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david robertson

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Everything posted by david robertson

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Of course... I really must resist the temptation to post messages before I'm fully awake!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Personally, I always install the gussets before the linen top-runs. I hold the ends together temporarily with wee bits of masking tape.
  8. 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.
  9. It might do if one had a supply of spare Jeffries reeds... and a pair of non-mutilated Jeffries ends!
  10. 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%!
  11. 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?
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. This instrument has now been sold via my website.
  16. This is a fine example of the kind of concertina that Wheatstone made in the early days (serial No:1855), when it was an instrument designed for the parlour rather than the concert hall. I'm selling it on behalf of a friend, who had it restored a few years ago by Mike Acott, and has hardly touched it since. Mike fitted new pads, valves and straps, and tuned it to modern concert pitch. It has brass reeds, with a sweet, flutey tone. And because these are well-made Wheatstone reeds, not the nasty gappy things commonly found on lower-end Lachenals, it is satisfyingly responsive, which means that the original, admirably airtight 4-fold bellows are more than adequate. This would be an ideal instrument for someone just testing the water - a decent concertina from a top maker, ready to play and enjoy straight out of the box. The owner is asking £550, but may be open to a sensible offer.
  17. A mouth-watering example of a metal-buttoned 38-key Jeffries! The ends have been beautifully re-plated and polished, and I have fitted it with new 7-fold gold-tooled bellows. In other words, this has been a no-expense-spared restoration, because the internal condition led me to believe it was worth it - and I have not been disappointed. The layout is more or less standard Jeffries (insofar as there is such a thing!), and it plays fast and loud, with that unmistakeable Jeffries tone. I have replaced all pads, valves, bushes and straps, stripped and French polished the woodwork, and tuned the instrument to modern concert pitch. If you're looking for a Bb/F, it could be quite a while before you see a better one. I'm asking £4500, and as always, you're welcome to come and have a squeeze, or call me on 01603 702644 if you have any questions.
  18. You won't often find the Boyd name on a concertina, but when you do, you can be pretty sure that it will be one of the best of its kind. They are rare and justifiably sought-after, and this is, by some distance, the best example that has ever passed through my hands. It's light and nimble, with plenty of bite to the tone. The cosmetic appearance was so good and original that I have done nothing but clean and polish the ends and the woodwork. Apart from that, I have replaced pads, valves, bushings and straps, and tuned it to modern concert pitch. The original leather case is in a sorry state, though it might be restorable. However, the instrument is a perfect fit in a decent wooden case that I had lying around. I'm asking £1850, and as always, you're more than welcome to come and have a squeeze, or call me on 01603 702644 if there's anything else I can tell you.
  19. Well, it looks like a Wheatstone serial number, although it falls into the pre-1910 gap in the ledgers. However, I don't think I've ever seen a Wheatstone with a handwritten number on the back of the action box. As Geoff has already pointed out, the fretwork is also a bit crude... certainly not up to the quality you would expect to find on a raised-end Wheatstone. Could the ends have been replaced at some time by a less skilled hand? But then again, why would anyone replace metal ends? Personally, I would be very wary of the Wheatstone attribution.
  20. Bearing in mind that the reeds have already been tuned down by two semitones, tuning them back up again is going to be a risky process... there may simply not be enough steel at the reed tips, especially the smallest ones.
  21. This instrument has now been sold via my website.
  22. This is a high quality concertina which I believe to be by Thomas Shakespeare. It shares a lot of characteristics with Jeffries and Crabb instruments, and plays in much the same way - fast and fearsomely loud. The fretwork (newly re-plated and polished) is very similar to the Jeffries/Crabb pattern, but the ends are slightly raised, and as far as I know, only Shakespeare made ends like this. I have made and fitted new 7-fold bellows, along with new pads, valves, bushings and straps. I have also replaced all of the chamois gaskets (bellows ends and reed chamber walls), tuned it to modern concert pitch, and refinished the woodwork in French polish. It really is a cracking player - as good an Anglo as has passed through my hands in years. As always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're more than welcome to come and have a squeeze. If not, give me a call on 01603 702644, and we'll see if we can work out a way for you to try it. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. Asking price: £3250
  23. Here is a gorgeous 30-key Ball Beavon, made by Crabb, and playing just as you would expect a vintage Crabb to do. It has been variously described as 'assertive', 'strident' and even 'brash' - I thought the last one was a bit unkind! But it is certainly no shrinking violet. If you want to cut a sound swathe through massed melodeons, or be heard in the adjacent parish when playing for the Morris, this could be the one for you. It has had a comprehensive restoration, with new pads, valves, bushes and straps. I have made and fitted new 7-fold bellows, with new chamois seals to the bellows ends and reed chambers, and refinished the woodwork in French polish. And finally, it is tuned to modern concert pitch, ready to enjoy. No original case, I'm afraid, but it has spent the past half-century in a 45rpm record carrying case. As always, if you're within striking distance of Norwich, you're very welcome to come and try it. If not, contact me anyway, and I'm sure we can come to some arrangement. I'm asking £3500 for this one.
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