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Accordion Wax - Need Help


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#1 Kid Electric

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 09:19 PM

So, I ended up buying a cheap, "Italian-designed" (ie. made in China) concertina from eBay; I had owned a Bastari which, despite being 30-40 years old, played relatively well... but the buttons were kind of loose and wobbly and the thumb valve too far for my hands. So, I replaced with a new "Morelli" concertina and it did actually play and sound nice.

However, when I moved across the country and brought it in my car, it appears not to have enjoyed the 109 degree Nevada weather. I hadn't played it in a while, and when I pulled it out of the case to give it a go, no sounds coming out of the right-side (higher pitch) C/G reeds/valves.

I unscrewed the end and uncapped it and... sure enough, the reeds weren't even there. Most of them had completely fallen off and I could see melted wax segments here and there. What's worse is that some of the wax melted ONTO the reeds, meaning they now won't work even if I reaffixed them. However, I think if I clean off the wax and then rewax them, it'll be good as new. (I know I could take it to a repair shop, but why would I do that on something that cost less than $100 to begin with?)

So, my two questions are this:

1) What is a good way to clean/remove accordion wax? I've done the best I can by scraping with a knife, but in particular I need a way to remove the wax from the actual reed parts of a couple of the reed plates, or they get stuck and do not have that thin airway to vibrate. It seems like some sort of solvent might work best, but what? Goo Gone?

2) Anybody know where I can find and buy some accordion wax? I can't believe I can't find anybody who sells it. The best I've seen is a recipe for making your own out of 90% beeswax and 10% resin -- but even then, where do I get the pine resin (and in what form?) I'm sure actual accordion wax would work best but, if I can't find that, do you think it would work if I used plain beeswax? (not hard to obtain)

Edited by Kid Electric, 07 November 2007 - 09:21 PM.


#2 m3838

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 09:57 PM

Hi.
Put the reeds into a small cup, filled with kerosene and close the lid. Leave it overnight.
In the morning your reeds will have no trace of wax. You will have to replace the valves though. The best is to save the valves not affected by wax and later re-glue them with Shellac or with nail polish or with Elmer's glue. It will not hold to the metal strongly, but well enough. But you have to cataloque the parts and mark them with unsolvable markers. Scratch on them, don't use markers, the markings will dissolve in Kerosene. I think you can buy resin (or is it rosin?) in hardware stores, Rosin is used in soldering. The question is where do you buy real bee's wax? I have no idea.
Or you can order new set of valves and wax from any accordion shop across the world. It's easy.
But then you'll have to tune it, if you want presision. Although I suspect a $100 concertina is rather forgiving and new valves will not change it's original tuning much.
While you are at it, I'd replace all the padding on the palletts (or pads) with real leather. Just scrape them off and replace with hide. Any will be better then what you have. Or buy Chamou leather in automotive store. Chamou is not airtight, but you can seal it by spreading Elmer's Glue on the smooth side (or if it's skeeved, any side). After it's dry, glue it on the palletts.
You can even do such an overkill as putting a "sandwich" on the pallet: a layer of felt and a layer of Chamou. It will make the action completely silent and very airtight.
Then I'd suggest to pour wax or plasticine around every joint and corner inside the insttrument, esp. when screws are protruding. It may make the instrument so much more airtight.
To wax the reeds I'd recommend small soldering iron. Take copper wire, wrap it around the tip of an iron, with one end sticking up. Then take a hammer and flatten that end. You'll have a flat "spoon". Dip it into the chunk of wax, grab a droplet of molten wax and contact the end of reedplate. It will heat the end and the wax will pour on it by itself, making fine uniform film. Don't try to smear the wax for and back - it will not do anything. Just wait till wax will move down by itself. Usually some half a second, unless you keep the reeds in the freezer. (little quiz: What do the words: "keep", "reed", and "freezer" have in common?).
P.S.
If your wax will be too hard, your instrument will buzz.
If your valves will be of poor quality, your instrument will burr, buzz, choke, flutter. So even for a cheap concertina you'll need good valves, which price may be equal to the price of your instrument.

#3 Kid Electric

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 10:50 PM

Thanks for the thorough response!

The wax didn't actually drip too far -- just enough to mess with the reeds, I think the valves are ok (though they may be worth replacing anyway); I will try cleaning and re-installing.

Beeswax is fairly easy to find; I can get a pound of it for $4 (plus about $4 shipping) on eBay, or there are also beeswax wholesalers online which sell by the ounce, pound, ton, etc

#4 Theo

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 04:31 AM

Beeswax is fairly easy to find; I can get a pound of it for $4 (plus about $4 shipping) on eBay, or there are also beeswax wholesalers online which sell by the ounce, pound, ton, etc


You should be able to find reed wax ready mixed. Making it yourself is a messy process. Try The Button Box They use wax in their Morse concertinas.

#5 Richard Morse

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 08:09 AM

You should be able to find reed wax ready mixed. Making it yourself is a messy process. Try The Button Box They use wax in their Morse concertinas.[/quote]Yes, we sell high-quality accordion wax which we use in our concertinas.

For anyone that *really* wants to deal with making their own wax, beeswax is incredibly easy to get. Pretty much every sewing/fabric store will carry beeswax (quilters use it, and it comes in handy stick form) and many places that sell candles have beeswax candles. Beware how much the wax has been processed though as sometimes it can be so refined as to be brittle.

Rosin is also easy to get. Sports shops and athletic supply stores, dance studios carry rosin, usually in powdered form for "grip" (hands/gloves and shoes) and music stores sell violin rosin (in cake form which you can easily crush into a powder).

Don't forget that you need a bit of oil in your wax mixture too. Everyone seems to have the "magic" proportions they swear by. We made several batches many years ago but none worked as well as the stuff we get from the accordion makers (not to mention that we go through so much of the stuff. Much easier/cheaper to by it ready-made by the pound).

-- Rich --

#6 marien

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Posted 08 November 2007 - 10:04 AM

here on ebayis wax mixed with resin:
http://cgi.ebay.com/...VQQcmdZViewItem
marien

#7 Kid Electric

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 07:02 PM

Thanks for these further suggestions on where to find pre-made wax. I was really not looking forward to trying to make my own (cleaning and reattaching the reeds is going to be enough of a pain in the butt as it is)

I found I could make about 1.5 lbs of accordion wax for about $20 (1 lb beeswax for $9 and 1/2 lb of lump pine rosin for $10), so I figured I would do that if I have to and then sell the excess to anyone who needed it.

But now I'm thinking it would be better to just get the pre-made stuff if it's not hard or expensive to obtain.

#8 plasteraccordion

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:04 PM

So, I ended up buying a cheap, "Italian-designed" (ie. made in China) concertina from eBay; I had owned a Bastari which, despite being 30-40 years old, played relatively well... but the buttons were kind of loose and wobbly and the thumb valve too far for my hands. So, I replaced with a new "Morelli" concertina and it did actually play and sound nice.

However, when I moved across the country and brought it in my car, it appears not to have enjoyed the 109 degree Nevada weather. I hadn't played it in a while, and when I pulled it out of the case to give it a go, no sounds coming out of the right-side (higher pitch) C/G reeds/valves.

I unscrewed the end and uncapped it and... sure enough, the reeds weren't even there. Most of them had completely fallen off and I could see melted wax segments here and there. What's worse is that some of the wax melted ONTO the reeds, meaning they now won't work even if I reaffixed them. However, I think if I clean off the wax and then rewax them, it'll be good as new. (I know I could take it to a repair shop, but why would I do that on something that cost less than $100 to begin with?)

So, my two questions are this:

1) What is a good way to clean/remove accordion wax? I've done the best I can by scraping with a knife, but in particular I need a way to remove the wax from the actual reed parts of a couple of the reed plates, or they get stuck and do not have that thin airway to vibrate. It seems like some sort of solvent might work best, but what? Goo Gone?

2) Anybody know where I can find and buy some accordion wax? I can't believe I can't find anybody who sells it. The best I've seen is a recipe for making your own out of 90% beeswax and 10% resin -- but even then, where do I get the pine resin (and in what form?) I'm sure actual accordion wax would work best but, if I can't find that, do you think it would work if I used plain beeswax? (not hard to obtain)



#9 plasteraccordion

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Posted 05 December 2009 - 11:09 PM

Reed wax can be bought at FRM Enterprises in Canada or Castiglione Accordions in Detroit. Ernest Deffner in NY may also sell it. Thanks for the kerosene tip- the wax is a real pain to clean up. I do my waxing with a flat spoon like contraption. I takes awhile to get it down, but it is a quite effective way to wax in reeds. Steve

#10 Kautilya

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 09:16 AM

So, I ended up buying a cheap, "Italian-designed" (ie. made in China) concertina from eBay; I had owned a Bastari which, despite being 30-40 years old, played relatively well... but the buttons were kind of loose and wobbly and the thumb valve too far for my hands. So, I replaced with a new "Morelli" concertina and it did actually play and sound nice.

However, when I moved across the country and brought it in my car, it appears not to have enjoyed the 109 degree Nevada weather. I hadn't played it in a while, and when I pulled it out of the case to give it a go, no sounds coming out of the right-side (higher pitch) C/G reeds/valves.

I unscrewed the end and uncapped it and... sure enough, the reeds weren't even there. Most of them had completely fallen off and I could see melted wax segments here and there. What's worse is that some of the wax melted ONTO the reeds, meaning they now won't work even if I reaffixed them. However, I think if I clean off the wax and then rewax them, it'll be good as new. (I know I could take it to a repair shop, but why would I do that on something that cost less than $100 to begin with?)

So, my two questions are this:

1) What is a good way to clean/remove accordion wax? I've done the best I can by scraping with a knife, but in particular I need a way to remove the wax from the actual reed parts of a couple of the reed plates, or they get stuck and do not have that thin airway to vibrate. It seems like some sort of solvent might work best, but what? Goo Gone?

2) Anybody know where I can find and buy some accordion wax? I can't believe I can't find anybody who sells it. The best I've seen is a recipe for making your own out of 90% beeswax and 10% resin -- but even then, where do I get the pine resin (and in what form?) I'm sure actual accordion wax would work best but, if I can't find that, do you think it would work if I used plain beeswax? (not hard to obtain)

Know one v good repairer who just uses ordinary beeswax (as in full beeswax candle or pure beeswaxx (don;t know these sellers but e.g.: http://is.gd/5eq0Y
Repairer says its goes a bit hard but does the job and suits them).

Get soldering iron with small point (Chinese will do) hold machine/reed block at a slight angle pointing downwards, put soldering iron at top of gap you are going to fill, hold beeswax just above soldering iron and when it starts to melt just move both together downwards and gap is filled....

Edited by Kautilya, 06 December 2009 - 06:59 PM.





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