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Andy Holder

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Everything posted by Andy Holder

  1. Hi Andrew Never having actually weighed different buttons, it does seem that when holding 48 solid nickel buttons in one hand and 48 hollow capped buttons in the other there appears to be a considerable difference but if your calculations are correct, I quite agree that it was a waste of time and effort but I suppose if in competition with another maker anything went. Carrying on the Crabb tradition for solid buttons, if required to make them I have an original (1860) special lathe designed for manual button and end bolt production. The lathe produces a basic button with pin. Each button is then cross drilled from one side in a jig using a centre-drill bit. This drills the lever hole and forms one countersink. The button is rotated through 180 degres and the bit passed though the hole and the opposing countersink formed. From circa 1950 Duralium was adopted for buttons on Crabb instruments. Although sometimes complained of for blackening fingers I still use this as it makes a considerable difference in weight to an instrument as this seems to be a criteria set by new players. Geoffrey. (I have not gone posh but this might avoid confusion with Geoff W ) PS. Nickel buttons with Silver caps if left untouched, barrel may yellow and cap will blacken. Geoffrey, thanks. I admit the maths does make it seem a bit odd, intuitively I would have said there's a lot to be saved. It does sound like you have some marvellous equipment, I'm still struggling to find a proper workshop, let alone tools that don't have to be moved all the time! Thanks for your very knowledgable input. Andrew.
  2. The simple practical answer is that the smallest reeds work best without valves, something you can easily verify by fitting valves where the makers did not. The result is usually less volume, flattening of the pitch, and a greater tendency to choke when played suddenly. That's interesting Theo. I've never tried putting valves where they weren't originally but might do it, just out of curiosity. Thanks Andrew
  3. I've noticed that often there are no valves on the 2 highest notes in a Lachenal English. Isn't the requirement to block the non-sounding reed still there? I can see that there is little air to move the valve but why not use extremely small and light ones? Andrew
  4. Thank you for that very comprehensive reply Geoffrey. I wondered if it was for the weight. I worked out that: Assuming hollow is 2.5 dia x 10mm long, that's approx. 49 mm^3 per button. 48 buttons = 2352 mm^3 or 2.35 cm^3 Nickel is about 8.9g per cm^3 Total weight saving roughly 20 grams (unless I've made a big error somewhere). Less than an ounce in old money! I'm not doubting for a moment, but it seems like a lot of trouble to save such a small amount. Do you mind me asking what method you use for making metal buttons? Thanks Andrew
  5. Thanks Geoff, that's interesting. I have, since I first posted, tried polishing fairly hard with silver polish and they have come up beautifully, so they are definitely not plated. I used to turn bits of silver for medical sensors, the high purity stuff is horrible to work on a lathe. Andrew
  6. I'm very sorry Theo, I was having a mental block. We've just had a French exchange student called Leo staying with us for a week! Andrew
  7. Thanks Leo. In that case, should it be possible to polish them back to life? Andrew
  8. I'm cleaning up a rather nice ebonised and silver Lachenal English. It looks rather stylish as it's just black & silver. However, the buttons are reasonably worn, as are the finger rests. Is there a quick 'n easy way of re-plating the buttons? I'm guessing they are nickel plated on brass. The construction is interesting, they have a solid cap and, I assume, a hollow shaft. Does anyone know why they were made like this? Also, what is the tiny hole about half way along for? Andrew
  9. I'll try that Chris, although I need to make a couple of hundred.
  10. Here's one, or is it a delicious piece of chocolate cake? Andrew
  11. Hi all. Just making my first batch of lever arm grommets out of some fairly stout thick leather belt (3mm-ish). Am I missing something or is it fiendishly difficult? Firstly I tried punching some small circles and piercing them with a leather awl. Couldn't get them on the lever ends. Then I tried holding them in small pliers and drilling them, difficult to get the hole central. I've now abandoned the circles in favour of drilling holes along a thin strip, then slicing into pieces. I end up with grommets about 5mm square and 3mm thick. I reckon the flat edge is probably better to glue onto the samper than the tangent of a circle (but then I would say that, wouldn't I?) What do others do? (apart from buying them for 0.12p!). Seeing as my concertina hours work out considerably less than the minimum wage, it costs me hardly anything to make them Andrew.
  12. Well done Mike. I wish I had your balls to go busking! But who was the cheapskate that gave you 70 cents?
  13. I thought I'd seen it again, but I've just read the back postings!
  14. Me and my partner Julia at our first and only Morris gig. We spent all winter learning about 10 tunes, every Thursday night driving 40 miles, snow & rain. Then the first dance out, the squire decided on 4 dances we hadn't even heard of, let alone practiced! Hence the look of panic on my face. That was it! I like the Melodeon, though. Comes instinctively to a Harmonica player, just like the Anglo. Andrew
  15. My lovely new Jeffries. It used to get really boring hearing about people that had picked up a Jeffries in a saleroom for a song, then it happened to me! The old boy that it belonged to took it in with a couple of cardboard boxes of stuff. The auctioneers spotted it and sold it separately but, because it was a cold night in February and there weren't many people there I had a chance. Needless to say, I was very pleased and the old boy was ecstatic, beyond his wildest dreams! Shame I can't play it yet! Andrew
  16. Is everyone here even talking about the same thing? There's "taper" from the base of the reed to its tip, i.e., being normally wider at the base (where it's fastened) than at the tip (the freely swinging end). And there's the "bevel" or "undercut", in which the slot of the reed frame is wider at its "under" side than at the "top". I'm a bit confused, but I think you two are talking about the second, while aybee and some others are talking about the first. One point that I don't think has been addressed here is whether the first has an effect on the quality of the sound. Seems to me that it does, as I understand that the rare "clarionet" concertinas -- with a sound intended to imitate a clarinet, bassoon, or other woodwind reed instrument -- have reeds that are wider at the tip than at the base, often described as "spade-shaped". And I remember seeing in the book The American Reed Organ drawings of experimental reeds of even more complex design, including one in the shape (looking from above) of a cross and one like a forked snake's tongue. No idea what those latter two sounded like, though I believe they were intended to produce unusual sound qualities. Jim, I just measured a set of Wheatstone English reeds and frames very accurately and it turned out that some of the reeds were tapered and some were parallel. Some "pairs" of the same note would have a tapered one and a parallel one, not always the same way. It's my conclusion that, as the frames were stamped and irregular, the reeds were just hand filed to fit the slot and sometimes they would end up tapered. I don't believe there's any relevance in the shape of them, although I'm happy to be proved wrong! Andrew
  17. Good luck with it. There's a great series of youtube vids by a guy called Martyn, just sitting in his kitchen but he covers a lot of stuff. No connection, I just came across it a while back. Andrew
  18. How weird, Simon. I too am a keen KAP photographer. Must be something about kites and concertinas, but I can't imagine the connection! A few here. I'd be happy to help out. Andrew
  19. One of the most scary things for me was imagining how I could ever make a bellows. Then I came across Bob Tedrow's marvellous instructions on that topic MHere's a link. I think you couldn't go far wrong if you had a go at that and made yourself some tuning bellows, as I did. Then you can take a few reed frames out of your instrument and have a go at tuning them. (Start with the notes you're least likely to use ) Then, I reckon, another cost saving exercise would be to make some pads and see how easy it is! Finding good, dense felt has been the most difficult thing. Make a sandwich of thin acid free mount board, dense, thin felt and thin, smooth leather. I first used spray adhesive, which doesn't saturate the felt. Then get yourself a 15mm wad punch (loads on ebay) and a hammer, and a piece of hardwood and start whacking out your pads. The one thing I've found from these amazing people on the forum is that there are so many different ways of doing things and the best method is whatever you find to be the best method. I got very hung up on the "right way", the "right glues", the "right materials" but, providing you are true to yourself and your own conscience, I don't think you can go far wrong. All you need is some expert advice, and there's plenty here, and a large pinch of salt! Go for it, and good luck. Andrew
  20. A few to get started. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ash2020/ Andy
  21. Chris, I, of course, would be up for it, but are you envisaging a book of instruments, almost like a reference work, or a book of people playing instruments? Or both? I'm communicating with Neil at the moment so I might put the idea to him. I take your PM point about a bit of directional light to pick out the shapes too! Publisher in mind? Cheers Andy.
  22. I use Spotify, but I haven't got any good Concertina music on it. However, I'd love to see what you come up with (once you've done all the hard work) Andrew
  23. Tom, thanks for the very comprehensive explanation. The bits I understand are very elegant and give meaning to what, has been up until now, merely an instinctive understanding of the process. I remember the Bernoulli effect from a disk drive I had many years ago (funnily enough called a Bernoulli Drive) where the head floated above the magnetic platters at very high speed. Thanks again, I am going to study it in much greater depth. Andrew
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