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About alex_holden

  • Birthday 02/06/1980

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  • Interests
    Wood carving, metalwork, Morris Minors, folk music.
  • Location
    Lancashire, England

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  1. Depends on the strength of the metal and how delicate the design is. I have used 0.7mm nickel silver with very fine fretwork and 1.2mm 5251-H22 aluminium alloy with slightly heavier fretwork (in hindsight I could probably have got away with 1mm). I imagine stainless steel ends could be a little thinner, maybe 0.6 or 0.5mm? Brass would be similar to nickel silver.
  2. I see, I didn't realise you were talking about punching the rivet holes in the reed tongue. I assumed you were planning to make brass tongues to match the originals, so drilling holes in them wouldn't be difficult. I agree that drilling tempered spring steel may be a problem. If making brass tongues I would be inclined to look for some way to temporarily clamp or glue the tongue in position over the slot while you drill the holes, then remove and fit the rivets.
  3. 1/16" (1.58mm) rivets are commonly available in the UK in brass, or steel. You'll probably need to shorten them. https://www.ekpsupplies.com/1/16-x-1/2-steel-rivets-qty-50.html https://www.ekpsupplies.com/1/16-x-1/2-brass-rivets-qty-50.html By punch, do you mean one that forms a head on the rivet? I once made one from a cheap nail punch by grinding a small hollow into the tip using a diamond-coated ball bit in a rotary tool.
  4. Interesting fretwork design. Does yours have aluminium reed frames too? The modern process for refining the metal was invented in 1886 and the first factory using the process opened in 1888. Prior to that it was very difficult and expensive to refine. If Lachenal was already experimenting with it by the 1890s that was a pretty innovative move. Initially they were probably using pure aluminium, which is quite soft and weaker than later alloys.
  5. Rounding the edges of the hole should help slightly, but enlarging it and fitting a bigger pad would be a better option if there is room to do so.
  6. I wouldn't worry that steel bolts are more likely to strip a brass insert than brass bolts. M2.5 should be strong enough to not strip as long as you don't overtighten them. Most vintage instruments have brass bolts that are about 2.2mm diameter with 2mm thick nut plates. I know some makers use knurled cylindrical inserts for end bolts, but the one time I tried it, the installation went wrong and I quickly went back to traditional flat nut plates. The problem I had was that the drill bit drifted slightly as I was drilling the holes for the inserts, so when I glued the inserts in they were all randomly slightly out of position and the tapped holes didn't line up properly with the clearance holes in the action box walls.
  7. Do you mean a maker who has stopped producing new G/Ds or a dealer who doesn't trade in second hand G/Ds? Either way doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe they are buying their reeds in from a third party that has a minimum order quantity or something.
  8. I wouldn't attempt to glue it other than as a temporary bodge. If you have a small lathe it's fairly easy to turn a new core (the plastic part) from Delrin and fit the original cap to it so the replacement is invisible from the outside. Any competent concertina maker who makes their own buttons should be able to do the job. The problem with sourcing a replacement rather than repairing the original is that it might not be exactly the same size/shape/material.
  9. Interestingly it looks like they cut a notch in the left wall of each chamber to provide extra clearance for the tip of the valve.
  10. I've just checked with him and he says he's still making instruments but is in the middle of designing a new website.
  11. That was flat wooden ends replacing flat metal ends though. Although I could barely hear any difference in person and recordings of the two sounded pretty much identical, my client did say he could hear something. It certainly wasn't a huge change though. There is a much more noticeable tonal difference between that Wheatstone conversion (with Wheatstone reeds and radial pans) and the new instrument I made for him later with Holden reeds, parallel pans, and flat metal ends with quite open fretwork. Which is to say that there are a lot of factors that combine to affect the sound of an instrument and changing one detail in isolation may not make a big difference.
  12. 1. The pull reeds and at least one of the push reeds are missing from chambers A and B. Since you don't mention any buttons aren't working on pull, maybe those chambers are redundant. That would make sense because it has 13 buttons and 13 chambers with reeds in them. 2. That's strange. You'll have to remove the white paper and fit the correct size valves instead. I wonder what problem they were trying to solve when they added the paper? The missing valves on the top side of the pan don't really explain why some push reeds are sounding quietly though. They would cause the pull reeds to be quiet. There may be other problems we can't see in the one reed pan picture. BTW 1957 might be the first four digits of the serial number, not the year of manufacture.
  13. Having played two of my instruments side by side set up to 2mm and 3mm travel, the shorter one did feel a little quicker and less effort though. Regardless of how far your fingers move in total, the active part of the movement is 33% shorter. I've also played vintage instruments set up with a lower action ratio and much longer button travel (5 or 6mm), and they felt quite sluggish and hard work in comparison. I agree that light springs are good, up to a point. If they are too weak the pads don't close quite as snappily particularly when the bellows are pressurised. I test this by assembling the instrument without reed pans and tapping rapidly on the buttons while squeezing the bellows: I like to hear all the pads close with a percussive 'pop' sound rather than a soft 'pfft'.
  14. If you measure the distance from the centre of the pad to the action pivot, and divide that by the distance from the pivot to the centre of the button, that gives you your action lift ratio. Subtract the height of a released button from its height when it is fully pressed to get the button travel distance. Multiply the action lift ratio by the button travel distance to find the pad lift height. My instruments have a lift ratio of 2. I try hard to design the action such that every button has the same ratio, but occasionally it's necessary to move the pivot slightly further towards the pad, lowering the ratio a little. If you move the pivot too far, it will feel and sound different from its neighbouring buttons. Most of the instruments I've built have a button travel of 3mm (about the same as your 0.12"), giving a pad lift height of 6mm. A few of them have a 2mm travel/4mm lift instead. I find that the 3mm/6mm setup gives a slightly louder and brighter sound, whereas the 2mm/4mm feels very slightly quicker and less effort to play. I've used what I call "low buttons", i.e. buttons that stop flush with the end plate, on three Müller-style Englishes and two duets. It doesn't suit everyone, but all of the customers I've built them for have been very enthusiastic and have told me their playing has benefitted from switching to low buttons.
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