Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by alex_holden

  1. A quick thought leading from a discussion I'm having with a client. The Viennese prototype for this system has English-style thumb loops and little finger rests, and straight rows that are angled towards the thumbs (photo by @Eshed ) Another option is to build an instrument that has Anglo-style handrails and curved rows arranged exactly like a Crane, but with the 5CC note arrangement. It seems to me like the latter may be more ergonomic, particularly for an instrument with a smaller range (approx 46 buttons), so you only need to reach about five rows rather than the eight of the original. Any thoughts?
  2. I would try to bend it with my fingers first, and if that fails: The key thing is putting it on something soft that supports it from below. If the end plate has a lowered edge, the shape of the support block should reflect that.
  3. In theory rosewoods other than Brazilian (dalbergia nigra) are now OK in finished musical instruments. I haven't personally tested this, and I'm not sure what happens if a border official decides your endplates are made of Brazilian rosewood (can you prove they aren't?). https://www.musicinstrumentnews.co.uk/2019/08/28/cites-adopts-exemption-for-musical-instruments-from-rosewood-restrictions/
  4. I like the sound of the bass notes on your Dipper. How low does it go? Do you have a button chart you'd be willing to share?
  5. In my opinion it would be better to fill the holes by drilling them out a bit larger and gluing in wooden plugs before drilling pilot holes in the new wood. That way you aren't trying to drive the screws into hardened glue/filler.
  6. I don't understand how the right hand side works. What do the bars do?
  7. In theory they should just come loose after you've removed the outer bolts. I hope a previous owner hasn't glued them on in an effort to cure a leak. You may have to try working a thin dull blade into the seam between the action box and bellows. If you're lucky they will pop apart, but there is a risk it will cause damage if they have been firmly glued on.
  8. I'm dubious that it would be a permanent cure. If you add moisture to one side of a board, it expands unevenly and causes it to bend, the wetter side becoming more convex. Eventually it will dry out and bend back again, unless you've mechanically prevented it from moving. Clamping a warped board flat can sometimes create a lot of tension, potentially causing glue joints to fail or even splitting the wood.
  9. The leather should be thin, soft, smooth, not let air through, and not have a coating that might flake off over time. I don't think chamois leather (the yellow stuff for drying cars) would be ideal for pad facing. There's a chance you might find a clothing leather that would work, but I have a feeling the leather they use for jackets would be too thick. You might try looking into where people in Germany who repair church pipe organs buy their materials from.
  10. With that much humidity I would be concerned about mould on the leather parts.
  11. Yes, areas that have wide/rapid seasonal humidity changes are particularly hard on things made from solid wood.
  12. It depends on the kiln drying process; they generally use steam to control the rate of drying, final moisture content, and avoid case hardening and cracking. It is my understanding that North American timber suppliers typically dry their wood to a lower moisture content than European ones, though this may vary depending on the climate of the local area the wood is being sold to. I have a "swamp cooler" (evaporative air conditioner) in the workshop to prevent it turning into a kiln on hot summer days. It's not very effective at cooling but it does keep the humidity up.
  13. There's also the modern 'hybrid' concertinas (starting with the Wheatstone "May Fair" I believe) that incorporate German-style mass produced accordion reeds into English-style concertinas, most often with an Anglo keyboard layout. Some of these hybrids are now being manufactured in China. Also the "Franglo" concertina invented by Emmanuel Pariselle and Colin Dipper, which has a melodeon-inspired keyboard layout in something that looks like and has similar construction methods to an English concertina.
  14. I don't think Brunner exists any more. The Stagi brand is now owned by this company, Concertine Italia, also based in Recanti: https://www.fabbricaconcertine.com/eng/index.html
  15. I think A P James has a good reputation, and if you find one that's only a few years old it's likely still going to be in decent condition.
  16. It's not entirely a new idea, but the ABC standard formalises things like how you denote the octave and length of each note, and the header lines that specify metadata like the title, composer, key, time signature, tempo, etc. By standardising all that stuff, correctly formatted ABC can be interpreted by a computer program that draws a pretty score or plays it back, which wouldn't be possible if everyone used their own slightly different version.
  17. I don't think that's accurate. It's written in the Javascript language and can run inside a web browser window, but the code doesn't have to live on a remote web server. The docs also describe some ways to run it from a command line (like abcm2ps) using a Javascript interpreter like Node.js. https://chiselapp.com/user/moinejf/repository/abc2svg/doc/trunk/README.md
  18. Today (6th May 2022) it's Bandcamp Friday, a promotion where Bandcamp gives 100% of proceeds to artists who sell music through their platform. I'm not totally sure but I think this might be the last time they do it. I've just pre-ordered Cormac Begley's new album 'B' of bass concertina music: https://cormacbegley.bandcamp.com/album/b Who are some other concertina players on Bandcamp?
  19. A regular octagon is slightly smaller than a regular hexagon with the same width across the flats. I have made a 38 button Jeffries-layout G/D with long scale reeds and parallel chamber reed pans in a 6 1/4" wide hexagon. It plays faster and with more pitch stability than a typical vintage G/D because they usually have shorter, heavily weighted bass reeds and shorter chambers. I suspect I could have got it down to F/C with some slight compromises at the low end. There was no space for an extra button on the left hand on that one, but it might just have been possible to squeeze in two more on the right. If a future customer asked for a 40 button F/C, I would probably suggest going a bit bigger, maybe 6 1/2" wide. https://www.holdenconcertinas.com/?p=1664
  20. Yes, I think that is true. Higher quality reeds can be more prone to issues too because the gap between the tongue and the frame is really small, so it doesn't take much pressure to distort the frame enough to cause it to interfere with the tongue. Also solid wood reed pans are more humidity sensitive than the plywood construction you often find in cheaper instruments.
  21. It will probably already be reasonably straight once you've unrolled it. Beware it is likely to instantly and violently unroll itself if you simply cut the band that holds it together (and to make matters worse it may have razor sharp burrs on the edges). Once you've cut a piece off the roll and sheared it lengthwise into roughly reed-tongue-sized blanks, you can clamp one end of each blank in a vice and use pliers to grip the other end while manipulating it to take out any twist and bend it straight.
  22. Can you get them to give/sell you a small sample that you can try first? A few years ago I bought a 10Kg roll of spring steel from a new supplier, cut 50mm off the end, and made a couple of test reeds from it. It was no good: much too soft. The supplier refused to take it back for a refund because I'd cut some off it. Expensive mistake.
  23. I don't have a good way of measuring it. Certainly less than 1 thou. I used to use a low power optical binocular microscope, but I've lately switched to a 1080p video microscope connected to a 22" monitor. I place the reed assembly on top of a lit stage to illuminate the gap.
  24. Hi Paul, if they are ABS presumably they were made on an FDM printer? My (limited) understanding of 3D printing is that the SLA process produces more accurate parts and finer details but is slower and more expensive. A slide caliper tends not to be a very reliable way to take accurate internal measurements, but if your numbers are good it sounds like you got a width variation of about +/- 0.1mm or +/- 4 thousandths of an inch. That is probably good enough if you are individually hand fitting the reed tongues to the slots (i.e. making the tongues oversized and then filing each one narrower until it is a tight fit in a specific slot, or conversely filing the slot wider). It wouldn't be good enough if you were buying mass-produced tongues that are an accurate width and hoping to calibrate the print to make the tongues fit without individually adjusting them. The way I make mine is to cut the slots on a CNC mill, then use hand files to make the corners sharp, add the back bevel, and try to get the edges as straight and smooth as I can. The result is probably more accurate than your 3D prints but not perfectly consistent. I then shear the tongues oversize, and file them down to a tight fit in each slot. There is enough variation from slot to slot that if I fit two tongues of the same pitch and then swap them around, they will usually be a poor fit in the other frame. Then I profile the tongues. Annoyingly this sometimes causes tongues (particularly long bass ones) to go slightly banana-shaped due to some weird stress relief effect and they no longer fit as well as they did before profiling. Then I do a 'second fit' where I carefully refine the width of the tongues to get a consistent very small gap around each tongue. There always has to be a gap between the two or it will buzz and stick, but you want it to be as small as you can practically make it for reasons of efficiency, response, and tone. Other makers may do things differently. I imagine a CNC wire EDM machine would be a big time-saver, but they are very expensive.
  25. Interesting photo. I would guess they are using an SLA resin printer for the reed blocks? How many reeds does a bandoneon have? Harmonikas.cz is able to make reeds with a relatively low labour cost because they have invested heavily in tools like sets of punch dies, CNC wire EDM machines, profiling grinders, etc. that automate a lot of the process. Concertina makers like myself and Jake who make traditional reeds largely by hand instead invest many hours into every instrument doing painstaking work with a hand file and a microscope. If it took you say an hour to handmake and fit each reed tongue, multiply that by your hourly pay and overheads, do you still have an affordable instrument?
  • Create New...