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Button dampers. Must they be felt?


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I'm struggling to find good quality felt that doesn't pull apart. The 100% wool is too thick and I don't think the acrylic works very well. Are the circular dampers on the buttons always felt or could soft leather be used? I've never seen leather ones but I wonder why. If anyone knows of a good felt, available in the UK, I'd be very grateful for the info.

Andrew

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If anyone knows of a good felt, available in the UK, I'd be very grateful for the info.

I believe the "felt" used in concertinas is not simply felted, but woven as well as felted.

 

I would think that Concertina Spares would be able to supply that. No?

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I'm struggling to find good quality felt that doesn't pull apart. The 100% wool is too thick and I don't think the acrylic works very well. Are the circular dampers on the buttons always felt or could soft leather be used? I've never seen leather ones but I wonder why. If anyone knows of a good felt, available in the UK, I'd be very grateful for the info.

Andrew

 

Even 1mm thick 100% wool felt tears apart too easily in my opinion. Chamois (the wash leather kind) is pretty good for making damper rings, but the best leather I've come across is a type of sueded leather (listed as Persian suede facing leather here: http://cgmmusical.co.uk/CGM_Musical_Services/Felt_Leather_Pallets.html). It cuts very cleanly with a punch, does not tear, and eliminates sound effectively. (As a matter of fact, a concertina I have had leather dampers which were very old, at least 50 years old by my reckoning, so this is no new trick for repairmen.) As to whether it's better or worse than woven felt, I haven't measured, but at least it's a functional alternative.

 

I also assume some sort of foamed plastic of sufficient density and thickness should work very well too. Some Hohner accordions use this type of foam for pallet dampers instead of felt. However, I couldn't find it in the latest Hohner spares list (http://www.hohner-cshop.eu/kataloge/HOHNER-Spareparts-ACCORDION-04-2012.pdf), so I don't know if they've discontinued it or just sell it as ready-made pallets. Also, it might be too thick for a concertina. I haven't pursued this alternative much farther, since the leather has worked fine for me.

 

Cheers,

Jori

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Some Hohner accordions use this type of foam for pallet dampers instead of felt.

 

That was used in the 70s, and maybe 80s. It was a disaster because the foam collapses and turns to dust after a couple of decades.

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Some Hohner accordions use this type of foam for pallet dampers instead of felt.

 

That was used in the 70s, and maybe 80s. It was a disaster because the foam collapses and turns to dust after a couple of decades.

 

Hmm, I'm almost completely sure I've seen foam-cushioned pallets in/for a Hohner box pretty recently (like a couple of months back). Must be a different material then, and apparently not a Hohner original, so it might not be so good after all. I take it you know your Hohners. :)

 

Cheers,

Jori

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The word felt is a misnomer in this case, the fabric you need is actually called baize. It is also used in billiard tables and pianos. Piano maintenance supplies outfits are a good source.

 

The felt seen in the link earlier in this thread will be real felt, not the right material for this application, but probably good for pads.

 

While all leathers are not equal, leather does not have the springback capacity of cloth, it gets the message and stays down.

 

Chris

Edited by Chris Ghent
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I was told that fine woven military uniform material is pretty good. Ask a Guardsman , now the Jubilee is over. On melodeons I use billiard table felt, I got a big sheet free when our pub table was re-covered by the Brewery after a tipsy customer wrecked it with a cue with no tip!

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I have thought long and hard about the damper problem and my solution is to injection mould some washers in Santoprene with a Shore hardness of about 65. It will be possible to design them to have a slight grip on the hole so that they will hold on to the spindle of the button. Santoprene has exceptional chemical and U V resistance properties. I will let you know when we have samples available.

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I have noticed that readily available "wool" baize seems to have a 20% nylon or acrylic content. Any views on whether that affects its usefulness for bushings etc?

 

Malcolm

 

Only guessing but I imagine the synthetic comtemt is in the warp and weft rather than the pile. For this reason my feeling is this will not affect the way the material works but may have ramifications for longevity. Having said that, how long should one be expecting things to last?

 

Not completely sure about this but if you buy good quality piano baize( yes, from a concertina repairer!) I would expect it to be all natural. Billiard cloths I would be much less sure about.

Edited by Chris Ghent
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Wow, thanks for all the input. I have, since the original post, managed to get some harpsichord damper felt, which is woven, with a white inner layer. It is very similar to piano "felt" but thin enough for washers. It works superbly well and is easy to stamp out. It's still quite expensive but is the real deal.

Thanks again for all the advice.

Andrew

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Wow, thanks for all the input. I have, since the original post, managed to get some harpsichord damper felt, which is woven, with a white inner layer. It is very similar to piano "felt" but thin enough for washers. It works superbly well and is easy to stamp out. It's still quite expensive but is the real deal.

Thanks again for all the advice.

Andrew

If you're about to cut the thickness of felt under the keys be warned. I had the std 2 washers under each key and lowered the buttons by losing one of them and resetting the action. I was warned that it would make my fingers ache and it did. I put the second washers back and reset the action again; my fingers stopped aching!

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Wow, thanks for all the input. I have, since the original post, managed to get some harpsichord damper felt, which is woven, with a white inner layer. It is very similar to piano "felt" but thin enough for washers. It works superbly well and is easy to stamp out. It's still quite expensive but is the real deal.

Thanks again for all the advice.

Andrew

If you're about to cut the thickness of felt under the keys be warned. I had the std 2 washers under each key and lowered the buttons by losing one of them and resetting the action. I was warned that it would make my fingers ache and it did. I put the second washers back and reset the action again; my fingers stopped aching!

 

That is interesting, you wouldn't think it would make that much difference but it obviously does. Thanks for that pointer.

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If you're about to cut the thickness of felt under the keys be warned. I had the std 2 washers under each key and lowered the buttons by losing one of them and resetting the action. I was warned that it would make my fingers ache and it did. I put the second washers back and reset the action again; my fingers stopped aching!

 

Very often, the removal of a washer can result in the key pins 'bottoming' in the guide holes. This negates any cushionining effect of the remaining washer/s, resulting in pain in the finger tips.

For those determined to reduce button height by removal of washers etc., NO attempt to increase the depth of the guide holes must be made. Shortening of the key pins is the only option but of course this is an irreversible action.

 

Geoffrey

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