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 Post subject: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:45 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:23 pm
Posts: 29
Hello all. A local antique shop is selling a Victrola XI upright machine that needs some work. I'm not totally new to this hobby, but have never taken on a project Victrola before.

The machine appears to be complete, except for the missing crank and the metal piece on the side that the crank fits into. Everything else is there, including the #2 reproducer. Exterior is in average condition, some scratches, small chips, will need heavy cleaning and detailing, but I saw no obvious issues. When I tried to spin the turntable by hand, it is very hard to turn and grinds like there's something preventing it from spinning. I tried moving the brake mechanism in various positions, this did not change anything.

Questions:
1. what's a good price to pay for a Vic XI in this condition, and what's a decent one currently going for?
2. what kind of problems am I likely to find?
3. are reproduction cranks available or will I have to search for an original?
4. what should I look for that I may have missed?
5. does this sound like a reasonable project for a beginner?

All help greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:56 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 2134
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
You can't really tell about the turntable issue unless you can get ahold of a winding key and try winding up the spring motor, then letting it run out. If the springs are already completely run out and you tried turning the turntable by hand, it might cause resistance/noise of the kind you noticed, although I confess that I've never tried this on my XI (nor would I, as the motor and springs are not designed to be unwound in this manner).

VV-XI is not a rare machine (and some on the board would say that it's not even very desirable, but I love mine), and for one with possible issues like you describe I would pay no more than $100 to $150 tops. It will almost certainly need a CLA of all moving parts, as well as a sound box rebuild. These you could attempt yourself or have done professionally, but either way they're essential. Factor this into your $$ thinking. Victor made more than 800,000 of the XI so parts are readily available. HTH


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:55 pm 
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Victor III
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So many phonographs, so little money
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:12 pm
Posts: 939
Location: The Garden State
Henry is spot on wrt winding the motor up to test it. Barring that, here are some things you should look at:

Motor
-Make sure the govenor springs are not broken and the weights are in place.
-Check all the gears looking for missing gears, excessive wear or broken teeth.
-Make sure it is the correct motor for the cabinet - specifically that the mainspring winding shaft lines up with the winding key hole in the cabinet.
-Try and determine where the grinding sound is coming from.

Reproducer
-Most reproducers require a rebuild. Make sure that the reproducer is in good shape (no cracks or missing pieces) and is correct for an VV-XI (should be an Exhibition or a Victor #2)

Cabinet
-check the veneer around the bottom of the sides of the cabinet so see it is loose suggesting the cabinet spent time in very damp or flooded basements.

As for cost, Henry is correct $100-150 tops for a complete VV-XI in good condition. You could expect to pay ~$25-35 for each mainspring, ~$10-15 for a crank, ~$35-75 for an exhibition reproducer. If the machine needed two new springs, a crank and repro, you could be easily looking at the cost you would expect to pay for a known complete and working machine.

The VV-IX is the most common victrola ever made. They are nice machines and sound great. I own 2 and like them very much. Getting parts for them will be easy.

Is it a project that a Newbie could undertake? Absolutely! and you will learn a tremendous amount about these machines by doing so.

It will boil down to how much you want to risk spending and how much time you want to risk putting into it.

Good luck!
Why do we need signatures when we are on a first avatar basis?


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:54 pm 
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Victor V
on instagram and twitter as "oncedeadsound"
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:35 pm
Posts: 2012
Location: just outside Philadelphia, PA
$100 to $150 is pretty cheap regardless of the condition, unless it's really a basket case.

providing an estimate would be difficult, as most anyone would tell you, without seeing the machine, knowing where it's located (in some parts of the country they're just easier to find than in others)... you didn't say where you were located, or how much the seller is asking...???


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:19 pm 
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Victor Monarch Special
Stop for a visit when in Oregon.
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:25 pm
Posts: 5692
Location: Albany, Oregon
The VV-XI was sold in huge numbers so it's commonly found today with mahogany being the most common. On the plus side it has classic Victrola style and it's one of the smaller uprights. The motor is very adequate. I have a very nice oak example on consignment at a local antique shop for $300 so a project machine should be much less. I hope this helps. Jerry Blais


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:38 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 630
Location: Romney, West Virginia
Personally, I think the VV-XI is the handsomest of Victor's pre-ortho uprights. The proportions and size are all just right. The smaller size makes it easier to fit into today's rooms too.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:35 am 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:23 pm
Posts: 29
Thanks for all the replies, very helpful. The seller wants too much, but if I can get any kind of deal on it, I'll be back with pics and restoration questions. Otherwise, it sounds like I might be better off to hold out for a working machine. I already own one Victrola, a portable VV-20, but I've always wanted a classic upright model. This one just happened to be local and available.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:09 am 
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Victor V
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:47 am
Posts: 2341
Location: Jerome, Arizona
Big Beat,
Keep your eye on your local and regional Craigslists. There is no end of machines posted for sale there so it's just a matter of time before you'll find what you are looking for.
"All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds." Richard Brautigan


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:57 am 
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Victor V
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:01 pm
Posts: 2134
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Just for reference (and just maybe a teeny bit of bragging?), I lucked into my XI at a flea market/"antique" store in a tiny town in far upstate NY, for the irresistible price of $100. But that was in 1980. At the time I knew absolutely less than nothing about old phonographs of any kind, but this machine was so clean and handsome that it just screamed "Buy Me!"---and the rest is history, as they say. It was a totally complete machine, even down to the original owner's manual, with no operational problems whatsoever. Through some miracle of fate, the nickel plating looked (and still does) like it had just come out of Camden, and aside from the usual alligatored finish (unobtrusive, really) it looked and functioned flawlessly. Eventually I had the motor CLAed and the sound box rebuilt, and its full potential could be enjoyed.

As to styling, the gracefully curved "wings" at the front corners represent the organic curvilinear style known as Art nouveau (Jugendstil in Germany/Austria), which was at its height in the decades around the turn of the 19th/20th century. This classic design aspect continues to appeal today.

BTW, $100 was the list price on this machine in 1917, the year of its manufacture, so I think it held its value rather well!


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie, considering a Victrola XI
PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:25 pm 
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Victor Jr
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:23 pm
Posts: 29
Well, life just got more interesting. Today I went back to the shop to examine the Victrola more closely and possibly bargain it down a bit. Then the seller mentioned that he had a second machine with a broken cabinet that I could use for parts if I wanted it. Of course I had to see it, and, to make the long story short, I bought both machines for $200.

The "parts" machine turned out to be a beautiful oak Brunswick with a bizarre reproducer that swivels and plays records in three different directions! I just couldn't pass it up, despite the broken cabinet. It is coming apart at all the seams and two sides are off completely, but it looks like I'd be able to rebuild it. Mechanically, it seems to work just fine, it cranked up and played a record. It just looks like a far more interesting project than the Victrola.

I had to take the Victrola as part of the deal in order to get the Brunswick. I'll probably end up selling it and put the money towards restoring the Brunswick.

So... can anyone tell me if I got a good deal? And just what exactly did I buy? I could not find any model name on the Brunswick, and while I'm somewhat familiar with Victrolas, I have zero experience with other brands.

Here are a couple of pics of both machines in my garage. I'll take more detailed pics later.

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Victrolas3.jpg [ 69.41 KiB | Viewed 3507 times ]

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Victrolas4.jpg [ 85.6 KiB | Viewed 3507 times ]


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