The Fine Things are Always Hand Made
The dial bezel on my philly had tarnished to a dull brown, and the glass locking spring had rusted in position, this proved quite difficult to remove, after working at the old spring with a pick I managed to get the spring and dial glass out, unfortunately the spring did not come out in one piece,
the spring as removed
this left me with the bezel looking very sorry for itself,
realising that it wasn't gold plated, if it was the surface wouldn't tarnish, the bezel could be cleaned up.
this was easily done by a gentle pickle in weak acid, there is a lot of talk in the internet about using ketchup,
dont bother this doesn't work, I did try, just left me with a brown bezel covered in ketchup,
something a little stronger is required, so I used a 5% solution of muriatic acid,
the bezel was soaked in this for about a minute or so, the acid washed off,
the bezel then rubbed over with 0000 steel wool and given a quick buff with a rag.
this left me with a polished antique looking bezel, this was then given a thin coat of laquer.
The problem is what to use as a retaining spring, I have heard of a piano string being used, but these are very hard and difficult to cut,
so I thought what about a bass guitar string, these have a stainless steel core with either stainless steel or nickel wire wound on, and they come in different sizes, the string number is marked in thou's,
I measured the original spring at 1/8", luckily there is a 0.125 string,
allowing for any inaccurate measurement on my part I used a 0.120 string long series wound in nickel wire, smaller being better than bigger as the spring sits in the bezel groove.
this was easily cut with pliers,
the string was roughly cut to length, the cut ends were cleaned up and squared off with a rotary type tool
the length was found by trial and error working with the glass fitted,
as the spring has to be a snap fit, carefully grind down the extra length until it's a push fit into the bezel rim, remember that the wire will be difficult to get out once fitted, be careful with the domed glass.
The results are quite spectacular, a cleaned bezel and new retaining spring,
I did find that there is a bronze version of these strings, they are for an acoustic bass guitar, again available in thousandths of an inch sizes
maybe this would be a better choice as it is a close match to the original bezel color.
The phosphor bronze strings are expensive. I might have to buy a set and just pull out the size I need. Looking at like $22 for a set, and I have 2 dials to do...
It looks like 0.095" is a more common size to be included in a set. I have not found any sets with a 0.090" string. I don't think 2 thousands is going to be a big deal here. I do wonder if the escutcheons with the larger retainer spring have a wider groove? Seems like they would as there is no way I can get that 0.125" string to go into that groove in any way that it would actually stay. Anyway, I am NOT pulling the retainer out of my escutcheon that has the larger size to see if there are any physical differences in the escutcheon. That set is sold and awaiting pickup.
Also, it looks like the larger retainer is made out of steel, and the smaller ones are made out of a bronze like material.
I thank you for this bass guitar string idea and will post pics of my escutcheon when I get it done.
I'm Scott Dickson from Bakersfield, CA in the US. Norman Braithwaite told me about you. He said you might be looking into a reproduction bezel for the Philharmonic. If you are, I would be interested in one. I have a faceplate with the original glass but no bezel/eschuteon or spring.
By the way, great Idea on using a bass guitar string!
Please keep me in mind if you do find a way to reproduce the bezel. Thanks so much!
I got some 0.092" strings today. I was able to find then in an online store that sold single stings. Slightly smaller than the originals that I measured, but they still fit good. I got both of my escutcheons that needed them done. The one escutcheon had the glass glued in and the escutcheon was glued to the cabinet. It took a lot of work with an Xacto knife to remove the escutcheon from the cabinet and then the glass from the escutcheon. Now I need to try to replicate the inside retainer spring.
Nice job Scott,
Thanks for the update, it's worth noting that there are two different sizes of spring,
120 thou for the larger size and 92 thou for the smaller,
I have made a mold, to see if I can electroform one, here are a couple of photo's
This may or may not work, but as these bezels are now a rare find it's worth a try.
I was wondering if you had any success in reproducing a dial bezel or eschuteon for a Philharmonic? I hope so.
Let me know when you can. Thanks so much.
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