Started on the Roberts Bestone

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Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

alang wrote: Sat Feb 03, 2024 2:23 pm This transformation is nothing short of amazing :o

Thanks for the continuous updates!
Andreas
Thank you.

I keep doing this in the hope that people might chime in with advice.

Also there are at least two other Bestone owners here. My journey might help them. Learn from what goes right and wrong.

Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

I am starting to work on cleaning and polishing the horn.

It would be helpful if I could get the horn out of the case and then back in. The getting it out isn't so problematic. The getting it back in is. I could simply drill out the rivets and remove the horn. I do not, however, have any equipment for riveting it back in. They are not standard pop rivets. So the horn stays in the case.

I need to be careful with the outside of the horn that I do not get the polish or the black polish residue onto the velvet lining. The black stain does not easily or completely wash out of the rags I have been using.

The grill/name plate makes cleaning the highly visible interior of the horn problematic. It is screwed in but the top screws are inaccessible. I am going to have to fabricate some kind of tools to use here.
Screenshot from 2024-02-03 17-20-27.png

Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

I had been perplexed by how rigid the needle bar was when I initially started working on the reproducer. It was basically fixed in place with no movement at all. My experience has been limited to pin/pivot reproducers, so I really had no idea how a knive-edge/rocker model should behave. The retaining springs were tightened right up, so I loosened them off a bit, but things did not free up much at all. Hmmm ... maybe this is how it is supposed to be?

Then when it took everything apart, I found the black residue on the springs, which JerryVan identified at the remnants of rubber pads.

I used some pieces of 3M self-adhesive silicone weather stripping to make new pads. I probably did not get them thin enough, and I probably made them a little too big for cosmetic purposes since I cut them to the same size as the end of the spring, not realising that they would then squash out past the edges of the spring when everything was reassembled. Hey ... first go ...
Screenshot from 2024-02-05 08-00-39.png
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Even with the springs tightened right up now, the needle bar moves fairly easily within a limited range that will far exceed any compression or expansion of the diaphragm. I am not certain how tight the springs should be, but things seem to be OK at the moment, and the screws are secure enough that there is no danger of them vibrating loose.
Last edited by Lah Ca on Mon Feb 05, 2024 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JerryVan
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by JerryVan »

I think that looks perfect!

Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

JerryVan wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2024 12:50 pm I think that looks perfect!
Thanks.

Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

I got the stuff I needed to rebuild the reproducer this morning.

The tube gasket I have for my Aeolian Vocalaion reproducers is the same as that for a Victor Exhibition. It is a bit too small for the Bestone Celebrity soundbox. So I ordered a thicker tubing that is used with a Columbia reproducer; it is almost too big, but it worked.

With my AV rebuilds, I started ordering more than what I needed because of my initial uncertainty and my wanting to have fall back spares. I have continued this practice, and a good thing it is, too! I ordered double what I needed for the Bestone. I got short changed on the tubing. I got one sort of OK diaphragm, better than the original, and one train wreck with lots of places with separating mica. Both had very poorly drilled centre holes.

Hmmm. The mica I got for my AV rebuilds was very good and the tubing was cut generously. Same source. I will raise the issue with them.

Anyway ... I redid the soundbox. It was a bit challenging, but it came out OK. It passes the blow test--no air leaks.

I temporarily used the old back flange flat gasket. I made a new tube gasket for the retainer--I had to use the Exhibition size tubing--the Columbia size was way too big. I don't think the retainer was intended to be absolutely tight to the back plate. Mine originally appeared to have a bit of bees wax applied to it where it meets the back plate. I will probably add some wax later. There are some other things I need to adjust, too.
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I reassembled the tone arm, lubricating it with a bit of synthetic grease. I installed the sound box using the original gasket, and then I took it all to my AV machine, I found a spot where I could hold down the base of the tone arm with my thumb and where the arm had a good radius arc across a 12" record. I wound the machine up and played a repaired Beniamino Gigli record using a medium tone needle. The reproducer and arm "with no horn" are really, really loud, and they sound quite good. It is a pity the reproducer will not fit on any of my other machines. It would be nice to hear it with a horn. But that will have to wait.

Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

Today, I took a 1200 dpi scan of the luggage label that was glued to the back of the case and did some cursory research. The label is more legible in the scan.

An earlier photo of the label in situ: download/file.php?id=189024&t=1

Online, I cannot find another Cunard luggage label of this style.

A screen shot of an enlarged detail from the high res scan:
Screenshot from 2024-02-11 10-21-58.png
As stated before elsewhere, the Bestone left Liverpool on April 20th, 1924, on the ship, SS Athenia, in the company of a Miss G. E. Blackwell, travelling Tourist Third Cabin, in room 209. And, yes, the machine was wanted on the voyage.

Interestingly, the Athenia was not a Cunard ship. There are some records of Cunard contracting its services, I think. The Athenia was also later the first recorded maritime civilian casualty of WWII. It was torpedoed in error by a German U-Boat. At this early stage of the war, the captain and crew were apparently in horror at their mistake and did not record the event in their log books, and it was kept secret. At government levels, there were accusations and sincere denials following the sinking. It was only after the war that some of the crew confessed to the sinking.

I cannot find a passenger list for the ship for April 20, 1924, nor a list of disembarkation from the ship in the US or Canada. There are postings of lists but they are incomplete and haphazard and are not searchable. I will look again later.

Tourist Third Cabin does not sound all that opulent, but Miss G. E. Blackwell and her gramophone probably still traveled in some luxury.


https://luxurylinerrow.com/product/broc ... to-europe/


https://luxurylinerrow.com/product/broc ... to-europe/


https://www.ggarchives.com/OceanTravel/ ... tions.html

Lah Ca
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Lah Ca »

I spent part of today cleaning up the horn in situ. It was difficult.

Rather than making specialised tools from scratch, I went to a dollar store and bought some cheap cleaning implements that I could adapt. A long bamboo handled Clorox brand sponge brush was particularly useful, first for a soap and water wash and then for polishing with microfibre cloths wrapped around it and secured with zap straps. I also used q-tips and straw cleaning brushes.
Screenshot from 2024-02-12 17-11-20.png
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Inigo
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by Inigo »

My God! It is starting to look so beautiful that you'll have to touch it with white antique librarian gloves on your hands...!!! :lol:
Inigo

An Balores
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Re: Started on the Roberts Bestone

Post by An Balores »

Nice to see the attention to detail. It will be well worth all the effort you have expended on this machine to restore it.

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