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Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Posts posted by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

  1. Hmm


    I originally purchased a c/g anglo to play all sorts of music on. English trad, Breton music, Irish trad, heavy metal covers ect. After a while I just got annoyed with it as mostly I wanted to play in G, D and A. When playing In D and A I found the non linear lay out of the scales quite non-intuitive so I got a G/D. I found G/D just simpler to play in these keys which for me made it a lot more fun

  2. My concertina case is wrapped in that sort of stuff. I have seen a lot of instrument cases with the same thing on them. Might be on a fabric type substrate though. Many years ago Rich morse was looking for something for bellows and found a number of coated fabric things, but they were either difficult to glue or had poor wear qualities. Eventually they just went to leather, but they do Wheatstone style bellows where papers are cosmetic, not used to cover the edges of the bottom hinge, gussets and top run, like on a Jeffries style bellows.

    But why go with faux leather when you could use the real thing if you are not looking for a printed pattern?




    good question.


    My reasoning was that for the cosmetic bellows paper (as you say not part of any of the hinges) a water-fast leather effect paper would be a cheaper and quicker alternative for bellows decorating as you would not have to bother with skiving the edges of lots of leather patches (unless you brought it very thin). I have a frank edgley concertina which has this stuff on it where it seems a pretty appropriate solution. I could always ask him what he used I guess

  3. this is kind of an aside but you might like some of the wallpapers designed by William morris:




    he was active as a designer/artist/political idealist pretty much during the heyday of concertina making and his designs are quite reflective of the tastes of that era. Have a scroll through on that website, I am pretty sure his designs would even make a good piece of inspiration to design a concertina end from.

  4. haha cool alex!


    I found it hard to find small quantities of spring wire but that site is great for it. Spring hard brass wire is also very hard to get full stop. Did you ever find a source of small quantities of spring hard brass wire? All I ever found for that stuff was commissioning a wire factory to make it which cost at least £300 and whoever I asked always seemed to gasp at the suggestion as if it was something deeply rare and esoteric.... Not helpful :P

  5. Hi Jake,


    I discovered the easiest way to taper the side of the shoes (reed holders) is to hold shoe in one hand, file in the other, place the shoe at approximate 7 degree and briskly rub against file: it is very quick if a new file is used..




    wait wait hold on, so you literally are putting the slant on the outside of the reed shoe at 7 degrees and that angle is done entirely by eye and feel? Or did I mis-understand


    I am not being critical I am just surprised

  6. I am always impressed by reed making.


    I remember when you posted ages ago showing how you laser cut the reed holders then used a filing jig to put angles on the sides. Did you find you had to file the frames a bit then test fit it in the reed pan and file a bit more and fiddle with it in this way until it fit the reed pan or was it generally pretty fast "reed frame in jig, run file across, done"

  7. Well it was payback time this last week with a trip to Legoland with our 7-year old following his compliant behaviour at the German meeting last weekend! So imagine my surprise to see the concertina pirate is still there! I took a couple of photos of him for posterity, but his instrument (whatever system it is) seems to have lost a few buttons!



    I went to legoland when I was about 6, I remember they glue the statues together but sort of not that well sometimes and an enthusiastic child can get the odd brick if determined :P


    I can recommend pittards of Yeovil as well. I have used their leather for bellows with success, the only thing I would say is that the advertised thickness of their hides is not always that accurate. You may need to thin down your strips on a pairing machine like a scharf fix, that is what I had to do.


    Their chrome tanned black lambs leather is good and you can get it in loads of different colours aswell, red, purple whatever. Their leather room is amazing to be in.


    Knowledgeable people have in the past told me that goat leather is best though I have never tried it.

    Regular sheep including lamb is very weak across the grain. Mostly that is not an issue on a bellows except for the top and end runs. Goat on the other hand is very strong in any direction. With goat, you orient the grain of the top runs lengthwise so the natural direction of stretch is across the peaks. With sheep you need to do the opposite or risk the leather starting to tear slightly as it stretches across the peak when the bellows closes. I used sheep "skiver" for my wife's concertina 18 years ago and it is still going fine, but when I realized how easily it tore, I switched to goat, or calf when goat was hard to find for a while. Calf makes a very nice bellows, but you need to keep it around 0.6mm or a little less. If leather is thinned too much, the part that keeps it strong is shaved away. Young animals are best because you can go thinner without getting down to the weaker layer. Calf makes a very smooth leather. So does sheep, while goat has more texture even if it is the smooth finish. Calf has less stretch across the grain than goat, so for both that and sheep, you want to leave a little gap between yout cards at the peaks so the leather isn't forced to stretch over the peaks.





    if your wifes bellows lasted 18 years and are still good so far then what can the problem be with sheep? Or is it a case of the goat simply lasting even longer potentially?

  9. Just to be contrary:


    a lot of very good players I have encountered prefer tight straps, though how tight the straps can be without limiting your finger movement depends on how tall the hand rests are and of course your own hands. I used to play with fairly loose straps but later got an instrument with taller hand rests as standard and found that straps on the tight side made playing very easy.


    My advice would be to experiment with your instrument straps and find what is the most comfortable setup for you. Either approach is ok but it depends on the player and the instrument as to what is most appropriate - in my opinion

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