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Spare Aeola Buttons


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#1 Theo

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 04:55 AM

I need 5 buttons to complete the restoration of a lovely 56 key, nickel ended Aeola. David Leese has come up with some solid metal ones that are almost the correct size, but I would prefer to find a closer match if possible.

The buttons I'm seeking are typical Wheatstone construction, wooden core with a nickel-silver cap, with domed top. They are longer than those in a 48-key hexagonal Wheaststone and shorter than those in a late model ebony Aeola that I've had access to recently.

The buttons dimensions are
overall length 1 1/4" (28.5mm)
diameter of wood core 3/16" (4.7mm)
peg length 5/16" (7.9mm)
length of full width part 13/16" (20.8mm)

I would be very grateful for any help in tracking down the correct buttons, even repairable broken ones!

Theo

#2 d.elliott

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 05:47 AM

Last time I had this problem I got some metal capped buttons of the correct cap length and diameter, also top profile and removed the caps, then fitted them to new keys that I made myself.

Are the keys missing or are they broken?

Its easy to repair broken keys or re-peg them, it just requires care and application

Dave

#3 Pete Dickey

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 09:57 AM

I think I would just prefer to make my own solid ones out of 3/16" nickel-silver bar. At least they should last well enough and they do look pretty good as Dave hopefully will agree.

Pete

#4 JimLucas

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 10:37 AM

I think I would just prefer to make my own solid ones out of 3/16" nickel-silver bar.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Would they feel the same as the others to someone playing the instrument?
In proportion, they would be more massive, but I don't know whether the difference would be noticeable in that range, e.g., in comparison to the resistance of the springs.

#5 Theo

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for the suggestions Dave and Pete, and I could use either of those methods. I've not even got broken ones to work with, the buttons are completely missing. I just thought it was worth asking before setting too and making something myself.

And I would be interested in broken repairable ones... Please...

Theo

#6 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 10:19 PM

I need 5 buttons to complete the restoration of a lovely 56 key, nickel ended Aeola.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Theo,

I would suggest you try Steve Dickinson, at C. Wheatstone & Co., website :www.wheatstone.co.uk , email : concertinas@wheatstone.co.uk

#7 d.elliott

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 02:27 AM

I would agree with Pete, all metal keys are fine if a little heavier on the springs; but I don't have a metal turning capability at home at the moment, only wood turning.

I also like working in wood, and generally prefer to replace like with like, so I would stick with my option of reclaimed caps onto new wooden bodies.

Steve Dickinson has been using metal capped plastic keys recently, but he is worth a try. As is Chris Algar.

Dave

#8 Theo

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 02:49 AM

Thanks Stephen, I have anticipated you on that one and am waiting for word back from Steve Dickinson. I have a few local contacts to try too.

I was hoping that there might be some members of this forum who had the odd button or two lying around in one of those boxes of addments that might just come in useful one day.

Theo

#9 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 05:45 AM

I would agree with Pete, all metal keys are fine if a little heavier on the springs ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would be more worried about them being heavier on the player's fingers, the reason for hollow metal keys (Lachenal) or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones (Wheatstone).

Steve Dickinson has been using metal capped plastic keys recently, but he is worth a try.

Steve has always used them, seeing that they have been "the norm" at Wheatstone's since 1933/4, long before he took over the firm. But there is really no harm in having a few with plastic cores in an instrument, along with the wooden ones, as long as the length and button profile match, and definitely a better option than solid metal.

#10 Pete Dickey

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 06:39 AM

I would agree with Pete, all metal keys are fine if a little heavier on the springs ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would be more worried about them being heavier on the player's fingers, the reason for hollow metal keys (Lachenal) or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones (Wheatstone).

Steve Dickinson has been using metal capped plastic keys recently, but he is worth a try.

Steve has always used them, seeing that they have been "the norm" at Wheatstone's since 1933/4, long before he took over the firm. But there is really no harm in having a few with plastic cores in an instrument, along with the wooden ones, as long as the length and button profile match, and definitely a better option than solid metal.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I've been using them on my Jeffries for the last year without any problems whatsoever and there doesn't seem to be any issue regarding them being heavier on the fingers. Any additional weight in the instrument is negligable. Other concertinas that I've seen with solid metal buttons, e.g. other Jeffries and Crabbs similarly don't seem to have caused problems. What seems to be more of an issue is the shape of the key ends which shouldn't be too domed or they CAN be uncomfortable after a while.

I don't therefore see why plastic or wooden cores are " definitely a better option than solid metal". Wasn't the use of hollow keys or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones more an issue of cost in production rather than usability?

#11 JimLucas

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 06:55 AM

I would agree with Pete, all metal keys are fine if a little heavier on the springs ...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I would be more worried about them being heavier on the player's fingers, the reason for hollow metal keys (Lachenal) or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones (Wheatstone).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That's what I wasn't sure of, and others seem to disagree with you. (Maybe it depends on the sensitivity of the player?) But while the difference in total weight of the instrument might not be noticeably affected by the solid-vs.-capped difference of a couple of buttons, the difference in a full set might well be noticeable, and that might have been one reason for going over to hollow/capped buttons.

Might the weight/mass difference -- regardless of which effect it's presumed to have for players -- also have been one of the motivations for experimenting with glass buttons?

#12 JimLucas

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 07:34 AM

What seems to be more of an issue is the shape of the key ends which shouldn't be too domed or they CAN be uncomfortable after a while.

I think that's as much a question of technique as curvature of the button ends. It's something I've never had a problem with, but I also don't normally press the buttons down until I feel them stop. Instead, I often stop pressing a millimeter or more before "hitting bottom", even on held notes.

More important, in my opinion, is that all the buttons should have the same curvature. (Please don't embed a rhinestone in that middle C! ;)) If you're replacing only a few, they should match the ones that are already there.

I don't therefore see why plastic or wooden cores are " definitely a better option than solid metal". Wasn't the use of hollow keys or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones more an issue of cost in production rather than usability?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I doubt that very much. The labor in making capped buttons seems greater than that for making solid buttons. For hollow all-metal buttons, it's definitely much greater. I doubt that any possible savings in materials cost could overbalance that.

#13 d.elliott

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 09:59 AM

I have not had any keys off Steve for about 10 yrs now, they were plastic cored then, so I suppose the use of the word 'recently' was miss-leading, I was not aware of the plastic used earlier than this although I have had to repair keys made out of a very brittle bakealite material, so I should have realised.

By my concern: 'heavy on the springs', I am recognising that the slight increase in key weight may not be detectable to the fingers when opening pads, but potentially could cause drag in bushings and increase system inertia for the springs to overcome when closing the pads.

The oldies seem to have cone for the expense of hollow capped keys, I have always assumed that this was a reason why.

Dave

#14 Pete Dickey

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 10:04 AM

What seems to be more of an issue is the shape of the key ends which shouldn't be too domed or they CAN be uncomfortable after a while.

I think that's as much a question of technique as curvature of the button ends. It's something I've never had a problem with, but I also don't normally press the buttons down until I feel them stop. Instead, I often stop pressing a millimeter or more before "hitting bottom", even on held notes.

More important, in my opinion, is that all the buttons should have the same curvature. (Please don't embed a rhinestone in that middle C! ;)) If you're replacing only a few, they should match the ones that are already there.

I don't therefore see why plastic or wooden cores are " definitely a better option than solid metal". Wasn't the use of hollow keys or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones more an issue of cost in production rather than usability?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I doubt that very much. The labor in making capped buttons seems greater than that for making solid buttons. For hollow all-metal buttons, it's definitely much greater. I doubt that any possible savings in materials cost could overbalance that.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I do agree with much of what you say Jim. My point about the keys being too domed is that I've seen a couple of cases where very small buttons were used and were almost pointed - uncomfortable however you play them.

I recall some of the discussions we had about 18 months ago and I'm trying to avoid going over old ground if possible, but I'm looking for other reasons why keys were made using methods other than solid bar. Cost was a thought since, going back a number of years, 3/16th solid nickel bar may have been a lot dearer comparatively than it is now but I do take the point on labour costs. Having used a set of solid metal keys instead of bone and finding no major change in the weight or "feel" of the instrument, I'm struggling to see how hollow or wooden /plastic shanked keys with metal caps are better :blink:

#15 JimLucas

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 11:52 AM

My point about the keys being too domed is that I've seen a couple of cases where very small buttons were used and were almost pointed - uncomfortable however you play them.

Without an actual example to try, it's hard to argue with you, but I will, anyway. ;)

Maybe "uncomfortable however you play them", but maybe not however I play them. And it wouldn't necessarily be a question of the technique (the "how"), but differences in the way you and I perceive such details. Some folks complain that 4-5 mm diameter buttons are uncomfortably small. Not me. I not only like the common 4-5 mm buttons, but I prefer 3 mm, which I know because I tried an EC with 3 mm buttons. That seems to be a fundamental difference in perception.

I believe the instrument I've experienced with "pointy"-seeming buttons was a Herrington, for which I think that's standard. Some people complain about it; others seem to find it no problem or even preferable. While the contour was not my favorite, I certainly didn't consider it "uncomfortable".

I recall some of the discussions we had about 18 months ago and I'm trying to avoid going over old ground if possible, but I'm looking for other reasons why keys were made using methods other than solid bar. Cost was a thought since, going back a number of years, 3/16th solid nickel bar may have been a lot dearer comparatively than it is now but I do take the point on labour costs. Having used a set of solid metal keys instead of bone and finding no major change in the weight or "feel" of the instrument, I'm struggling to see how hollow or wooden /plastic shanked keys with metal caps are better  :blink:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hope Stephen will chime in here with his reasons, but I can at least imagine some possibilities, e.g.,
... 1) Some players -- Alexander Prince, perhaps? -- are/were more sensitive to differences in button mass than you are.
... 2) You say "no major change", but maybe some people were more concerned than you over "minor" differences.
... 3) Maybe the difference wasn't really enough to affect people's playing, but they believed it did. That is certainly a common enough occurrence today, particularly with brand-name loyalties.
... 4) Assuming that a more-or-less domed top is preferred, is getting a domed profile on a solid rod exceptionally difficult? Is it easier to get that profile in a separate cap-piece? (Even the tops of hollow buttons I've seen have been produced as an attached separate "cap", while I don't recall ever seeing domed solid buttons. Is it possible that the button is hollow to accomodate the cap, rather than capped to accomodate the hollow?)
... 5) Maybe there was some other effect that we (I include myself) just haven't yet been imaginative -- or experienced -- enough to think of.

#16 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 02:33 AM

... concertinas that I've seen with solid metal buttons, e.g. other Jeffries and Crabbs similarly don't seem to have caused problems.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Pete,

I'm not suggesting that solid metal buttons cause "problems", only that lighter keys are a little easier on the fingers, as well as saving on overall weight, and that the old makers felt that this was so.

For example, I think it significant that when Jeffries switched from ivory to solid metal buttons they reduced the diameter of them by one third from 1/4" (6mm) to 5/32" (4mm), most likely to try to keep the weight of them down, and Crabb's later changed to using solid aluminium for their metal buttons.


What seems to be more of an issue is the shape of the key ends which shouldn't be too domed or they CAN be uncomfortable after a while.

It can certainly be a problem, as can buttons with ends that are too flat (the reason that "spherical-ended" buttons were introduced). But the disadvantage with heavy buttons is more to do with the additional inertia that has to be overcome when you press them, especially in rapid playing. The makers were employing lighter buttons before they ever made them spherical-ended.

The most uncomfortable buttons I have ever played had highly domed ends, but they were also the heaviest, being made from solid stainless steel.


I don't therefore see why plastic or wooden cores are "definitely a better option than solid metal". Wasn't the use of hollow keys or metal-capped wooden or plastic ones more an issue of cost in production rather than usability?

No, they require a lot of extra work and would have been much more trouble and more expensive to manufacture.

But I was referring specifically to the English-system Ĉola in question, in which all the original buttons are on wooden cores, where any odd solid metal ones might spoil an otherwise perfect instrument/set up. I would likewise feel that it would be "definitely a better option" to use solid metal replacements in an instrument that had them originally.

Edited by Stephen Chambers, 28 December 2007 - 12:50 AM.


#17 accordionmagic

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 09:54 AM

Theo,
I can make your buttons to any spec in solid Nickel Silver if you still want them.
Cheers

40600096.jpg

Roy Whiteley
Accordion Magic Ltd

#18 accordionmagic

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:08 AM

Just a note to all regarding button shape;

I'm currently making a set of 48 303 Stainless Steel buttons for John Nixon and he has specifically requested domed heads......... 'In order to slide his fingers!'

Cheers
Roy




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