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BILL321

Velum Under Fretwork - Replace Or Renew ?

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Hi - just joined the site

 

I've bought a LACHENAL 20 button - serial 104203 - but it needs a bit of work to be 'up and running'

 

my initial project concerns the velums?? under the fretwork at each end - they have curled up and pulled away obviously letting air through although they are not torn and appear complete

 

judging by the difficulty in removing the end sections the instrument would appear to have had little or no corrective work and be in almost original condition

 

QUESTION - should I try and repair and fix /glue the existing velums - keeping as much of the original instrument together and maybe sustaining it's value - or should I try and fix it with a newer and better material which will last for a few more years ??

 

BILL

 

 

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Apologies for hijacking this thread, but ...

 

@Fdracula,

you appear to be located in the US of A. There are lots of banjo pickers over there. And some of them prefer natural heads to plastic on their banjos. And a natural banjo head is vellum!

 

So ask around in the banjo fraternity

 

I have obtained excellent banjo-quality vellum from Stewart McDonald, the big US online luthiers' supplier - and from my local music shop here in Stuttgart, Germany.

 

@BILL,

A round piece of vellum suitable for a banjo should be enough for one end of a concertina!

 

Cheers,

John

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Just wondering what you mean about Vellum under the fretwork - would this be to reinforce the fretwork after a repair and is it now peeling off for some reason? If so, I would imagine it's glued with hide glue and you should simply be able to peel it off with a little wetting and re-glue it down with hide glue.

 

Or are you talking about the thin leather baffles that some instruments have under the fretwork, which obviously are not stuck down solid onto the fretwork, but allow the passage of air by means of small spacers between the fretwork and the leather. In ether case - the air has to be let through or you won't get the reeds sounding.

 

Concerning sources of vellum - my first wife was a violin maker and got through a fair quantity in repairs. She used to buy old legal documents in the UK and France: deeds and so on which were all written on vellum. I believe there was one called Magna... something, but I might be mistaken! Seriously, you used to be able to buy it in art shops in London and Paris.

 

Adrian

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Thanks ADRIAN for your comments - yes it's directly under the fretwork - as you say - probably just glue it back

 

BILL

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my initial project concerns the velums?? under the fretwork at each end - they have curled up and pulled away obviously letting air through although they are not torn and appear complete

 

That sounds wrong to me. Why would you not want to let air through? If you don't let air through, how will it get to the reeds for the instrument to sound?

 

If your instrument is like others I've seen, then the "vellum" (or cloth,or even wooden "baffles") should be held slightly away from the underside of the fretwork by small (cork?) inserts, so that air can flow around it, while not directly through it. These inserts hold the material in place. A bit of "curling" is normal, and absolute flatness is not. The vellum-like ones I've seen were often colored a brownish-red. What color are yours?

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Or are you talking about the thin leather baffles that some instruments have under the fretwork, which obviously are not stuck down solid onto the fretwork, but allow the passage of air by means of small spacers between the fretwork and the leather. In ether case - the air has to be let through or you won't get the reeds sounding.

 

Hi Adrian. Strange that I didn't see your post before I composed mine. Yours is timestamped almost 3 hours before mine, yet it wasn't displayed in the thread when I started writing my post (and I didn't stop for a break). Curious! But I believe we've given similar advice.

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If baffles are required, breathable woven fabric of one sort or another is probably the best compromise and the choice is enormous.

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I'm new to this - so all suggestions gratefully received

 

of course what you say JIM makes sense - the sound from the reeds needs to come through and not be blocked - thanks

 

your comment about the colour of the reeds was also correct - brownish red

 

ROD you mentioned about woven fabric - should I get this from a specific supplier or use a generic material ??

 

one other thing - it looks like I may need some springs replacing - where would be the best place to get these ??

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If baffles are required, breathable woven fabric of one sort or another is probably the best compromise and the choice is enormous.

This is true if the intent of the baffles is purely cosmetic, but if you want baffles to mute the sound level then I have found that PVA foam sheet (as used in crafting) works quite well in lowering volume without greatly affecting tone. I have tried leather and while that does work it also produces a rather muffled tone.

 

You can buy PVA foam sheet from crafting supply shops and on eBay.

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Or are you talking about the thin leather baffles that some instruments have under the fretwork, which obviously are not stuck down solid onto the fretwork, but allow the passage of air by means of small spacers between the fretwork and the leather. In ether case - the air has to be let through or you won't get the reeds sounding.

 

Hi Adrian. Strange that I didn't see your post before I composed mine. Yours is timestamped almost 3 hours before mine, yet it wasn't displayed in the thread when I started writing my post (and I didn't stop for a break). Curious! But I believe we've given similar advice.

 

Hi Jim,

 

Maybe something to do with that nasty virus doing its rounds since Friday...

 

Cheers,

 

Adrian

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QUESTION - should I try and repair and fix /glue the existing velums - keeping as much of the original instrument together and maybe sustaining it's value - or should I try and fix it with a newer and better material which will last for a few more years ??

 

BILL

 

 

 

 

Much the best thing is to start by fixing the things that are required to get it playing, such as springs. The leather behind the fretwork can be fixed in place by re-gluing the points where it has come apart. BTW it is almost certainly not vellum or velum, which is rather stiff and tough, much more likely it is a thin soft white or off-white leather similar to the leather used for making gloves.

Edited by Theo

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Don, I see no reason to suggest that the effect of breathable woven fabric baffles would be ' purely cosmetic '. That is certainly not my experience. Rod.

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