Repairing wood handles whose holes are too worn to hold a wood screw on an Anglo concertina
A photo essay
by Ken Coles, Logansport, Indiana U.S.A.
As I have noted elsewhere, wrist problems required me to
adjust the handles on my concertina with foam pads. To make
room for the pads and my hands, I needed longer straps.
The new, longer strap is on the right. It is a "Wheatstone" from Steve
Dickinson via the Button Box. I couldn't resist the idea of having a
Wheatstone part on my Lachenal!
When I went to put the new straps on, I saw the nauseating sight of wood
dust falling out of the holes in the bottom of the handles. The holes
were shot and wouldn't hold the screws anymore. Everyone said, just put
in a bigger screw, but that had clearly been done several times already.
I wanted to dump the big ugly old screws and go back to something more
The answer was to plug the old holes and drill new ones. The old wood
screws are on the right, and the smallest ones I could find (#2 by 3/8
inch) are on the left. I got some rosewood at a craft specialty store
and carved pieces to plug all the holes I had in the handles.
Here are two plugs on one side; you can see them on the handle if you
look closely. I glued them in with liquid hide glue. Then I drilled
small pilot holes, inserted new screws, and mounted the new straps with
I had a little more trouble with one of the wood screws -- I didn't put
it in very far (to save all the work I did on the rosewood) and it later
popped out. Bob Tedrow told me it is a general design problem because
wood screws don't hold well in end grain. I hope all new concertinas are
made with a better system than this. (Concertina makers, are you
listening?) End bolts don't go into wood; they have a metal part they
thread into. The screws/bolts for handles ought to work the same way.