Spindle hole LP problems.
October 3, 2006 5:41 AM   Subscribe

How can I improve an LP Record with a tight spindle hole?

I've recently gotten three records from a great, very small record label which I just love. Each one is clearly a labor of love, they're beautiful as objects, and most importantly, the music on each one is top notch (two reissues of old gospel blues, one contemporary). The only problem is that the spindle holes are really tight. I have to push the records onto the spindle with some force, and I have to work them off carefully. I'm worried I'm going to damage the records (warp them) by the kind of pulling I have to do to get them off. Even if I "screw" them off it takes a lot of upward pressure on the rims of the LPs. When I've encountered this problem before it's been with 7"s, and the distance between the rim and the spindle hole was less dramatic.

Has anyone ever bored out the spindle hole on an LP, or used a file or something to gently expand the spindle hole?

(I happen to have two turntables at home, and the records are just as tight on both of them, so I know for sure the problem is in the records.)
posted by OmieWise to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
In my experience, the holes will loosen up after a few plays. If not, I don't see any reason why you couldn't file it down. If you don't have a round file, you could glue fine grit sandpaper around a dowel. Use a long thin strip of sandpaper and wrap it around the dowel in a spiral. Use the biggest file or dowel that fits, which will make it easier to make it even all around. And take just a little bit off at a time.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:50 AM on October 3, 2006

are those automatic turntables with tall spindles? ... you might do better with a manual that has a small spindle
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 AM on October 3, 2006

Ah, I've played them repeatedly already, with no sign of loosening or let up on the playing, which is what prompts my concern. And they are manual turntables, which is what's so vexing. One really shouldn't have to work to get a record off a 3/8" spindle.
posted by OmieWise at 6:09 AM on October 3, 2006

I've had this problem, almost exclusively with small print run records. I have no idea why.

My solution, which is by no means the most elegant, is to enlarge the hole with a drift pin. A few turns will give that fraction of an inch you need to not have to see-saw the record off the table.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:15 AM on October 3, 2006

wd40 on the spindle?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:16 AM on October 3, 2006

Back in the day before CDs and whatnot, we'd use a pencil. Insert the pencil into the hole and rotate slowly. You don't want to use a lot of force, just enough the expand it a few millimeters.
posted by birdherder at 6:49 AM on October 3, 2006

(also, the graphite from the pencil lead can act as a lubricant)
posted by muddgirl at 6:56 AM on October 3, 2006

A tapered reamer, which will preserve the perfect circularity.
posted by fixedgear at 8:19 AM on October 3, 2006

Second the pencil -- always works fine for me. A standard yellow #2 will fit into the normal-sized hole snugly. But with your tight records, you won't quite be able to get the pencil in, past the sharpened area. Just start twisting, and ram it in there. Voila! The hole has now expanded just enough to drop the LP onto your turntable.
posted by Rash at 9:52 AM on October 3, 2006

Tightness is often caused by the label being pasted slightly off-center. I use an Exacto knife or a sharp pocket knife to trim off any overlapping area.
posted by KRS at 10:51 AM on October 3, 2006 [1 favorite]

I always used a bic pen, which I slowly pushed into the center of the hole, to enlarge 'em. I've got quite a few small run albums, and this happens a lot.
In fact, it's the same bic that I use for rewinding cassettes when the tape gets all waddded up inside.
posted by klangklangston at 11:51 AM on October 3, 2006

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