Repair Instructions for a Star Bell Rotating Tree Stand

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Repairing a vintage Star Bell Christmas tree stand is well-worth the investment.
Repairing a vintage Star Bell Christmas tree stand is well-worth the investment. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Star Bell Christmas tree stands were introduced in the 1950s when futuristic-looking, shiny aluminum Christmas trees became fashionable. Star Bell tree stands play "Jingle Bells" while slowly rotating an artificial Christmas tree. Unlike the cheaply-made rotating tree stands made today, Star Bell Christmas tree stands were manufactured in the U.S., made of steel and built to last. Many collectors consider repairing a Star Bell Christmas tree stand to be an excellent investment.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-amp, AC 60-cycle, 120-volt, 600-watt replacement motor
  • Set of screwdrivers
  • 16-gauge brown electrical wire (6 feet)
  • 6/32-inch nylon crown bolts, 1-inch long and binder heads (4)
  • Synthetic lubricant

Remove the rivets that connect the top and bottom portions of the tree stand together then turn the tree stand upside down. Slowly drill out each rivet with a metal drill bit that is smaller in diameter than the rivet. Be careful not to damage the top side of the stand when the drill bit goes through the rivet -- again, drill slowly. Mark one set of rivet holes with a pencil on the inside of the tree stand to aid in lining up the rivet holes during reassembly.

Separate the top and bottom sections of the stand. Remove the motor and gear box and take them to an electrical supply store. Purchase a 5-amp, AC 60-cycle, 120-volt, 600-watt replacement motor. Make sure that the new motor interfaces with the gear box in the same manner as the original motor.

Rewire the stand. Use 16-gauge brown electrical wire to rewire the wall plug, the two-way switch that controls the lights and rotation, the side lever that turns the music on and off and the motor.

Clean the gears and lubricate them with a synthetic lubricant. Reconnect the motor and the gear box and reinstall them in the tree stand. Test to ensure that the rotation mechanism and the rewired switches work properly before putting the top and bottom of the stand back together.

Turn the stand upside down and line up the top and bottom rivet holes that were marked with a pencil. Insert a nylon crown bolt through each rivet hole, screw a binder head onto each bolt and tighten them. Use a box cutter to cut off the portions of the nylon bolts that extend through the binder heads.

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase replacement bolts at your hardware store if the bolts to your stand are missing. Take your tree stand to a metal-working shop if the part of the stand that the bolt screws into is damaged; they can reweld/repair it for you.
  • Keep the old motor if you replace it with a new one. If you opt to sell your tree stand someday, the buyer may want to have all of the original equipment for rebuilding and reinstalling the original motor.
  • Star Bell Christmas tree stands are 50 to 60 years old. In terms of home safety, the old wiring should be replaced, the gears should be cleaned and lubricated, and the motor should be rebuilt or replaced.

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