by Reblitz Restorations
Restoring a reproducing piano, coin piano, or orchestrion includes restoring the piano, pneumatic player systems, any extra instruments, the electric motor and wiring, the cabinet, and the finish on the wood and metal parts. Restoring a band organ or dance organ includes these components, but with pipes and pipe chests instead of a piano. All restorations include regulating every adjustable part, voicing each instrument to sound its best, and tuning everything. This web page illustrates some of the services that we provide.
We offer restoration services for all player mechanisms, from simple replacement of leather and rubberized cloth, to repairing and replacing parts damaged by previous repairs, water, or other abuse. We also perform cosmetic restoration to return parts to their original appearance when desired. The cost of recovering pneumatics, replacing gaskets, pouches, and valve leather is basic. Cosmetic restoration of wooden and metal parts to like-new appearance (not better-than-new appearance) takes substantially more time. Repairing damage such as cracked and warped valve chests, hundreds of stripped screw holes, and broken wooden parts caused by careless previous repairs or poor storage conditions takes even longer.
Illustrated descriptions will be added soon showing restoration of pneumatic components, including these:
Wurlitzer, Philipps, and Hupfeld offered automatic roll changers for some of their instruments. All of these brands operate reliably when carefully restored and when playing rolls that are in excellent condition.
We offer replicating and machining of broken and missing parts, replacement of worn shafts, rebushing of holes that were made oversize after heavy chrome plating was applied, and new castings to replace the broken and warped pot metal castings in Wurlitzer changers made from about 1917 on.
When replating is desired, we use nickel plating that has the appearance of the original. We carefully strip the old plating off and prepare the parts for replating in our own shop. We do not use a plating company that sands, buffs, and polishes everything, because most shops round off the original sharp edges, remove fine detail on castings, and apply heavy nickel (or worse, chrome) that looks more like a car bumper than an original roll changer part. (We do provide high polish on piano pedals, the pressure bar, plate lag screws, and other parts that originally had this finish.)
|The photograph to the right shows a restored and replated late style Wurlitzer roll changer with new replacements for the broken pot metal parts, and plated in electroless nickel, being re-installed in a fully restored Wurlitzer Style CX 65-note Orchestra Piano. Please click on the photograph to see more photographs showing Wurlitzer, Hupfeld, and Philipps roll changers.||CLICK HERE or above image for more...|
The condition of the piano is fundamental to the sound and proper operation of any coin piano, orchestrion, and reproducing piano. A complete restoration includes the pinblock and back structure, soundboard and bridges, cast iron plate, keyboard, and action. We always attempt to preserve as many original parts as possible. In instruments where the soundboard, pinblock, or entire back structure is warped, cracked, or abused beyond repair, we make careful reproductions of the parts as necessary. In an instrument with a keyboard, the action and keyboard should be regulated as carefully as if the piano were going to be played by hand. This allows the automatic player action to perform at its best.
Whether an orchestrion or organ, the windchest and other parts that carry pressurized air from the pump and reservoir to the pipes must be as airtight as practical. Each pipe must be repaired if necessary, voiced to sound like it did originally, and then tuned so everything will sound pleasant when playing together. We always check the tuning of xylophones and bells and tune them to the correct pitch as needed. In band, dance, and fairground organs, the player mechanism, whether roll- or cardboard book-operated must be restored as described in “Pneumatic Restoration” above. In a keyed organ, the key frame is regulated as carefully as the tiniest action parts are in a grand piano, so all notes play together without any excessive wear to the cardboard book.
We will soon add photos showing important aspects of band organ restoration.