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Mark Rosenthal

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About Mark Rosenthal

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    Advanced Member

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    English concertina, Hammered dulcimer
  • Location
    Near Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

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  1. Ordinarily I wouldn't do that, but I couldn't figure out whether the people in the General group or the people in the Repair group would be more likely to know.
  2. I'm sorry to hear that. But thanks for the info that the notice is not new as of October when I first saw it. In contrast to your experience, my experience with him has been quite positive. It was about 5 years ago, and it did take a few months, but he fabricated some custom parts for me that ended up fitting perfectly, so I wasn't too upset that it took a while. Specifically, I have a George Case EC from sometime around 1850, and a few of the buttons had a nasty habit of popping out of their holes in the action board, which meant that you could no longer play that note until you'd stopped playing and fiddled with the button. After a great deal of examination, I figured out that the shape of those buttons was slightly different than all the other buttons in the instrument. I'd guess that sometime in the intervening 165 years, a few of the original buttons broke, and some repair person replaced them with whatever parts he had in stock, even though they weren't an exact match. I pulled out one of the original buttons, measured every dimension with a micrometer, drew a mechanical drawing diagram, and sent it to him. He was able to fabricate new buttons for me to replace the incorrect ones, and when I got them, they were an absolutely perfect fit. At the same time, I also had him make new thumbstraps for another instrument, and match up some endbolts of the right thread and length to fit yet another instrument. All the parts he sent were exactly what I needed and fit perfectly. So I wasn't too upset that it took a few months. Maybe we just have different expectations.
  3. I thought I rememberd reading on concertina.com that his family name was Alsop. In the article at http://www.concertina.com/atlas/regondi-golden-exercise/index.htm, Allan Atlas wrote, "The Cheriton Bishop Church of England baptismal register contains an enticing entry: one James “Alsop,” son of Robert and Agnes Alsop, was baptized on 30 October 1806. Could this refer to James “Alsept,” senior, father of the concertinist, with whose age as recorded in the 1851 census—taken on 30 March of that year—the date of baptism squares perfectly?" A couple of paragraphs later, he discusses someone named "Alsop" might have wanted to be thought to be Italian: "we might speculate about why the Exeter-born James Alsept erected his Italianate facade in the first place. No doubt, he was trying to cash in on what seems to have been a then-current (at least in some circles)—if rather off-the-mark—association between the English concertina, on the one hand, and Italians, on the other."
  4. Thanks for this, Richard. You say, "It's from his hometown Exeter newspaper". Do you happen to know the name of the newspaper? Also, the scan of the article doesn't include the date it was published. As for it giving his birth and death dates, all I can find in the article is his year of birth and his age at death. From that we can calculate the year of his death, although the calculation could be off by one due to rounding.
  5. In early October I visited the concertina-spares.com website with the intention of ordering new thumbstraps for an EC. I found the following notice in red at the top of the homepage: Illness Notice The website is closed for a Three weeks. I have been slowing down and have been very lathargic for some time now and after a blood test have found my blood sugar is high and my liver is a bit dodgy. If you are waiting for items sorry for the delay, the shop will be back up asap. Thanks Mark I emailed mark@concertina-spares.com to express concern, and to ask him to get in touch with me when he's feeling better. Not surprisingly, I received an auto-reply saying the same thing as his website. At this point it's been two months, so it's obvious that Mark's guess as to when he'd be feeling better was overly optimistic. Has anybody here been in touch with Mark Lloyd-Adey? Does anybody know how he's doing?
  6. In early October I visited the concertina-spares.com website with the intention of ordering new thumbstraps for an EC. I found the following notice in red at the top of the homepage: Illness Notice The website is closed for a Three weeks. I have been slowing down and have been very lathargic for some time now and after a blood test have found my blood sugar is high and my liver is a bit dodgy. If you are waiting for items sorry for the delay, the shop will be back up asap. Thanks Mark I emailed mark@concertina-spares.com to express concern, and to ask him to get in touch with me when he's feeling better. Not surprisingly, I received an auto-reply saying the same thing as his website. At this point it's been two months, so it's obvious that Mark's guess as to when he'd be feeling better was overly optimistic. Has anybody here been in touch with Mark Lloyd-Adey? Does anybody know how he's doing?
  7. Inside every concertina I've ever seen, between the leather washer around the lever arm and the cardboard back of the pad is a small dot of leather that I understand is called a "samper". I'm planning on replacing pads on a couple English concertinas, so I spoke to a repairman that I plan to purchase the pads from. I was surprised when he told me that he doesn't use sampers, and he actually thinks sampers cause problems. I asked if he knew what the people who do install sampers think the sampers accomplish. He said the sampers allow the pad to move a tiny bit, in case it doesn't come down perfectly flat against the padboard. But he's of the opinion that the spring and lever arm will hold the pad in the proper position while the glue is drying, and that after the glue has dried, when you play the instrument, the pad should now be perfectly positioned, and shouldn't need to wiggle even a little when it closes the hole during playing. I'm not sure what to think of this. Why would Wheatstone and Lachenal have used sampers if they weren't needed? I'm curious what others here think. Do you use sampers when you replace pads? If so, why? If not, why not? What do you think installing sampers accomplishes? Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.
  8. Thanks a lot for the additional info on gum arabic. That's a big help. As for the strips extending past the ends of the walls, I was thinking of doing what I've seen in a couple of my Aeolas. They've got a bit of chamois (maybe 1/8" + or -) that extends past the wall and sits between the chamois that lines the bellows end and the pad/action board. That bit is skived so it doesn't take up much space. Maybe it will make a difference, maybe not. Worst case is that it interferes with the seal, in which case I'll just cut the ends off at the end of the chamber wall.
  9. Thanks for your suggestion. Based on that, I went looking for gum arabic yesterday. I found pre-mixed bottles available at local art supply stores. (https://www.amazon.com/Winsor-Newton-Gum-Arabic-75ml/dp/B005P1RSDG) Apparently it's used as a binder for watercolors. The salesperson I spoke with told me it's a fairly thin, runny mixture, and he wasn't sure it would work for gluing leather to wood. I also found powder that you can mix yourself, presumably to any consistency you want. I found: a 1 oz. bottle that seems to be intended for artwork (https://www.amazon.com/JACQUARD-PRODUCTS-JAC1648-Ounce-Arabic/dp/B000WWK844), a 2 oz. bottle that seems to be intended for cooking (https://www.amazon.com/CK-Products-Gum-Arabic-Ounce/dp/B00BYIU246), and a 1 lb. package that, based on the comments, people seem to be using to make homemade hairspray, to treat gout, to enhance homemade wine, to make edible glitter, to make pigmentation for art supplies, and all sorts of other strange uses (https://www.amazon.com/Arabic-Powder-Frontier-Natural-Products/dp/B000UYIQ5M). Do you use the pre-mixed gum arabic or the powder? If you use powder, are there different varieties, some edible and some not? Or are they all the same? If you use powder, how do you know when it's the right consistency? How much water do you mix with it? Am I right in assuming that a 1 lb. package would be a multi-lifetime supply, and 1 oz. or 2 oz. would be more than enough for gluing the chamois gaskets onto the tops of the chamber walls in both reedpans?
  10. Next question: What sort of glue would you recommend for gluing the chamois strips onto the top of the chamber walls? I could use hot hide glue. But I also have a PVA glue that says it's pH neutral and water soluble.
  11. Auto parts stores? Definitely not a place I'd have thought to go looking for concertina parts! Thanks for the suggestion.
  12. The current leather gasket is thicker than any chamois I've seen. If I replace the leather with thinner chamois, compensating for that will require the support blocks to be higher than they currently are, not lower.
  13. That confirms what I suspected. The problem is that for one or two notes, when you play that note, the reed from the adjacent chamber also sounds faintly. I know it's not due to any part being warped, because before I agreed to buy the instrument, I opened it up and held a straight edge against the reed pan and against the bottom of the action board. Initially I thought that just gluing a thin piece of paper under the gasket between the two chambers would solve the problem. But when I tried that, the problem moved - i.e. the note that ciphered no longer ciphered, but the note a chamber or two away started ciphering with the note in an adjacent chamber. When I tried to shim the gasket between the newly ciphering chambers with a thin piece of paper, the problem moved elsewhere. I suspect that this is happening because the leather is hard. I'm guessing that the reason chamois was traditionally used is because it's soft and a little compressible. So when you screw the end onto the bellows, the chamois will take care of microscopic variations by compressing more in some places and less in others. I've long suspected that what I'm going to have to do is replace the leather gasket with chamois. But that brings up a number of other problems. The leather gasket looks to me to be slightly thicker than most chamois I've seen in concertinas. That means that I'm either going to have to move the reed pan support blocks, or somehow build up the height of the chamois by gluing something underneath it, or glue shims on top of the support blocks to slightly raise the reed pan. And if I decide that moving the support blocks is the right solution, the screws are going to make that harder to do. Any of these options is doable, but none of them sound like fun. Is chamois available in different thicknesses? And do you have any idea where I can buy chamois for this? FWIW, the concertina has a label saying that the restoration was done by Colin Dipper. I guess in the 1970s, he was still learning.
  14. I have a Lachenal English concertina made in the mid-1880s. The person I bought it from told me he bought it from Lark in the Morning in 1978 and there's reason to believe it was refurbished shortly before then. There are a couple of things inside that strike me as odd. But I'm more familiar with Wheatstone innards than with Lachenal innards. Oddity #1: In every other concertina I've ever seen, the gasket on top of each chamber wall is made of chamois. But in this instrument, the gasket is made of some sort of hard leather, with the rough side out. However, the bellows end is lined with the usual chamois. (See photo) Oddity #2: In every other concertina I've ever seen, the reed pan support blocks are glued into the bellows frame. However in this instrument, some of them are also held in with a screw. (See photo) I'm hoping people in this forum can tell me whether the things I'm finding odd are something Lachenal would have done when the instrument was built, or if it's more likely that it was done when it was refurbished about a century later. This is not just a matter of idle curiosity. Figuring out whether or not these things are original will guide me in coming up with a solution to a problem the instrument has.
  15. You say you're looking for a comparatively quiet instrument and mention you'd like a wooden-ended Aeola or Edeophone. There's another characteristic you might want to look for. I have an a few Aeolas (not for sale), and one of them plays noticeably softer than the others. The fretwork in the softer one has holes that cover a much smaller area of the end than the others, and the holes themselves are smaller too. I don't know how common it was for Wheatstone to do this, but apparently they did make some with custom fretwork in order to soften the sound. See the attached photos for a comparison of the different fretwork patterns.
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