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Greg Jowaisas

Post Wwii Wheatstone Reed Pans

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There is a Wheatstone concertina in the buy and sell with reed pan pictures. http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20073

 

The post WWII Wheatstones seem to have 4 or 5 variations (that I have encountered) on their reed and reed pan set up.

clamped traditional brass shoes and dovetail slots
clamped aluminum shoes and dovetail slots
clamped Aluminum shoes for most reeds and brass for the highest notes
Crimped and screwed down rectangular aluminum shoes
Crimped and spring clipped rectangular aluminum shoes (as shown in this instrument's pictures)
My take is that Wheatstone was trying to stay competitive and cut production times. I'm guessing attaching the spring clips may have saved time as opposed to screwing down two screws by hand.

 

Geoff Crabb or Steve Dickinson might have more insight into this,

 

Greg

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I would guess spring clips or screws would slow down the fine tuning process compared to dovetails, and the dovetailing is a reasonably fast operation with a dovetail router machine (as seen in the British Pathe film), so perhaps time-saving isn't the reason why they started doing it that way. I wonder if perhaps they did it to avoid the problems that traditional reed pans get with wood movement when sold to parts of the world that have wide seasonal humidity swings.

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I would guess spring clips or screws would slow down the fine tuning process compared to dovetails, and the dovetailing is a reasonably fast operation with a dovetail router machine (as seen in the British Pathe film), so perhaps time-saving isn't the reason why they started doing it that way. I wonder if perhaps they did it to avoid the problems that traditional reed pans get with wood movement when sold to parts of the world that have wide seasonal humidity swings.

As a concertina repairperson who normally removes reed shoes for tuning, I absolutely agree with you, Alex. I have to adjust my tuning cost estimates when a late Wheatstone with screwed down reeds comes into the shop. My limited experience with spring clipped reed shoes is not pleasant. The clips can be damaged in removal, and replacement to say the least, is difficult. (If there is an easy and effecient way of dealing with the clips I am ready and eager to listen and learn! :) )

 

However, I wonder if Wheatstone had abandoned the traditional method of tuning by shoe removal and placement on a tuning station and embraced the accordion method of tuning in situ with a scratch tool? Then the time saved skipping dovetailing the reed pans and removing the reed shoes for tuning might make economic sense.

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas

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I would guess spring clips or screws would slow down the fine tuning process compared to dovetails, and the dovetailing is a reasonably fast operation with a dovetail router machine (as seen in the British Pathe film), so perhaps time-saving isn't the reason why they started doing it that way. I wonder if perhaps they did it to avoid the problems that traditional reed pans get with wood movement when sold to parts of the world that have wide seasonal humidity swings.

I wonder if the possibility of error would not have been the reason for the design change. Maintaining the accuracy of the equipment and having experienced operators might have become problematic. A dwindling marketplace would have driven cost-cutting measures. Maybe the reject pile was just getting too high.

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I think this is right, making a tapered dovetail fit is time consuming. Fine when the dies and cutters are new, very expensive when changes are needed.

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If I get this right, this is the first time I've seen a crimped-in tongue. The aluminum of the plate seems to be hammered something like a rivet in order to squeeze and hold fast the tongue at its root. Is that correct? If so and because of the low fatigue resistance of aluminum, I'm surprised this kind of fastening doesn't become unreliable after a while.

 

Regards,

Tom

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My first anglo was a late Wheatstone from The Button Box with crimped in tongues and screwed down shoes. I was a bit worried when I discovered the reed shoe construction. :unsure: However, it gave me several years of trouble free service. :)

 

The dozen or so late Wheatstones with crimped in tongues that I have worked on have shown no problems in regard to how the tongues were fastened. No drastic shifts in pitch or reed centering.

 

Greg

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Firstly I have never seen these little finger clamps being used to secure surface mounted reeds on a Wheatstone before, very strange. I have seen the 'crimped reeds' before but I cannot remember in what context.The tuning on this instrument has to be nightmarish in terms of time and the fear of risk to the reed tongue alignment, I know Greg has said that this is not an issue, but the concern would be enough to slow you down. As Greg also says, screwed surface mounted reeds are a pain at the best of times, slight pressure variances and imbalances and the reed tongue fouls the reed shoe.

 

I also notice that the distribution of crimped reeds amongst the clamped reeds is pretty random. I wonder if this was some crossover point in the manufacturing standard. I would thing that the tooling for crimped reeds would be expensive and a pig to keep in trim. I wonder if Wheatstones actually started buying in reeds, if so are there other instruments, German, Italian etc. that used crimped reeds?

 

Dave

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In considering this particular concertina one factor to keep in mind is that it probably came out of South Africa. Ben Otto, who sold this instrument has found many late Wheatstones from that part of the world. The Africaners have never been shy about modifying their instruments. The seven fold bellows (Although 8-folds for all those favored chords in Boer music is the rule) and perhaps the mish-mash of reed types could be South African touches rather than strictly originating in the Wheatstone factory. :o

 

If memory serves Geoff Crabb has some information and insight into the manufacture of those crimped in tongues

 

Greg

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Though I doubt that this is the reason they did it: It might be that an instrument using screwed down reeds instead of dovetailed ones would be more durable in a climate with extremes of temperature or humidity.

Edited by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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