Singing Bird Cage - restoration

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I have managed to get hold of a singing bird cage at a reasonable price after years of trying.

It's not working...I would like some advice on what solutions to use to clean it as I think it just requires a good clean, nothings broken.

Can anyone tell me what make of cleaner to use and what lubricant would be best, have attached photo's!





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Hello Hayley and welcome.

Well I must admit that this is a first from my point of view and its outside of the norm for the forum.  There are so many members that maybe someone will know something ! 

I can see a mechanism in your pic with what appear to be plastic bellows and a regulator ? Try to work backwards through from the bellows to what and how someting is compressing them to how that something gets its power and how that power is supplied - wind up key ?

If it is a wind up operation it will involve a spring as the drive, giving a controlled level release of power to operate the bellows and perform any movements of the bird if that is applicable.  If it is a spring it may be wound up tight so be very careful if releasing that power or you may hurt fingers or eyes.

Really if the members were to help they need a tad more info and you would need to remove the movement for a better look.  If you are intent on diy, as you do so, take pics each time before and after removal of screws, bolts and parts generally.  Broken parts may present a problem with spares if they are needed so be careful.  Look for simple stuff first, has anything foreign got in there to jam the works.

Regarding movement parts, plastic is generally OK to clean with mild detergent and light brushing, metal parts of the movement could be cleaned in lighter fluid and in your position a light oil like sewing machine oil may be OK where metal touches metal on faster moving parts and 3 in 1 oil on slower moving parts to keep things simple but without a better view of the actual mechanism these are just guesses.  PS I have assumed it is mechanical if it is battery operated other info may apply.

I have deliberately kept away from complicating this help and hope that if others spot any flaws in my suggestions they will jump in to negate or supplement my advice.

Forum members here are helpful and often willing to give advice but I have to admit this is a new one for me,



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So sorry I didn't reply, I didn't see this!

I have taken the mechanism apart and it's just a plastic cog that's broken, it's proving a massive problem but I am going to take it to a watch maker in Dorset who will hopefully be able to help. Will let you know how it goes! ☺

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It’s a pity it is a reproduction.

The antique sort you would treat it in the same way as an antique musical box.

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Yes it is a pity but I wouldn't have been able to afford the antique variety.

Basically the only difference is the bellows are plastic and this one cog is plastic the rest is the same.

I will look into getting it cleaned but if I were to do it myself what's the best cleaner and lubercant for the spring itself?



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Petrol or lighter fuel for the spring. Windles clock oil, If needs be a little clock grease on the plastic wheel pivots

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Welcome Hayley:)

That is the first one I have ever seen except on the "Antiques Road Show", hope you get it up and running without too much trouble.

Please keep us up to date.


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Hi, yes me too, I had seen them on TV....never thought i'd get hold of one, it cost me £20 on ebay which was amazing! I knew what was wrong with it before I bought it but it's a nightmare to get or make replacement parts.

Just been so busy that it's been on the back burner for years!

H :)

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    • I don't have experience but I have a friend who often repair automatic watches. I will share with him your info and video and try something.

      Is white spirit ok for cleaning?
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    • I serviced a watch like yours a few months ago. Mine had somewhat similar issues with the seconds hand. I just cleaned the movement, lubricated it and then assembled it back together. You'll find a few videos made by someone on how to take that movement apart on youtube but they're not very good if you don't have any experience. If you don't have experience with working on watches and if you don't have the right tools I suggest you take it to a watchmaker or leave it alone until you get more experience (if you're planning on doing this as a hobby or something).  
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