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JimLucas

Riveted Action And Other Factors

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With permission, I'm reproducing here the full reply I received from Wim Wakker when I asked his reasons for replacing the action in the "tenor" Æola currently pictured on his web site, which has two sets of serial numbers. (For the prior discussion, see the topic "Questions About Wheatstone Aeola" in the History forum. I have decided to place Wim's reply in this Forum because it addresses various aspects of construction.)

I missed the discussion.... I must admit I only visit concertina.net occasionally.

 

The action in this particular instrument was the Wheatstone hook type, which is even worse than Lachenal's. Instruments I decide to rebuild have either a lot of potential or are completely destroyed. The goal is to make the instrument as good as possible. Something I would want to play myself. This quite often means replacement of the action because:1 it has a hook type action, or (part of the) action is worn and makes accurate pressure adjustment impossible. This is quite common in heavily played Wheatstones.

 

(I just read part of the discussion and noticed Goran calling it the "Geuns" action.....True, we also use this action in the Geuns-Wakker concertinas, but Harry has nothing to do with concertinas or the Concertina Connection.... He is an independent Bandonion maker, in my opinion one of the best. His concertina activities are limited to our G-W line (joint venture).

 

There are other parts that we 'improve' ( at least we think so), like a different design bellows with a higher quality leather (compared to post 1920 instruments). In standard design concertina bellows tension (when the bellows start to 'pull back' when pulled out) build up starts at about 50% of the maximum bellows travel, usually with a very steep curve. In our design this is point is moved up to ca. 80% of the maximum travel (80% tension free bellows travel).

 

Key pressure is set at 60-70 grams. To my knowledge Wheatstone and Lachenal never measured/adjusted their key pressure. Finally I use specially developed software to adjust the reed performance (harmonics, amplitude). We use 3 different 'valve weights' for every valve size to fine tune reed harmonics and amplitude.

 

I expect certain people not to agree with our philosophy.... but as a musician I am interested in the maximum musical performance of an instrument. This is done with every musical instrument used by professional musicians, e.g. most Steinways and Bosendorfer grands have replacement Renner actions...

 

So there we have in Wim's own words a statement of the sort of personal design principles we only wish we had from Wheatstone, Lachenal, and the rest. Valuable information, in my opinion.

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Having recently had my '50's era Aeola action (hook-type) replaced with Wim's rivetted action I can say that it was money very well spent. The instrument always had a very good sound but the action was very poor. The new action is very responsive, allowing extremely quick same note triplets (with multiple fingers, see other thread).

 

I suppose I wouldn't have had the action replaced if I felt the instrument had some intrinsic 'collectible' value. This particular instrument, however, has now been tranformed from mediocre quality to a very nice 'players' instrument.

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I wonder if the quality of the 30s hook action was superior to the 50s ones as reported to be generally the case with other facets of Wheatstones (reeds etc).

Edited by Paul Read

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I wonder if the quality of the 30s hook action was superior to the 50s ones as reported to be generally the case with other facets of Wheatstones (reeds etc).

I don't know how bad the 50s Wheatstones are, but my 30s Wheatstone has excellent action. My wild guess from side-to-side comparison with a similar 1910s riveted Wheatstone is that it's pretty close to equal, if it's any worse it's no more than 1 or 2 percent worse. It's better than my wife's Crabb, which itself is equal action-wise with, say a modern Marcus or Norman.

 

-Eric Root

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