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Transplanting gussets


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In a previous topic, I started out asking where to get some leather to make new straps, but I decided that I could have Tony the Cobbler take care of that, and the thread ended up talking about the more difficult repairs I need to do. These more difficult repairs are transplanting some gussets from a 20-button Scholar concertina whose reads are not so good, to the bellows of my 20-button Frontalini.

 

Ruediger R. Asche offered some helpful advice and showed a photo of bellows stretched out on a jig that he made. Using that advice, I was able to remove some gussets from the Scholar bellows. Since I did not care about the condition of the donar bellows, that was not too difficult. I used a lot of boiling water applied with small rags, and removed the other leather peices and the gussets. But, I'll need some advice on how to remove the gussets from the Frontalin bellows without causing the same amount of damage.

 

First, I'd like to show the difference between the reads and the button mechanisms of the 2 twenty button boxes.

 

Here, are the reeds:

post-66-0-71968600-1321220852_thumb.jpg

On the left is the Scholar, on the right is the Frontalini. The Scholar has all the reeds of each row all attached to a single large plate, while the Frontalini has each pair of reads per button on a reed block, and they are mounted accordion-style in beeswax,

Here are the button boards:

post-66-0-64672000-1321221114_thumb.jpg

On the left is the Scholar, on the right is the Frontalini. The Scholar's are made out of wood, while the Frontalini's are machine-fashioned metal.

 

I just thought that these differences are interesting.

 

Anyway, now here is removing gussets from the Scholar bellows:

First, I fitted some dowels in a triangle in each end, then used three large dowels and some string to pull the bellows out using the triangle braces that I made:

post-66-0-28586800-1321221446_thumb.jpg

Side view:

post-66-0-47627600-1321221483_thumb.jpg

Now, using small rags dipped in boiling water, I applied the hot water to the leather peices, and peeled them back to get access to the gussets, and start peeling back the neighboring gusset:

post-66-0-24412000-1321221766_thumb.jpg

And off comes the gusset:

post-66-0-55224900-1321221867_thumb.jpg

. . .and doing the same with the next corner, I now have 2 gussets to transplant:

post-66-0-71659500-1321221981_thumb.jpg

So, next I am ready to stretch out the bellows of the Frontalini the same way, but I would like to remove the bad gussets from the Frontalini bellows without damaging the cardboard as I did with the Scholar. As you can see from the above photo, applying hot water using small rags is too sloppy, so I need some other way to remove leather pieces and gussets from the Frontalini without incurring so much water damage. Does anyone have any ideas?

 

Here is the worst gusset on the Frontalini bellows:

post-66-0-55584400-1321222287_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks!

[edited some spelling errors]

Edited by AlexCJones
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It does look like the water is doing damage. Are you sure you can't peel the paper and gussets back without the hot water? I know you don't want to spend a lot of money on this instrument, but you can get cheap bellows from one of the makers like Stagi for not too much, if you can find the right size.

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It does look like the water is doing damage. Are you sure you can't peel the paper and gussets back without the hot water? I know you don't want to spend a lot of money on this instrument, but you can get cheap bellows from one of the makers like Stagi for not too much, if you can find the right size.

I like the cheap bellows idea. So, when I Google Stagi or "Stagi concertinas", I get names of dealers, but I can't seem to find a web page for Stagi, the maker itself. Would you know where I can find contact information for Stagi, or any other maker from which I can get cheap bellows?

 

(By the way, the 30-key A/E Anglo that you built me years ago is doing well. Last night, at a rehearsal, people acknowledged how great it sounded in Gloucestershire Wassail)

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It does look like the water is doing damage. Are you sure you can't peel the paper and gussets back without the hot water? I know you don't want to spend a lot of money on this instrument, but you can get cheap bellows from one of the makers like Stagi for not too much, if you can find the right size.

I like the cheap bellows idea. So, when I Google Stagi or "Stagi concertinas", I get names of dealers, but I can't seem to find a web page for Stagi, the maker itself. Would you know where I can find contact information for Stagi, or any other maker from which I can get cheap bellows?

 

(By the way, the 30-key A/E Anglo that you built me years ago is doing well. Last night, at a rehearsal, people acknowledged how great it sounded in Gloucestershire Wassail)

 

Thanks, Alex! Always good to know how one's children are doing.

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. You can get pneumatic leather quite cheaply. ...

Where would you suggest to get suitable leather?

Cheers

Malcolm

 

I have some nice thin, soft leather diamonds made for accordion bellows, but I think they would serve well for cheap concertina bellows.

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First, I tried contacting Stagi and Castiglioni for ready-made bellows, and they both said that it would be the same as buying a whole new concertina from them. So, I am back to repairing the current bellows, by adding new or used gussets. Now . . .

 

. You can get pneumatic leather quite cheaply. ...

Where would you suggest to get suitable leather?

Cheers

Malcolm

 

I have some nice thin, soft leather diamonds made for accordion bellows, but I think they would serve well for cheap concertina bellows.

I am sorry, but that does not do me much good. You are several thousand kilometers or miles from the Chicago area. Besides, I have already successfully removed 2 gussets from the hold crummy Scholar bellows, and it is easier for me to remove more from that than purchase leather peices from someone in England and wait for them to be shipped here.

 

But suppose I find out from Tony the Cobbler, that he can sell me some scraps of pneumatic leather cheaply, when I pick up my wife's shoes form him this week. Either way, I am still at the point where i need to add them to the bellows that I am repairing.

 

What I need to know now is how to remove the bad gussets from the Frontalini bellows that I am repairing without damaging the bellows. Mr. Edgley posed a good question about why one would use hot water. So, what I am considering next is using the tip of a dry iron to heat up the leather strips and bad gussets on the bellows and see if that melts the glue allowing me to peel them off without getting anything wet. Once I have that all removed, I just follow the instructions on Tedrow's site about building bellows, and just glue the transplanted ones on and glue the leather back as if I were building it.

 

So any advice on removing the bad gussets from the bellows that I am repairing would be helpful.

 

Thanks.

Edited by AlexCJones
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First, I tried contacting Stagi and Castiglioni for ready-made bellows, and they both said that it would be the same as buying a whole new concertina from them. So, I am back to repairing the current bellows, by adding new or used gussets. Now . . .

 

Before giving up on that route, I'd ask the Button Box. Many a Stagi passes through their hands, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that one had left its bellows behind.

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First, I tried contacting Stagi and Castiglioni for ready-made bellows, and they both said that it would be the same as buying a whole new concertina from them. So, I am back to repairing the current bellows, by adding new or used gussets. Now . . .

 

. You can get pneumatic leather quite cheaply. ...

Where would you suggest to get suitable leather?

Cheers

Malcolm

 

I have some nice thin, soft leather diamonds made for accordion bellows, but I think they would serve well for cheap concertina bellows.

I am sorry, but that does not do me much good. You are several thousand kilometers or miles from the Chicago area. Besides, I have already successfully removed 2 gussets from the hold crummy Scholar bellows, and it is easier for me to remove more from that than purchase leather peices from someone in England and wait for them to be shipped here.

 

But suppose I find out from Tony the Cobbler, that he can sell me some scraps of pneumatic leather cheaply, when I pick up my wife's shoes form him this week. Either way, I am still at the point where i need to add them to the bellows that I am repairing.

 

What I need to know now is how to remove the bad gussets from the Frontalini bellows that I am repairing without damaging the bellows. Mr. Edgley posed a good question about why one would use hot water. So, what I am considering next is using the tip of a dry iron to heat up the leather strips and bad gussets on the bellows and see if that melts the glue allowing me to peel them off without getting anything wet. Once I have that all removed, I just follow the instructions on Tedrow's site about building bellows, and just glue the transplanted ones on and glue the leather back as if I were building it.

 

Hello Alex,

be careful with a dry iron, many leathers can/will shrink and become hard from that kind of heat. You do need heat, but you also need dampness, which you have already discovered....but you don't need it to be soaking wet, dampen the gussests you want to remove with a cu-tip dipped in warm water around the glued edges of the gussest, and warm it with a blow dryer, they should come off then...another thing you can do is to relax the bellows, or as some proffessions call it, "sweating" it. This is acheived by (again)dampening the area where you want the glue to soften, and then putting it in a damp/moist/humid atmosphere, such as a pail with an inch of sawdust in the bottom that has been wetted, and then covered/sealed, or a small aquarium, etc...another way to achieve this is after dampening the gussest edges(you know you are going to have to take the top runs off as well, or is this bellows one made with accordian bellows tape? Probably, I bet....)you can put it in a plastic bag with a damp towel surrounding it(not in actual contact with it, though) and leave it sealed overnight, and in the morning the glue should be sufficiently softend so as you can take it apart. Good luck, and have fun.

Don

 

Thanks.

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  • 4 months later...

I have been experimenting with gusset removal with the "donor" bellows that I have already been taking apart. I have not succeeded to find an easy way to peal back the top skive, and un-glue paper cover pieces so I can remove the gussets without slightly damaging skives and cover-pieces. I have tried heating up the top skive using a dry hot iron without any water, and that does not work. It seems like water or steam is needed to get things un-glued.

 

I have Dave Elliott's book opened to pages 22 and 23. It does not mention anything about replacing old gussets with new ones. It says that there are only two DIY options, patching and re-gluing. So, replacing whole gussets does not appear to be recommended at all!

 

So, now that I have a few gussets removed from the donor bellows, it seems that I might as well just cut these to size to patch up the gusset holes in the Frontalini. I might need to patch both the inside and outside of one of them. Sure, it will look clunky, but at least it will play.

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The cheapest route for leather for gussets is goat hide off eBay, if you can find 1 or 1-1/2 oz hide in the color you want. One hide would give you tons of material to work with as roughly 1/2 a hide per bellows when made from scratch.

 

The "good stuff" can be had from Columbia Organ. Or for more color option, Talas (their #500 french split goatskin looks a match to your pictures).

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Thanks apprenticeOF.

I still might need to actually replace a whole gusset rather than just patch, because the holes in the gussett are rather bad. Like Swiss Cheese.

post-66-0-92530600-1333930372_thumb.jpgThe gusset that I am replacing is actually white.

When I replace the gusset, I will certainly need to reapply and patch the Skive or Binding, because, in the area of the gusset, the original skive/binding will be damaged.

The top skive or binding on this one actually green.post-66-0-43530000-1333930470_thumb.jpg

Would I be able to get the kind of material for this at Columbia Organ or Talas? If so, then what should I ask for? If not, then if anyone has any other recommendations for places from whom I can buy the green binding/skiving material and also buy material for patching or making gussets, then that would be great.

 

I gather that any kind of paper is okay for repairing the paper cover pieces.

 

Thanks.

Edited by AlexCJones
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