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What Fabric To Line A New Case?


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I've read some of the posts that I could find here on the topic, but I don't see consensus on what to use. I looked at a fairly heavy felt, but it seemed like it might be slightly abrasive, and when I dragged a thumbnail over it repeatedly, I could gather some fuzz as though it were wearing out. The fabric shop has fleece (is this the same as "plush"). The instrument would slide nicely in and out of the case with that. One side has a short nap and the other has a longer nap. The shorter nap would look better as the lining, but it would be difficult to get either side to adhere to the box walls without moving because of the nap. Auto headliner has a thin 1/8" foam backing that would be nice, but it would surely break down over time. Denim would wear well, but doesn't look very classy. What has worked well for you as a lining and what does your local fabric shop call it?

Edited by RWL
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Having made a couple of cases for my concertinas -- two "gig-bag" nylon carry cases and a custom-made basketry case, handmade to order by a fine basketmaker/craftsman, I can tell you a couple of my solutions.

 

One fabric that has worked very well is ultrasuede. Yes, I found it difficult to sew, since it's pretty dense. However, it has some advantages, in that it seems to wear well; stands up to the abrasion that comes with frequent insertion & removal of instrument. It's supple, and gradually adapts/conform to contours of an instrument. I found it was easy to glue it to foam or to other materials. Available in colors, too. I don't think it emits any gaseous fumes that might harm a fine wooden finish, but that's a question worth asking.

 

I've used some cotton napped cloth that once was part of an L.L. Bean "chamois" cloth shirt, also with good results.

 

If you know anyone who works with upholstery fabric, you might seek his or her opinion about suitable properties for something that will need to stand up to a lot of abrasion from wooden ends; wooden handrests; metal ends; screw heads; and so forth. However, in this department, there must be more than a few experienced cases-makers who can weigh in on the subject who also are members of C-net.

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Thanks CrP. I had spotted some "suede" in the fabric shop and wondered how it would work. The color choice locally was a bit limited IIRC. When you say "ultrasuede" is that what all the fabric suedes (as opposed to genuine animal hide) are called, or is it a specific type of suede cloth that I should be looking for?

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For many years I have lined new cases, including the corner blocks with 16 wave Cotton Corduroy.

 

I do not pad cases and stick this lining direct to interior of the case.

 

Example

 

 

 

See Wikipedia for details or Google Corduroy.

 

Geoffrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A somewhat related question. How tightly do you compress the bellows between the blocks? The instrument normally measures 6" when resting. I can compress it another quarter inch fairly easily and a full 1/2 inch if I press more.

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Well, that attempt to post a photo of the basketry case didn't work. I have a couple of good photos but can't figure out how to attach or post them.

 

BTW, to reply to RWL's query, yes, I think the name "ultrasuede" is kind of a generic (or maybe a brand?) name that's applied to the fabric that comes close to imitating suede leather.

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In terms of fabric, a possible word of caution?

 

In the dim distant past I worked as a curator at a large museum where the conservation department regularly undertook tests on moden fabric to ascertain how they would 'off-gas' in the confines of a storage case or show case. Their starting point was that many C19th fabrics used to line display cases and storage draws actually emitted damaging gases causing silver to blacken, steels to blue etc. In some cases these gases would combine with moisture to form acid/alkalines that attacked objects more aggressively. The gases usually resulted from the dying process. Some fabrics off gassed quickly (almost like drying out) and were fairly inert after a while; others seemed more prone to emit gases in certain conditions - hot, damp etc; some as the host fabric's structure degenerated.

 

All rather alarming on first consideration! That said my own Lachenal Excellsior does not seem to have been adversely affected by the purple velvet lining of its case in which it has lived for the best part of a century and a similar case does not seem to have hurt my Maccan Edeophone with metal ends.

 

I imagine modern case makers such as Calton must have wrestled with this problem and reached a safe conclusion?

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I've had three concertinas over the years that didn't come with cases because their original cases had disintegrated. So I've had wooden cases made for each of them, and lined them myself. I've used rayon velvet to line each of them, and it's worked very well. Here's a picture of the cases:

 

post-11236-0-96633400-1404381404_thumb.jpg

 

I lined the purple one in 1979, so it's got a 35 year history, and it's holding up quite well and has done no damage to the concertina.

 

I much prefer the look of the crushed velvet to the plain velvet. The first two I lined were before the advent of the world-wide web, and back then it was hard to find the exact kind of velvet I was looking for. But I did the yellow-lined one last year and after a fair bit of searching and many phone calls I found the Wimpfheimer company, who seems to be the primary producer of velvet in the U.S. And, best of all, they have an "over-the-counter" store (http://www.wimpvel.com/over.html) where you can mail-order small quantities. The crushed velvet that I particularly like is available in 15 colors. (See http://www.wimpvel.com/908crushed1.html and http://www.wimpvel.com/908crushed2.html.)

 

Good luck with your project. Later today, when I have a little more time, I'll write up more detail on all the materials (fabric, foam, glues, etc.) that I've used, what problems I've run into, and what's worked well.

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There have been a variety of answers at this point. I've chosen suede because I could get it locally, but keep your 'votes' coming. It has been interesting to see the different choices. I might have considered the corduroy, but I had already bought the suede before that message came through. The glue on the box parts is drying as I write. I chose a 600 Denier black nylon cloth for the exterior. I'll see how that works out.

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Mark - I like the look of the handles on your cases (and the cases themselves!); the comfort aspect of this component should be an important consideration in the design process if any degree of transit is anticipated.

 

If we're going to digress to other aspects of the case, I'll repeat my caution about the common (traditional?) design exemplified in Mark's cases. The danger is that if the latch comes open while you're carrying the case by the handle, the "lid" can then fall open and its weight can tip the case so that it spills your concertina onto whatever is below... dirt, gravel, concrete, etc. Something similar can also happen if the handle is attached to the lid.

 

I've had two near disasters because of that... both with Aeolas in original Wheatstone cases. The one time it was on a railway platform with my big (81-button) Maccann, which luckily was tight enough in the case that I caught it before it slid completely out. The other time was with a treble English. Luck again, my reflex as I felt the lid fall open was to bend my knees, so that the instrument rolled rather than fell onto (thank goodness) grass.

 

The case (made by Steve Dickinson) for my current main squeeze has a carrying strap that holds the case with the lid on top, not on the side. (There should be a photo in another thread about cases. No time to search at this moment.) It's not a shoulder strap, though I've also attached a clip-on shoulder strap to the same mountings. It has enough slack for comfortable carrying, but when buckled (necessary for carrying), it doesn't leave enough room for the lid to open even if it's dropped with the latch open.

 

I find that design both comfortable and very secure. Also, it's much easier to pack with other items into a larger bag, since the leather strap gives much less of a "bump" than the bulk of a standard handle..

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If we're going to digress to other aspects of the case, I'll repeat my caution about the common (traditional?) design exemplified in Mark's cases. The danger is that if the latch comes open while you're carrying the case by the handle, the "lid" can then fall open and its weight can tip the case so that it spills your concertina onto whatever is below... dirt, gravel, concrete, etc. Something similar can also happen if the handle is attached to the lid.

 

I've had two near disasters because of that... both with Aeolas in original Wheatstone cases. The one time it was on a railway platform with my big (81-button) Maccann, which luckily was tight enough in the case that I caught it before it slid completely out. The other time was with a treble English. Luck again, my reflex as I felt the lid fall open was to bend my knees, so that the instrument rolled rather than fell onto (thank goodness) grass.

 

The case (made by Steve Dickinson) for my current main squeeze has a carrying strap that holds the case with the lid on top, not on the side. (There should be a photo in another thread about cases. No time to search at this moment.) It's not a shoulder strap, though I've also attached a clip-on shoulder strap to the same mountings. It has enough slack for comfortable carrying, but when buckled (necessary for carrying), it doesn't leave enough room for the lid to open even if it's dropped with the latch open.

 

I find that design both comfortable and very secure. Also, it's much easier to pack with other items into a larger bag, since the leather strap gives much less of a "bump" than the bulk of a standard handle..

 

 

Jim - I don't disagree with you. I guess I've just been lucky that from the late 1970s to today, none of my cases have ever opened inadvertently.

 

My first Aeola came without any case, and the only original Wheatstone case I'd ever seen was the one that came with a mid-1950s instrument. It looked like the cases visible on the shelves in the Pathe Concertina Factory video.

 

post-11236-0-93863500-1404509635_thumb.png

 

My roommate at the time was running his own woodworking shop, so he offered to make a wooden case for it, and I'm pretty sure the basic design was modeled on that 1950s Wheatstone case. I'd actually never seen an original 1920s Wheatstone case until a month ago when I got an instrument from that era that actually came with its original case. I assume this is the style of case you're describing:

 

post-11236-0-49752700-1404509357_thumb.jpg

 

You're right that that design definitely reduces the risk of the instrument falling out.

 

For anyone who has a side-handle case like in the photo I posted earlier, I'd suggest making a habit of carrying the case so that the lid faces your body rather than facing outward. That way, if the lid should ever come open, it will bump into your leg instead of falling completely open and the concertina won't be able to fall out.

 

One thing I really do like about my cases, though -- they're constructed out of 1/2" Baltic Birch plywood. I'm pretty confident that a gorilla could jump up and down on them, and the instrument inside would be perfectly safe.

 

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Another solution is to use two latches, as Greg Jowaisas does with his concertina cases.

 

The real horror is the late Wheatstone cases where the latch is released by a slider--or just decides to pop open by itself when jarred. A previous owner of my Aeola affixed attachments for Velcro straps, which I always use as a precaution. It's a belt-and-suspenders sort of thing, but absolutely necessary for this wretched kind of case.

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Mark - I like the look of the handles on your cases (and the cases themselves!); the comfort aspect of this component should be an important consideration in the design process if any degree of transit is anticipated.

Yes, the shape of the handle, and hence its feel, makes a big difference when you're carrying it. Back when the first two cases were made, all I had to do was go down to Boston's leather district and browse through the various alternatives available at any of the supply companies. Today Boston no longer has a leather district, at least not in the sense of supplies and materials for manufacturing. ;-)

 

There are a few suppliers on the web, but the dimensions they publish aren't always accurate, so you can waste a lot of time waiting for things to be shipped and then shipping them back when you discover they're not quite what you expected.

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My first Aeola came without any case, and the only original Wheatstone case I'd ever seen was the one that came with a mid-1950s instrument. It looked like the cases visible on the shelves in the Pathe Concertina Factory video.

 

attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2014-07-04 at 5.31.11 PM.png

I've had a couple of those, too.

 

I'd actually never seen an original 1920s Wheatstone case until a month ago when I got an instrument from that era that actually came with its original case. I assume this is the style of case you're describing:

 

attachicon.gifWheatstoneAeolaTenorTreble30112-case-IMG_8383.jpg

Yep, that's it.

 

For anyone who has a side-handle case like in the photo I posted earlier, I'd suggest making a habit of carrying the case so that the lid faces your body rather than facing outward. That way, if the lid should ever come open, it will bump into your leg instead of falling completely open and the concertina won't be able to fall out.

A good habit that I've also developed, though I still prefer the above type of case. If I can ever get a workshop set up, I'll be making a few. :)

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Well, that attempt to post a photo of the basketry case didn't work. I have a couple of good photos but can't figure out how to attach or post them.

 

BTW, to reply to RWL's query, yes, I think the name "ultrasuede" is kind of a generic (or maybe a brand?) name that's applied to the fabric that comes close to imitating suede leather.

 

CrP - I'm very interested in seeing your photos of the basketry case. So, here are some instructions on how to post photos to this site.

 

1. Click "More Reply Options" at the bottom of the editor.

post-11236-0-35774500-1404540856_thumb.png

(Click thumbnail to see full size screenshot.)

 

2. On the next webpage, click the "Choose Files" button at the bottom of the editor.

post-11236-0-71055300-1404540855_thumb.png

(Click thumbnail to see full size screenshot.)

 

3. Navigate through your filesystem and select the image files you want to upload. After you've done this, there will be new entries between the bottom of the editor and the "Choose Files" button. Each entry represents one of your images.

post-11236-0-88407900-1404540854_thumb.png

(Click thumbnail to see full size screenshot.)

 

4. In the editor, position the cursor where you want the image inserted.

 

5. Click the "Add to Post" link next to the image you want added. (See screenshot in step 3.)

 

Hope this helps. And please do post the photo of your basketry case.

Edited by Mark Rosenthal
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