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michael sam wild

Bellows corners

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My old Jeffries 26button C/G is beginning to wear thin at the corners underneath, despite not playing across my knees. One corner has been mended at some time with a thin leather patch stuck on externally that looks and works well. Any hints on a skived type of leather and the best adhesive?

 

 

By the way , at Swaledale the other weekend's workshop on East Clare style music, Harry Scurfield made a good case for playing across the knee and commented that an earlier need for repair was worth it for the control afforded. With bellows falling open it's a lot less work on the pull and encourages legato playing.

Edited by michael sam wild

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Hi Mike

you should be able to get them from Dave Leese

chris

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I have used leather from David Leese around the outside edges of the corners stuck with a weak PVA glue. It seems to work quite well and the leather strips are barely noticeable.

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A good local cobbler said use bicycle puncture patch adhesive or Evostik (petrol based) but not PVA.

 

Any other ideas or info?

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I thought I'd refer you to this topic I posted some time ago. The repair I made is still airtight at the moment and I use the box daily.

Dave

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A good local cobbler said use bicycle puncture patch adhesive or Evostik (petrol based) but not PVA.

 

Any other ideas or info?

I am not sure a cobbler is the best person for advice on repairing concertinas unless he has a special interest in concertinas. The leather strips supplied by David Leese are very thin. Evostick and most modern bicycle patch adhesives are impact adhesives and I think you may have difficulty using these glues as well as cleaning the area afterwards. I lifted the bellows papers at the edges to allow the edges of the new leather underneath - PVA allows you to move and smooth the repair into position and then neatly clean it off. I've also used it for repairing gussets and internal strengthening. However I don't know if PVA is the 'right' or best glue to use, but it has worked to date and has allowed unobtrusive repairs. All the glue needs to do is attach one thin piece of leather to another with the minimum of bulk and the neatest way possible as well allowing a little flexibility.

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A good local cobbler said use bicycle puncture patch adhesive or Evostik (petrol based) but not PVA.

 

Any other ideas or info?

I am not sure a cobbler is the best person for advice on repairing concertinas unless he has a special interest in concertinas. The leather strips supplied by David Leese are very thin. Evostick and most modern bicycle patch adhesives are impact adhesives and I think you may have difficulty using these glues as well as cleaning the area afterwards. I lifted the bellows papers at the edges to allow the edges of the new leather underneath - PVA allows you to move and smooth the repair into position and then neatly clean it off. I've also used it for repairing gussets and internal strengthening. However I don't know if PVA is the 'right' or best glue to use, but it has worked to date and has allowed unobtrusive repairs. All the glue needs to do is attach one thin piece of leather to another with the minimum of bulk and the neatest way possible as well allowing a little flexibility.

I second not seeking concertina advice from cobblers. “To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.” ( or in this case a boot )

Bellows corners take a lot of flexing, bending the leather in two directions. After a long time, old leather loses it's tear strength and start to break down where it flexes a lot, not really requiring wearing against your pants. As far as control goes perhaps a really floppy set of bellows might benefit from being played across the knee, but to spoil a perfectly good set of bellows well ahead of it's time goes against my grain. Somebody put good work into making them and it seems that plenty of people who are darn good players learned to control their bellows very well without the need to lay them over their knees. I don't quite understand the Legato reference. I play as legato or staccato as I want with no difficulty. Perhaps for a more melodeon style of playing with out much choice of where your bellows reversals come benefits? but how? does it slow down your reversals or keep you from putting in much punch? If it makes legato playing easier, does it make staccato playing harder?

Dana

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Dana - the question on bellows 'across the knee' came after a workshop observation. I also note that on a lot of films and videos it is a position commonly used. Harry pointed out that when the bellows are across the knee they fall open across a central balance point so on the draw a lot of the work is done by gravity. This was in the context of a discussion on the relaxed style of East Clare playing.

From an ergonomic point of view I do find it reduces stress on the shoulder on the non-fixed side . Coming from melodeon I tend to use the right end on the right knee and hence do more pushing and pulling with the left.

 

In single note playing for Irish style music both sides may be more equally used so maybe the central pivot point facilitates that?

 

 

I can see how a concrtina kept on a shelf and used day to day may not have been seen as an instrument to preserve for posterity but to be played functionally and patched up as it wore out. I've seen a lot of instruments that are pretty beaten up but played with love and gusto.cool.gif

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I think I'd agree with Dana against the bellows across the knee. Old videos etc may show the intrument being played that way, but that doesn't necessarily make it the best way. I suspect that there were no schools of concertina playing decades ago. People generally picked up the instrument by themselves or copied players they knew or saw. Most ITM musicians were not schooled in music let alone the technique of the instrument. We all have the right to play the instrument as we like and find most comfortable. Playing with regard to ease & comfort usually produces the best results, musically. However, there are many players of merit who do not play against the knee, young and old. Playing with one end of the bellows frame resting on the knee as opposed to the bellows itself stretched across the knee is no more difficult, if the instrument is learned to be played that way, initially. After you have learned to play the other way, it become more difficult to change.

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