Modifying Standard Spools for use in the Castlewood Organ

by Rob Smith

Buy Music
Special Offers

Music Samples
Choosing an Organ
Organ Buyers Guide
Organs for Sale
Harmonette Busker Organ
John Smith Busker Organ
Organ Maintenance
Organ Tuning
Music for Other Organs

The 20-note Castlewood organ plays standard 20-note John Smith music rolls, but unfortunately the Castlewood uses its own quirky 2-piece spools pushed into a cardboard tube.  This is a problem for Castlewood owners as it means that they have to throw away the standard plastic spools that the music is supplied on, and re-spool their music onto the flimsy Castlewood spools.  Hopefully, Castlewood will fall into line with the rest of the world eventually and allow their organs to use the standard plastic spools; but until then Rob Smith has sent me an article on how to modify the standard spools to fit the Castlewood organ. The procedure is surprisingly straightforward.

I would recommend that you first remove all the music from the spool before carrying out the following procedure:

Modifying Standard Spools for use in the Castlewood Organ
The standard Raffin spool has a 20mm core diameter with 79mm flanges and 10mm axle spindles.  The spindle on the driven-end of the spool is 12mm long and the other end is 6mm long.  To enable the spool to be used in the Castlewood, two alterations are necessary:

The first alteration is to reduce the diameter of the flanges slightly, from 79mm to 77mm.  This reduction may be necessary to allow the spool to drop easily into the ‘supply’ compartment of the Castlewood (Check first, as it may not be necessary).

As I do not have a lathe to do this work, I rigged up a makeshift jig for my drill-press and used the chuck to spin the spool vertically and then used a suitable file, and emery cloth, to effect the reduction.  You only need to take about 1mm off all round.

The second alteration is to cut a 2mm x 8mm slot in the drive-end spindle.  This slot is necessary since the Castlewood does not use the standard hex drive but uses a flat blade, via the slot, to drive the spool for the rewind operation.

I simply held the spool in the bench vice and cut the slot with a hacksaw, finally finishing it to size with emery cloth wrapped around a thin steel rule.

The alterations described above should have no ill effects on the intended original use of the spool.

Castlewood can now supply a saw guide to make this operation easier.


Back to the Articles Index


This web site is copyright (C) Melvyn Wright and individual contributors