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david robertson

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Everything posted by david robertson

  1. Whatever the truth of its history, its appeal to the beetles makes it rather less appealing to me. Big flight-holes too! Reminds me of one I once bought from Peru, whose frames consisted of veneer on the outside, a wafer-thin sliver of timber on the inside, and nothing much in between. One particularly industrious grub had chewed an impressively straight line through every fold of the bellows. If anyone else is brave enough to take this one on, it's in Gorringes sale in Lewes on the 18th of this month.
  2. OK, we have a serial number stamped in the reed pan, and inked on the back of the action box... looks like 2013 (or possibly 6). It has a pair of squeakers fitted close to the centre of the left-hand reed pan, so I guess it may also have a whistle on the other end. It also has significant damage by wood-boring insects, which makes me wonder if it started life as a wooden-ended instrument, converted to metal ends when the fretwork began to wriggle under the player's hands?
  3. The plot thickens! The auctioneer describes the pivots as looking like the staples he uses for attaching wire to fence-posts! Did Lachenal ever use staples rather than slotted plates? Tomorrow he's going to bring a screwdriver to work, and we'll play hunt the serial number!
  4. Thank you all for your suggestions. I do realise that a serial number and a view of the internals would be helpful, but the instrument currently resides with an auction house in Lewes. I'll call them and see if they'll send me some more pictures.
  5. True, the edges are suspiciously un-stepped, but it's far from being a home-made horror. I'd be a happy man if I could muster this kind of skill and fluency with a scrollsaw!
  6. Leaving aside the engraving round the edges, which I guess could have been added at any time, would anyone care to hazard a guess at the maker of this concertina? It's a 36-button Anglo, with Lachenal-style green white and gold papers, and gold-tooled bellows ends... but I don't recognise the fretwork as Lachenal. It has some distinctive little features (circled) that I'm sure I've seen somewhere before, but I'm damned if I remember where!
  7. Sorry Julia - this one has now found a new home in Ireland.
  8. I had a 48k Lachenal with H Boyd fretwork a couple of years ago...
  9. They do now show the RH end, and there's no 'H Boyd' in the fretwork. Does this indicate that it was sold by Boyd, but not made for them?
  10. Call me a self-destructive fool, but I've reduced my asking price for this one by £100. It's a cracking example of an earlyish 34k Lachenal - the sort with solid rosewood ends and wide, comfortable buttons. I've made and fitted new 7-fold bellows, and reamed and bushed the button-holes to keep it quiet and smooth. In addition, it has new pads, valves, bushes and straps, and all the woodwork has been rubbed down and refinished in French polish. It is, of course, tuned to modern concert pitch. It looks good, and plays wonderfully - fast, bright and loud. In fact, I defy you to find a better example. Finally, it also comes with a note of provenance, and the RAF Navigator's wing badge from a previous owner who was sadly killed in action during WWII As always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're welcome to come and have a squeeze. If not, get in touch anyway, and we can probably arrange a trial without obligation. NOW ONLY £1750
  11. I really can't imagine what inspired Mr Lachenal to add a whistle and a duck-call to his perfectly good 32-key instruments, but this is one of those. I suppose it keeps small children amused... Anyway, it's quite easy to ignore those two buttons, since they are located at the dusty end of the G row on either hand. Apart from the novelty keys, this is a cracker of an Anglo... one of those with ends cut from beautifully-figured solid rosewood rather than veneer. The buttons on these were normally un-bushed, but I have reamed and bushed the buttonholes to keep the action quiet and smooth. I have also made and fitted new 7-fold bellows. The downside is that the extra fold means it will no longer fit in its original case - but it probably deserves something better anyway. As usual, I have replaced all pads, valves , bushes and straps, stripped and French polished the woodwork, and tuned it to modern concert pitch. In short, it's a lovely example of the breed - loud, agile, and a pleasure to play. One more thing: it comes complete with an RAF Navigator's wing badge from the uniform of Charles Freebairn, a previous owner who was killed in action. The vendor thought it should stay with the instrument, and I agree. I'm asking £1850 for this one, and as always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're welcome to come and give it a squeeze.
  12. Hi Geoff, Using Bob Tedrow's method, I make bellows of any size using cylindrical jigs - most recently, a big baritone set for Theo Gibb. Geometry being what it is, you don't actually need a jig with 6 or 8 sides... just a tube of the appropriate size. This, of course, applies only to bellows of symmetrical shape. For asymmetric bellows, a custom-made jig would be indispensable, and frankly, it's not worth making one when it would probably never be used again!
  13. Comprehensively restored, with new 7-fold gold-tooled bellows, this is as nice a 38k Jeffries as you could hope to find. As always, the restoration work includes new pads, valves, bushes and straps. The woodwork has been stripped and refinished in French polish, and the instrument has been tuned to modern concert pitch (A=440Hz). It's not unusual to find a fairly eccentric keyboard layout with Jeffries instruments, but I have ironed out most of the eccentricities in this one, and restored it to a more typical layout (though one or two oddities remain!) You'll find a full diagram of the layout among the pictures below. Under normal circumstances, I would invite you to come and have a squeeze in Norwich. But since that's clearly not an option at present, let me know if you're interested, and let's see if we can arrange a no-obligation trial. I'm asking £4250.
  14. Of course... I really must resist the temptation to post messages before I'm fully awake!
  15. Bear in mind that English thumbstraps are composite devices, made up of a sandwich of canvas, chamois or felt, and thin leather, all enclosing the L-shaped steel or brass former.
  16. A stonking example of a rare and desirable instrument - a Model 16 baritone-treble, serial number 35035, which goes all the way down to a window-rattling F2. It has new pads, valves, bushes and straps, and I have refinished the woodwork in French polish. The original 8-fold bellows are immaculate and airtight, and although the nickel-plated ends were in lovely condition when it came in, I have taken the opportunity to have them professionally re-polished. It comes in its original tan leather case, also in lovely condition (though I had to make a new handle using old strapping, so it doesn't stand out too much.) This is a once-in-a-blue-moon instrument, with a range that makes it supremely versatile... don't miss it! I'm asking £4000. I usually say that you're more than welcome to come and have a squeeze in Norwich, but under the present circumstances, that would be Covidiotic. So if you're seriously interested, call me on 10603 702644, and we'll see if we can arrange a trial.
  17. Personally, I always install the gussets before the linen top-runs. I hold the ends together temporarily with wee bits of masking tape.
  18. I think you may find that 0.9mm is a bit heavy, particularly for the gussets. Personally, I use 0.5mm, which, allowing for natural variation, is pretty close to Alex's recommendation.
  19. It might do if one had a supply of spare Jeffries reeds... and a pair of non-mutilated Jeffries ends!
  20. Just when I thought I'd seen it all... the 'Duet' turns out to have been converted from a 38k Anglo, with bits of fretwork removed to make way for extra buttons on the innermost rows. The air-button hole has been blocked up, and new inboard reed slots routed out where it used to be. I've seen Duets converted to Anglos, but this is the first time I've seen one switched in the other direction - a bit of vandalism that I imagine has knocked the value back by 75%!
  21. I have a Jeffries Duet coming in soon for restoration, but it's the first of its kind I've tackled in 15 years, and I'm not familiar with the layout. Does any kind soul out there have a diagram that they would be willing to share?
  22. I have a special bodging tool for just this job... an old teaspoon with the handle end ground to a bluntish edge and bent up through 90°. The sharp edge is inserted under the chamois, which can then be prised up. If you're replacing rather than shimming the seals, cut strips of chamois a bit wider than necessary, and first glue them to the inside of the bellows frames. Then go round with a hole punch to make the holes for the end bolts, before stretching and gluing the chamois over the frame edges. Press the frame down on a cutting mat, outside edge down, and use a scalpel or craft knife to trim off the surplus chamois. You will then have to re-bind the bellows ends in leather, in order to cover the exposed edges of the new chamois seals.
  23. These instruments, made specially for Harry Boyd's Newcastle music store, are rare and sought-after - and this is, by some distance, the best one that has passed through my hands in 15 years. In fact, the condition was so good and original when I acquired it that I have resisted the temptation to do anything externally other than clean and polish the ends and the woodwork, and fit new thumb-straps. Internally, I have replaced all pads, valves and bushes, and tuned the instrument to modern concert pitch. (It's a cracking set of reeds, by the way - as fast and responsive as you could wish for.) It comes with a mahogany case which is probably not the original, but is in good, serviceable condition. I mentioned that these Boyd instruments are sought-after, but frankly, this one hasn't been sought after enough, so I'm having a January sale (and hoping it won't extend into February!) With £200 off the previous asking price, this is not just an exceptional instrument, but also represents exceptional value.
  24. Returning to the air-tightness issue, the one obvious thing that no-one seems to have mentioned is the possibility of leakage around the edges of the reedpans. If the chamois seals are old and compressed, there's a pretty good chance that they won't be doing their job properly. In the worst case, you'll be able to see the gaps just by moving the reedpans by hand, but even if they're not that loose, go round the edges with a 15 thou feeler gauge. If there are places where you can slip the gauge in, you need to lift the chamois seal and glue in a strip of thin card underneath to take up the slack.
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