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About Skreech

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  1. I love museums, particularly ones like the Horniman/Wayne collection that buy up every instrument they can find, regardless of whether it has historical significance or not. The more old instruments they take out of circulation, the more valuable those that are left become. I'm a fiddler more than a concertinist, and I love the feeling that every time an important violin gets locked away in a collection, my old (but well maintained and frequently played) fiddle gets a little bit more valuable.
  2. I can help here, it's me selling the instrument. It is very definitely a Wheatstone, number 568, from 1842 (when the fretwork was cut by hand, before the design was simplified so that a spindle could be used). I posted some pictures of the internals on here a while back when I was trying to find out what it was. The reason that it has a faux label is simply that the label is normally attached to the baffle plate, and at some point - probably when it was previously restored by RJ Ward early in the 20th C. the baffles were removed, presumably to make it louder (the nickel silver reeds are quieter even than brass). It now has new baffle plates, but the cartouche looked stupid filled with blank pine, so I put a faux label in simply to make it look right. The label fitted is lifted from a photo on the web and not intended to fool anyone. The first time I listed it on Ebay (it didn't sell) I got into conversation about it with Neil Wayne, and he was in no doubt that it is a genuine early Wheatstone. (Though he did point out a few features, like the bellows papers, which I thought were original, but infact date from the RJ Ward restoration. If anyone wants more pictures, Email me - I have a full set of all the internals before during and after restoration (and I also have the original pads, springs and valves if the buyer wants them!) This instrument has square ended reed frames and slots, which is a sure sign that it is early Wheatstone. Wheatstones had worked out how to machine round ended pan slots before anyone else started making concertinas, and as far as I am aware no one else ever used the hand cut square ended slots and frames.
  3. Blowzabella played on stilts a few times in the early days - I think Dave Armitage was the melodeon player at the time.
  4. It's not going to be an Australian species, given that it was made in Britain in the 1860's. Australia was acutely short of timber in the 19th century, and did not export. It's really only in the last thirty years, since their plantations have matured and people saving rainforests mean that our traditional sources of exotics have dried up, that people have started using Australian wood in the UK. This is a typical piece of Partridge wood, and I really can't see that from the photo anyone could say that the concertina in question is anything different.
  5. It's certainly not Snakewood. Apart from anything Snakewood is always riddled with tiny shakes, which make it useless for fretwork. I think Partridgewood is a good call, but there are at least two species that cabinet makers call partridge wood: 'Real' Partridgewood (Andira Inermis) comes from S America and is a tonewood very similar to Cocobolo apart from the figure (its no harder to work than Rosewood or Blackwood). This stuff is what woodwind makers use. The other thing that is commonly called Partridgewood is oak that has been attacked by pocket rot. Raw, the two woods are very different, but once finished they are almost indistinguishable. But since we are talking about a manufacturer who is buying in large quantites of Rosewood, I think it is most likely to be Andira Inermis, from the same source.
  6. Thanks all. David Leeses website says he doesn't do full sets, only individual bolts, and I need the full set, there isn't a single one without a stripped thread or mangled head. Don't really want to change to a modern thread, and I'd rather deal with someone in the UK. I'll give Andrew Norman a call.
  7. Does anyone make new end bolts for old concertinas? Mine are all knackered, and I don't really want to modify the plates to a moden thread.
  8. OK, I've checked the reeds - 8 are steel, two are brass and the rest are nickel silver (or some silverish non-ferrous metal) So I think that confirms a pre-1848 date?
  9. OK, I've now done a bit more research, and have convinced myself that it is a Wheatstone. The serial number isn't listed in the ledgers, but the numbers either side would date it to 1842. It is outwardly identical to instruments of that period in the Horniman Collection, and that date would be consistent with the square reed frames (I need to check whether the reeds are actually steel or nickel silver). Does that sound reasonable, or am I missing something very obvious? (I'm completely new to the world of concertinas) If it is a Wheatstone with such a low serial number, does that make it historically important? I.e. should I stop restoring it myself and take it to a professional? (I'm a professional violin restorer, but I've never touched the innards of a concertina. So far I have only started patching the fretwork, and only use hide glue, so everything I have done is reversible if necessary.)
  10. Thanks. From my very limited knowledge I didn't think Lachenal was right, but a post in another thread implied that all JD Ward instruments were re-labelled Lachenals. The fretwork pattern looks idientical to the Scates I found a picture of. But does that mean anything? I'm guessing that printed paper fretting patterns would have been available from component suppliers. I'm starting to think that JD Ward's did infact build instruments themselves - the internal label does say 'instrument manufacturer', and I found a copy of a period advert with the slogan 'Buy direct from the manufacturer'. If they were making small volumes for the local maket it would explain the low serial number.
  11. I've just acquired an English concertina labelled 'R J Ward of Liverpool'. From what I've read here I assume this is a Lachenal made for Wards. Inside it has a rivetted action and steel reeds in square ended holders, and all major components have the serial number 568. This doesn't seem to fit with the Lachenal numbering system - do you think is is a very early Lachenal, or by another maker? Any ideas as to a date?
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