The original (in good condition) looked something like this:
The brass bits, decoration on the corner of the frame(s) and shape and number of the side panels made me realize I had a 1930's Leedy vibraphone (or more like half of it!)...
This is how I got it (with some of my handy work started, i.e. added central wooden shaft):
Here you can see the two frames that hold the bars (after cleaning years of neglect - when I got it, it actually smelled more like a farmyard tool!). And on the left, the beginning of trying to construct a new frame/support for it (all I had were two wooden end of the old frame). Note behind the plank of wood (I knew that sturdy 6 ply plywood found in the streets of Primrose hill would come in handy someday...), the rusted resonators and on the right the "de-rusted" ones.
(The bars are removed and put away for ease of work).
Here, after creating a support for the bar's frames, experimenting with designing a muting pedal, using a hi-hat pedal. Why not? Who's going to stop me?
When you push the pedal down, it lets the bars resonate freely.
When the pedal is not pushed down, the dampener is pushed up against the bars, stopping their vibration(s), i.e. muting their sound.
This pic shows the vibes with bars fixed up with new string.
It sounds great and works well.
Now all I have to do is find a motor, rubber belts, long thin, light but strong metal shafts, valves for each resonator to create the tremolo effect. At the moment, we just re-amp the recording through a nice tremolo (HH amp or Jen Kps pedal) and mix it in with the original signal; but mostly spending time learning how to play the damn thing by listening non-stop to some Sven Libaek!