The Talking Machine Forum — For All Antique Phonographs & Recordings

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 Post subject: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:07 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 576
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
On Ebay, I'm seeing many new (recently made) black wax cylinders offered. I'm also seeing high prices being asked, and accepted, for black wax cylinders that are not playable, but intact. Which brings the question: Are the old black wax cylinders that are badly worn or surface damaged being shaved and re-recorded?


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:59 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:23 am
Posts: 2445
Location: NW Indiana B-19;VV-IV; VV-VI;VV-XVI; Edison Home B; Amberola 30; Col. BK; Magnola;
I have not seen the records, but it’s my hope that people are not shaving down good wax cylinders and recording on them with new material. If people are doing this, it means we are losing a lot of recordings and these cylinder recordings are lost forever.
Are they black or brown cylinders? If they are brown that’s even more of a loss.


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:23 pm 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:41 pm
Posts: 1955
Location: Linden, NJ 07036
As startgrove said he was talking about cylinders that are badly worn or surface damaged being shaved. I shave and sell brown wax cylinders. I only use cylinders that are molded beyond playable. I would never shave a brown was cylinder that has a playable surface. Heavily molded brown wax cylinders are not that hard to find and have no real value when they can’t be played.

As for shaving black wax cylinders I would not recommend it as it would ruin the sapphire cutter on a 4 minute recorder very quickly. The original black wax blanks were a softer composition than the 4 minute commercial cylinders.

Rich Gordon


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:43 pm 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:48 pm
Posts: 1393
Location: SF Bay Area, Calif.
A lot (maybe all?) of the custom-recorded black wax cylinders on eBay are sold by theVictrolaGuy. He uses cut-down Dictaphone or Ediphone blanks, not Gold-Moulded original cylinders. I don't think the latter would be viable for shaving and recording.


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 5:45 pm 
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Victor II
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:27 pm
Posts: 399
Location: Peoria, IL
startgroove wrote:
On Ebay, I'm seeing many new (recently made) black wax cylinders offered. I'm also seeing high prices being asked, and accepted, for black wax cylinders that are not playable, but intact. Which brings the question: Are the old black wax cylinders that are badly worn or surface damaged being shaved and re-recorded?

This person is shaving old black cylinders (tried buying a shaver I had, but wanted it for well below what I was asking). He is putting newer music (still under copyright) as well as re-recording scarce cylinders. Have not heard his recordings, but they seem pricey to me


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:22 pm 
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Victor III
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:01 pm
Posts: 576
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
You're right. I see that many of the new cylinders are of newer music, or music that was never around when the original black wax cylinders were popular.

It seems to me that shaving any original wax cylinder would be easier to conquer using modern tools rather than an old Edison shaver, if someone needed to do it bulk.

The later black wax cylinders seem to be the ones that are being re-recorded. Yet, those are also the ones that don't respond well to re-recording by the original acoustic method. However, it seems like it would not be difficult to achieve good recording results by applying contemporary technologies.


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:29 pm 
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Victor III
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Richards Laboratories http://www.richardslaboratories.com producing high quality cylinder blanks
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 11:28 pm
Posts: 832
As Rich pointed out already, there are basically
two kinds of wax out there:

1) Wax made for cutting with a recorder cutter.
This includes brown wax and later black wax dictation
blanks.

2) Wax made for molded mass-produced pre-recorded
commercial entertainment cylinders. This wax has
intentionally added hardeners which make it entirely
unsuitable for cutting with a recorder cutter.
Wax of this type includes that used for Edison "Gold
Moulded" 2 minute records and 4 minute "Amberol" cylinders.

Throughout the years, every so often, some of the
usual suspects on youtube with their seemingly endless
series of videos will do demonstrations of various
methods of successfully shaving and recording over
a "Gold Moulded" cylinder.

This does prove that with enough determination and
brute-force, yes, it is "possible" to shave and re-record on this hard wax, which was originally intended only ever to be played, not cut using
a recorder cutter!

Yup. If you squeeze hard enough, sometimes a few
drops of blood actually drip out of a turnip.

Shaving and re-recording over an old hopelessly
useless brown wax cylinder makes perfect sense
though. That was their intended purpose and a few
shaves is all it takes to get under the moldy
and oxidized wax.

And, as for giving it a go using more modern methods,
my take on that is "sure, yeah, go ahead!"
Try it. Then get back to us with your results.
"Sustained success depends on searching
for, and gaining, fundamental understanding"

-Bell System Credo


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:15 pm 
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Victor V
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Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:23 am
Posts: 2445
Location: NW Indiana B-19;VV-IV; VV-VI;VV-XVI; Edison Home B; Amberola 30; Col. BK; Magnola;
colmike1 wrote:
startgroove wrote:
On Ebay, I'm seeing many new (recently made) black wax cylinders offered. I'm also seeing high prices being asked, and accepted, for black wax cylinders that are not playable, but intact. Which brings the question: Are the old black wax cylinders that are badly worn or surface damaged being shaved and re-recorded?

This person is shaving old black cylinders (tried buying a shaver I had, but wanted it for well below what I was asking). He is putting newer music (still under copyright) as well as re-recording scarce cylinders. Have not heard his recordings, but they seem pricey to me


In my opinion they are pricey. Several years ago he was offering a device to transfer music into the reproducer to make cylinder records. Then after he realized that this may hinder his business of transferring mp3’s to wax, he stopped making and selling his adapter.

There are a ton of videos on YouTube that he has made where he says he takes old wax and shaves it down. I am thinking it must be old moldy or worn cylinders. As long as they are moldy or worn out, why not reuse them. I do think his boxes and graphics look nice.


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 Post subject: Re: Black Wax Cylinder Re-record
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:43 pm 
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Victor IV
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 3:41 pm
Posts: 1955
Location: Linden, NJ 07036
As stated before the VictrolaGuy uses shaved brown wax and dictaphone cylinders for recording his new music. In this he past few years I’ve probably sold him close to 200 shaved cylinders, mostly brown wax and some dictaphone. I think his prices are high but he seems to sell them fairly well.

Rich Gordon


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