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    Thomas Jester grease replacement suggestion

    Hi all,
    I am new to this forum and looking forward to participating, and learning more. I picked up a free Thomas Jester organ for my son to learn on. I know they are not worth much but it was free and I’m all about free instruments in the house. Some of the keys were sticking and after some cleaning I decided it may be best to carefully remove the keys and clean underneath. This did not prove difficult, however I noticed there was some grease, not surprisingly, at the bottom of the key connection. Could anyone suggest a product or the proper grease to put there back in place when I return the keys? Thank you for any suggestions you may have.

    #2
    I've never seen grease used on organ keyboards. Why not have a close look at all of the keys and see if some of them use felt on the inside of the key, rather than grease. The 'bed' that the keys are moving up and down on, should have a bunch of metal pins that the keys ride on, as they travel up and down. These pins are called "guide pins"...they keep the keys in alignment, from side to side. Where these pins go up inside the key bottoms, there should be a small piece of felt glued inside the key. This felt keeps the keys from rattling against the guide pins. If humidity is high, the felts will swell up, and cause the keys to bind on their guide pins. A sticking key.

    Normally, if a key is sticking, gently warming the felts with a hair dryer will evaporate the excess moisture in the felts, and the key will work up and down again, without sticking. This grease looks like some sort of home remedy to overcome sticking keys (from moisture) by giving the guide pins, and the felts a lubrication job.

    Now that grease has penetrated the key guide felts, there's not much you can do, outside of removing the excess grease from around the key guide pins, and the slots in the bottoms of the keys, where the guide pins fit up, inside the keys. Use a handkerchief wrapped around the point of a small screwdriver, and insert it into the guide pin slots in the bottoms of the keys, and gently press out as much of the grease as you can onto the handkerchief cloth. Keep moving the handkerchief cloth to a new area, so it continues to absorb the grease.

    Now comes the expensive part....locate and go to your local electronics store. This is a business that sells diodes, resistors, capacitors, and stuff like that to electronic repairmen. Ask the counter man to sell you a can of contact cleaner known as "DEOXIT". You will probably pay the better part of $15 - 20 dollars for this. When you get it home, and you're ready for the next step of your project, get out a small juice glass. Shake the can of Deoxit a few times. Cover the
    juice glass with your hand, and insert the Deoxit spray spout inside the glass. Your hand is covering the glass, so the liquid will stay inside the glass, rather than violently squirting everywhere. Squirt about 2 tablespoons of the Deoxit into the glass. Once you are done squirting, wash your hand in warm soapy water until the Deoxit is no longer on your hand....one shortcut you could use is a cheap plastic glove on your hand, but you still want to wash with soap and water to remove any residue of the Deoxit from your skin.

    Take a small artist's paintbrush, dipped into the Deoxit, and apply it to the key felts. Apply the Deoxit to each of the felts until it has saturated the felts. Then go back to your handkerchief and screwdriver trick, and remove as much of the Deoxit as you can. Do this to a couple of your keys, and then put them onto the keybed and see if they work up and down without any sticking. If they continue to stick, you'll need to apply more Deoxit to the felts, and using the handkerchief trick, soaking up the excess, until the keys no longer stick. It's best if you only work on a couple of keys at a time, and continually test them in the
    keybed until you've done all the keys that had grease in them.

    Don't use this Deoxit trick on the kays that have not been greased. If any of those keys without grease, stick....use a hair dryer blowing onto the key felts. Just
    warm the keys...they don't need to get hot, as too much heat might cause the glue under the felts to loosen.

    The Deoxit is good to use, because it does not attack the glue on the key felts, even with a soaking of the felts with this special lubricant. The Deoxit should break down the grease to a point that you can remove it with the handkerchief trick, although you may need to repeat it several times. This trick will get you by for several years, while your son learns to play the organ. I wish you much success, and also hope your son appreciates the big job you did to get this organ going again.

    Comment


    • Vibesmom143
      Vibesmom143 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you Jay for your thought out response. I don’t think there was any felt on the keys as these are plastic and I will try to illustrate how I think the grease in this case was being used.

      There are guide pins as you mentioned. I will post pictures of everything so you can see. The guide pins have little sleeves on them, I don’t know what else to call them. These little sleeves are made of rubber I believe and they seem to function as a stop to keep the key in the right position.

      The bottom of the keys slide into a different metal unit and this is where the wax was. The wax was on all the keys in varying amounts. In fact some of the keys looked like they had two kinds, a thick yellow ear wax type, and a thin black type. I theorized that over the years someone had removed the keys and added wax but I can’t be sure of that. It’s possible there were supposed to be felt pads on these, but looking at the design, and you’ll see the new pictures above, it seems the wax seems reasonable.

      Hopefully I was able to show with the pictures that the white keys slide into the shaft at the top of this metal unit, and the black keys seem to have a deeper pocket and go around the outside of the unit.

      Your detailed post above is invaluable information as I am sure someday we will own a nicer organ. The Detoxit seems like a good product and I can imagine other uses for it as well. Also your suggestion of using the paint brush is a great idea. I’ve been using qtips so far but the paint brush makes far more sense.

      You will get a kick out of this last bit. My son is in college for music technology, but he will have to complete a full BM program. He’s home for his winter break and looking forward to his first semester of piano. In my posted picture I am much younger and I will probably change that, but it was the quickest picture I could find when I was setting up my account. He sure was the muscle behind moving the organ I can tell you. He sat down to fiddle with it as soon as we brought it home and that’s where we noticed the keys. He went out with his friends and I had already started working on it. I made sure he saw your comment and I read it too him a few times. It will be a fun project as we work on it together.

    #3
    Welcome to the forum. Great to hear that we may gain another young organist to swell the ranks!

    As always, Jay's advice is spot on! But what you will discover very quickly if you have a browse around the hundreds of threads in the Home Organs section is that it will probably cost more in time, effort and De-Oxit than it would to get a rather better, fully functioning instrument. There are thousands out there and almost no buyers.

    So if you have problems getting the organ fixed (you shouldn't) or you discover that your son needs or wants something more better to play, just let us know and we'll guide you to getting something suitable!
    It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

    New website now live - www.andrew-gilbert.com

    Current organ: Roland Atelier AT900 Platinum Edition
    Retired Organs: Lots! Kawai SR6 x 2, Hammond T402, T500 x 2, X5. Conn Martinique and 652. Gulbransen 2102 Pacemaker. Kimball something-or-other.
    Retired Leslies, 147, 145, 760 x 2, 710, 415 x 2.

    Comment


    • Vibesmom143
      Vibesmom143 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you, I can tell you that we both already have the bug for more organs in our lifetime. I agree the home organs can be a bit of trouble, luckily this little unit seems to have been loved. I even have seen some parts with the hand written name Betty L in there, which means someone was most likely working on this in the past.

      I’m happy to be a part of this group, this project has been a good one.

    #4
    Actually, a lot of organs used grease on the keyguides. All Pratt- Reed keyboards for example have a plastic key over a metal key channel. A key guide has a rubber bushing on it. They dry out over time and adding a proper grease will help. Of course replacing the rubber bushing lasts much longer. The recommended grease for these bushings is Dow-Corning Release Compound 7.

    Geo

    Comment


    • Vibesmom143
      Vibesmom143 commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome thanks for letting me know. I think you are correct about the rubber bushing. This little unit was one of the Thomas Color Glo products. So the keys are plastic and some have little red and green filters to project different colors as the light shines on them. It’s truly a learning keyboard.

    #5
    Well...that's a new one on me. Per chance, do you know if this Thomas organ has such lubricated key guides?

    Comment


    • Vibesmom143
      Vibesmom143 commented
      Editing a comment
      I have not been able to find info on this, but it looks to me as likely.

    #6

    Comment


      #7
      Thanks to geoelectro for this information. Yea!!! Vibesmom, I checked on the internet for Dow-Corning Release Compound 7. It is available for purchase from "Pilots HQ" for $10.95, payable with credit cards, or Paypal.

      Now, Geo, if you're still here, would you recommend cleaning up as much of the old grease as possible, and then giving all these keys and guides a new coating of this grease? If so, I'd clean up the old grease with your Q Tips, as you've been doing. If all that fuzz in the pictures turns out to be accumulated dust, perhaps a good vacuuming would make your job a bit more sanitary.

      In reading the description of the Dow-Corning product, it looks to be a rubber conditioner, as well as a lubricant. It may be wise to put on some plastic gloves while you are exposed to this old grease, as well as the new grease, to protect your skin...especially if this product can penetrate into the skin.

      There are some kinds of grease that will turn into a wax like substance, and some that will harden, like old varnish, when given quite a few years of age. I suspect that wax you are seeing is the aging grease. As mentioned above, probably removing as much of it as possible, and then renewing those parts with the fresh grease.

      I must tell you, I'm 77 years old, worked on pianos and pipe organs all my life....and this is the first time I've ever come across a keyboard that needed a "grease job". I wish you well in this, and hope Geo might contribute more to this as his knowledge is better than mine in this area. Hope your son enjoys the piano lessons, and moves happily into the world of making music. At my age, my ability to make music is what keeps me looking forward to each new day.

      Comment


      • Vibesmom143
        Vibesmom143 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you Jay, I will make sure to post completion pictures, I agree music is life! 🎶

      #8
      I have serviced a lot of Pratt-Reed keyboards. The bushings are usually hard by the time I get them. So I have to remove and replace. I don’t have a lot of experience adding grease to old bushings. I would clean them first, then re-lube. Pratt-Reed keyboards were used in Kimball organs, Rodgers Organs, ARP and Moog synthesizers etc. Hammond used rubber bushings in the T-Series.

      geo

      Comment


      • Jay999
        Jay999 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks very much, Geo. Your advice is very much appreciated, and wow! ...I have a whole new education about keyboards! Thanks again.
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