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Thread: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

  1. #1
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    Default Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    Greetings all,
    Last weekend I happened upon a Howe-Orme mandolin in a thrift shop. It's a hundred years old and in good condition. I am now the proud owner.
    I plan to address a few minor issues. The first issue is very stiff tuners. I have ultra light strings on order. When they arrive I plan to remove one tuner and clean it hydrosonically. Reinstall it with new strings and tune to pitch to keep tension on. I will then do the remaining tuner and strings.
    I'm comfortable with the task, but would be grateful to draw on the experience of the community to ensure that I get it right.
    The first thing that I notice is that the winding post passes through the headstock without any noticable bushing. I'm concerned that binding here could be a contributing factor to the stiffness.
    Steve

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

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    Steve

  3. #3
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    Take them off, strip them right down and clean thoroughly, then put them back together and hope for the best

    Normally the main issue you have with bush-less tuners like these is that the holes become oblong over time - that does not appear to have happened in this case though. Also since they are worm-under if the posts do develop a lean under string tension then they will tend to slip rather than bind, so hopefully a good clean will fix things. Also use a PTFE based lubricant on them once clean - apply it while the heads are off the instrument, and let it dry thoroughly before replacing (your local cycle shot will have a selection of suitable PTFE lubes).

    Congrats on your purchase!

  4. #4
    Registered User Russ Donahue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    Wow. Wonderful find.
    One watch by night, one watch by day...if you get confused, just listen to the music play.

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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    Thanks guys.
    And thank you for the insight and tips Tavy. I'll search out some PTFE.
    Steve

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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    The ultrasonic cleaner worked quite well. Cleaned things the grime, but kept the patina. The tuners loosened up, but not evenly. Some ended up a bit more loose than I would like, others still have positions in the rotation that bind. I did use some PTFE lube. I may revisit the bind issue at some point, but for now I`m happy with the result.
    Ultra light strings are on. It plays nicely. It`s quite loud and sounds fine.
    There is still a seam on the back to be re-glued, but I think I will seek out a luthier for that task.
    Thanks for the advice and encouragement.
    Steve

  7. #7
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    Wow, it took you 2 months to change strings and clean and lubricate the tuners? Kidding, of course.

    Those tuners have a screw for the round gear. You could slightly loosen the screw on each one to see if that is the problem. Likely, though it might just be the holes are drilled unevenly. As long as you can turn them at all, it is probably all right.
    Jim

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    Default Re: Howe-Orme mandolin repair

    Thanks Jim.
    When I was at it I took a brand new screwdriver that fit
    the slot very well and I applied as much force as I dared to that soft brass screw. It didn't budge.
    Having recently dealt with a seized starter bolt on an aluminum truck transmission I figured patience and discretion was a sound course of action. I quit while I was ahead.
    Steve

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