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Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

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Everything posted by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe

  1. I was just testing a sheep skin from pittards, it is about 0.3mm thick by my digital calipers and so strong I cant tear it with all my strength in any direction. It may be that the leather we have here is a bit different? Or maybe it was a different breed of sheep as someone mentioned earlier.
  2. 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.Dana 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?
  3. 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
  4. what a beast! Interesting hand rests, all metal.
  5. interesting on the rexine. I found the photos of the bellows and everything on your blog, interesting projects you have on there. Keep it up
  6. lovely pattern on the ends. I am curious about your synthetic chamois for the bellows, people have suggested synthetics for bellows in the past but I dont remember anyone trying it. what is that stuff like? could we get a close up?
  7. if you need any more info feel free to pm me, I have some trials and tribulations in getting it all to work nicely
  8. just a snippet of input here, I have no idea about mayfair but £500-£1000 sounds way way to much to pay for a 20 key lachenal, unless the value has rocketed without me knowing? I got one for about £300 5 years ago
  9. 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.
  10. I would like to know about this as well, I have heard people say its best to laquer them. With what though I have no idea
  11. even the 20 button steel reeded lachenals are not really "serious" musical instruments in my opinion. I got one when I was about 17 when I wanted to branch out from the melodeon. I sent it back to the dealer in the end as it was just not upto much serious playing. I expect that they were just the cheap instruments of the day. Really though an old damaged one is worth repairing just for fun/learning.
  12. hmm, it says any member can approve members. Have a go at some point, let me know if you are not able to and I will see what I can do
  13. another thing you can do is to drill the holes then use a "self centring wad punch" which has a spring loaded centre point in the cutting hole so you can put the centre point in the pre drilled hole and then whack it with your hammer. Here is a link to the sort of thing: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Maun-Metric-Wad-Punch-1000/dp/B0001P0E14 the only thing is that you have to be sure you are holding the hammer straight or you end up with the hole being central on one side (the side facing up as you strike your hammer) and off centre on the other. Maybe the wad punch could be mounted square in a press to eliminate this
  14. Sorry about the lateness of aproving members, I think everyone has been approved now. I was thinking perhaps it would be easier if it was an open group if people are ok with this?
  15. There is actually a bicycle forum which has a permanent thread called "bike porn" where people posted bikes they found beautiful, my friend introduced me to it. I showed him concertina.net and he asked "where is the porn thread?" to which I showed him the thread "what our concertinas look like"
  16. lots of interesting analysis here, i think that the melodeon jazz chord thing is probably not as new as I thought it was, I have only been into folk and folk festivals for the past 5 years so there is probably a lot that has gone on which some of you guys heard/maybe after a while got a bit tired of years ago but I am not aware of Maybe after a while I will get tired of it and prefer a more stripped back approach who knows. All part of the rich tapestry I suppose
  17. hmm. I am interested by the responses people are giving on this thread, mostly people are not into the more repetitive parts of the tune. The thing is its just a repetitive arpeggio following a chord sequence, that part of the tune seems to me to follow the general pattern most modern dance music you would hear in clubs. Most mainstream clubs play music which is pretty much a beat, a chord sequence and then some vocal samples thrown in, its mindless to listen to but in a club its just a beat to dance to and people enjoy it. Most modern music I hear people dancing to is like this, I think it is a generational thing. If you listen to younger melodeon players in England (I use melodeon players as an example as there are not many young concertina players in England sadly) they don't sound like the generation before, they put in the odd bits of jazzy stuff, different rhythms and especially chord sequences that would not be found in traditional music normally. As a young player I find it very exciting, it gives this sense of having possession of something rather than just repeating it. Perhaps we are somewhat dry in our approach to playing traditional music? The danger being that following a "tradition" can lead to a somewhat unadventurous musical style. To give another example: I was in Ireland a while ago and went to some sessions, all of the fiddle players were very very good but they all played identically, I learned that most had been in competitions at points in time and some might have even had the same tutors when younger. Then there was this Canadian woman who had learned Irish music away from Ireland and completely put her own spin on everything. It was way way more interesting and full of life, the other fiddle players seemed so stiff and un humoured by contrast... To conclude perhaps the piece of music that started the thread was not perfectly suited to the present audience
  18. Geoffrey Crabb once told me this story about how a clown (from somewhere in europe cant remember where) ordered a few concertinas over the years from the Crabb family, each order was for a consecutively smaller concertina than the previous - maybe he could tell the story if he sees this thread
  19. I have thought on this one quite a bit and play a 7 fold concertina. Another factor at play is how deep the folds are, a deeper fold can make the bellows hold considerably more air (within reason) I have owned 2 anglos with 7 folds each, one (an edgley) has deeper folds than are found on most 19th or early 20th century instruments the other had folds of a similar deapth as would be found on your typical lachenal for example. I found it much much easier to play harmonic style on the edgley. My advice is that if you want to play in this style 7 folds is best (never tried 8, I don't know how that would be), yes you can do it with 6 or 5 folds if you develop ways of working around this limitation but why would you when you have the option of a more appropriate design?
  20. interesting, did you line the outside of the case with some sort of fabric or is it painted
  21. Ah, Don I didn't count for the different climate. Sounds pretty extreme
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