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flutina accordeon disassembly


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I know its not a concertina but I've recently acquired an early French accordeon (a.k.a flutina, probably Busson mfg.) in pretty good condition. A couple of the reeds aren't sounding though and I know I will need to do a little bit of work to get it fully functional. From perusing the posts on this forum, and others, I have come to understand that these flutina accordeons are constructed more like a concertina than a more modern accordeon and so I come here for advice.

 

I was able to slide off the top with a bit of effort and expose the reed pan underneath. I note that it is gasketed all over with chamois leather. In order to access the reeds on the underside i will need to remove the reed pan.

 

Any advice on the best technique to disassemble? Is the reed pan assembly held in the bellows frame by friction of the gasketed surfaces alone?

 

I am thinking that it would be a good idea to move the instrument from my shop, which is very humid this time of year to an air conditioned room. Allowing the wood to dry out a bit this way seemed to help with getting the top to slide off.

 

Looking to hear from anyone with experience in working with these instruments. I don't have any real experience in working with instruments like this but am confident I will be successful if I keep at it. This is my first post to this forum although I have been reading many of the topics that are of interest to my project.

 

Regards,

Dave Culgan

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Any advice on the best technique to disassemble? Is the reed pan assembly held in the bellows frame by friction of the gasketed surfaces alone?

 

 

Yes, and the reeds are very similar to concertina reeds. The key mechanism is quite different though.

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I got it!

 

I was able to slip a dull thin blade around the outer edges and then by wiggling here and there it pulled up and I had it apart. As I expected the reed assemblies were brass, dovetailed into the reed pan. I have one pair of reeds that won't sound in either direction, one or two that are dead in one direction only, and a pair that are very weak. So it looks like I will need to fabricate some sort of test bellows or other source of high volume, low pressure air in order to see what's going on. Some of the valves curl up more than others, and there is a lot of discoloration, tarnish, on the reeds.

D Culgan

post-8677-12779337624532_thumb.jpg

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I found my way to concertinas through a couple of flutinas I bought on e-bay. I found the flutina a lovely instrument and still play mine from time to time.

 

I put a photoset on Flickr which showed some of the restoration process that got the best of the two into fine fettle. It has a few tips that might help: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23765997@N00/sets/72157600700875760/

 

Simon

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I have a flutina in the queue for restoration. I believe it is English made, does not have the inlay of the Busson Breve instruments, has more keys, and finished in French polished rosewood.

 

As a 1-row melodeon player, I'm considering turning the reeds around so that it plays like a melodeon - giving me the advantage of not having to learn a new playing technique - whilst maintaining that great flutina sound and drones. Of course I'd make new reedpans for this operation, so that it can be easily reversed.

 

Steve

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Hi Simon H,

That's a very nice series of photographs! You mention that you actually play your flutina as well; do we have any chance of a sound recording from your part? I'm very curious to hear how it sounds...

Cheers,

Mark

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Simon,

 

Great photos. I have one just like your restored model - except mine has a dark rosewood body. What did you use to clean the mother-of pearl keys and valve covers? I tried a weak detergent and water on a Q-tip (cotton bud) with not much luck.

 

Regards,

Paul N.

Tonawanda, NY

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  • 2 weeks later...

Simon,

 

Great photos. I have one just like your restored model - except mine has a dark rosewood body. What did you use to clean the mother-of pearl keys and valve covers? I tried a weak detergent and water on a Q-tip (cotton bud) with not much luck.

 

Regards,

Paul N.

Tonawanda, NY

 

There is a certain type of nail polishing thing you can buy which is great for cleaning and buffing mother-of-pearl after working with detergents and cotton buds etc. A bit more extreme but the results are great.

 

What you are looking for is a dense foam block which has different grades of "emery" on each side of the block, ranging from fine through to a buffing/polishing grade. If you look through the shelf of women's nailcare products you'll spot these things. I use them for all sorts of tasks and found them great. Although they use very fine abrasives you need to be careful using them around surfaces which might be damaged, but mother of pearl will buff up beautifully after you've taken off the ingrained surface dirt with one of the mildly abrasive sides of the block, turn it over and use the polishing side and you'll get gleaming results.

Simon

Edited by Simon H
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  • 12 years later...

I have a Busson flutina which obviously needs attention, as the notes, especially when the bellows are pushed in, are not clear - there are high pitched notes almost like harmonics sounding as well. I apologise for my lack of the correct terms - I'm an oboist by training, and this flutina was a lovely gift.

 

As the entire top part seems to be in one piece, and the flat wood will not slide out from one end as I have seen others do, how do I access the mechanism? Obviously someone has tried in the past, as the lovely painted section on one end has been split.

 

All help and suggestions are very welcome indeed!

 

Thank you.

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17 hours ago, Jenny H said:

As the entire top part seems to be in one piece, and the flat wood will not slide out from one end as I have seen others do, how do I access the mechanism? Obviously someone has tried in the past, as the lovely painted section on one end has been split.

 

From what you've said, it sounds like the narrow section of end that's normally glued to the end of the pad board has become separated and lost - the pad board/keyboard section should slide straight out if you push on the opposite end of the keyboard.

 

The decoration is normally made up of different coloured wood veneers, some of which may be painted.

 

Otherwise, a picture tells a thousand words, and there is another possible construction - which involves removing a long strip of brass to lift off the pad board/keyboard.

 

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Thank you Stephen, that's  very helpful and very interesting; I shall enjoy reading it all.

 

Perhaps it would be best if I post (or try to!) a photo of the narrow flutina ends. They certainly don't look as if they have ever been any different - though of course, the sliding end might have been replaced at some time - if so, someone has made an excellent match!

 

Thank you again,

Jenny

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