Mystery Needle Sharpener

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HMVDevotee
Victor O
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Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by HMVDevotee »

In my quest for the perfect sharpener, I recently acquired this item that was advertised as a steel needle sharpener. As you can see from image following, it is stamped "R. M.. Thorn Sharpener." Instead of a fine grit sandpaper, it is fitted with a stone that is .25" thick and the same diameter as the MAL abrasive surface (the sharpener to the left in the group photo.) For comparison, the sharpener to the right is a Grey "Kacti" re-pointer, one of several I have collected, each with varying degrees of precision fit between the spindle and the interior bore of the handle.

The sharpener is made entirely of brass and appears to be nickle or even silver plated given it's odd tarnished finish. The grips on both handles as well as the collar that tightens the collet are precision machined. The collet itself is brass, precision machined in quadrants, and reversible to accommodate different sized thorns.

Any idea who made this? Never heard of "R.M." as a manufacturer.
Attachments
RM2.jpg
threeSharpeners.jpg
RMstone.jpg
RMbase.jpg
RM1.jpg

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AZ*
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by AZ* »

I also have an R.M. sharpener similar to yours, but the stone is a bit thinner. Mine has the original box. It has RM in big letters on the box. It says "An R.M. Product Manufactured in Great Britain." Address is 71 Grange Road, Sutton, Surrey. Price 11/- including purchase tax.

It works fine for thorn needles.
Best regards ... AZ*

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Orchorsol
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by Orchorsol »

I have a near-identical RM sharpener, and another with the more familiar metal surface to which an abrasive paper ring is fitted - I've also sold a couple of RM sharpeners of the latter type since I've been the purveyor of BCN thorn needles. They do turn up from time to time!

RM were Recorded Music Developments, of 38 George Street, London W1 (interesting that this address differs from yours, AZ). They were also one of several British firms to sell thorn needles - the London address comes from an original packet I have, empty as far as I can remember.

You're very lucky to have a MAL - the Rolls Royce of sharpeners!
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications: http://www.burmesecolourneedles.com

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe4DNb ... TPE-zTAJGg?

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Orchorsol
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by Orchorsol »

Here's my RM sharpener of the 'grindstone' type, similar to yours HMVDevotee. I've had to replace the tyre with a generic Singer type which is thicker than the original, but I find thorn needles are tolerant of a fairly wide variation in angle of sharpening, making no difference to performance generally.

(for some reason the system won't let me load more than one photo at the moment - one more photo to follow)
Attachments
IMG_3737.JPG
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications: http://www.burmesecolourneedles.com

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe4DNb ... TPE-zTAJGg?

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Orchorsol
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by Orchorsol »

Second photo of my similar 'grindstone' RM sharpener:
Attachments
IMG_3739.JPG
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications: http://www.burmesecolourneedles.com

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe4DNb ... TPE-zTAJGg?

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Orchorsol
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by Orchorsol »

And my other RM sharpener, original tyre.
Attachments
IMG_3741.JPG
IMG_3740.JPG
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications: http://www.burmesecolourneedles.com

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe4DNb ... TPE-zTAJGg?

HMVDevotee
Victor O
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by HMVDevotee »

AZ and Orchorsol,

Thanks for your input. And here I thought I'd found something rare! (beginner's luck)

Since we are on sharpeners, I thought I'd share my solution to the Meltrope sharpener's paper disk, a problematic little thing that, if not adhered to its supporting disk, flops around and grinds away the serrated ring on the collet (see #2 in image, below.)

I discovered that the Dremel Cut Off Wheel, part #409, is sufficiently thin to fit under the needle-holder assembly without making contact with the collet (and holder.) I had to open-up the hole in the cut off wheel to fit over the threaded pin that holds the wheel in place, as well a little nut that the uses the same pin to secure the disk that supports the cut off wheel . Actually, the little nut that holds the underlying disk is thicker than the cut off wheel, so I added a tiny "O" ring between the serrated nut and the cut off wheel (illustration #1). It holds perfectly and also provides some cushion, preventing over-tightening and cracking the fragile cut off wheel.

I found that rotating the disk toward the thorn point instead of away from the point makes for the sharpest finish.

(Ah, the gentle madness that is collecting...)

R.
Attachments
Meltrope1.jpg
Meltrope2.jpg
Meltrope3.jpg
Last edited by HMVDevotee on Thu Jun 18, 2020 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Orchorsol
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by Orchorsol »

Actually I think the RM sharpeners are pretty rare, but so is the earlier and better type of Universal, and even more so the MAL.

Wonderful to see that Meltrope sharpener, and that's a great bit of lateral thinking and a really excellent solution! I've never had one of those and would love to find one. There was an example on UK eBay recently, but ridiculously expensive.

How about a unique sharpener, for fun:
Attachments
IMG_3745.JPG
BCN thorn needles made to the original 1920s specifications: http://www.burmesecolourneedles.com

Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe4DNb ... TPE-zTAJGg?

CarlosV
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by CarlosV »

Here are some of the sharpeners I collected over the years:
Attachments
Despite its pedigree, I never got consistently good results with the Davey sharpener. I rarely utilize it
Despite its pedigree, I never got consistently good results with the Davey sharpener. I rarely utilize it
This Meltrope is the one I most frequently use. It has a new sandpaper and is quite effective and reliable.
This Meltrope is the one I most frequently use. It has a new sandpaper and is quite effective and reliable.
The BCN is also good, works fine after I installed a new sanding paper.
The BCN is also good, works fine after I installed a new sanding paper.
This RM is quite good, it comes with a permanent emery.
This RM is quite good, it comes with a permanent emery.

CarlosV
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Re: Mystery Needle Sharpener

Post by CarlosV »

... and I don't think any of these are particularly rare. They may be harder to find in their boxes, but every now and then one of these shows up for sale. As you may guess, I am a frequent user of thorn needles, and only use steel needles as a last resort, or when the record is not compatible with thorns.

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