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What Glue Do You Use To Attach Valves?


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#1 Kath

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 05:21 PM

Hi. This is my first post - just joined today, and I live in New Zealand. I have a question about attaching valves. I learned basic accordion repair many years ago from one of your members, and a smidgen about concertina repairs. Haven't done much on concertinas except just touch up the tuning on the odd "sour" note reed on my husband's concertinas.

Now, I may be wanting to replace the valves on his anglo concertina sometime, and also this question applies to accordions, too. What glue do you use? I ask because, on all the old accordions I've worked on (I don't think I've ever owned one less than 30 years old), some of the valves often come off just with a touch (such as you have to do when tuning), or are already off. These have been put on with shellac, which I have seen recommended for use even today on one accordion site. Now, I've found this shellac very brittle, but worse, the reed is always very rusty right behind where the shellac is. I don't think that's a co-incidence, I think it's because there must be water in the shellac.

Now, Bill's concertina's valves are not glued on with shellac - I don't know what it is, but it doesn't seem to be shellac. What do you guys use? My original teacher taught me to use Quick Grip, or any contact adhesive. That can be very thick sometimes, though, and sticks really well - sometimes too well, when you want to remove it again for some reason.

Sorry for the garrulous post. Any advice on this?

Cheers,
Kath

Edited by Kath, 28 January 2006 - 05:23 PM.


#2 d.elliott

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 05:28 PM

I use gum, Gloy gum to be precise, or Gum aramaic (if that is spelt correctly)

It holds well, drys reasonably quickly, and is easy to remove when, eventually, the instrument needs another replacement valve(s).

I would not advise the use of a contact adhesive, too difficult to remove later, it can 'string' and fall over other reeds, and finally it often seems to break down as well.

Dave

#3 Kath

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 05:46 PM

Thanks so much, Dave. Yes, the "stringing" - I've been very careful, though, and this hasn't happened. Just about impossible to remove the glue from the valve base later, though - as you say. I stress I've only done this on accordions - I'd like to expand and update my knowledge before doing much on "irreplaceable" concertinas.

Thanks - I'll try those two suggestions - it's "gum arabic", I believe. I'm off to Google to find out a source . . .

Cheers,
Kath

#4 Frank Edgley

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 06:50 PM

You're best to use a non-permanent glue (one which can easily be removed)---a touch of liquid hide glue, or even the liquid from a children's "glue tube". This is a clear liquid meant for paper, and has an applicator at one end.

#5 stella24

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 11:52 PM

Kath,

Goram R. in another thread on this topic suggests easily attainable wall paper paste. i tried it and it works great. needs to be a thicker consistency mix. experiment first. it has been great so far. easy to remove, no little bits to get into reeds, easy to apply and so cheap. get thee down to the hardware store! btw, his idea for neoprene rubber pad material works great too.. hats off to Goram and Frank. wes.

#6 Theo

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 06:55 AM

I go along with the suggestions above to use gum or paste type adhesives where the valves are attached to wood, which is the case with English made concertinas.

If you are attaching valves to metal reedplates in accordions or accordion reeded concertinas these glues will not grip sufficiently well. In that case you should use a contact adhesive. I use Bostic Contact Extra Strong, or Bison Kit Extra Strong (sold in the UK by Maplin Electronics). Shellac also works well on metal. I've seen rust under the valve end of accordion reeds too, though usually on postwar Hohners where the glue is not shellac.

#7 Richard Morse

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 11:05 AM

You don't say what kind of concertina - or valves - you have. The rust under the valves where the attach to accordion reeds is usually aluminum or zinc oxide (depending on the reedplate material) and only appears when having *leather* valves. I don't think the type of glue has anything to do with it. More likely the box was stored or played in a very moist environment and the leather valves absorbed the moisture, retaining it long enough to affect the adjacent metal plate.

We've always used shellac for valve glue. It was the traditional glue from the start and is still widely used - no matter if using leather or the various plastic compounded valves. No matter whether onto metal reedplates or wood reedpans. It's cheap, easily made/stored, easy to apply/remove, and is darkly colored so it contrasts well with the work.

The trick is that is has to be relatively FRESH and THICK. Store-bought canned shellac comes in a liquid state, and if used "as-is" will dry thin and brittle with little holding power. To make shellac glue, pour a tablespoon of it onto a small plate (a jar lid is good) and let it sit for several hours, occasionally stirring. It will soon thicken up and get darker. It shouldn't be overly thickened, just enough to coat well rather than run off (a matchstick or whatever). Then put it in a small GLASS jar (plastic containers like film containers aren't air-proof enough).

We install valves by "loading" a Q-tip with shellac and transferring it to the ends of about 6 to 8 valves.... by the time you set down the Q-tip the first valve is just the right tackiness to be pressed into place... and the next... and the next.... Only by practice will you know how long the "open time" is. We ALWAYS keep the top on the shellac jar. When not using it, the top is screwed on. When using the shellac we temporarily put the top on upside down to make it easy to continually access it yet keep as much air from it as possible. Even then we'll need to adjust the thickness from time to time by stirring in new shellac. Of course this is coming from a shop that goes though a lot of accordion/concertina repairs and a lot (relatively) of shellac. If you're doing just a few valves you could do the whole project in a thimble.

I had mentioned "fresh" shellac.... In its flake form it has an unlimited shelf life. Sold pre-mixed with alcohol it degrades rapidly which is why there's always a date on the can! Prepared shellac that's 2 years old is okay, 2 1/2 is pretty marginal, and don't get anything over 3 years old. Don't use YOUR shellac if it's over 3 years from the date of manufacture. It doesn't really dry/setup and remains gummy. Also - if you have a choice, get the "orange" or "amber" shellac as that's it's natural color. The "white" or "clear" shellac has been decolorized which also affects it's gluability properties.

#8 Kath

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 04:51 AM

You don't say what kind of concertina - or valves - you have. The rust under the valves where the attach to accordion reeds is usually aluminum or zinc oxide (depending on the reedplate material) and only appears when having *leather* valves. I don't think the type of glue has anything to do with it. More likely the box was stored or played in a very moist environment and the leather valves absorbed the moisture, retaining it long enough to affect the adjacent metal plate.


First, apologies all, for not doing the "search" properly on this topic before asking. It's a pain to have keep repeating things, I know. There seem to be many varied ideas and opinions here - some quite strong. Of course, the vast and lengthy experience of some people here gives more weight to their thoughts and opinions, but a lot of the ideas seemed to have merit. I kind of like the idea of using a "Pritt Stick", though - merely because it isn't permanent, and any harm could be easily undone, and it's so easy to use.

We'll order the valves from David Leese in Wales when we need them - it seems to be going pretty well at the moment. The valves are curled a bit, and I was thinking of replacing them, but Bill says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". It's a Wheatstone Linota.

Now, about the accordion valves - the rust was on the actual steel reeds, not the reedplate, and it corresponded exactly to the area where the shellac was. There was very little or no rust elsewhere on the reed. I'm not sure if it was only happening under leather valves or not - I'll have to check on that. One of the things I learned from this thread was that concertinas need quite different repair techniques and materials than accordions.

Cheers,
Kath

#9 Kath

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:04 AM

I use Bostic Contact Extra Strong, or Bison Kit Extra Strong (sold in the UK by Maplin Electronics). Shellac also works well on metal. I've seen rust under the valve end of accordion reeds too, though usually on postwar Hohners where the glue is not shellac.


OK, good - I've been using a contact glue for accordion valves. I may experiment a bit more after this thread. Well, I don't know what the glue was then, because my accordions are most certainly post-war - probably mostly about sixties vintage. In these particular cases (only on some accordions), the glue was a dark, burnt orange colour, and very brittle - when you lifted the valve to tune behind it, they would often just come off. Don't know what that glue was, but it's what I imagined shellac might look like, with age.

#10 Richard Morse

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 08:33 AM

The valves are curled a bit, and I was thinking of replacing them, but Bill says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". It's a Wheatstone Linota.

Depends on what you mean by "a bit". Curled back 1/8" is often too much - meaning that they are "broke", particularly if they are curled back and rather stiff. You can tell if a valve is dead by playing each note very, very softly and with slowing increasing pressure. Notice that at some point the reed starts to speak, and then as you increase pressure there may be a soft "pop" and the reed will sound noticeably louder. That is the valve setting into place against the reedpan where it should be from the moment the reed started speaking, not later. The more delayed and louder the pop (meaning coming on after more pressure rather than less), the deader the valve is.

Now, about the accordion valves - the rust was on the actual steel reeds, not the reedplate, and it corresponded exactly to the area where the shellac was. There was very little or no rust elsewhere on the reed. I'm not sure if it was only happening under leather valves or not - I'll have to check on that..

You had originally said "right behind where the shellac is", but the reedplate is right behind the shellac. The reed tongue is further in. Yes, I've seen many instances where the underside of the base of the reed is quite rusty whereas the rest of the reed isn't. I still think it's and issue of moisture concentration due to the valve's absorption. The shellac really has nothing to do with it. Shellac isn't "cut" with water anyway. When applied there is no "moisture" to dissipate.

#11 Kath

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 10:46 PM

You had originally said "right behind where the shellac is", but the reedplate is right behind the shellac. The reed tongue is further in. Yes, I've seen many instances where the underside of the base of the reed is quite rusty whereas the rest of the reed isn't. I still think it's and issue of moisture concentration due to the valve's absorption. The shellac really has nothing to do with it. Shellac isn't "cut" with water anyway. When applied there is no "moisture" to dissipate.

OK - to the nitty-gritty. When I apply glue, anyway - with a toothpick or what have you - I cover the bottom third, quarter or whatever suits that particular valve - copying what was done before - with the adhesive (on accordions, as I haven't done it on concertinas yet). This will adhere to the sides of the reedplate, leaving the untouched portion facing the cavity in the reedplate. It was right behind that where I found the rust. Just co-incidence, maybe.

It seems like many old accordions that one finds second hand (the cheap ones, anyway) have at some stage been kept in damp conditions. Makes for interesting restoration jobs, and learning curves <_< . It's very damp in many parts of NZ, and people who inherited some weird thing that is taking up space tend to store it in the (shudder) garage, etc.

#12 Noel Ways

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 06:30 PM

I'd like to reactive this thread of 10 years ago, as I now am now in need of replacing some valves on an old Lachanel Anglo recently purchased.  I also thought this thread was interesting to see three different ideas from three different well respected concertina maker/repairers.  Any other thoughts?  So far here is what we have:

 

Rich Morse:  Shellac (home made preferably)

Dave Elliot:  Gloy gum (or Gum aromatic)

Frank Edgley:  Hyde Glue or other


Edited by Noel Ways, 17 July 2016 - 09:42 PM.


#13 Chris Ghent

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 09:16 PM

All good advice. A principle to pay attention to; use the weakest glue which will do the job. This makes it easier to change the valve if it turns out to be bad or helps the person after you replace them in 20 years time. From the 3 choices above I would go with Dave Elliot, paper glue or gum arabic.

A lovely reminder to see a post from Richard Morse earlier in this thread!

#14 Don Taylor

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 08:51 PM

I think that you should avoid PVA glues - the most common glues on the market - especially the more aggressive versions used for woodworking.  Once fully set it is not reversible - you cannot soak it to dissolve and remove it and it does not stick well to a residue of itself so you might have scrape or sand back to bare wood when you need to renew the valves.

 

I have been using fish glue which is as easy to use as PVA, is less aggressive and is easily reversible.  It is not toxic but It does taste foul.  Probably a good glue for kids who like to eat glue! Should cure them in one sitting.

 

You can get it from Lee Valley: http://www.leevalley...0,42965&p=20019



#15 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 27 July 2016 - 05:44 PM

All good advice. A principle to pay attention to; use the weakest glue which will do the job. This makes it easier to change the valve if it turns out to be bad or helps the person after you replace them in 20 years time. From the 3 choices above I would go with Dave Elliot, paper glue or gum arabic.

A lovely reminder to see a post from Richard Morse earlier in this thread!

With that in mind, what do you think of using the wax mix that we use in melodeons/accordions?

I have no idea what modern manufacturers use but for the older models, it looks to me that it was the same beeswax mix used on the leather valves, and for sealing in the reeds.

It's easy enough to remove, and certainly seems to last years. I've used it many times without any problems, mainly because it was convenient at the time.



#16 Chris Ghent

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 02:03 AM

I think that you should avoid PVA glues - the most common glues on the market - especially the more aggressive versions used for woodworking.  Once fully set it is not reversible - you cannot soak it to dissolve and remove it and it does not stick well to a residue of itself so you might have scrape or sand back to bare wood when you need to renew the valves.

It is reversible, Place fresh PVA over the top and mix it into the old PVA which will easily soften and become removable. It is surprisingly fast.  I use a small screwdriver as it serves as a scraper as well as mixer.

 

One caveat, it works with the brands of PVA I use, other brands may have different chemistry.


Edited by Chris Ghent, 28 July 2016 - 02:08 AM.


#17 Chris Ghent

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 02:07 AM

With that in mind, what do you think of using the wax mix that we use in melodeons/accordions?

I have no idea what modern manufacturers use but for the older models, it looks to me that it was the same beeswax mix used on the leather valves, and for sealing in the reeds.

It's easy enough to remove, and certainly seems to last years. I've used it many times without any problems, mainly because it was convenient at the time.

 

Sounds like it would work to me. They probably used it because it was sticky and to hand. If you didn't have a pot of it warming on the hotplate then a modern glue in a tube or bottle has to be more convenient.



#18 Patrick McMahon

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Posted 28 July 2016 - 06:35 AM

Sounds like it would work to me. They probably used it because it was sticky and to hand. If you didn't have a pot of it warming on the hotplate then a modern glue in a tube or bottle has to be more convenient.

It can be fairly quick and convenient. I have a soldering iron that I just use for wax. Rest it in the jar, and it melts a little pool in no time, and you can use it to drip the wax on, if you only need a small drip.

Another tip is to heat the tip of a soldering iron in a gas flame, to speed up warming.






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