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Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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About Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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  • Interests
    Morris dancing, playing music and concertina construction
  • Location
    Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes

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Chatty concertinist

Chatty concertinist (4/6)

  1. I think you are quite correct in saying that the 20b was very rarely or almost never made to a top standard. No one ever particularly said this to me but I haven't seen a 20b that was made to the full extent of the makers abilities, I am talking about historic makers here. There is nothing to say someone could not approach a professional maker today and ask for a very well made 20b but it would be an unusual request as it would probably cost almost as much as asking someone to make a 30b. A bit less of course but probably not 1/3rd less as might be implied by the number of buttons. In for a penny, in for a pound as they say.
  2. Thanks for sharing the diagram that is always interesting to see. I have saved that one for future reference FYI: the layouts for 38 key jeffries layouts on my website came from Geoff Crabb and I believe to be the closest thing to a "standard".
  3. That is pretty unusual. If the reeds are stamped with the same notes as they are sounding then as far as we know that is original. Its likely someone would ask for something like that, no one has ever asked me to make a 38 button instrument that was the same as any other 38 key I made, such idiosyncrasies must have existed in the past too I would guess. Jeffries and Wheatstone had slightly different ideas about where to put the extra buttons though with Wheatstone tending to add them at the end of each row and Jeffries tending to add them to the end of two of the rows and then putting one down below the usual three rows - I am guessing the accidental row is usual Wheatstone accidentals and the extra buttons are something approximating Wheatstone but not necessarily in the same place? I hope it is good fun to play! Best wishes Jake
  4. Gosh that is a tough situation. In the UK concertina production only just survived the 2nd world war, but a couple of small businesses managed to continue.. It sounds like a sort of similar situation but a bit harder for you guys in Argentina if the production completely stopped in WW2. It can be hard to revive an industry or industrial processes but not impossible.
  5. Sorry to hear no one in the bandoneon world is being very helpful to you. Is the bandoneon industry rather secretive? I would also recommend C1095 in hardness condition rockwell 48-51. Then you need lots of files. Some sort of shearing tool is needed to get it into strips, that is a tricky part you might have to improvise your own as the usual lever type mounted to a bench is not suitable, other commercially available options might work.. Other simpler ways of cutting it into strips include scoring a line on the steel, clamping it in a vice and then hitting the bit hanging out of the vice very hard with a big piece of metal. (that process involves the least investment of tools anyway) Best of luck with your project, its a hard thing to do but with good dedication all things are possible.
  6. As can be taken from the above replies - making reeds is very involved. Its really going to be very hard or almost impossible if you don't at least have a set of reeds which you like that you could try to copy. What I did is study historical reeds which I liked before taking steps to learn from experienced reed makers and begin to do a lot of experiments. I would recommend buying some reeds if there is anything available which would be usable for your project, making your own reeds is only a choice you take if what you want is not available to buy at all, which is what many concertina makers have to do. Hopefully you can find something you can buy which will work for your needs. Probably a helpful way to think of it is "free reed instrument making is a discipline and reed making is another discipline which you would only learn if you felt you have to" But if making reeds is really in your heart and you feel you really want to do it ... Do it. Enthusiasm for a topic of experimentation is a good thing.
  7. Hello Clive Its quite a tricky thing for makers. Basically the nickel silver you can get nowadays is of quite a different composition to what was available in the past. The only stuff I could find in the correct thickness and hardness was 12% nickel content. You can get 18% nickel silver but I have never found anywhere which will supply it to the correct thickness of sheet. The long and short of it is that the higher the nickel content the less it tarnishes, really you want something with about 30% Nickel, the rest being mostly copper and a bit of zinc, I think that is what Jeffries used, or something similar to that. You cant really get it now so you have to electroplate really. The proper modern equivalent would probably be "cupro nickel" which is 30% nickel and 70% copper - its what a British 50p is made of. Again you cant find this in the right thickness for concertina ends which is normally anything from 0.71mm thick to 0.91 thick depending on the design. If anyone ever found some of that I would want to know about it! See you at a session some day I hope, you are only one country over from me in Northamptonshire.
  8. Best thing is to get in touch with the maker, the problem might actually be caused by your skin, some peoples skin seems to have more of an effect on nickel than others. I have always found that nickel silver in its modern form needs bright nickel plating to stay looking good. Or you can go for chrome but that doesen't always look as good and the process is a bit more fraught with error - the upside with chrome being that it is supposedly very durable though. Best talk to the maker and ask what he recommends, and probably any modification best employ him to do it rather than a third party.
  9. Steve Dickinson (C.Wheatstone and co) still makes them to original patterns you could ask him to make you one.
  10. I didn't think about that. The subtle difficulties of the multi instrumentalist I suppose.
  11. I suppose thing thing is you would have to remember to trim your finger nails regularly, I remember playing an instrument where the buttons stop flush with the end and I had not, the thing is then is that your finger nails touch the end before the button is all the way down resulting in a bit of an un ... "definite" end to the button stroke and possibly the pad doesn't lift all the way in such a case if you haven't pushed the button all the way down in such a case. Trimming nails is generally a good thing to do regularly anyway though.😆 The especial thing to beware of with not pressing the button down all the way is that the amount to which the pad lifts affects the tuning, the note sounds at a slightly different pitch. One of the main reasons concertinas go "out of tune" is actually because the pads have compressed or sunken down over years and the overall lift is greater which affects the tuning a little. Not really a problem if you have trimmed your nails though.
  12. 17, that is interesting. I did a study of lachenal reed designs a few years ago - the set I studied had 17 sizes.
  13. I saw a print of this photo some time ago - Geoff Crabb had it. I did not look at it that closely though. I don't think all of that equipment was present by the time Steve Dickinson took over the business, or maybe he got rid of some of it due to duplicate items intended for multiple workers, there seem to be at least two table saws and.... 5 fly presses, gosh that would be like being in heaven, no need to keep changing tools so much. Interestingly the metal trays in the foreground on the left I think he still uses! It looks exactly like the one which slides under his press to catch the parts as they are pressed out. Also I count 9 workers, and that really is the big deal here - I don't know of a modern concertina making business which would employ that many staff, that really is something we have lost.
  14. Thank you for your observation, this was what I suspected from the two instruments I was recently comparing - instruments I made. Its good to hear it from someone else too.
  15. The tunes are the True Joak, the White Joak, the Yellow Joak and finally the hard to track down Blue Joak. I make that all in all a pale green Joak when combined. I hope you enjoy the video these are some of my favourite tunes from my youth, as would be heard in the streets of Hertford and the surrounding area when I used to go busking as a teenager with my melodeon. I would have included the black joak but the set gets somewhat long then.
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