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I have a perfectly good 30 button concertina, but this past year has included some health challenges for me, so when I saw a 10 button concertina in an antique store I fell in love with its lighter weight. The problem is the reeds need checking and probably some repair. I've a good idea what might be needed BUT the bellows are glued on! From the look of it, there never was another way to attach the bellows.

 

Was this a standard way to attach bellows on antique concertinas? Is there a way to dissolve such glue? I'm going on the hope this was a typical method of the past. If not, the little concertina will probably be useless.

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I have a perfectly good 30 button concertina, but this past year has included some health challenges for me, so when I saw a 10 button concertina in an antique store I fell in love with its lighter weight. The problem is the reeds need checking and probably some repair. I've a good idea what might be needed BUT the bellows are glued on! From the look of it, there never was another way to attach the bellows.

 

Was this a standard way to attach bellows on antique concertinas? Is there a way to dissolve such glue? I'm going on the hope this was a typical method of the past. If not, the little concertina will probably be useless.

 

Only 10 buttons? How big is it? Is it English or German construction? A few photos might be useful... maybe even useful in guessing what sort of glue was used (if some residue is visible) and therefore how to deal with it.

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There are two screws for each end. I've left them up slightly. The glue residue is very visible, slightly transparent, but probably was white. There is no name, but that may have been on the handle straps -- an unusual location if it was -- as those are gone and easily replaced.

 

The hexagonal end shape is 6 1/2" at the widest points.

 

The closest to a 10 button I've heard about was German, but I would expect a maker's name. Lack of a manufacturer makes me suspect it's probably a toy or was of very cheap manufacture. If that's the case I guess my best bet would be to learn how to get at the reeds and don't worry about the bellows (it's paper, in reasonable shape). I would need to know where to find bellows that size as it's so much smaller than a normal concertina. Frankly the ease of the paper bellows, unlike leather bellows, and having only 10 buttons is perfect at this point when my arm strength isn't the strongest and I also have a permanent problem reducing my left little finger's reach to roughly 1/2 the normal reach.

 

 

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I didn't have the best pictures taken of the bellows, but I'm having second thoughts on it being all paper. Looking at parts suppliers I read about buying papers to put over leather. I just figured that black edging and between each fold was some kind of tape. Maybe not. The action is so light and when you press a pair of folds seems about as substantial as card stock.

 

My husband's gone to sleep, but I'll have him try for a better shot of the bellows tomorrow.

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I suspect that the white material you are thinking is glue, might be the edge of a gasket made of white leather. Try taking the screws out completely from one end and the see if you can insert a blunt knife blade into the joint. As Bill N has already explained a joint can stick together slightly even without glue, but you should be able to prise them apart.

 

Don't attempt to get inside by cutting through the bellows. They are not an off the shelf item to replace.

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If it was me (and seeing how this doesn't appear to be a valuable instrument) I would carefully insert an artist's palette knife (with a very thin, flexible blunt blade) and work it around the joint. If it is silicone it should come off pretty easily. Glue will take a bit more work. Slow and easy is the way to go.

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... when I saw a 10 button concertina in an antique store I fell in love with its lighter weight.

Lois; going round the back of your problem, it is difficult to tell exactly from your pics with just your hands for scale but to me that still looks a lot bigger and very possibly heavier than a simple 20b Lachenal Anglo. They are not expensive in concertina terms, will do a lot more than this and are infinitely more fixable too. Have you checked that you shouldn't just move to one of these and put this one on Ebay to be someone else's problem?

 

(Can anyone chip in with a weight and 'across the flats' measurement off the cuff?)

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Dirge has a point about the 20B anglo Lachenal. I have one and I love the small size, light weight and the sweet tone.

I don't have a scale to weigh mine, but I happened to measure the size the other day. Mine is 6-1/4 inches across the flats.

 

LoiS-sez, you have already given us a measure of this 10B at 6-1/2 inches across the widest part. If that is across the flats, then the 20B Lachenal would indeed be slightly smaller, or at least mine would be. But if that 6-1/2 inches is corner to corner then that would mean this 10B is only about 5-5/8 inches across the flats. Can you clarify which is the case?

 

Of course you already have a 30B instrument, which currently is too large/heavy/unwieldy. We don't know how big and heavy that is, or how it would compare with the proposed 20B Lachenal. (and good ones of these aren't as common in Michigan as they are here in England)

 

For a bit more money, the Morse Ceili from the Buttonbox is also 6-1/4 inches across the flats, and would give you a full 30B instrument. I don't own one, but I've tried one out at a shop here, and found it very light and responsive. Again, it depends how it compares to the 30B you already own.

 

Of course you already bought the 10B, so don't give up on it just yet, I certainly wouldn't. Gentle prying sounds like the way to go, along with perhaps gentle heat (hair dryer?) to soften whatever this clear/white goo is. Not too much heat though, and direct it carefully, or it might damage something else.

 

Good luck!

Edited by Tradewinds Ted
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Hi and thank you all,

Strength and weight are indeed part of the problem, but even before that, my 30 button Stagi was a bit of a problem for me as my left little finger's reach now is roughly 1/2 the normal reach and unlikely to improve. As a result the layout for this instrument of 5 on a side is perfect.

Flats? I'm missing a term here when telling size. Let's see if I can draw what I'm saying:

_

/ \

\--/

That's not perfect, but the widest part of that hexagon is 6 1/". (That's from / to \, not diagonally.) The narrow top & bottom are 5 1/2" The 5 buttons are slightly curved on one end of each side, but a total of 2 3/4". It weighs slightly over 14 1/2 ounces, but will weigh a bit more when I replace the missing hand straps. That's not metric for anybody outside the U.S., but should give an idea.

 

Just showed the "goo" to my husband and he agrees this looks like silicone sealant, but more likely he thinks it's Hot Glue. Got him to try peeling it and Hot Glue seems to be the answer! He said Hot Glue would become uncontrollable with heat. DRAT! He took it off 2 sides, but hesitated doing more as it was apt to hurt it (or him?) since it's taking off a bit of the finish--such as it is.

 

I'm not averse to a 20 button concertina, but would need to have the chance to test one. I'll be going to Castiglione's with it next week. They were the source of my Stagi. They're more into accordions, but know Button Boxes (I called them a Melodeon since I'd been reading English material on that and was told firmly by Mr. C. "It's a Button Box!"), and Concertinas. They have a good sized repair department, but may discourage putting any more $ into this one. I've no idea if they carry Lachenals.

 

Just checked their website at http://www.castiglioneaccordions.com/concertinas.html & see 20 button German concertinas, an 18 button English miniature (with a 4, 3, 2 button arrangement) & another 20 button "folk design."

 

Does anybody know much about that 18 button English miniature? It would let me dedicate one button to my bad little finger. If that question needs to be asked in another forum, let me know which one, please.

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I have an 18 button Stagi mini, which I bought used from a cnet member. It has loops for the thumb and pinkie. It's not my main box, but I love it. It's small---I can carry it in my computer bag. It's light. It's loud! The sound is Stagi sound, which is not necessarily bad. People have said it's a nice sound. It makes nice cords.

 

It's also limited. An 18 button English has only 18 notes. It doesn't have a G# or an Eb, or the low C#. It does have a Bb, two F#s, and one C#. It will cramp my hands more quickly than a regular size concertina. One F# button is askew and I can't seem to fix it, but it also doesn't seem to be a problem.

 

Two words of caution: First, no every ango player successfully transitions to an English (and vice versa, of course). Second, you might search this forum for references to the vender you mentioned. One of our members had a bad experience with him. Maybe it was unusual.

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Thanks, Mike. Several points there worth my considering. My hands are fairly small to begin with and then the bad finger, so I'd hope I'm less likely to cramp than someone with larger hands. Fully chromatic is preferable. Hadn't thought about Anglo vs. English, but I better since it affects the # of notes available.

 

Was your Stagi mini with the 4, 3, 2 button arrangement?

 

Searched Castiglione here and nothing comes up. He was definitely darned opinionated, but what's more important to me is his selection of instruments, his repair department, and if he does business in a reputable way. Can you recall the incident?

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Just looked up the Stagi mini. Yes, the 4,3,2 arrangement is there, but it looks like it comes in either Anglo or English. I was sometimes still having trouble remembering push vs. pull, so I guess, if I was to change, now would be the time. Have had to stop playing for the last 6 months, so that may also help if I go to a different style.

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