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Thoughts On Wood Ends


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Hello

 

I am deciding on what type of wooden ends for a G/D accordion reed concertina.

 

I am interested in what folks think in general about the different types of woods used for concertina ends and their acoustic coloring qualities. By "coloring" I mean enhancing, mellowing, inhibiting...etc the tone and volume of concertinas, particularly accordion reeded instruments.

 

In general, is a less hard wood better to mellow the tone of accordion reeds?

 

What woods would you suggest.

 

Are the harder woods a mistake if one wants to tone accordion reeds down?

 

What about wood for the body?

 

Thanks for any feedback offered.

 

Richard

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If unsure,it is advisable to have a brain sample taken,(do not do this at home),and

use a wood of a similar density,depending on availability, to that which shows up in the sample. Best leave the matching of the wood until the next day,let things settle,so to speak.By the way,I will have a few top quality rosewood ended Lachenals,a 30 key,and a 32 key,both completely rebuilt, by A .Norman ,both c/g and available sometime in the new year. A good metal ended will be available in about 10 days,again completely rebuilt,with new Norman bellows.Offers ,if you like,but these do not hang around very long.Meanwhile ,all you squeezers,compress as much hot air as your instrument allows,and put it away in a safe place,just in case you are ever hitching,and you get a lift in a Canadian

sub,especially if it has a 1955 English reg. Regards to all ,rich and poor alike,but especially rich and leaning towards the concertina,if even from the floor of your padded cell. :ph34r:

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I can tell you that AIUI concertina ends are laminated and veneered, but when I asked Colin Dipper to make my baritone C/G anglo as mellow as possible he elected to make the ends from solid mahogany, since this would make the sound more mellow and reasonant (I can vouch for that). The impression Colin gave me was that what is important is not the type of wood but the overall composition of the end.

 

Also I can say from experience that the presence or absence of baffles can have a more profound effect on the sound than whether the concertiina has wooden or metal ends! I fitted leather baffles to my Morse G/D, which significantly smoothed and sweetened the sound.

 

Anne's Morse English is sweeter still, though the wood from which the ends are made is the same. Rich suggests this is because his Englishes have more wood and less fretwork as compared with the anglos.

 

Chris

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Chris, if I recall, didn't you have a square Herrington that had mostly Wood Ends and just a small metal grill? Did you ever get to compare it with other Herringtons and if so was the tone more mellow than the ones with regular metal ends?

 

I actually thought the design (square not withstanding) was very attractive and wouldn't have minded seeing a hexagonal version of the same design.

 

--

Bill

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It is a shame Zimbo that the Canadian sub situation was so tragic, it does sound as if Del Boy was involved in this deal.

My only fear with wooden ended concertinas stems from the time I saw someone pull the fretwork off the end with the handle when the fixing screws pulled out of the handle joining the reed pan.

Please note woodworkers that my Wife`s Stepfather died of cancer and the cause was put down to working with Mahogany.USE A MASK!!

Al

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Chris, if I recall, didn't you have a square Herrington that had mostly Wood Ends and just a small metal grill?  Did you ever get to compare it with other Herringtons and if so was the tone more mellow than the ones with regular metal ends?

I still have it. I have not had a chance to compare it with other Herringtons, but went for it on Harold's own advice that it would be more mellow than the entirely metal-ended jobbies.

 

Chris

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Cool, thanks Chris. Among all other things I think it also makes a very attractive instrument; I think it is a shame no one offers a similar style for hexagonal concertinas. Then again I suppose this is how people go about getting started in making their own instruments; or at least customizing them :).

 

--

Bill

Edited by bill_mchale
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I restored a 56 key pin-hole Aeola (6 sided) the ebony ends were removed and new end plates made from ebonised sycamore, the fretting etc was a direct copy in all respects. The 'end' :( result was no change in tone or volume of the instrument. A friend had a 48 key similar instrument with new endplates made by Colin Dipper. These were amboyna veneer, again no change in tambre and the same tonal qualities as the one I did.

 

I suspect its all more about te design of fretting and action box, chambers etc rather than wood type.

 

Dave

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I found this topic interesting as I am in the process of designing and then building my own sides and ends for a concertina that A C Norman is building for me (c/g 30 key anglo). I have to admit that my main considerations are aesthetic, so I am glad to learn that others' opinion is that wood type is not an issue. Currently I am planning on solid Ebony for the sides and ends, as I happen to have some nice billets in the workshop. I think the old ones are usually ebonised pearwood with ebony veneers on the the sides, but would be interested to hear from an expert. Am I taking a risk in not laminating? I would also be intersted to know of a resource for fret patterns and concertina ends.

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I think the old ones are usually ebonised pearwood with ebony veneers on the the sides, but would be interested to hear from an expert. Am I taking a risk in not laminating?

I'm not an expert, but Colin Dipper has shown me some Edeophone "ebonised" ends that crumbled away in the hand, his suggestion being that the ebonisation process weakened the wood in the long term.

 

As I note above, my baritone is not laminated. I would imagine that lamination would strengthen the ends and ensure against warping, but I have had no trouble with the baritone, and don't expect to. I am certain Colin wouldn't have built it that way if he thought it would warp. Mind you, the wood was well-seasoned. It came from an old British Museum display cabinet that was dated 1868!

 

Chris

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Ebonised timber is far more durable, generally speaking, than natural ebony. Obviously it depends on what the timber to be ebonised is, but mahogany, or a fruit wood will be fine.

 

Ebony itself is dense, and thus holds a lot of moisture, its very difficult to kiln or naturally season for that reason. Over the years it dries, losing moisure and oils. It then can crumble, split and generally become a bit of a mess.

 

I often have had to replace small bits ebony veneer that has de-natured ansd split this way. Many 'solid' ebony ended concertinas fail in this manner (see the history of the pin hole aeolas as a typical example). Ebony beading splits and crumbles, particularly under the heads of bolts.

 

When active as a wood turner, I had several experiences of thin sections of ebony splitting even after being carefull acclimatised.

 

I would still recommend ebony veneer, however. This form of construction is the most durable application of this type of wood, it is hard wearing, stable and has a fine natural beauty.

 

Dave

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Hi Chris!

 

normally the action box end plate wood is worked to be no more than 4 to 5mm thick, the weight should not be too much of an issue, stability will be!

 

D

 

ps

 

as to uses for them,...........don't challenge my imagination!

 

D

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