How to repair wind-up music boxes

Written by christina sloane
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How to repair wind-up music boxes
Overwinding, temperature changes and other factors can negatively affect music boxes. (music box image by Paul Moore from

Music boxes can be difficult to repair. Sometimes the combs, cylinders and other parts made to play a specific tune, especially for older music boxes, can be difficult or impossible to replace. If your music box isn't winding up, or if the music plays slowly or not at all, there are a few things you can try before contacting a professional repairman.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Lubricant
  • Pin point oiler

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  1. 1

    Carefully wind the music box key in the opposite direction. This will reverse the damage of a spring that has been wound too tightly.

  2. 2

    Try winding the key as normal. If your music still doesn't play, go on to the next step.

  3. 3

    Apply a few drops of a lubricant such to the stem of your winding key.

  4. 4

    Allow the lubricant to sit for a few minutes, before winding the key to play your music. If it still doesn't play normally, proceed to the next step.

  5. 5

    Apply a drop of lubricant to the top, base, and centre of the endless screw, connected to your music box's air brake, using a pin point oiler.

  6. 6

    Allow the lubricant to sit for a few minutes, then wind the key to play your music.

Tips and warnings

  • If your music plays too fast now, it may have been over-lubricated. Correct this problem by using your pin point oiler to apply 30 weight motor oil to the same screw.

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