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Dave Leggett

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About Dave Leggett

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    Male
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    Amateur traditional concertina maker 10 years. Anglo player. Dabbled in other systems.
  • Location
    Cadgwith, Helston, Cornwall, England

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  1. Dave Leggett

    'DITTY BOX'

    Hello Saguaro-Squeezer and thanks for your message. The answer is 'Yes', but I haven't investigated means of doing this. I'm a bit old-fashioned when it comes to computer banking and divulging account details etc. etc. I'm not at all versed in such things as small international payments and I'm looking for someone - (perhaps like you!) to advise me. The production costs of this small-edition publication means that I will do little better than breaking-even on sales, though I think that I could probably include international postage at £6- inclusive.
  2. Dave Leggett

    'DITTY BOX'

    Hello Folks! 'Ditty Box', a little booklet of humourous songs and poems, was put together by me over a long period with a local flavour (Cornwall, England) in mind. Up-to-now offered for sale only locally, several purchasers have suggested that its contents merit a wider audience. I have reached that persuasion myself, believing that there's 'something for everyone' within it. I'm really pleased with the series of amusing drawings made by local artist Andre Ellis to illustrate it. The cover price is £4.95 and I will include postage (to UK addresses only) for an extra 5p! i.e. a total of £5.00 per copy. They are available direct from me: Address: D. Leggett, 'Ashanti', Cadgwith, Helston, Cornwall TR12 7JZ. email: ajenda@btinternet.com 'Hours of amusement for the price of a pint!' A small 'flier' for the booklet is attached'. Cheers! Dave
  3. Dave Leggett

    CASTING REED FRAMES

    Thanks for your comments, folks. TOM. I've never found it necessary to incorporate anything more complicated than a single sprue to admit the molten metal at the top of the mould. If you look at the hand-written notes at the end of my 'crude diagrams' it does say that an air vent is incorporated: it was omitted from the original photograph of the mould in order not to complicate the image. As for the rest - well, I am allowed to retain a little mystique, surely? Cheers, Dave
  4. Dave Leggett

    CASTING REED FRAMES

    re. CASTING REED FRAMES Thanks for your interest, particularly Alex, Chris and Tom! I'm not familiar with the innards of Base English instruments, Alex. I have heard it said that some of them used Harmonium reeds, but this was probably 'mis-information'. Chris - Thanks for your experience of reeding frames cast in phosphor-bronze. I suspect that the silicone moulds that you speak of were used to cast wax models of the frame pattern which were then invested with a refractory medium for casting by the lost wax process. Silicone moulds would not withstand the searing temperatures needed to cast phosphor-bronze direct. Nice application for the technique but definitely 'industrial' and not suited to the amateur! Tom - I have drawn some crude diagrams,explanatory diagrams, which are appended. Its very necessary to rake-out the compacted clay that's penetrated the 'flared' area of the slot from the front of the pattern in the drag. Without doing this, the pattern will tear the moulded clay in the drag when its shaken out, because that portion of it would be under-cut. The gap left in the united mould is made-good from the cope when the parts of the casting-flask are united and the cope re-compacted. In answer to your query, the casting process using Delft Clay produces very smooth surfaces, but like all castings, will need some fettling or file-work refinement, particularly within the slot. (By the way, Tom, I guarantee that no virgins were hurt during the making of these reed-frames!!) Cheers, Dave
  5. CASTING REED FRAMES In constructing a few instruments of my own, I had always used reclaimed Lachenal reed-frames, suitably cleaned and refined. I had been given a large quantity of these by a friend years ago and acquired more since. Many that contained damaged, missing or brass tongues could be bought very cheaply. Modern wood-saw blades have been a source for my reed-steel. I intended to make a Baritone Anglo. As this was to be pitched a whole octave below a standard C/G and reed frames of a suitable size for the lower notes are not easily obtainable, I had to reconcile myself to making them. I reckoned on having to make 1x reed frame for 50mm tongue-length, 2 for 45mm and 6 for 40mm. I was quite happy to fret-out the 3x larger sized ones from 2mm brass sheet but the 6 at 40mm were enough in number to justify making a casting-pattern in brass and using this to 'sand-cast' them. I would be casting in a bronze alloy using Delft Clay as the casting medium. As a working jeweller, I was already set-up to produce small castings in sterling silver using this technique. I experimented with alloys and found that 75% Cu: 15% Ag: 10% Sn gives a brassy-looking alloy that melts in an achievable range, (about the same as sterling silver: ca. 850-900C) and works amenably. The castings would have to be fettled, of course but if done thoughtfully, both the dovetail bevel and the slight flaring of the slot from front to back, included in the pattern, may be achieved as integral with the casting process. The idea of casting reed frames may seem a bit 'academic or old-fashioned', particularly in a role where CNC machines have taken over the territory traditionally occupied by precision press-tools. I hope that the appended images will give any explanation you might want, that I haven't included in the above text. KEY TO IMAGES 1) Lower half of casting flask (the drag) 2) Upper half (the cope). Both contain the compacted and levelled 'Delft Clay' and show the impression left by pressing the pattern - flat, top down, (with a board) into the drag. Clay has been removed to a depth of 1.5mm from the drag reed-slot using the 'hag's tooth' tool (7, below) before the cope is applied and re-compacted. Release material is talc. 3) Low 'C' reed': 50mm in length, in frame fretted from brass sheet. 4) Low 'E' reed: 45mm in length , in frame fretted from brass sheet. 5) Casting pattern for 40mm reed frame and clamp plate. 6) Low 'G' reed in bronze frame: cast using (5) as pattern. 7) The 'Hag's Tooth' tool, with tooth 2mm x 1.5mm: simply made from sheet brass. The final images show the finished 'Baritone' with normal sized Anglo for comparison.
  6. Dave Leggett

    The Gurnard Waltz

    I composed this simple, quirky little waltz a long time ago, when I was trying to learn to play an Edeophone McCann Duet concertina that I'd just acquired. Sadly, I didn't persevere enough with the McCann, but the tune remains! The 'dots' are appended.
  7. As said previously, I raised this topic afresh only because of the seemingly ignorant and offhand attitude displayed on the subject of chamfered bellows cards by one restorer that I made enquiries to. Its good to see that some people are 'aware' and making sensible responses. Although its some time since my last concertina construction, for the record, I did have to glue 2 cards together to get the thickness I wanted and I did use a belt-sander to do the chamfering!
  8. I was introduced to the rudiments of bellows-making some years ago by a well-established maker of 'the old school', who followed tradition, using bellows-shaped 'collapsible' jigs. He used a thinnish, dense card stiffener of about 0.8mm thickness and emphasised the importance of skiving (or chamfering) the cards along their parallel edges, in order that the visible outer-hinges on the finished bellows (i.e. the top bindings), do not look thick and clumsy. Such would be prone to showing a crease along the apex when the bellows are extended. Those creases would be stress-concentrators and fatigue along them will ultimately lead to cracking, air leaks and failure. Admittedly, this might take a few years to happen! I believe that 'old school' concertina makers all used thinnish cards: this would in itself reduce the potential difficulty to some degree. Whether they further chamfered the card edges probably depended on the quality and price of the instrument they were making. The supposed differences in construction required (it is asserted by some!) for 'Anglo' and 'English' bellows is probably mythological - - ( English concertinas inherently being more expensive than Anglos, were more likely to have had higher-quality bellows made) . In looking at some 'vintage' instruments, even after 100 years or more of use, the original bellows of some (notably Wheatstones, (but even quite an ordinary, venerable Lachenal 'English' that my partner plays and has had much usage), may show very little degradation on the apexes of the top-bindings, which still look compact and neat. Having made a few different sized bellows myself, I can see the attraction to the maker or restorer of using recent, rather ingenious methods of bellows construction that obviate the making of complicated jigs before you even start! One that I'm thinking about in particular uses what seems to be rather thick (well over 1mm) card which is cut-out in part sing a band-saw. This whole bellows-making procedure is described admirably in a video freely available on 'the net'. Whilst celebrating the simplicity and versatility of this invention, one can't help noticing the 'clunky' top bindings that can result. These have maybe a squarish look, a tendency to show a crease when the bellows are extended and perhaps a reluctance to close properly. One wonders how many of these will still be functioning in 100 years' time? Could not one parallel edge of the cards be skived (chamfered) on opposing faces? Surely a simple-enough operation that needn't add significantly to the cost, one might have thought. To be fair, some modern bellows-makers, who don't do this as 'standard', may offer it in a moderately-priced upgrade, but they will need asking! I'd imagined that this topic would have been well-aired in these forums already. Having trawled through this forum's history, I found a brief discussion on back-page 80 of Oct 2006. I only felt motivated to raise the subject again, having a few months back asked a restorer to quote for replacement bellows on an old Lachenal 'Anglo' of mine. Having mentioned what seemed to be quite an extravagant price, this restorer then astounded me by his apparent ignorance - or dismissiveness? - of such refinements
  9. Dave Leggett

    TITANIUM REEDS (a cautionary tale?)

    Hello TTONON, and thanks for showing an interest in my 'Titanium Reeds' topic'. You are right in suggesting that Ti reeds sound more like steel than brass. Although I have not the will to carry on further researches into titanium alloys as reed material ( there's a reason why reeds were made traditionally from steel or brass), I'm sure that someone with an academic bent and many hours of time on their hands to pursue further study might find this to be an absorbing academic enquiry. Over to you, Someone! One thing that my 'Sage no. 2' did say, rather cryptically, was that 'the material has some interesting and unusual properties'. Make of that what you will!! This reply went inadvertently into a 'private reply' to TTONON. At his suggestion, I'm sharing it! I still have a few leftovers of the material in question, so if anyone happens to have an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer handy, I'd willingly provide some samples! To add visual interest, I've also added a photo of Ti'm the concertina. He has an ebony body, stainless steel frets and carbon fibre buttons to go with his titanium alloy reeds!
  10. About 15years ago, I used to play a rather good Jones metal-ended C/G Anglo. I had often hankered after the lower and richer tone of a G/D instrument. I found one which I liked but foolishly sold the Jones in order to finance the G/D. I almost immediately regretted parting with the C/G but realised that the only way I could afford to replace it was to try and make one! I had the totally decrepit remains of a 39 button Lachenal McCann duet concertina (which I had bought, along with 3-tea-chests-full of other diverse decrepit musical instruments and parts, for £50 at a sale). The steel reeds were all rusted out. Being a designer/jeweller with a penchant for experiment and having by me a small quantity of thin titanium alloy sheet ( grade of alloy unknown: in 3 different thicknesses (0.3, 0.6, and 0.9mm), which an aero-modelling friend had obtained for me, I thought that this might be fun to experiment with as reed-making material re-using the old McCann reed frames (suitably cleaned-up and refined). It certainly seemed 'springy' enough! I sought the opinion of two eminent concertina makers. The first one said, 'out of hand' that titanium reeds was a bad idea without offering any cogent reason. The second was kind enough to take some samples and make a couple of experimental reeds. He also said that Ti was a bad idea because (a) the relatively low density(s.g.4.5) of Ti would give problems in getting sufficient mass distribution within the vibrating reed to give the necessary range of notes in a limited range of frame sizes. (b)You can't weight a Ti reed-tip with solder (it won't stick!) and (c) It's a really tough metal which is hard to work and blunts files. Not being then the sort of person who is easily discouraged, even by Sage advice, I did persevere with the project in a spirit of curiosity (or obstinacy) and eventually, after much aggravation, made myself a playable instrument. I think the project was probably spread over a year or more. BUT!! - 1) I had to increase the range of reed-frame slot-lengths by silver-soldering little brass blocks inside the narrow ends of some of them, (2) Some of the longer reeds are perhaps too thin at the belly, giving them a bit of a 'mushy' tone. Some of the small reeds are maybe too thin at the tips. (3) The damned stuff is a real pain to file! Surprise, surprise: Sage no. 2 was right!!! The overall result is that I may have a concertina (I've named him Ti'm) which is perhaps(?) unique but which doesn't sound that wonderful (though better, I'm sure than the old Lachenal reeds that I replaced). In pursuing this frivolity, I learned a lot of hard lessons and gained more knowledge, practical skills and confidence about reeds and other aspects of concertina-making than I probably would ever have had should I have kept 'the Jones'. Was it worth it? In the following years I've had endless enjoyment in making a few more more-conventional instruments, so the answer is 'Yes' and I still take Ti'm out sometimes to Pub music sessions.
  11. Dave Leggett

    Tapered Reed Pans

    I think that the reason that some reed pans were 'tapered' was just in order to get as near to an optimum capacity in all of the chambers as possible. The chambers act as small cavity resonators, and though designing them to have the optimum capacity is a 'dark art', (I would suggest that this is an art, guided by experience rather than by science: the science is just too complicated!), making them big enough or particularly, small enough, may be a problem if the reed pan is of uniform depth. Some high pitched reed pairs (or combination pairs in anglos) require a very small chamber volume (say less than 2cc), whereas lower notes in the same pan, a larger volume (say 5cc or more). It would, perhaps be difficult to achieve this for higher-pitched reeds in a 'parallel' pan without making the chamber so narrow laterally that there would not be room for the smaller reed-pairs to fit into it side-by-side! Why some historical instruments have this feature and some not is a matter that can't be resolved by speaking to the makers. The added cost of the feature seems to be a dubious suggestion as the feature is to be seen in some relatively inexpensive makes and models and vice-versa.
  12. Five years ago, I was part-way through building my 7th Anglo Concertina 'from scratch' when a major health problem occurred and I have not worked on it since. As I think that I'm unlikely to want to complete the project personally, but would not like to see what work I have done go to waste, I would like to hand it over to a suitable person who has the enthusiasm and necessary skills to complete the job. This was to be a 5" dia. 26 key Anglo with walnut ends. All the necessary materials and components come with the offer. I'm prepared to give advice on the work needed! I would certainly only be prepared to pass the project over to someone who is within striking distance of me in Cornwall, England, and who can satisfy me that they have 'what it takes'! I would think it sensible (in order to eliminate casual time-wasters) to ask a nominal sum in money for the above, how much that should be depends on who, if anyone comes forward! Update as of1430, Sun 23rd Dec. I'm fairly sure that this PROJECT has found the right person, so in fairness to anyone else, I must consider the offer WITHDRAWN.
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