E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

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Victor IV
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E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by kirtley2012 »

At the beginning of december I welcomed another large horned addition to the family, this one is an Expert Senior, the plaque is marked 64 Firth Street so this one will date from the latter half of the 1930's, it is a factory electric motor, A Collaro AC 37 in this case, and it has it's 4 spring soundbox, as well as it's unusually short stand.

I became aware of the machine in the middle of last year, it was residing in Denmark where it has spent all of it's life, the family who originally owned it brought it to Denmark in the 1930's and it was found in Taastrup in Copenhagen, it being Danish my partner Alice has named it Bjorn... Bjorn the horn.

The base is in very nice condition, but there were some issues, the motor wiring was awful, crumbling away to the extent the wires leading to the switch had shorted so the machine had to be unplugged to turn it off, it was later found the tonearm was missing almost all of its ball bearings but the big issue was the horn, I believe somebody at some point had tugged down at the bell, possibly a child trying to enter the horn (if so it wouldn't be the first time a child has damaged an Expert horn), either way the horn had split right through where the casting ends, the only thing holding the two sections together were the cast metal gusset support.
Someone along the way was likely an amateur engineer and made a brass support bracket to keep the two sections of the horn vaguely upright, but this arrangement didn't hold the two sections together tightly so the horn spent several decades in a stoop.
With all of the gubbins removed here's what we were left with
It took a bit of mind bending to figure out how to go about this repair, but here's a few photo's showing how I did it.

The first step was to get the two pieces of the horn vaguely in line with each other, with the horn having spent decades hanging in a stoop the two sections weren't very keen on sitting back in their original position, but with some elastic cord and gentle persuasion I got it close, at which point an epoxy resin was mixed and cast into the break to keep the two sections together, this alone wouldn't have been strong enough to hold the horn with any real confidence, but it would hold the pieces together enough to allow me to create a slight void around the area, to which was added a few layers of paper, just enough to add a little bit of structure and smooth over the area of the break ready for the strength structure to be built up.
For the main supporting structure I opted for Fibreglass, which has great strength to weight properties and turned out to be an ideal material for this repair, three layers of Fibreglass were used around the area of the break, tapering down to two, then one so the repair could be feathered out without there being a big step to deal with
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This is where I got too carried away and forgot to take photos, but after this point the horn was re-plastered over the area, these white Expert horns were plastered prior to painting, an attempt by Ginn to give a smooth uniform look to the horns, it was thought this would add significant weight to the horns, but I found when repairing this one that the thickness of plaster at the end of the horn is very thin, so the weight difference between these white horns and a paper finished horn is unlikely to be too great and unlikely to have contributed much to the initial damage to the horn, but the paper thickness, being only around 4-5mm in the break area was unlikely to have helped.

My partner Alice is pretty arty, she's also very good at colour matching, so she was tasked with mixing some paint to match the original paint on the horn and she got it pretty spot on!, incidentally the horn was pretty filthy when I got it, it's amazing the colour difference in the horn before versus after!
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With the horn repaired, the motor rewired and the machine given a new lease on life, here it is as it sits now.
Here is the original short base for the Senior, very unusual as unless you want to sit on the floor it's fairly un ideal
And here is a rare sight, a matching pair of Experts, a Junior and a Senior.
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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by soundgen »

well done ! excellent repair !

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Victor III
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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by emgcr »

Well done Alex---a difficult break and superb repair which should ensure greater strength than original and continued listening joy for the coming centuries ! The exact colour-match is quite an achievement by Alice ensuring that the majority of the horn is still as it was supplied when new. Bjorn again and brilliant.

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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by epigramophone »

Good to know that younger people are acquiring the skills which will keep the hobby alive once we old-timers are gone. Well done!

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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by old country chemist »

A most commendable effort, Alex. I have enjoyed looking at the step by step re-incarnation of the horn, a really good job indeed!
I think you are our EMG/Expert repair man now. "No job too big!" A great idea to get your partner Alice involved.
Yes Alex, you are a most worthy forum member, and great to have a "young un" with us older chaps!

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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by Orchorsol »

Congratulations! Really superb result - a seriously challenging repair given the weight of the bell and the extreme forces resulting at the point of the break. Amazing job of blending the finish in too!
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications: http://www.burmesecolourneedles.com

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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by CarlosV »

Good job, Alex! Both horns look great side-by-side.

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Re: E M Ginn Expert Senior arrival and conservation

Post by Ahmed »

Congrats on the new acquisition Alex, and what a wonderful job you did on the horn! Superb work, hats off to you

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