towards the end of a wonderful whole-day squeezing session among friends yesterday, one of the reeds of my 55 button Aeola Wheatstone Crane (impeccably serviced by David Robertson 2,5 years ago) went deaf.
No problem, been there, done that. Open the respective end, locate the reed, clean it, put the thng back together.
Since I had to open up the end of the plate anyways, I played all the buttons on push and pull prior to doing it, making sure that if another reed or valve needs servicing, I can do it while I'm there. All buttons except the one played fine.
So I opened the box, located the deaf reed and cleaned it. The reed plate perfectly fit snugly where it was before.
The first thing that worried me is that the bolts wouldn't fit right anymore. When I open the box, I unscrew the bolts pairwise on opposite sides (and when I don't need to disassemble the action, I simply leave the bolts in their places so I don't risk mismatch), and afterwards, I gently and loosely fit all the bolts again opposite to opposite and only tighten all of them when every bolt has found its hole. So far, this has never been an issue, but the first two opposite bolts I tried to fit wouldn't find their holes, meaning one would but the other wouldn't. Since I'd never dare to exercise strength or force where things used to fit, I tried to very carefully wiggle the faces with only one bolt verly loosely fitted, but to no effect. The action plate pieces were never separated during the service.
After some investigation it looked as if the casing had expanded just a wee little bit; the hole that wouldn't accept its bolt was just a tiny bit too far on the outside. With just a very little pressure in that dimension (I tentatively fit one bolt, then held the assembly against my chest and gently pressed against the other side with my hand) finally the opposite bolt would slip in, and after I had those two fit, the other ones would go in without problems, and after fastening, the box played almost as before (but see below).
I'm sort of puzzled here. The box had been in its natural habitat for over 12 hours as this happened, and I don't think there were significant changes in temperature or moisture during the < 10 minutes the box was open, so there is no explanation for this sort of distortion. I've had the box open for much much longer that that without anything like that before. Was I just lucky before?
The other weird thing was that after I was done with the job, I again went through every button to make sure the box was fastened well enough so no air leaked between the chamois strips and action plate bottom - but this time another button was deaf! Now this one is one of the highest notes of the entire box which (in my understanding) is more susceptible to residue clogging, but obviously, it must have acquired the residue while I had the plate open!
Obviously, I should have preventively cleaned all of the (at least higher) reeds as I had the side open anyways, but I don't like to take out any reed without a justifyable reason (after all, ti's wear and tear on the reed shoes and their fittings).
So I'll need to open the box again and work on the newly feeble reed - but I'm sort of worried that one of the problems will show up again.
I find this ever so slight alarming, but then again, I'm somewhat of a hypochondriac when it comes to my boxes. Is the oberved behavior normal within the range of day-to-day usage?
Thanks very much for your answers in advance!