Saturday, January 10, 2015

New decal for an old machine

Having re-covered the "His Master's Voice" HMV101 portable gramophone in new Rexine a while back, the finishing touch now is a new trademark.

When re-covering the gramophone also a new tray was fitted. The old tray was still in decent condition with intact trademark image. Just couldn't bring myself to destroy that and re-cover it, so then made a new replacement tray. This also made a few modifications possible to allow records being stored with their sleeves. The whole instrument then had fresh blue Rexine again, but no longer the characteristic trademark painting of the listening dog in front of the gramophone.

Finally went ahead and bought from South America new decals. This Ebay seller has a fairly large range of restoration decals for gramophones, typewriters, radios and telephones. Luckily the HMV trademark image and text as was used on this HMV101 turned out to be pretty much identical to the type used on the HMV157 and that was available. Shipped quickly, well packed and I have to say the graphics really are very nice.

The new decal compared to the original on the (faded) original record tray. The new has shiny gold lettering whereas the original lettering is more yellow. It may have been gold in '29, but in '14 it is yellow. (Having it on the machine, I am guessing it was originally yellow lettering instead of gold and for a reason. With the lid slanted forward, the gold lettering on the 101 is dark and nearly invisible. On the 157 it would be tilted to the back toward the light and shine.)

With the decal came a few snippets of decal to test out the process. These were applied on the small woodblock that was also used to test the Rexine. All that is needed is some warm water (with a small drop of soap) and a cloth. Ideally also a bottle of Microsol and a brush. 

Cut the decal to size, soaking in the saucer it very quickly becomes loose and can be slid from the backing paper in place onto the surface. Techniques probably vary on timings, but applying Microsol after letting the decal dry a bit will then dissolve the decal material. This leaves the ink of the image and reduces and blurs the shine of the decal sheet as well as settles the decal into the profile of the target surface. This worked surprisingly well and luckily did not attack or dissolve the Rexine.

Cutting around the image leaves the least amount of decal sheet, taking approximate measure of where it needs to end up. This is a rather large decal and needed care to not wrinkle or fold, but after applying can still be moved around a bit to fix in the right position.

With the decal on the new record tray, very faintly the shine of the outline of the decal sheet can be seen. The painting itself is also a large surface area with relatively thick ink, making it harder to conform well to the Rexine surface. As recommended on the bottle, several applications of Microsol with some time between were needed to blur out the sheet edges and make the decal blend in.

Result is now a bright blue HMV101 with an equally bright trademark. Looking the part again!

(For gramophone anoraking: the new record tray is a slightly modified design to also take records with sleeve. It has smaller and narrow hinge-blocks instead of the larger triangles. Also the sides of the tray were made very thin from thick card to have space for the width of a sleeve. Also the hole for the spindle is larger in the new tray than it is the original design. And of course the deck of the original machine was also blue and not lacquered.)