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Dana Johnson

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About Dana Johnson

  • Rank
    Heavyweight Boxer

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  • Interests
    Playing ITM and making concertinas
  • Location
    Kensington Maryland. USA

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  1. Gives new meaning to the ad phrase “Got Milk ?” love the end stands, almost the character for mountain except for the cross bar. Very clever ratcheting action. At least in the concertina community, ingenuity is alive and well. Dana
  2. One piece of advise is to cut the pattern AFTER crimping. ( otherwise the pattern can bend up and stretch near the forming edge though with that wide a margin between the bend and the pattern it may not be an issue, though you can see it in the close up on the label oval ). Usually when full surfaces are done at once, instead of one edge at a time, the sheet is sandwiched between the die plate and a clamping plate with a in your case hex hole in it for the forming piece. If you don’t clamp it flat before the draw, , it will tip up and wrinkle at the edges. here is a link to my die set . The plate sits in a shallow rabbet around the hexagonal die. Above it is a clamping plate spring loaded to contact the plate before the forming punch reaches it. The carrier is under the die and catches the end plate as it is pushed through. https://www.dropbox.com/s/nh19niupnplfu5i/IMG_0481.mov?dl=0 originally I made pressing forms out of half inch aluminum plate with the accurate die and form punch screwed to them and with a couple Dowel pins to keep the plates in line, and 4 bolts on the corners, I could use a wrench to slowly press the -late. I switched to a hydraulic jack in a frame later, and finally to the die set in a home made frame with a semi pneumatic air over oil press cylinder which had a pretty short but powerful stroke. Dana
  3. The slightly odd thing about concertina reeds is that it doesn’t matter which side ( in or out ) the reed is in the chamber. Both reeds are equally connected to the acoustics of the chamber. Both are connected to the air flowing through the same pad hole. The leather flap valves are there to keep the air from leaking through the inactive reed. So, there are indeed two reeds per chamber, but not “in” the chamber.the draw reeds are the ones you see in the chamber, so when you remove the end, those are the reeds you see. You will be able to push forward ( toward the small end of the dovetail slot ) the brass reed shoe if it is loose. The reed pan needs to be removed to access the press reeds, but that one is in tune you say. Dana
  4. On English system concertinas which your baritone is, each note has two reeds, one that operated on the press and one using the same chamber that operates on the draw. Free reeds used in concertinas and accordions are unable to function in both directions. The draw or pull reed is out of tune which could be for a number of reasons. There is only one reason that I can think of that you could safely do yourself. The brass reed shoe or frame the reed tongue is attached To can become loose in its dovetail slot. This can cause the reed o go flat, and if it gets looser, it will begin to rattle. You can check this and push the reed shoe tight in its dovetail. Here is a pic of a later Wheatstone baritone reed pan showing how the reeds are attached. Master Elliot‘s book should help after that. The press reeds are on the top here and the draw reeds are opposite them inside the chambers. The other possibilities are probably best left to Greg to diagnose and fix. Dana ( everyone else note the corrosion caused by the proximity of alum tanned valve leather )
  5. There are “dry film” lubricants (Even for bicycle chains) which are more suitable than oils of any kind. I use molybdenum disulfide powder suspended in alcohol which has the same structure as graphite, but has an affinity for metal. Metal rubbing against metal can be problematic, because often on a molecular level they are attracted to each other. (Nickel can be seen reaching out atomic tendrils towards adjacent metals ) Lubricants help keep the surfaces from touching each other at the sub microscopic level where this matters. Dana
  6. Not your playing, ideally, notes should all sound close to the same volume at the same playing pressure. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, though even in lesser instruments it should be close enough to be accommodated by getting used to that button’s requirements. Sounds like not the case here. The Rochelle and Wren are not made by the same manufacturers (Unless some of the Wren has been farmed out to China). I have played a Rochelle before and didn’t find that button an issue, so it is not inherent in the instrument, which means it should be fixable. Sometimes reeds, especially in the high pitches, can be set too high, requiring a lot of pressure to sound. They can come this way from the manufacturer of the reeds, and if not caught by the person assembling the instrument can cause trouble. Stiff flap valves can also reduce the volume. Valve weight changes as the reeds get smaller and it may be that an overly heavy valve was used on those reeds on either instrument while the ones above it got the lighter treatment. It is odd that both instruments have the same issue. If you get it solved, let us know. Dana
  7. In this case the button layout refers to the spacing and placement of the buttons which, in the Jeffries pattern is more fanned out than the more horizontally compact Wheatstone layout. Your question sounded like you wanted to know what notes those 20 extra buttons should have. If Steve has done one of these 50 button instruments before, I’d ask him how it had been organized. You can probably find layouts for 48 button anglos and that will give you a better idea how they are best organized. With that extended a layout, you are not likely to be lacking for alternative fingerings or chord possibilities. HOWEVER, if button spacing is your problem or over close placement of the inner row, 50 buttons may end up filling up a 7-1/4 instrument as much as 30 does in a 6-1/4. Make sure Steve knows what your issues are so he can accommodate them. Dana
  8. Standard top row left hand either Jeffries or Wheatstone A/E (Right hand Jeffries and Wheatstone are different) Press/draw Left hand c#/d, f#/g, a#/c, f#/e, f/g Right hand Jeffries c/a#, a#/c, f/e, a#/g, f#,b make yourself a simple transposition chart. C —-A C#—A# D—-B D#—C E—-C# F—-D F#—D# G—-E G#—F A—-F# A#—G B—-G# Best Wishes, Dana
  9. $2300 doesn’t sound out of your mind. Clearly, the instrument has been played, which in my mind is a good thing. Bad instruments generally don’t get played. If someone wants to get a shiny new one for only $575 More plus shipping, they can do that.
  10. I wonder what the piano thinks of being reincarnated as a concertina?
  11. First, don’t move the reed. If you want to tighten the clearance, you’d have to shorten the tip to push it forward, then re tune by a fair amount since that pitch is reacting to such changes faster than low notes. Then you have to be sure it is properly centered, and on a Jeffries that generally had pretty well made reeds, it isn’t likely going to get you much. While Alex’s observation should definitely be checked out, I would be expecting similar difficulties with both the Eb and middle F#. Of course, the large difference in pitch will mean even with the Airyness factor, the lower reed is still likely to respond better since it is already using more air to sound, so the loss percentage will be smaller. It is also quite possible that the valve on the backside of the F# reed is staying open even a small amount at playing pressure. Bob Snope of the Button Box in his great wisdom said he found most problems with reeds go back to valves. Really, this just means that valves can cause a lot of problems, where other real problems with reeds are simply relatively uncommon. Check the F#’s valve to make sure it is lying flat or close to it, not curled up or dried out and stiff. Flap valve leathers used in older instruments especially the white alum tanned leather while mechanically had good properties, degrades over time. (It also very slowly gives off sulphuric acid vapor which corrodes the brass reed shoes it is next to. Dana
  12. Buying anything for adjusting a single concertina seems a waste unless you are going to pass it on to someone else. Makers or repairers or people who have a number of instruments they want to all feel the same, might get enough use to make it worth while. Your brain is a highly sophisticated device for comparing similar things, not so good without training for quantizing things. To adjust one spring to “feel” like the others just needs you to feel the difference which you have proved you can already do. ( if you can’t feel a difference than you are close enough ) The kitchen scale is a free way to go if you have one and is as accurate as you can possibly feel. Beyond that, Chris’s approach is a good one to follow and need a new spring. Some people want to change their whole concertina a button pressure they prefer. Even there, a kitchen scale will do. When I adjust my instruments, I use a dial gram gage but on the levers at the button position rather than the buttons themselves which are vulnerable to friction in the button bushing. If buttons feel stiffer after that, I know they are not moving freely and fix that. Dana
  13. Mahogany, especially The 100 year old sort was often used for larger instruments pad boards because of its excellent stability. It is too bad that as usual it was over harvested and the best varieties are on the CITES list. Sometimes Old large pieces of furniture like display cases can be found and can be quite a prize. Once upon a time, you could paw through the Martin guitar company’s reject pieces for some great wood. Not these days though.
  14. Plywood, birch or otherwise tends not to warp because it is balanced in its layup. If you start planing off the plies, that ceases to be the case. Even numbers of plies 90 degrees offset, tend to twist in warping as humidity changes. Because it is trying to assume the shape with the lowest area. Odd numbers of plies stay flatter. In the small sizes concertinas use, the small tendency to warp is not hard to constrain. Given that you would be changing the wood anyway, using plywood slightly thicker or thinner than the original won’t make any more difference to the sound than the change in wood will.
  15. The European sycamore (not the flaky barked patchy stuff in the US) should be easy to get. The wood I use comes from Austria anyway. I have to look through the pile for the best quartered material and the least figured. But it is excellent.
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