The MAL sharpener

Discussions on Talking Machines of British or European Manufacture
Victor O
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:11 am
Location: Essex. UK.

Re: The MAL sharpener

Post by flying500 »

I would definitely want a new MAL pointer if and when.

User avatar
Victor III
Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:17 am
Personal Text: "That was inedible muck, and there wasn't enough of it" Vivian Stanshall
Location: Victoria. Australia

Re: The MAL sharpener

Post by chunnybh »

I'd love one of these too, so if you do decide to make them please put me down for a few.

But my thinking is why would you set up workshop to reproduce these when it would be a lot "easier" to come up with a new design that could easily be made with readily available materials and eventually produce a superior sharpener.

Either way it's a labour of love and I'm in for a new sharpener, especially if it's made by Graham.

Keep those needles sharpened!

old country chemist
Victor II
Posts: 270
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:06 pm

Re: The MAL sharpener

Post by old country chemist »

My advice to anyone contemplating reproducing the MAL sharpener, or anything like it is this.
Instead of the usual little holder where the needle is inserted to hold it whilst sharpening, make that part as a chuck arrangement. That means the needle is held exactly in the middle. In the MAL sharpener the set screw that holds the needle in place will push thin thorns to one side, and when they are sharpened the needle will be of-set, and will not, as I have found, give a perfect point. That is my only criticism of the super Mal sharpener, which I have owned for years. I think mine was the tenth that Miles had made.

User avatar
Victor IV
Posts: 1286
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:03 am
Location: Dover, UK

Re: The MAL sharpener

Post by Orchorsol »

Interesting! I heartily respect everyone's views, and of course it's true, the thumbscrew on the MAL (just like a soundbox needle screw) means that the needle point can be slightly off-centre, especially with fine diameter thorns. But I have never found this to be a problem, nor of any detriment to sound, and I very much prefer the thumbscrew arrangement for ease of use. I find chucks on other sharpeners fiddly by comparison, making them less convenient and less satisfying. Personally I would definitely stick with the thumbscrew.

Or perhaps it would be relatively easy to produce them both ways! Small chucks can be sourced for next to nothing from the far East...

I know that Miles Mallinson made them with different diameter needle sockets, presumably according to preference.
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications:

Youtube channel: ... TPE-zTAJGg?

Victor IV
Posts: 1438
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 6:18 am
Location: Luxembourg

Re: The MAL sharpener

Post by CarlosV »

You want to see a thorn sharpener? A SERIOUS sharpener? take a look at this video: [YouTube][/YouTube]

Post Reply