny fissures in the surface and "crazing" leading to less light reflection off the surface. You will therefore need to attack the surface vigorously but not with anything that will dissolve and weaken it. You are simply trying to wear off the uppermost few microns of UV damaged surface to permit the light to both pass through and be reflected back off the surface. The transparency of the shellac achievable by careful use of a rubbing compound, will also allow you to see all the grain again.


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:29 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:11 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Spain
Thanks for all the good tips!!! I will try to to work along the lines of the advice of Steve and Martin and be back here with some pictures when I have results! (Which might be awhile since I'm leaving for Spain presently)

As for the other question at hand about whether the case was red too I still feel unsure.
Steve wrote:
Is the cabinet really walnut? I suspect it is also mahogany and has been stripped back and refinished long long ago as others have suggested. It has been badly bleached by daylight. I have a dark red mahogany HMV horn machine where one corner of the motor-board is almost this same light color through wear and tear / acidic fingers grabbing it whilst winding it up.

Maybe the answer can be found in Austria or Germany, if they made walnut cases? It doesn't make sense that someone /very long ago/ would refinish the case from red (which would have matched the horn) to it's present colour, and how then would the decal on the side have survived?
Maybe the horn and the gramophone simply are mismatched. Here a few pictures from this two-angeled gramophone and the top area, which all look untouched. Anyway the most important thing was to find a way to fix the inside of the horn! I'm really happy for the advice and not having to mess too much with the original finish and think the gramophone can look quite nice even with two shades of wood. Who knows, it could have been a conscious design-choice in it's day...


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:36 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
That last picture looks very much like mahogany grain to me.


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 1:55 pm 
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Victor IV
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:08 pm
Posts: 1921
Location: Harrison Township, MI
I think the case and the horn were the same color, at one time. Look at the finish under the backmount base, it looks red. Look in the corners, at the bases of the cabinet columns, looks red there too. For whatever reason, I think that over time, the color of the cabinet faded more than that of the horn. I would lean towards both pieces being mahogany. Although, some European walnut varieties can be very deceiving.


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:14 pm
Posts: 3702
Location: Merritt Island, FL
In addition to the area behind where the horn bracket is attached, you can probably get a very good idea of what color the base was by removing the turntable and seeing what is there where it was protected from the sun.

Clay
Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume's Laws of Collecting
1. Space will expand to accommodate an infinite number of possessions, regardless of their size.
2. Shortage of finance, however dire, will never prevent the acquisition of a desired object, however improbable its cost.


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:31 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:11 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Spain
This is what it looks like under the turntable, a lot more gloss left there. But the colour is only slightly darker.


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 10:46 am 
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Victor VI
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:14 pm
Posts: 3702
Location: Merritt Island, FL
It sure looks like walnut to me, and basically a finish in good condition. As to the cabinet, I probably would not do more than clean it with GoJo or Kotton Klenser followed by something like Howard Feed-N-Wax. As for the horn, this kind of basic cleaning treatment is always the first step in my book. Is it a magic cure all? Of course not, but there is pretty much nothing to loose and you might be surprised by the improvement.

I am a believer in preserving original finishes when you can, but of preserving filth, not so much, albeit I know that if you get 10 collectors in a room you will likely get at least 12 different opinions on what to do. It is an area where each of us has to find his or her own comfort spot and go with it.

Clay
Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume's Laws of Collecting
1. Space will expand to accommodate an infinite number of possessions, regardless of their size.
2. Shortage of finance, however dire, will never prevent the acquisition of a desired object, however improbable its cost.


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:17 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:11 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Spain
Four years later... but this is the way the horn turned out in the end, I sanded it a little just to let the light through (the edges were already worn off) and then just polished it, I did nothing to the backside where the decal is...I´m happy with the result and this is a keeper. Just thought I´d share it, sorry it took so long...


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:54 pm 
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Victor VI
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:00 pm
Posts: 3331
Location: Western, WA State
Very nice machine and restoration. The cabinet on this machine looks like an American Victor V. Does this machine have a three spring motor and a 12" turntable?
Harvey Kravitz


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 Post subject: Re: A speartip Victor horn in need of help
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:54 am 
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Victor II
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:11 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Spain
Thanks! It turned out well thanks to the good advice from the members of this forum!

It has a 2-spring motor, the case was made in Germany by Deutsche Grammophon, exhibition reproducer with a round needle chuck. The only thing not original to the machine is the crank.


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