How Not To Repair A Concertina
Posted 10 January 2004 - 01:48 AM
So I replaced the spring. No problem. Then I asked what kind of glues she had in the house. Epoxy, "Crazy Glue" (cyanoacrilate), and Elmers (the white stuff). I asked for the Elmers. "It's an old bottle. It may be all hard inside." She twisted open the orange cap and tried to squeeze. "Yeah, it doesn't come out."
"Give it here," I said. "It may be hardened in the cap but there may be usable glue in the bottle. All we need is a drop." I took the bottle and unscrewed the cap. I looked into the bottle. It looked (and felt, as I squeezed the bottle) like it might very well be hard. I turned it over and shook it.
A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H-H ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Out it came, right onto the action of the concertina. Probably no more than 5 ml, but >eaugh!< All over everything. Pads, springs, keys, riveted posts. I quickly got to work with paper towels and cotton swabs until I was sure I had cleaned up all the moving parts. There was glue where I couldn't get at it efficiently on the wooden surface between the posts, and I blotted it a little but couldn't really get it cleaned. I put a small drop of glue on the end of the errant post and pressed it into place.
Then I let it sit for an hour or so (with something heavy holding the post in place) before reassembling it to make sure all the moving parts still moved after any remaining glue had had time to dry. I could neither see any remnants of glue (though I know it was there) nor detect any problems in the action. I put the whole thing back together. It seems to be working normally now. It probably won't be long before another spring needs replacing. I'm not sure I want to be there when it's opened.
Posted 10 January 2004 - 10:09 AM
I admire your honesty and humility in sharing with us this cautionary tale.
In choosing glues, and all other restoration and repair choices that have been discussed here, it's a good idea to remember that accidents can happen to anyone. The most talented, experienced, and careful craftsmen I know do slip up occasionally (to say nothing of my own mistakes...). This is one more reason that reversibility of any operation, if at all achievable, is really important.
"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread," but experts can become overconfident. Think of the "croc hunter" holding his baby while feeding that giant reptile. He may be able to claim that nothing could have gone wrong, but in that case, most of us have the common sense to consider the consequences if there occurred one of those events that occasionally surprise even the "best" and most knowledgeable.
Posted 10 January 2004 - 10:46 AM
Just can't control myself from telling about the two worst cases of concertina 'contra-repair' I have come across.
1) An instrument sent over for "tuning" having 4 endbolts one side and all 6 on the other replaced by 2,5x35-40mm nails with their heads driven right down to the bottom of the sites.....
2) A tremendously nice looking Aeola, slightly out of tune, bought unopened....
All reeds being safely 'secured' in their sites with contact glue all around them...
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