Softening old rubber

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Dischoard
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Softening old rubber

Post by Dischoard »

If you're like me and found the price of a little piece of replacement rubber for your Orthophonic reproducer a little prohibitive then maybe, like me, you've tried to find ways to soften your old rubber flanges.

Let me just tell you that the trick of Wintergreen oil and alcohol absolutely will NOT do what you want. I left mine in the solution for a couple of hours and pulled out a grey, oily, fragile mess. I was going to leave it in for an entire day like a YouTube video demonstrated. Apparently the wintergreen works great on new rubber made in the last 40 or so years. It appears NOT to work on 100 year old rubber. Soupy mess. Granted, I'll give it a day and let it dry but I really don't have high hopes.

I have spoken.

;)

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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by CarlosV »

My experience with winter green was like yours when I tried on a Pathé rubber phonograph attachment - it became a mess. However, when I tried it on an Exhibition rubber back it worked fine, restoring it to its flexible condition without melting its surface. It is a shot in the dark.

I found winter green useful to remove old rubber that is stuck to soundboxes, melting it and making it easy to remove with a wood stick.

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Orchorsol
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by Orchorsol »

That's really useful to know, and will save me the disappointment of buying some Oil of Wintergreen - thanks!

A product I've used with moderate success (only) for softening old rubber is 303 Aerospace Protectant.
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Curt A
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by Curt A »

This stuff worked great for softening the rubber seals on my BMW convertible top. I never tried it on phonograph rubber parts, but it should work well. 'Gummi Pflege Stift' Rubber Care, made in Germany.
https://www.amazon.com/nextzett-9148061 ... B004B8GTQG

Another thing that I was told to use by an old collector is automotive brake fluid.
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by gramophone-georg »

Curt A wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 10:11 am This stuff worked great for softening the rubber seals on my BMW convertible top. I never tried it on phonograph rubber parts, but it should work well. 'Gummi Pflege Stift' Rubber Care, made in Germany.
https://www.amazon.com/nextzett-9148061 ... B004B8GTQG

Another thing that I was told to use by an old collector is automotive brake fluid.
German products have a great rep for performing as stated. Lacquer thinner sometimes works as well. It likely has everything to do with the composition of the rubber, though.
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by chunnybh »

Another thing that I was told to use by an old collector is automotive brake fluid.
That's what I use with great results. Soak in a sealed glass jar with brake fluid for a couple of days. Some very hard parts took over a week. No mess.

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Dischoard
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by Dischoard »

A comparison video on YouTube showed brake fluid vs. wintergreen oil and the brake fluid didn't perform well. I wonder if brake fluid is recommended because it works well on OLD rubber whereas the person in the video was using NEW rubber. I'll give it a shot and let everyone know how it turned out.

After the mess of the wintergreen oil dip the part dried out and is now hard again (but minty fresh ;) ). I ended up just ordering two new flanges from Walt on eBay as I have another machine coming and I imagine it will need a refresh. I have some old exhibition back flanges that I kept, I'll try the brake fluid with those as well. Wonder if it works on the reproducer rest on the VV 2-35?

On a side note, is there somebody who collects and reuses the brass parts from orthophonic and exhibition reproducer flanges? I've been saving them not wanting to throw them away. Seems like it shouldn't be too hard to repurpose those into a rebuild?

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Inigo
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by Inigo »

I read herein that Ron Stiko (+, God bless him) used to collect old rubber backs with the brass collar and reused them to make new backs... In that he made a discount on the price of a new back if you sent him the old one complete...
Inigo

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Dischoard
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Re: Softening old rubber

Post by Dischoard »

Ah yes. So I suppose we wait to see who steps up to pick up Ron's banner and start running with it.
I'll hang on to them for now. Thanks!

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