Mini Hurdy Gurdy boxes

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Project by Dave Rutan posted 08-18-2012 07:46 PM 3842 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

[Legebla ankaĆ­ en Esperanto]

We recently visited a museum pertaining to a collection of musical machines, anything from a hurdy gurdy to a nickelodeon. In the museum shop my daughter and mother in law bought small hurdy gurdies. They differ from music box movements in that you have to crank it to make it play. There’s no spring movement to wind. The last picture shows one in its native form.

So I was asked to build a box around my daughter’s and later one for my mother in law. My MIL’s plays ‘You are my Sunshine.’ Not much I could do with that, though I did the ornamentation myself with a wood burning pen and my daughter’s paints.

My daughter’s plays the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. I was thinking that a submarine would be long, so I made a ‘secret’ drawer in hers. It’s held in magnetically. I used a decoupage technique to decorate hers with the submarine in question plus the four beatles’ simulacrums from the movie.

They were fun little projects. They’re made from 1/8 inch plywood from an old doll house and are held together with glue alone. I finished them with polyurethane.

(a note on the decoupage. Ink jet prints will run. I got a color photo copy made and cut out the individual parts from that.)

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

7 comments so far

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4549 posts in 3899 days

#1 posted 08-18-2012 07:54 PM


You did an awesome job buddy. I loved the one I had when I was a kid 50+ years ago.


-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3605 days

#2 posted 08-19-2012 09:28 AM

Dave, do you have a site or source for the mechanisms? It looks like you had way too much fun making and decorating these. Thanks for sharing the idea.

-- Big Al in IN

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4194 days

#3 posted 08-19-2012 09:48 AM

Dave those are great

How is the sound?


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

2021 posts in 3526 days

#4 posted 08-19-2012 10:37 AM

BoxGuy, These were bought in a museum shop in Morristown, NJ. I just looked around on the internet and found some available from Amazon. Search for ‘hurdy gurdy.’ Amazon’s are in plastic cases, but you could always remove it.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

2021 posts in 3526 days

#5 posted 08-19-2012 10:38 AM

Jamie, They sound good, very much like a music box except that you can alter the speed by cranking faster/slower.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View clieb91's profile


4264 posts in 5273 days

#6 posted 08-19-2012 11:01 AM

Those are really neat looking little things. Nice job on the Beatles one.
@boxguy.. I just found this site for them
They have a bunch of tunes available.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View workerinwood's profile


2717 posts in 4405 days

#7 posted 08-19-2012 02:11 PM

Nice work, great idea! Thanks for sharing, I have some grand children that would love to have one of these.

-- Jack, Albuquerque

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