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    Fixing Small Record Holes

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    Sometimes brand new vinyl records have a minor, but annoying problem: the hole in the center is too small. When you put your brand new record on your turntable, sometimes the record doesn't just plop down on the platter. You have to force the record down because the hole in the record is just a bit snug.

    Of course, that's all well and good, but what about when you want to lift the record off the turntable? Lifting the record causes it to bend, which over time could affect the sound quality and possibly damage the record.

    So, what to do?

    I got an email from a reader who was having this problem, and at first, he was considering using a drill to make the hole larger. I told him that it may work, but you should be careful when you're doing it. If the hole ends up being off-center, or too big, the record may not play back perfectly. I don't know exactly what could happen, but you may get some weird distortion, or one channel louder than the other, or even skipping. You could damage your stylus or record over time too. Of course, there are all worst-case scenarios. If you were careful, you could probably fix the problem with a drill. Ultimately, my advice was to force the record over the spindle, and in time it will enlarge to the right size.

    Of course, the reader didn't like the idea because he was worried about the record bending, which may damage the record over time. He ultimately found a solution, and emailed it back to me: Use a pair of scissors. First, push the blade of the scissors into the hole (gently) until it won't go any farther, but don't force it. Next, rotate the scissor blade to remove a thin sliver of vinyl. One rotation should be fine. Finally, plop the record back on the turntable and see how it fits.

    My reader assured me that this works well (although I have not tried it before, so be careful, and don't blame me if it messes up your record), so the next time you get a record with a small hole, try the scissor technique!

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    Topics: Vinyl Info | 7 Comments »

    7 Responses to “Fixing Small Record Holes”

    1. Jim Says:
      February 8th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      you can also try sticking a tapered object like a ballpoint pen in and rotating it a bit… a more common cause of snug spindle holes is the label on the record sticking out into the hole a little bit and the pen method works for these situations

    2. Jim Says:
      February 8th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      on the other end of the spectrum a hole that is too large/loose can be approached by adding a bit of clear tape to the spindle on the turntable… of course this has to be removed for records that fit properly

    3. Alan Says:
      February 8th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

      Nice! Thanks for the tips.

    4. crosscatch Says:
      March 2nd, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      get a piece of fine sand paper and roll it into a small cylinder. Allow it to expand in the hole. Gently use a push pull motion, short slow strokes as this will keep the wasted material from spreading. I would do this next to a vaccum cleaner hose to catch the airborne dust.

    5. Alan Says:
      March 2nd, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      Great idea! Thanks for the tip.

    6. templetune Says:
      March 11th, 2010 at 9:39 pm

      I use a a tapered reamer, a common engineering tool (I bought mine from an electronics shop). Turn gently one or two rotations letting the reamer’s own weight do the cutting

    7. Zaza Says:
      March 22nd, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Tried it with two new records of mine–worked like a charm! Thanks so much 🙂

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