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About charleschar

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    Accordion & concertina building/repair
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  1. I agree with the saw idea; depending on the intensity of your work, a foot-powered scroll saw would be useful for cutting fretwork in ends or other small pieces.
  2. Thank you. I forgot to mention the end plates in the post. Since they have no fretwork, the end plates are separate from the action walls (screwed on) and there is enough of a gap where they join to allow for air to move in. Not the best design, and I'd do fretwork in the future, but it was convenient for a first instrument.
  3. Thank you, I'm glad you liked the sound. Yes, I would like to make another in the future with more range. I like playing both bass and melody on concertinas, so I may experiment with making a duet or a 30+ button anglo.
  4. Hello everyone. I've neglected to post this for quite a while now, seeing as this was completed in the summer of 2019, but I've finished building a 24 (+ air) button anglo concertina from fairly regular house materials, except for a few tools that needed to be made for the process, and piccolo reeds from an old accordion. This may not be an instrument of great quality and I do not necessarily promote the practices shown in the video to make or repair quality concertinas, but I feel that I have done a good job of making a reasonable quality instrument that plays well and have learned some new building techniques that have not been used in older instruments and may be just as good as previous practices. Here is the video documenting the process (clip at the end is a version of Gary Coover's arrangement of "Somewhere over the Rainbow"): Some notes about the design: Bellows: Made of cardboard, which is not the best material for stability compared to ragboard, but is surprisingly airtight. If I could find more stable cardboard, I would use it again. The type of leather used is unknown to me, but I suspect it is something like cow leather, which served the purpose well, but was a bit weak in thin areas. Masking tape was used to hold the bellows together before leather, but did not hold them together well. I would use gummed cambric tape in the future. I used Elmer's glue to attach the leather to the bellows, and apart from the areas where two leather pieces were joined together, this held up well. I suspect the leather-to-leather glue-up failed due to not sanding the face of the leather piece before gluing it to the grain of the other one, not the glue. I would like to try hide glue in the future. Bellows papers printed from regular printer paper; an economical option, but a bit thin and subject to peeling off. Frames: Pine for the bellows, black walnut for the action frames. Used a disc sander to cut 60 degree bevels and joined them in an MDF "mold". This worked very well and produced strong frames, though the dimensions were a bit unequal due to mold quality. Would definitely use a mold again. The off-cut from splitting the leather for the bellows was used as "chamois leather" to seal the joint between the pine and walnut frames. Tung oil finish was used for the walnut ends. Reeds & Reedpan: Since reeds were from the out of tune piccolo section of an accordion, they needed to be solder-loaded to bring them down to pitch. Luckily, their size made them easy to fit into the reedpans, but the solder compromised a bit of response time. Not as much as one would think, though. The reedpan was of MDF and the reed slots were carved out. I decided to connect the reedpan to the action for simplicity. The reeds were waxed into place accordion-style, and I was quite pleased with the result. The only detriment I see from wax is having difficulty initially aligning the reeds, but it secures the reeds well. Action: Levers cut by hand from some thin metal, punched to form holes, and riveted to aluminum action posts using aluminum heat sink protrusions as rivets. This worked well, though the aluminum rivets were a bit hit-or-miss in holding the levers to the posts firmly. Springs made from paper clips, which were big and difficult to use, but worked well enough. I would use phosphor bronze wire in the future. The pads were thin wood, felt, and electrical tape. Very pleased with the electrical tape: thin, durable, and not as subject to corrosion over time like the leather in old concertinas. Would definitely use this again. Glued to the levers with superglue, which was fine. Maple buttons, which unfortunately turned a bit dark on the end grain after use.
  5. For question no. 2, the problem may reside with the reeds themselves or the leathers rather than the valves. If much of the bellows' air is used when playing those three notes, the reed may be set too high above the brass plate. This may be the case if the reeds are especially quiet as well. Secondly, the leathers that cover the holes used by the opposite direction reeds may be missing or bent. This could result in quiet reeds and more air used than necessary.
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