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Woodwork restoration

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I have seen a number of concertinas, eg mahogany and rosewood ended Lachenals, with cracks or splits in the fretwork.

I guess this is to be expected, but is it something generally repairable at sensible cost? Or is that the way it has to stay for the rest of its life?


And if repairable - who does it?


Thanks for any thoughts.

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I'm surprised the better qualified haven't come in on this already, Malcolm.


I think Theo Gibb had a bit of a photo essay on this on his site a while back, so I think he does this stuff.



Shims glued in sawcuts to join cracks shown here



I fretsawed various pieces to replace missing sections of the fret on my Rosewood Lachenal. I had some offcuts left from a rosewood fingerboard so just a matter of bandsawing and fretsawing etc, (with precautions against potentially nasty dust.) Fortunately there were no areas missing from both ends so I was able to use the opposite end as a template.


And if it's worse than that, I think making a new end has been discussed on this forum.


The first two levels don't need a lot of tools or equipment. The bandsaw mentioned was a luxury and very nice work can be done with a hand fretsaw.

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is it something generally repairable at sensible cost?


Almost anything can be repaired, and wood is a material that is relatively easy to work with, easily glued, cut, polished etc with ordinary tools and some skill. The harder question to answer is whether it is worthwhile. It's a balance between how much work is required and the potential value of the instrument. What is not worth doing to a 20 button Lachenal might be well worth doing on an Aeola. With a few instruments made of exotic wood it can be impossible to find patching material that matches, then the question becomes one of keeping the damaged but historic instrument in its original condition, perhaps as a museum exhibit, or making a repair that significantly changes the appearance but results in a playable instrument.

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Thanks for the input. I guess I should come clean.

I have a 20 button Lachenal that I quite like, and was considering going for a thirty button. (CG) I think I'd prefer to get one that needs some attention and get it sorted, than buy a "full price" one from a dealer as I will then know the recent history.

Been looking at this one on Ebay:


and pondering the economics. Things like pads/valves/springs/tuning and even bellows repairs are "just" money :rolleyes: (if you say it quickly!), but I am unsure as to whether the woodwork can be tidied to something that just gives a bit of character, or whether it's a case of forget it...


I have just got a couple of photos from the vendor, not really had a good peruse yet. I will post them this evening when I've had chance to maybe resize them and stuff. The end shown on Ebay is the worst end.


(It would replace a 30k Rochelle - the 20k Lachenal is intended as "working away from home" 'cos it's small and light)

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... a mahogany ended Lachenal that seems to have been subject to damp storage.


Damp is always a big worry as it tends to destroy glue joins, but especially so with this model as the bolts are only mild steel and tend to get so badly rusted-in that the instrument can't easily be taken apart... :(

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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I agree with both Stephen and Theo, the wood is not likely to be the issue, the big risk is in the metal bits, the end bolts and the reeds. Wood work is easy, wood finishing is not. The reeds and end bolts are a major concern, but so would be he potential for reed pan warping as well.



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