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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While my son is away at college, one of the things we do to stay in touch is send pictures back and forth and then talk about things we see on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and maybe Ebay. Most of the time it is things that are new to us. We takes turns researching the item online and then share what we found.

He saw this old Edison Disc Phonograph. The woman is asking $25. Honestly, if it wasn't 140 miles from him and 200 miles from me, we'd get it. It's a cool old item we'd like to have and from what we know about it, it is all there except for some wood, which can be taken care of. We usually pass on things where mechanical parts are missing because of the difficulty finding parts or making them. Life is just easier if you start with a complete product. We don't have the time to restore this right now, but that's OK.

He and I often talk about whether something should be restored or not. We agree something is only original once. We also agree that if something is no longer original, then we would be OK restoring it. For instance, we have an old Sears motorcycle that has been painted the wrong color and is generally a mess. That we will restore to look like new. Then there is that gray area. Do you clean it and let it be? Clean it and fix up the bad spots? Redo the whole thing?

I think, for us, this phonograph falls into this gray area. He and I would agree it needs the wood fixed up, but do you repair the bad sections and blend it into the old finish, or do you strip it and refinish the whole thing? Regardless, we would want the finish to look original. We both hate it when we see a show on TV where they "restored it to original" and it is obvious it doesn't look anything like it originally did.

I'm just talking about the wood here, we know what we'd do with the mechanical parts. That would just be to clean them up and get them to work like new, but not look new, we'd leave the old patina.

I'm interested hearing what you guys think. What would you do with something like this? How would you bring it back, or would you just clean it and leave it like it is? Remember, we are not getting this one, just interested in what you would do if you had it. With things like this, we wouldn't be interested in reselling it and getting our money and time back, so that's not a factor.

Red or white oak? What type of finish do you think it is? It was made from 1912 I think to about 1929. I'm guessing stain with shellac (or maybe lacquer?). I've seen other examples where they described the condition of the finish as "slight crazing or crackling" if that helps you decide what it might be.

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ohhhhh I would be all over that too if it were in my driving distance.
it screams to be "repurposed" vs "restored". The 78s alone are worth more than $25. Plus, maybe parting out the player parts might pay for the gas to go get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
it screams to be "repurposed" vs "restored".
John brings up a point I didn't think of in my original post: when is it OK to repurpose something? My son and I struggle with that. We hate to see something really old cease to exist. But sometimes it isn't practical to bring something back from the edge, so repurposing is a way to go. When you can part out the item and help others bring theirs back to life, then that's OK too, leaving you what is left to repurpose.

My son and I are seriously into audio equipment. Not of this vintage, more like mid-50s to late 80s. Electronics and speakers. So this would be kind of an extension to our collection (sort of like an odd ashtray here and there that goes with my son's cigarette lighter collection) and an interesting piece of furniture, so we probably would not repurpose something like this.
 

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someone that is getting back into the "vinyl craze" would like to have the 78s just to add to the nostalgia aspect of their projects. Not that they would ever be actually played - but to share that era with others. (I remember them quite vividly).
 

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John brings up a point I didn't think of in my original post: when is it OK to repurpose something? My son and I struggle with that. We hate to see something really old cease to exist. But sometimes it isn't practical to bring something back from the edge, so repurposing is a way to go. When you can part out the item and help others bring theirs back to life, then that's OK too, leaving you what is left to repurpose.

My son and I are seriously into audio equipment. Not of this vintage, more like mid-50s to late 80s. Electronics and speakers. So this would be kind of an extension to our collection (sort of like an odd ashtray here and there that goes with my son's cigarette lighter collection) and an interesting piece of furniture, so we probably would not repurpose something like this.
I'm on the side of rescuing/saving rather than trashing. There's a great You Tube channel I've watched a few hundred times because Trena does such great, careful restorations.

The piece in your photos is a hair's breath away from the trash pile, so why not do what you please with it?
I realize it is not yours, and you are just posing a question, but anything you find in that shape will have a future if you choose to rescue it.
I've really enjoyed the few restoration projects I've taken on.
 
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