Andy’s Shed Live for Sunday 24th March 2019

In this week’s episode of Andy’s Shed Live we take a look at a couple of newly arrived 706type telephones and learn how to assess them for possible restoration. There’s a look at different caese, both Diakon and the latter ABS. One of which can be repaired but the other is (as yet) unfixable.

Just for once it wasn’t the courier who broke these phones. They were broken when they were purchased. Because of this they cost a fraction of the price of a fully restored phone or even an un-restored example.

The blue one (which looks bottle green because of the plastic yellowing) is a particularly nice example because it has the early blank finger plate. The colour is ‘concord blue’ and together with ‘topaz yellow’ is one of the rarest original colours to find.

Andy’s Shed Live for Sunday 10th March 2019

This week’s live show experienced a few technical issues with the YouTube stream, so it’s split into two parts. Unfortunately, as with most new technology, video streaming still has a few bugs we need to get ironed out, which is not helped by the fact that streaming is quite bandwidth heavy and pushes our equipment to the limits of what it can do. Occasionally we go over those limits, the result of which is the stream dropping out and a split video. I hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the show too much.

This week there’s a brief look at the repair of an Ansonia mantle clock that I did for a client of the Chesterfeild Repair Cafe and the unveiling of the Contempra telephone that had a big hole in the handset, which was repaired using my ‘ABS slurry’ technique on last week’s show.

Having a busy summer

It’s turning out to be a really busy summer for Andy and the team. Although our Sunday night live shows have finished for the time being, it doesn’t mean nothing is being done. We are currently preparing season 5 of Andy’s Shed Live and also working on new episodes of Escape The Shed. In the spare moments Andy is cracking on with more restoration projects, including quite a few newly arrived vintage telephones.

Back with the live show!

Now Christmas is over it’s time to look forward to the new year. We’ve got lots of plans for 2018, so we decided to start by bringing back the weekly live show, where you’ll see the latest projects to come forth from the shed. As well as restoration tips and tricks, you’ll also be able to interact and get your questions answered right on the show.

In the first episode Andy reveals one of his Christmas gifts from long ago… an iconic 70’s musical instrument like no other… the Stylophone!

You can catch season 3 of Andy’s Shed Live at around 6pm UK time every Sunday on either our youtube channel or by going to

See you there!


Barrel Piano Restoration Begins

I took the barrel piano over to the Repair Cafe event in Sheffield Today. It turns out Alan did a piano tuning course 40 years agoband still remembers enough of it to be able to give some excellent advice.

Also Gordon and I removed the key frame and found the stop that holds the keys from going too far was collapsing due to woodworm damage. Luckily the worm hav not eaten the main part of the key frame, so the bad timber strip was removed but kept as a template to make a new one. Girdon even came up with a nice piece of oak that was almost the right size without any cutting.

Keyframe showing the uneven keys due to the collapsed wooden stop caused by woodworm damage.

The piano is now back home with the keyframe cleaned up, ready for the new timber strip to be fitted.

The wooden strip being removed, clearly showingbthe woodworm damage.

The strip to be replaced appeared to have a felt edge where the hammer shanks hit against it. However on closer inspection the material turned out to be three layers of old sacking.

More restoration news to follow soon.

Andy’s Latest Find

The thing about steam rallies is there can be quite a bit of time to sit around, not doing much. Listening to the beat of the exhaust from the stationary engines is actually quite a nice way to spend a weekend. It does give the mind some time to wander though and that’s exactly what happened last weekend.

I’ve been thinking about how great it would be to be a busker for quite some time. I see them regularly in Chesterfield and they always seem to take more money at the end of the day than my market stall does! The problem with me becoming a busker though is that I can’t sing or play a single note. So what could I possibly do? Then I had an idea. I remembered someone I know who has a small hand-turned street organ. One if those would be just the job. Having a quick look online though I soon found a stumbling block. The price! These little organs, even newly built ones constructed by enthusiasts, can easily cost the top side of £1,000. But while browsing E-Bay last weekend I couldn’t believe my luck. There in the search results was a genuine Victorian street barrel piano, with buds starting at just £100. So a bid was placed and to cut a long story short, I won it for the princely sum of £155.

Although in fairly good condition, the piano is not perfect. It will need some restoration work before it can play a recignisable tune. But all the basics are there. So now the work begins.

My problem now is the apparent lack of information out there about restoring these old instruments. I had never rouched one until yesterday, when I collected mine. Now I need to learn how to restore one.

It turns out the last factory in the UK making and mending barrel pianos was still around in the 1960s accirding to a piece of newsreel film I found. Thus rare colour footage shows an elderly gent putting the nails into a new barrel. And who is he? Well non other than the very same Mr Tomasso whose company made my piano all those years ago. Unfortunately I guess he’ll have gone to that great organ factory in the sky now. So who is left to help? If you know of anyone who knows anything about barrel pianos, please, please, please get in touch.

Although there are a few British barrel pianos left (less than 100) apparently, the days of seeing them earning a living on street corners have long gone. That is something I would very much like to put right and bring back this wonderfully evocative sound and a long extinct trade.

Now On Patreon!

This is just a quick note to let you all know we have just launched a funding page on

Patreon is a website which allows fans to make a monthly financial contribution which goes directly to the creators of the content, allowing them to make more in the future. In return the patrons get exclusive content and gifts, depending on how much they agree to give each month.

Many Youtube creators are supported by patrons through, so we decided to give Andy’s Shed fans a similar option. If you would like to find out more about becoming a patron please visit our new page at

New Episodes Comming Soon

Here at the shed we are currently in the process of gearing up for a brand new series of Andy’s Shed Live, which will once again be streamed on the YouTube Live platform. The new weekly series is expected to start in August and will run until December.

The last season of live shows, which were made earlier this year, proved to be incredibly popular and resulted in quite a few viewers making requests for features in future episodes. Those requests will become a reality in the new series, which will feature restorations of all kinds of classic and vintage objects. There will also be reports from vintage and collector events and various other new features.

Scheduling for the new series has not been confirmed yet, but it is likely to return to Sunday nights. If you can’t wait a couple more weeks, or if you missed te first series completely, you can catch up from our archive by clicking here.

We will be adding another new weekly show to the schedules in September with the launch of ‘Andy’s Travels’. This new series follows yours truely on various adventures around the UK, taking a look at historic locations, meeting interesting people and visiting some amazing roadside attractions.  As with all of our productions, the new series will be available free-to-air on Youtube and will be available here on our website. If you own or run a museum, historic venue or other roadside attraction and you would like us to visit during the series, please get in touch via the contact us page.

Transatlantic Telephones: A Trio Of 500s

As if I didn’t collect enough stuff already, in the last few years I’ve started collecting old telephones. Most that I’ve found have been from here in the UK, but yesterday I picked up no less than three 500 series phones that originated on the good old USA! They’re not just any 500s either. These are particularly early examples with metal finger wheels. Two are from 1952, while the third is dated 1964.

The following photos all show the first phone…

The next set show the second phone…

And finally the third phone…

Click on any of the photos above for the full sized image.

I’m currently trying to get these phones working on the current UK plug & socket system. The first one is already wired up and currently under test. I’ll let you know how I get on.