The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:16 am 
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Victor III
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donniej wrote:
$35 for 100 needles is a little expensive but I've been experimenting with PTFE (teflon) and couldn't resist ordering a set. I'll let you know how they perform.

Wow, that's comparable to the price of Burmese Colour Needles (thorns), but BCNs can be sharpened many dozens of times!

I have immediate concerns about the idea of playing a record with any kind of polymeric (plastic etc) needle - I believe transient point temperatures at the tip can be extremely high, and I imagine they would leave some kind of deposit on the groove surface. I'd be really interested to hear your experiences Donnie.
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications
www.burmesecolourneedles.com


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:19 am 
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VTLA
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If I remember correctly (which is not certain), they were suggesting to use something like WD-40 or Teflon spray as lubricant on the records to decrease wear and increase the number of records you could play with one needle. Aside from the mess, I don't like to add anything like that to my records, so I wasn't interested in these needles anymore.

Andreas


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:37 am 
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Victor IV
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 2:04 pm
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alang wrote:
If I remember correctly (which is not certain), they were suggesting to use something like WD-40 or Teflon spray as lubricant on the records to decrease wear and increase the number of records you could play with one needle. Aside from the mess, I don't like to add anything like that to my records, so I wasn't interested in these needles anymore.

Andreas

Some 78s get dirty with age and can slow down the motor of your gramophone. This is often put down to weakness of the spring, but is often just drag caused by dirt. I find that cleaning the record surface with WD40 usually solves the problem like magic! I know some experts say that you can cause damage to some of the materials used to make certain 78s, but I have never found this to be so. Use very little WD40 and wipe off thoroughly before playing. You will see that the needle becomes clogged with the embedded grime which can easily be wiped off.

https://www.windupgram.co.uk/hints/


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:04 am 
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Victor V
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soundgen wrote:
Some 78s get dirty with age and can slow down the motor of your gramophone. This is often put down to weakness of the spring, but is often just drag caused by dirt. I find that cleaning the record surface with WD40 usually solves the problem like magic! I know some experts say that you can cause damage to some of the materials used to make certain 78s, but I have never found this to be so. Use very little WD40 and wipe off thoroughly before playing. You will see that the needle becomes clogged with the embedded grime which can easily be wiped off.

https://www.windupgram.co.uk/hints/


I will never understand why anyone would do that. A proper wash of a disc with even just mild detergent and lukewarm water will remove a great deal of embedded crap. My cleaning system is not cheap and most people would never invest the money, but still, soap and water, not WD-40, not wax, not spray furniture polish. :roll:

Sean


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:20 am 
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Victor III
Joined: Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:33 pm
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The question is,for me,is,How well would those plastic needles hold up?edisonplayer


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:24 am 
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Victor VI
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Needle Tins are Addictive
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Agreed... NO furniture polish or wax, but WD-40 does work... The actual problem with soap and water is that if you are not careful, it will damage the labels. WD-40 does not damage coated paper record labels - just don't get it on uncoated ones, as it can make them transparent.

It is reversible, just wash it off if you don't like it. However, on worn records it actually improves the sound by lubricating the grooves and eliminating a lot of surface noise. I have been using it for over 40 years without ANY problems. I believe that a lot of shellac records suffer from "drying out" over time and WD-40 rejuvenates the lost lustre and original oils.

I understand the skepticism, but if you haven't tried it, you really can't judge it... WD-40, for whatever reason, has gotten a lot of bad publicity. People claim that it gums stuff up, dissolves paint and all other kinds of things that I have never experienced. Also, by WD-40, I mean the brand WD-40, not other stuff that claims to be similar. It also works great for giving original finish black japanned horns an upgrade without having to repaint them. Try this on some records you don't care about or on a horn that you think needs a re-paint... then decide.

Harvey Kravitz and I have both discussed this method many times and agree that it is a simple, but overlooked solution.
"The phonograph† is not of any commercial value."
Thomas Alva Edison - Comment to his assistant, Samuel Insull.

"No one needs a Victrola XX, a Perfected Graphophone Type G, or whatever you call those noisy things."
My Wife


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:30 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 3:46 pm
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
Orchorsol wrote:
I have immediate concerns about the idea of playing a record with any kind of polymeric (plastic etc) needle - I believe transient point temperatures at the tip can be extremely high, and I imagine they would leave some kind of deposit on the groove surface. I'd be really interested to hear your experiences Donnie.


PTFE provides so little friction that I doubt any temperature build up at the tip is likely. As for depositing material in the grooves, that would seem probable, though easily removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 5:56 am 
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Victor I
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I enjoyed watching the video and the German accent. The needle appears to perform well but towards the end of the record there is loss of clarity on the loud parts and he does show us that the point has become quite deformed after the play. It seems likely that there would be less wear than with a steel needle but at 4 or 5 times the price I'm not sure how many he'll sell. I admire the effort and the product looks professional.

For other international forum members the video is also available in German and French. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:11 am 
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Victor I
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Here's the direct link:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5KpNHE4QWf8


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 Post subject: Re: Plastic phonograph needles - Has anybody tried them?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:12 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:18 am
Posts: 951
The video is interesting but it only demonstrates that the plastic needle can play one side of a record. A product like this to be convincing needs an endurance test, i.e., play the same record multiple times changing for a new needle after every play, and checking the wear afterwords. Our experience as collectors show that a record played with steel needles that are not reused, or played with thorn needles, is subject to minimal wear after hundreds of cumulative playing, and this is what makes most of us collectors confident in utilizing such needles to play our records.


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