Yesterday I took an opportunity and bought this lovely box which thanks to the Wheatstone ledgers I know is a model 5 from 1936.
It is relatively well preserved (not a scratch on the wood) and I'm greatly enjoying playing it, but some things are off, which is why I'm asking this learned forum for advice.
It is mostly in tune with itself, but slightly lower than concert pitch (could it be that it stayed in C=522Hz?).
A reed or two rattle.
One of the thumb straps i all but disintegrated.
There is a slight leak (I think) that I can't locate yet.
The bellows gussets (I hope I'm using the term correctly) leave a little bit of black powder on my finger if touched (maybe on the process of disintegrating, similar to the strap?).
As I'm located in the middle east, quite far from most reputable repairmen, I'd prefer fixing what I can on my own. I have some experience fiddling with melodeons and doing small repairs/tuning and I have some technical aptitude, but I don't have a full fledged workshop.
Any input regarding whether/what I can/should fix on my own would be appreciated!
In the meanwhile, I've tried disassembling the box. While I've managed to find the rogue screw hidden in the thumbstrap and remove the top, I have no idea how to get to the reeds. Guidance in that matter could also be nice