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Music Roll Repair Method
by John Taber

Hardware needed is a 2' by 3' smooth flat board, a plate glass about the same size, a carpenter's square, some form of weight (I use a 3-pound sledgehammer head), a box of Cut-Rite waxed paper, some sheets of black poster cardboard (cut to sheets approximately 2' by 3'), a box of razor blades, a roll of plain banner paper .0035 inch thick, a 1-foot flat metal ruler, round tube roll punches of assorted sizes, a couple of Irwin 1-1/2" quick-grip clamps, a 1" wallboard tape roller (smoothed out by holding at an angle on a belt sander with a tiny bit of grease on the axle), a 4" cookie roller, a flat iron (no steam) and the glue (Testor's Extra Fast Drying Model Plane Cement for WOOD, in the brown tube).

First lay the cardboard over the flat board and lay the roll over that, with the edge for repair facing you. Tweeze out all the tears and folds and flatten them with the back of your fingernail, then iron them flat. Then slide a 22" sheet of wax paper under the roll, leaving about 1-1/2" out beyond the edge. Lay the carpenter square about 3" onto the roll to keep it steady. Have another 22" sheet of wax paper ready to grab. Practice makes perfect on how much glue to use on how far the tears run in.

Lay a bead of glue straight from the tube, starting an inch inside the end of the wax paper, all along the top of the tears until an inch before the other end of the wax paper. Then quickly lay the other sheet of wax paper over it to match the bottom sheet. Slide your finger lightly over the bead of glue while holding the sheet steady with you other hand. With the 4" roller, slowly but firmly roll the glue over the tears and off the edge of the roll. Then roll the excess glue between the wax paper back over the edge of the roll. This forces the glue under the edge of the roll and between the tears. At any time you can stretch the top sheet to keep it smooth.

Then take the 1" roller and roll back and forth and at angles at both ends, keeping the glue contained between the two sheets of wax paper. On final rolling, bear down starting beyond the top of the repair and roll off the edge of the roll. This ensures all excess glue is off the roll. If the job is done right, the area should look dark or wet.

Let this set for about six minutes, then lay the square on the edge of the roll. (By making the repair shorter than the 2' square, you can see the exposed roll on both ends for an even line-up.) Then put the weight (hammer head) on the angle end to keep the square from slipping on the wax sheet. Hold down firmly and make the cut. I have a small piece of wood a bit longer than 1 foot to lay across the roll to steady it.

Then take an empty paper towel tube and lay it across the top wax sheet and peel it off, sliding it over the tube to keep it smooth. Let this air-dry for a couple minutes, then take an old kitchen knife and slide it between the roll and the bottom wax sheet tilted down slightly to separate roll from wax sheet. Remove the wax sheet. Air-dry another minute, then slowly iron with the heat setting below "Nylon". This will rapidly cure the glue.

For single tears, iron flat then put a small piece of wax paper under it then spread a small bead of glue on top and lift one side up and glue will run over the edge, then flatten it down wiping the excess off with the finger, having another piece of wax paper to put right over it and press the 1" roller over it. Proceed as before. Have paper towels handy.

For large patches use the banner paper. I cut it to legal size sheets, then run them through the fast print mode to put a piano roll coloring on it. You don't want to work more than a foot at a time anyway. Make sure the cutting board and poster board is out beyond the bench an inch or so for clamping room. Slide the banner paper way under the roll leaving an inch or so out from the edge of the roll. Lay the square 3" onto the roll. If it is a reproducing roll with messy tape repairs, now is the time to punch out the perforations through the repair tape and the banner paper underneath. Punch a little beyond the repair area so you won't miss anything after the cut.

Now lay the square just beyond the edge of the tape and measure the area to be rid of. Make note of the start and stop, and make the cut. Make sure there is enough banner paper underneath, on all sides, before cutting the left and right sides. Remember the start and stop points and take a sharp point X-Acto knife and cut on an angle out off the edge of the roll. Now take off the square and slide out the banner paper.

Throw away the tape patch leaving a new strip with perforations ready to glue in. Now put the wax sheet back under the roll, lay the square an inch above the repair area, match the patch perfectly, then lay the 1-foot ruler across the bottom of the patch, leaving about 2" between ruler and square with cut in the center, then clamp. Have a 2" by 1' strip of wax paper ready. Keep a clean folded paper towel right next to the working area.

You need a little practice for these next steps. Start with a 2" bead of glue dead center over the top cut, take the kitchen knife, slide it under the flap and lift it so the glue will go underneath as well. Then lay it back down, wipe the excess off the top with your finger, wipe the finger, then cover with wax paper and roll back and forth. Do the entire length of cut before doing the angle cuts. Let dry a couple minutes then take off the clamps and slide the ruler over until it is 1" inside the end of the patch. Clamp down and glue, lifting the flap as before, wiping and rolling. If there is more in line for repair, do not glue this end. Proceed as before.

On long chain perforations, slide the wax sheet under the area, run a small bead of glue over them wiping the excess with your finger, wax paper and roll with 1" roller being careful how you roll so the perforations doesn't spread apart. It might need it twice. Let this dry overnight before punching it out. It can be rolled up so you can go on to something else.

When all the repairing is done, turn upside down and spray with Elmer's Slide All. This is a good time to remove the spool and replace broken flanges or, if need be, wire brush and paint the steel flanges. Leave a 1/32-inch space between the left flange and the paper pack. I use masking tape to tighten the flange within the core. If I need to remove old tape I use the plate glass and "Goo Gone Extreme Remover". Works good, given a little time.

John Taber
East Hartford, Connecticut

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This page was last revised February 23, 2013 by John A. Tuttle, who Assumes No Liability
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