Jump to content


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About alex_holden

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

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

Recent Profile Visitors

339 profile views
  1. Concertinas do often have posts connecting the end plate to the action board, but I think they have more to do with structural strength than sound transmission.
  2. alex_holden

    What Would You Change About Concertina Design?

    Are the Stagi and Morse buttons the same diameter and shape? I find larger diameter buttons with a gently rounded top are quite a bit more comfortable than the 3/16" buttons with flat tops that many vintage instruments have.
  3. alex_holden

    Creeping Reed Shoe

    The veneer tape is a nice idea. I'll have to search for my roll of the stuff! Normally I use a strip of white paper cut from a notepad and a small amount of PVA. I don't recommend shimming only in one spot at the clamp end - I've encountered some instruments where that was done, and the shim stopped the reed falling out but the tip of the frame was still loose and able to vibrate. Sometimes after shimming you find that the reed won't sound or makes a horrible buzzy tinkly noise, because the shim has pressed the side of the frame in and caused the tongue to interfere with the edge of the slot. If that happens you may need to remove the middle part of the shim, just leaving two small pieces alongside the tip and clamp.
  4. alex_holden


    I used a fir burr veneer on my first instrument and it was rather tricky to work with and finish - it kept shrinking back unevenly and leaving a rough surface. I have some more of that sort of veneer in stock but it has a lot of little splits and holes in it that would need filling somehow. My first attempt at working with walnut burr veneer was a disaster and I switched to using a plain walnut veneer instead. I'm about to make some replacement ends for a Wheatstone English with the same walnut veneer, then my next new instrument is going to have a rippled maple veneer. I suspect the osage orange could work fine for buttons as long as it's properly dried and has straight grain. I would be tempted to soak them in boiled linseed oil or similar to help seal them. Aluminium can work OK. Solid brass or bronze would be a bit heavy - vintage instruments often use hollow metal buttons to reduce weight.
  5. alex_holden

    Holden Blackbird

    Thanks schult! The fretwork is one of my favourite parts of making the instrument.
  6. alex_holden

    Holden Blackbird

    Thanks endgrainguy! Thanks Rod!
  7. alex_holden

    Holden Blackbird

    Here is a new blog post about my latest instrument, a 31 button C/G Anglo. I chose to call this model the Holden Blackbird in honour of the birds that sing and dance on the roof of my shed while I work. https://www.holdenconcertinas.com/?p=1452
  8. alex_holden


    You could maybe make a traditional English-style riveted lever action for it and bush the end holes. That would be a big improvement in playability. You'd need to make/buy new buttons with cross holes in them. I recommend not cutting ends from solid wood - they often crack in the short grain areas. Better to laminate your own plywood by veneering a board with the veneer grain running perpendicular to the core grain.
  9. alex_holden

    Advice, please.

    My penultimate cap size is about 7.5mm if I recall correctly. I would make a 1/4" tool if somebody asked for it. Incidentally since I wrote that article I have made a tool for English-style 3/16" (about 4.7mm) caps.
  10. alex_holden

    Advice, please.

    As John says, I don't have a catalogue of standard designs but I'm willing to take commissions. My limiting factor at the moment is I can't easily build instruments wider than about 6 1/4", which restricts the number of buttons I can fit in to about 45 for a duet.
  11. alex_holden

    Tuning up or tuning down

    Thanks Wunks, I've forwarded your information to another forum where there are people who may want to buy the wood.
  12. alex_holden

    Tuning up or tuning down

    Wow! Hope somebody manages to save it, particularly the wood. That stuff is getting harder to find.
  13. alex_holden

    Russian concertina player

    A previous one on the same theme:
  14. That's what I meant. It's easier to trim them all to about 3mm after gluing them on. I used to skive the ends, but I no longer think it's necessary.
  15. Hi Mark. I have used the food grade stuff in powder or granular form. The granules take much longer to dissolve (I suppose one could grind them with a pestle and mortar first). I'm very unscientific about quantities when mixing - I just put a small amount of water in a jar, add some gum, and occasionally stir it until it has dissolved. You can then add more water or more gum to refine the consistency. I aim for a sort of thin syrup. 1lb should last a long time if you keep it in an air tight container. Once mixed with water it will eventually go off; keeping it in a sealed jam jar in the fridge will greatly extend its life. I apply it with a cotton bud (q-tip), brushing a thin layer onto the top of a wall, then gently laying the strip of leather onto the gum. It initially dries in a few minutes, but the bond is quite weak at first and becomes stronger over the next few hours. If you make the strips extend out past the ends of the walls, you can then trim them to a consistent length with scissors after the glue has dried.