New Life For A Failed Townshend Sink by Crem1
Townshend Sinks were one of the first vibration control devices to use air blatters. Many early models are now starting to fail and can be found in your closets or bought at swap meets for next to nothing compaired to its former retail price. Most of the complicated inflating electronics have failed and that was one reason many early models are out of action.
I was one of those that "inherited" a Sink from a friend with a failed air blatter. Essentially, a Townshend is a black, finely finished heavy metal box with no screws or easy way to view to its inner working. The Sink I have was designed as a Turntable Platform Device, SEND # 3109, measuring 18x24" , a behemoth to lug around. For years it rested on the floor with a pair Paoli SOB'S sitting a-top, until I discovered the gobs of electro-magnetic interference created by situating the transformers & chokes of the respective mono blocks too near to each other. Too much cross interference , so the Sink retreated into a closet during a modest reovation of the audio room.
It was about that time when Sink first hit me, or should I say it toppeled over, out of the closet upside down onto the carpet. I noticed that the top sits over a slightly undersized bottom plate. Using a flash light I began to formulated some ideas that were later supported & shaired with Dan Meinwald of USA/SoundAdvice: Dan is the absolute Sink expert on this side of the pond.
This not a restoration but rather a refirb for reasons we will learn later. The project is worth a weekend (or much less)and for a little sweat equity and very little cash what you get in return is on of the finest audio/analog vibration control renewed. Be-awaire , safety first and for those of us mechanically challenged have a friend assist.
CRACKING THE CASE :
Take the Sink , lay it out up-side down on a work bench or table covered with a towel to protect the face of the platform. Use a T handel grip bar that has been covered with electrical tape for about 6" gently wedge the taped flat bar between the small space that exists between the top plate and the bottom plate. Slowly , twist the flat- bar . The plates & blatters are covered internally with gobbs of contact cement that will take a few minutes to start to loosen this "clam". Use a 3" bladed, metal, putty knife to gently seperating the strands of glue from the underside of the top plate. By now you should be able to grip each plate and crack the case open like opening a shellfish. Congratulations ! The hardest part of the job is over.
THE AUTOPSY :
After orientating your-self, you will notice the bottom plate contains 3 air blatters that are in reality english bicycle inner tubes , wrapped with several rubber bands as to shape the 2 outside blatters in a L form ,with one in the center swooshed down kinda like a seni-inflated inner tube with rubber bands to hold the folds into a certian position. No big deal to duplicate. The top plate has a large piece of MDFB with circular hard metal stops. . Leave the top plate alone ... The blatters left,right & center sit surrounding this geometricaly shaped object. Sit the Top Plate to the side, now the fun begins.
INSIDE THE CADAVER :
These UK inner tubes are nearly out of existence . They can be had on the Net for lots of money ... OR,replace them with a univeral 16x 1.75" USA for about $4 each that can be found at Wal Mart or a Bike Shop. The alternative is to spend $45-50 bucks per tube to import them from the UK. Using the existing inner tubes in the botton frame as models fashion the replacements as exactly as humanly possible , this very easy to do with a tad of patience. I personally suggest a quick phone shot to keep a pic available but that is only an option. Carefully , examine the air blatters for any signs of wear. One in my Sink had been pierced by the internal solder-work formerly used to operate the inflation electronics. Since none of the electronics worked , I removed every socket and all the thread-like wireing and solder work that had caused damage to the blatter. The UK tubes use schrader valves, a ancient technology that is increasing difficult to replace and does fail. For me , it was far easier to pull the old rubber banded tubes off the glue beds , remove the old sockets to advoid another piercing. For these reasons this is not an exact restoration.Should you wish to do a restoration , please by all means do so , the materals are available but they are scarce. And, call Dan he knows what to do even if he no longer can get the parts himself.
PUTTING IT ALL BACK TOGETHER :
The tube beds are made of trails of toxic glue . They are near impossible to remove and contain pieces of the rubber band entraped within them. Rather than spend hours working with toxic hash , I advoided the mess saving my self days to weeks of work. I simply covered the glue beds with Scotch, 3M 1.96in x 16.4 ft indoor gripping taple for rugs@ $3.00 for a box. The product worked like a charm. I covered all the glue beds inside the top plate & the bottom plate , replaceing the 3 blatters . The only head- ache was the UK tubes had a slight difference in size so a rubbed some spittle on the new stem's as a lubercant; they seated perfectly in the existing holes. I shot a few strokes of air using a inexpensive bike hand pump, reseated the top. Project Completed !
Should you have a failed Sink, give the project a try. Besides what do you have to loose if yours has already failed. All the best.