The Hawk Relaxes Again
February 23, 2007
Oh, crud! A fellow member of the CD-trading service Lala was kind enough to send me the RVG Edition of the Coleman Hawkins classic The Hawk Relaxes, but a scuff on the disc caused "Moonglow" to spit and sputter. If you buy some of your CDs and DVDs used, you will likely come across hard-to-find music and movies that won't play properly. Unwilling to give up on The Hawk Relaxes, I did some research and found Skippy Disc, the website for CSS Data Technologies in Scottsdale, Arizona. This is where discs like mine -- along with scratched game and data discs of all kinds -- come for repair. This company works closely with the likes of Blockbuster, Netflix and public libraries to bring large lots of damaged CDs and DVDs back to life, but they also fix small numbers of discs from individuals.
The company has large machines that repair racks of up to 80 discs one after another, but The Hawk Relaxes was repaired by hand -- a three-step process whereby a very thin layer of polycarbonate was sanded off, then the disc was polished, and afterwards cleaned. If you can't feel the flaw on the underside of the disc with your fingernail, which means it probably hasn't gone into the data layer, the disc can be fixed. Scratches on the label (top) side are almost always fatal and cannot be removed. Discs can be repaired up to three times, so if The Hawk Relaxes is damaged somewhere down the road, the folks at DSS Data Technologies can probably fix it again.
The cost -- $3.95 per disc plus $2.50 shipping for up to five discs -- is a consideration in light of the price of used music and movies these days, but for hard-to-find CDs or DVDs that are part of a set, replacement would be far more expensive. The Hawk Relaxes looked new and played without error. Turnaround is typically 48 hours, or about ten minutes if you're local and drop by instead of mailing your discs.
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