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Wheatstone Concertina Retoration Project


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#19 david robertson

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 02:42 PM

Just a thought about the reeds, Jon. If I were you, I wouldn't order any replacements just yet, because chances are that you'll need several more. Old brass reeds are particularly prone to what I suppose is a kind of metal fatigue - they develop almost invisible cracks, and when you try to tune them or set them in their frames, they fall in half. The good news is that second-hand brass reeds are rather easier to find than decent steel ones!
At least you haven't reported any woodwork problems, in spite of the instrument's travels in S. America. A couple of years ago I bought a Lachenal Inimitable from Peru, which looked good on the outside, but half of the timber framework had been hollowed out by termites or some such. One particularly industrious beastie had bored its way from one end to the other, going through every fold of the bellows en route.
Good luck with the restoration - it's looking good so far!

#20 Jon C.

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:15 PM

Just a thought about the reeds, Jon. If I were you, I wouldn't order any replacements just yet, because chances are that you'll need several more. Old brass reeds are particularly prone to what I suppose is a kind of metal fatigue - they develop almost invisible cracks, and when you try to tune them or set them in their frames, they fall in half. The good news is that second-hand brass reeds are rather easier to find than decent steel ones!
At least you haven't reported any woodwork problems, in spite of the instrument's travels in S. America. A couple of years ago I bought a Lachenal Inimitable from Peru, which looked good on the outside, but half of the timber framework had been hollowed out by termites or some such. One particularly industrious beastie had bored its way from one end to the other, going through every fold of the bellows en route.
Good luck with the restoration - it's looking good so far!

Good point, they really look undisturbed but, probably hard to detect hair line cracks until you start tuning them. Good to know that repacements are out there. Still, if it wasn't played much, there might not be much work hardening of the brass, they don't look like they were subjected to the salt air of the sea. From working with brass springs on my flutes, they woulld have the same effect, look sound, but loose thier spring, until the break off. Sounds like David Leese will be a good sourse for the replacement reeds, when I get to that stage. The wood is sound, well the Rosewood fret board had cracks and missing fretting, but the rest of the wood is un-eaten! Looks like a bug had chewed on one of the valves, but didn't like the taste of it. The bellows rotted, but thta was mainly mold. I have seen the post beetles in action, when I lived in Mexico, they wer huge, could eat a post in no time flat!
Got one side finished, pads and valves, now to start on the other side.
Take care,
Jon

#21 Pete Dunk

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:49 PM

Looks like your Wheatstone is in great shap, right off the factory floor... What year was it made? Looks exactly like mine did, say, 100 years ago! I have the silver or nickel silver flower inlay on mine too. It just looks like grass as the shellac turned it gold colored. IT must have bee "The bees knees" in fancy designs. My concertina was purchased for 9 pounds, 9 shillings on April 13, 1865 to "Smith Elder".

Jon, mine isn't a Wheatstone, it's a Lachenal and for what it's worth I have to tell you that it looks in far better condition than it actually is; it's a bit of a 'ringer' to tell you the truth. The reeds inside are a hotch-potch 50/50 mixture of steel and brass which are of dubious ancestry. Three endbolts are missing and it looks as if it was at some time used as a donor box, stripped out to refurbish something better and cobbled back together to attract an unsuspecting buyer that just happened to be me. Such are the joys of ebay! :unsure:

I can't tell you exactly what year it was made because there isn't a truly accurate method of dating Lachenals. As I understand it all of the production records were destroyed in the 1930s when the company finally went under and Wheatstone's bought the assets. When I look inside again I'll post the serial number and one of the more knowledgeable members might take a stab a dating it.

#22 Jon C.

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 10:36 PM

Looks like your Wheatstone is in great shap, right off the factory floor... What year was it made? Looks exactly like mine did, say, 100 years ago! I have the silver or nickel silver flower inlay on mine too. It just looks like grass as the shellac turned it gold colored. IT must have bee "The bees knees" in fancy designs. My concertina was purchased for 9 pounds, 9 shillings on April 13, 1865 to "Smith Elder".

Jon, mine isn't a Wheatstone, it's a Lachenal and for what it's worth I have to tell you that it looks in far better condition than it actually is; it's a bit of a 'ringer' to tell you the truth. The reeds inside are a hotch-potch 50/50 mixture of steel and brass which are of dubious ancestry. Three endbolts are missing and it looks as if it was at some time used as a donor box, stripped out to refurbish something better and cobbled back together to attract an unsuspecting buyer that just happened to be me. Such are the joys of ebay! :unsure:

I can't tell you exactly what year it was made because there isn't a truly accurate method of dating Lachenals. As I understand it all of the production records were destroyed in the 1930s when the company finally went under and Wheatstone's bought the assets. When I look inside again I'll post the serial number and one of the more knowledgeable members might take a stab a dating it.

This will haappen with eBay buys, you just don't know what your getting sometimes... I have been burned a few times myself, but I just worked through it, or put it on the shelf! ( I have a few of those!)
It must have bee nthe transition time for Lachenal, mine got a Wheatstone sticked and serial number, and yours was carted out the back door, to the new factory? I wonder if yours will be listed on the Wheatstone ledger? there is a couple of entrys for Lachenal's in there, possibly used ones.
Jon

#23 Stephen Chambers

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 12:52 AM

IT must have bee "The bees knees" in fancy designs.

No, that must have been this one (that I've got ;) ):

Posted Image Posted Image



#24 Jon C.

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 02:18 AM

IT must have bee "The bees knees" in fancy designs.

No, that must have been this one (that I've got ;) ):

Posted Image Posted Image

Ok, you "take the cake"! You win the "Betsy Wetsy Prize".
There is a lot of "bling" on that sucker!
I like the case also...
Jon

#25 Jon C.

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 11:43 PM

So I have all the valves, springs, and pads finished, now I need to make bellows. I bought some nice leather- thin, dark green, I have a skived goat skin for the inner fold, cambric tape, hide glue, skiving tool- with extra blades. What thinkness board will I need for the bellow wall? The original is only about .030 in.
I just keep digging myself deeper in concertina's... :blink:
Should be fun, though.
Jon

#26 Jon C.

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 12:53 AM

Hi,
So I have started on my bellows for the Wheatstone. I decided to go with a seven fold, so I will have plenty of air for chords.
Using Bob Tedrow's great website illustrations. Thanks Bob! It also helped to look at the photos that fell through the cracks...

I must say, hide glue stinks! This is my second attempt, this time I used a respirator, so I didn't smell it as much. I have been a vegetarian for 34 years, and animal smells just make me want to up-chuck! I wanted to slow down the curing a of the hide glue a little, so I added a little urine, worked great! (is that dedication or what?) It made it smell better...
Posted Image
Posted Image
I have to finish my bellows jig... Next, the leather...
Cheers,
Jon

#27 Pete Dunk

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 02:51 AM

Excellent work Jon, at the rate you are working at the whole project will be finished before too long. What will be next I wonder, making a concertina from scratch?

Pete.

#28 Bob Tedrow

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 05:25 PM

Hi,
So I have started on my bellows for the Wheatstone. I decided to go with a seven fold, so I will have plenty of air for chords.
Using Bob Tedrow's great website illustrations. Thanks Bob! It also helped to look at the photos that fell through the cracks...

I must say, hide glue stinks! This is my second attempt, this time I used a respirator, so I didn't smell it as much. I have been a vegetarian for 34 years, and animal smells just make me want to up-chuck! I wanted to slow down the curing a of the hide glue a little, so I added a little urine, worked great! (is that dedication or what?) It made it smell better...
Posted Image
Posted Image
I have to finish my bellows jig... Next, the leather...
Cheers,
Jon


hmm. Hide glue should not smell bad unless it is rancid or burned. Once prepared from dried granulated glue, the shelf life is only a day or so. We make fresh glue almost every day here at the shop.

If prepared and left forgotten in a covered plastic container, it will most certainly attain a state generously described as putrid, foul and very nasty.
This is not to be used and should be thrown far away....outdoors.

Hide glue should be prepared and heated in a glue pot. Glue pots are designed to heat no more than 145 degrees F. Hotter than that and the glue will loose its desirable properties of adhesion. If you attempt to prepare hide glue in a double boiler, or worse, directly in a saucepan on the burner, you run the risk of burning the glue. Burned hide glue is the second nastiest smell you can create with this traditional adhesive, the first noted above.

Hide glue does not actually "cure". It dries and as it does so it makes an excellent bond. It does require a good joint as it is not a "gap" filler or a substitute for bad joinery. Poorly fit joints may be better off with a synthetic (and perhaps more user friendly ) adhesive.

Bob

#29 Jon C.

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 07:08 PM

Hi,
So I have started on my bellows for the Wheatstone. I decided to go with a seven fold, so I will have plenty of air for chords.
Using Bob Tedrow's great website illustrations. Thanks Bob! It also helped to look at the photos that fell through the cracks...

I must say, hide glue stinks! This is my second attempt, this time I used a respirator, so I didn't smell it as much. I have been a vegetarian for 34 years, and animal smells just make me want to up-chuck! I wanted to slow down the curing a of the hide glue a little, so I added a little urine, worked great! (is that dedication or what?) It made it smell better...
Posted Image
Posted Image
I have to finish my bellows jig... Next, the leather...
Cheers,
Jon


hmm. Hide glue should not smell bad unless it is rancid or burned. Once prepared from dried granulated glue, the shelf life is only a day or so. We make fresh glue almost every day here at the shop.

If prepared and left forgotten in a covered plastic container, it will most certainly attain a state generously described as putrid, foul and very nasty.
This is not to be used and should be thrown far away....outdoors.

Hide glue should be prepared and heated in a glue pot. Glue pots are designed to heat no more than 145 degrees F. Hotter than that and the glue will loose its desirable properties of adhesion. If you attempt to prepare hide glue in a double boiler, or worse, directly in a saucepan on the burner, you run the risk of burning the glue. Burned hide glue is the second nastiest smell you can create with this traditional adhesive, the first noted above.

Hide glue does not actually "cure". It dries and as it does so it makes an excellent bond. It does require a good joint as it is not a "gap" filler or a substitute for bad joinery. Poorly fit joints may be better off with a synthetic (and perhaps more user friendly ) adhesive.

Bob

Well, it didn't stick, just a little gamey scent, it wasn't rancid at all. I just have a sensitive nose... I got the hide glue from Talas, made fresh, heated up in a crock pot double boiler arrangement, set at precisely 145 deg. using a house dimmer to regulate the temp on the crock pot. Worked quite nice. I do store the left overs in the fridge. The uric acid is just to give a longer work time. The first time when I did tried the gluing of the sheet strips, I think I had the glue a little too thick. This time, I got the strips on nice and snug. your measuring plan, does a nice tidy job and a perfect fit!
One question I have for you, how much over lap do I have with the edge wrapping on the leather?
I got one of those cool Scarf-Fix 2000's, (good call on that) nothing like a good, well made tool, worth every penny! I also have a Osbourne hand skiver for the detail work. I am skiving away at the moment, lots of gussets...Posted Image
Thanks again for the great website!
Jon

#30 Jon C.

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 09:25 PM

Excellent work Jon, at the rate you are working at the whole project will be finished before too long. What will be next I wonder, making a concertina from scratch?

Pete.

Hi Pete,
That would be a fun project! I would probably need to find a set of steel concertina reeds, an make a new concertina for them... Tooling up to make my own reeds, would be a project. I do have a casting set up, so I could make the frames, hmmm...

#31 Jon C.

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 02:39 AM

Hi,
So I have started on my bellows for the Wheatstone. I decided to go with a seven fold, so I will have plenty of air for chords.
Using Bob Tedrow's great website illustrations. Thanks Bob! It also helped to look at the photos that fell through the cracks...

I must say, hide glue stinks! This is my second attempt, this time I used a respirator, so I didn't smell it as much. I have been a vegetarian for 34 years, and animal smells just make me want to up-chuck! I wanted to slow down the curing a of the hide glue a little, so I added a little urine, worked great! (is that dedication or what?) It made it smell better...
Posted Image
Posted Image
I have to finish my bellows jig... Next, the leather...
Cheers,
Jon


hmm. Hide glue should not smell bad unless it is rancid or burned. Once prepared from dried granulated glue, the shelf life is only a day or so. We make fresh glue almost every day here at the shop.

If prepared and left forgotten in a covered plastic container, it will most certainly attain a state generously described as putrid, foul and very nasty.
This is not to be used and should be thrown far away....outdoors.

Hide glue should be prepared and heated in a glue pot. Glue pots are designed to heat no more than 145 degrees F. Hotter than that and the glue will loose its desirable properties of adhesion. If you attempt to prepare hide glue in a double boiler, or worse, directly in a saucepan on the burner, you run the risk of burning the glue. Burned hide glue is the second nastiest smell you can create with this traditional adhesive, the first noted above.

Hide glue does not actually "cure". It dries and as it does so it makes an excellent bond. It does require a good joint as it is not a "gap" filler or a substitute for bad joinery. Poorly fit joints may be better off with a synthetic (and perhaps more user friendly ) adhesive.

Bob

Well I am starting to warm up to hide glue. I used it to glue new shammy on the inside of the inside of the bellow frames, worked quite well. I am getting used to the smell, also. (I 'm just back pedaling...)
Jon

#32 Theo

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:10 AM

Lots of good advice on hide glue here

The baby bottle warmer does indeed make a great gluepot

#33 d.elliott

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 03:51 AM

Hi,
So I have started on my bellows for the Wheatstone. I decided to go with a seven fold, so I will have plenty of air for chords.
Using Bob Tedrow's great website illustrations. Thanks Bob! It also helped to look at the photos that fell through the cracks...

I must say, hide glue stinks! This is my second attempt, this time I used a respirator, so I didn't smell it as much. I have been a vegetarian for 34 years, and animal smells just make me want to up-chuck! I wanted to slow down the curing a of the hide glue a little, so I added a little urine, worked great! (is that dedication or what?) It made it smell better...
Posted Image
Posted Image
I have to finish my bellows jig... Next, the leather...
Cheers,
Jon



I once got asked to replace a set of quite repairable bellows on a good instrument with vegan bellows, I pointed out the lack of certified vegan bellows manufacturers, I was then asked to do the minor repair with vegan materials, again I made a simillar polite comment. I weas then asked to confirm that the orginal bellows would have been made from leather that would have come from animals humanely killed, or the bellows were over 100yrs old- that was easier!. Finally I was asked to repair the bellows with materials that were again from humane sources (not human!), and improve the instrument responsiveness. Thankfully the person concerned seemed ignorant about valves & pad facings, animal glue..................................... ;)

Dave

#34 Jon C.

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:34 AM

Hi,
So I have started on my bellows for the Wheatstone. I decided to go with a seven fold, so I will have plenty of air for chords.
Using Bob Tedrow's great website illustrations. Thanks Bob! It also helped to look at the photos that fell through the cracks...

I must say, hide glue stinks! This is my second attempt, this time I used a respirator, so I didn't smell it as much. I have been a vegetarian for 34 years, and animal smells just make me want to up-chuck! I wanted to slow down the curing a of the hide glue a little, so I added a little urine, worked great! (is that dedication or what?) It made it smell better...
Posted Image
Posted Image
I have to finish my bellows jig... Next, the leather...
Cheers,
Jon



I once got asked to replace a set of quite repairable bellows on a good instrument with vegan bellows, I pointed out the lack of certified vegan bellows manufacturers, I was then asked to do the minor repair with vegan materials, again I made a simillar polite comment. I weas then asked to confirm that the orginal bellows would have been made from leather that would have come from animals humanely killed, or the bellows were over 100yrs old- that was easier!. Finally I was asked to repair the bellows with materials that were again from humane sources (not human!), and improve the instrument responsiveness. Thankfully the person concerned seemed ignorant about valves & pad facings, animal glue..................................... ;)

Dave

Vegan bellows? Made from soy skins? That is a good one! I guess if I was a radical "blow up the meat packing plant" kind of vegetarian, I might be concerned about using leather and hide glue. Since I am not eating it, doesn't bother me. The smell just made me a little nauseous. I am getting used to it. I am sure that the leather used, was from animals the quietly died peacefully in there sleep of natural causes... (not) :P

#35 Jon C.

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:46 AM

Lots of good advice on hide glue here

The baby bottle warmer does indeed make a great gluepot

Thanks, I just used my silver annealing croc pot, with a dimmer in series. I usually like to use what I have at hand, and since there isn't any babies in the house... I make it in a small yogurt container, then I can put the lid on and throw it in the fridge. With the Urea, it is actually stable at room temperature.
Jon

#36 Pete Dunk

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 06:24 PM

I would probably need to find a set of steel concertina reeds, an make a new concertina for them...

Steel? can't help you. If you wanted top quality brass reeds in ready made pans however, try the bottom of this page at The Box Place

Pssst! he's had 'em a while now and might just be open to reasonable offers but don't tell him about my 20 finders fee. ;) :P :D




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