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Lachenal Corner Decorations


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Does anyone know how Lachenal did the twiddly decorative bits in the corners of their ends? I'm making new ends for a rosewood English treble (#21718, believed to be an Inimitable) and I don't have the original ends to work from. From the photos I have seen they look like they were cut from nickel-silver or perhaps even real silver. Were they simply sawn or stamped from very thin sheet metal and glued straight onto the surface, or were they inlaid? Any idea how the dark lines were made on the surface of the metal?

 

Here are a couple of posts that show instruments with the decorations I'm talking about:

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=12628

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=10794

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I have a piece of one of those inlays, which fell out of a broken Lachenal many years ago.... I appears to be made of some white metal, perhaps Nickel Silver, and as I recall it was quite brittle, which is why it too is in pièces ...

 

This, combined with an uneven thickness, suggests to me that these things were more likely Cast than stamped out.

 

On the surface the black lines have been 'engraved' or cast it perhaps.

 

These were inlaid into the surface ( or perhaps glued on before being 'verneered' around ?) .

 

I expect that the friendly fellows at Concertina-spares might have some originals but if you have real problems I could send you this piece to study.

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Thanks Geoff! :)

 

Looking at the photos again, the decorations look more yellow than the keys but not as yellow as brass, so it has occurred to me that they might have been made from gilding metal (a soft copper-zinc alloy that looks a bit like gold when polished). It's interesting that they may have been cast rather than stamped. I'm thinking of cutting mine from thin sheet with a piercing saw. My new ends will be made of Indian rosewood veneered onto a solid maple core, so it should be possible (though fiddly) to inlay the metal pieces into the veneer.

 

I'll send you a private message about the broken piece.

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Alex, PM sent.

 

These were inlaid into the surface of the tops. Not an easy task.

 

They were stamped individually from low nickel content German silver sheet.

 

Inconsistancy of the engraving suggests that they were either hand engraved or etched after stamping.

 

 

 

The black inlay to the graved lines etc. was achieved by the application of a 'blacking solution' to the whole upper surface. When dry, this face was polished using a fine abrasive stick to remove the surface black, leaving the graved lines black. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the ingredients of the solution but I believe black lead was involved.

 

I do not think that these would have been made or fitted 'in house' but entrusted to a commercial 'inlayer'.

 

Geoffrey

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G'day Alex,

If you go to www.stewmac.com and click on the "Inlay, Pearl" department on the left hand side you will find "Laskin's Engraving Filler" which is the black used to highlight engraving on pearl, abalone or metal. They also have books on how to do pearl inlay which could also be used for metal inlay. Also they have a range of tools available. Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Dave

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One small problem occurs to me: the original veneer would have been a good deal thicker than modern ones, so unless you want your inlays to stand proud of the surface, you're going to need some pretty thin nickel-silver sheet.

By the way, if you find a suitable routing bit to match the moulding profile round the edges of the ends, please let me know!

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One small problem occurs to me: the original veneer would have been a good deal thicker than modern ones, so unless you want your inlays to stand proud of the surface, you're going to need some pretty thin nickel-silver sheet.

 

A member of the forum has very kindly offered to send me an original set of the metal inlays, so I'll need to work with whatever thickness they used originally. The veneer is only about 0.5mm even before sanding, so I suspect I will probably have to cut down into the maple board under the veneer to inlay them deep enough to get a flush surface.

 

By the way, if you find a suitable routing bit to match the moulding profile round the edges of the ends, please let me know!

 

 

 

Nope, that's another problem I've been pondering. Presumably they originally used a moulding plane, unless they had an early form of spindle moulding machine (not sure when they were invented). Veneering around the edge profile looks tricky too.

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By the way, if you find a suitable routing bit to match the moulding profile round the edges of the ends, please let me know!

 

 

 

Nope, that's another problem I've been pondering. Presumably they originally used a moulding plane, unless they had an early form of spindle moulding machine (not sure when they were invented). Veneering around the edge profile looks tricky too.

 

Marquetry has a technique for inlaying - maybe take a look at how they do it.

Edited by SteveS
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By the way, if you find a suitable routing bit to match the moulding profile round the edges of the ends, please let me know!

 

Nope, that's another problem I've been pondering. Presumably they originally used a moulding plane, unless they had an early form of spindle moulding machine (not sure when they were invented). Veneering around the edge profile looks tricky too.

 

You can use a scratch stock

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By the way, if you find a suitable routing bit to match the moulding profile round the edges of the ends, please let me know!

 

Nope, that's another problem I've been pondering. Presumably they originally used a moulding plane, unless they had an early form of spindle moulding machine (not sure when they were invented). Veneering around the edge profile looks tricky too.

 

You can use a scratch stock

 

 

I use a scratch stock for molding, the blade made from a hack saw blade remnant, works well and is a very simple tool.

As for inlaying I have always hand cut the insets I use a scalpel and a 4 mm gauge, I also have a 2 mm flat chisel

 

Dave

 

 

Dave

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As for inlaying I have always hand cut the insets I use a scalpel and a 4 mm gauge, I also have a 2 mm flat chisel

 

I was practising this last night and thinking I could do with forging a pair of really tiny skewed spoon chisels for flattening the bottom of the cavity.

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Why not find someone with either a Pantogaph Engraving Machine or a small C N C. It is obvious from repairing 'Tinas that the Pantograph was used. If you are struggling with the Inlay's then there are electro-formers around Birmingham or I can suggest an Engraving Company In Leicester to do them. and the pockets for the inlays

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