Alright, well after a week of not being able to do much on this project I now have the wire recorder that Jamie Newhall built out of the old one (it's actually quite impressive, this franken-recorder). I have also quickly discovered what a massive pain in the butt this format is to work with. The test spool that I have been using to learn the process of using this machine is breaking once every five minutes or so while rewinding, but this has afforded me the chance to become an expert in splicing broken pieces together. Another major issue is that the wire comes off the play head easily if the play head is moving in a different direction than the wire is spooled. I have also found in the test spool several foot in length of unattached wire. This allows me to test some things I might have to do to the Boder spools to get every iota of information off of the wires.
Below is a video showing the overall operation and a closeup on the play head with the wire running through it. This is the machine as it is "rewinding" (which is really reversing the spools and having the machine fast-forward), so there is no audio right now and it is moving faster than usual.
One thing that I did not really think about previously is the fact that on one spool there might be several different recordings, but some have either been spliced in backwards or it was used with no discrimination as to what is forward playing and what is backward playing. As a result on the test spool alone there are recordings that will play properly and then the next recording will play backwards. I must say, I am very glad I have computers to remedy this as it would be a major pain finding what sections play forward or backward and try to cue the recordings manually.
This is now where the fun begins. Over the next few days I will become more familiar and comfortable and will also perfect the digitization method. Starting next week I will begin the digitization of the Boder spools. There are too many to finish in this project alone, so I will mostly focus on the Holocaust survivor spools, but will also give some time to the other two collection of spools.