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Cleaning metal concertina ends


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Hi All

 

I have an early Lachenal with metal ends from around 1890 (which I think are nickel plate). The ends show sign of wear to the plating and are also quite dulled. Any tips on the best way to clean - would hot soapy water be the best option or is the only route to get them replated?

 

Thanks!

 

Dave

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Hi All

 

I have an early Lachenal with metal ends from around 1890 (which I think are nickel plate). The ends show sign of wear to the plating and are also quite dulled. Any tips on the best way to clean - would hot soapy water be the best option or is the only route to get them replated?

 

Thanks!

 

Dave

 

Hot soapy water, or even a stronger detergent will get rid of any dirt and grease, then energetic use of metal polish. The metal under the plating often polishes up quite nicely.

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I often use a cleaner called Simple Green full strength followed by a rinse of water, and then white vinegar on plated keys of flutes. I have a buffing wheel and rouge compounds, but worry about getting caught on the fretwork of a concertina. I also have had great success with a product called mico rmesh. It comes in 12000 grit and up and is on cloth. use this to get grunge off, then follow with white vinegar rinse and finish off with cold water.

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I have had very nice results using Brasso cleaning compound on my metal ends. Its available in hardware stores in the US. Seems to work gently and takes very little effort to remove tarnish and hand oil discoloration.

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Great - thanks all!

 

As the majority of the plating is still there, i'll try the hot soapy water option first then reassess.

 

Am I right in thinking that the early metal ended instruments were all nickel plate and that this later changed to something else?

 

Dave

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I am of the opinion that nickle-plating is the traditional method of treating concertina ends.

I have just restored a Wheatstone Aeola with metal ends. The nickle was worn in places, so I had them re-plated in Hobart. They were first cleaned and carefully buffed, then copper followed by nickle plated. They now look great.

However, it is wise to ensure that the plating is not too thick. I once saw a nice Crabb anglo compromised by overdone plating, which spoiled the crisp fretwork.

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I am of the opinion that nickle-plating is the traditional method of treating concertina ends.

I have just restored a Wheatstone Aeola with metal ends. The nickle was worn in places, so I had them re-plated in Hobart. They were first cleaned and carefully buffed, then copper followed by nickle plated. They now look great.

However, it is wise to ensure that the plating is not too thick. I once saw a nice Crabb anglo compromised by overdone plating, which spoiled the crisp fretwork.

Did you lose much thickness when they repolished it? That would be my worry, that they ended up thin enough to deform in use.

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When polishing metal I tend to clean first (ultrasound, yes I know not everyone has one)and than use Maas which I find to work better than Brasso and does less damage to the plating. On large items that I can not ultrasound clean I will use warm to hot water, fairy or Old lye soap and a soft brush to make sure I get all the loose bit that might be hiding in the edges off. I will than follow up with Maas.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Michael

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Hi All

 

I have an early Lachenal with metal ends from around 1890 (which I think are nickel plate). The ends show sign of wear to the plating and are also quite dulled. Any tips on the best way to clean - would hot soapy water be the best option or is the only route to get them replated?

 

Thanks!

 

Dave

Once cleaned, silver plating is really not all that expensive. When I was using nickel silver ends for my concertinas, I would sometimes , at customer request, have them silver plated. I could get it done for about $50. Silver also tarnishes, but is much easier to clean that nickel silver, which actually contains no silver at all---mostly copper.

Edited by Frank Edgley
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I spent some time weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of having the ends of my Wheatstone treble replated. It was worn down to the base metal in a couple of areas but I was very unsure about bringing it back to "new" with a full re-plate. I eventually, after some research, came to a compromise. This was spot electroplating. The system uses a small wall transformer, nickel plating solution and a fabric coated metal "wand". Basically you connect the wand to one lead of the transformer, the other lead is attached to the work. Then by dipping the wand into the solution and stroking it over the worn area it is possible to build up new nickel a micron or two at a time.

 

I took the time to practice a lot, and would suggest if you plan going this way, you do the same. I used bits of brass from around the house ornaments, the underside of some items, coins, and a brass pepper grinder, that practice was well worth doing. Getting the work area prepared (brasso, then meths/alcohol to degrease) with no fingermarks is all important, but the results are great. Whilst the patch plating is not invisible it does at least get the worn areas back to a nickel colour making them virtually unnoticeable. For me that approach was a nice compromise between leaving totally alone with what was to me unsightly bits, and replating which takes it back to "new", losing some of the patina of age.

 

I'm not saying this is the expert or recommended approach, but it worked for me and felt like the right decision for my concertina.

 

Spot replating kits can be had from: http://www.caswelleurope.co.uk/plugplat.htm

 

Simon

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I am of the opinion that nickle-plating is the traditional method of treating concertina ends.

I have just restored a Wheatstone Aeola with metal ends. The nickle was worn in places, so I had them re-plated in Hobart. They were first cleaned and carefully buffed, then copper followed by nickle plated. They now look great.

However, it is wise to ensure that the plating is not too thick. I once saw a nice Crabb anglo compromised by overdone plating, which spoiled the crisp fretwork.

Did you lose much thickness when they repolished it? That would be my worry, that they ended up thin enough to deform in use.

 

 

I was careful to give the platers a real grilling on that matter, and also concerning the horror possibility of a buff catching the fretwork and hurling a distorted piece of valuble metal against the factory wall!!

In actual fact it all ended up very well done. They carefully buffed away the old nickle, which was part-way off anyway, and also buffed out some tiny pits in the monel-metal. The bottom line is that they are almost as thick as formerly, and look great. (Chris)

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