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Daniel Hersh

Big Maccann On Ebay - Interesting Instrument And Description

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It's at http://www.ebay.com/itm/CONCERTINA-WHEATSTONE-AEOLA-74-KEY-McCANN-DUET-/171542687028 . The description:

 

CONCERTINA WHEATSTONE AEOLA 74 KEY McCANN DUET

"This is the one!". Here is a unique refurbished instrument with original "now refurbished" case included. The Concertina No. 31681 & case have been sympathetically renovated by Aeolian Restoration, established in 1897, leading antique/historic instrument specialists. The tone is resonant, powerful & bright. Scale compass - Treble - middle C up 3 octaves to C; Bass - middle C down 1 octave & 5th to F + Sub-bass C - 2 octaves down from mid C. Dimensions - 24cm x 24 cm x 18 cm (bellows closed); Casework stripped & repolished using hardwearing melamine lacquer, producing an ebonised matte finish. The 8 fold bellows have been lanolin treated restoring flexibility & relacquered in matte finish. They are in excellent air-tight, like new condition. The fretts have been reburnished & action plate keyhole bushings replaced with merino wool. Fine guage silk curtains applied to rear of fretts. Keys have been repolished & screws reprofiled & buffed. New straps fitted. Key lever guide holes rebushed with finest zephyr leather using the Strachan system of elongated lifetime, noise eliminating, flexible bushes which are impervious to humidity. The rivetted levers have been cleaned & silicon lubricated & springs replaced where appropriate. Spring tension equality has produced a fast, smooth, responsive action. Pads are original & in lovely condition, being flexible & airtight. It would be an unnecessary waste of time & effort to arbitrarily replace them. The Reeds having been repolished are in beautiful condition; tuned to A440 concert pitch; made of Cameron steel, they are housed in very desirable alluminium frames, having the advantage of lightening an otherwise heavy instrument. The Valves were I understand replaced in 1973 & being unused for many years are still in perfect flexible condition. The Carrying Case (Beechwood frame) has been stripped & recovered in top quality exotic grain leather with new fittings & handle (retaining original lock). The Interior is lined with Merino / Cashmere Baize - now looks superb - worth about £300.00. The Concertina's late owner (from new) used H Crabb for tuning / servicing. After his demise (in 1970's) it lay until recently undisturbed in a wardrobe!

This is the ideal lifetime instrument for the young student - budding virtuoso! who will start as they mean to go on. I have been a classical soloist & performer primarily of the English system for 70 years, BBC, Theatre & Orchestra etc. but now wish that I had applied all my effort & skill entirely to the superior Duet System. Sold without reserve. Enquiries / Inspection welcome - tel: 01896 848041. Happy bidding - Buy with confidence.

 

Does anyone know the seller (possible Malcolm de Beate), the restorer or this concertina? Do the restoration techniques seem sound?

Edited by Daniel Hersh

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The Reeds having been repolished are in beautiful condition; tuned to A440 concert pitch; made of Cameron steel, they are housed in very desirable alluminium frames,

 

repolished reeds? - I hope not

Cameron steel - what is this?

desirable frames - sounds like an estate agent ad.

 

Key lever guide holes rebushed with finest zephyr leather using the Strachan system of elongated lifetime

 

Strachan system ???

Zephyr in the button bushings?

Edited by SteveS

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The only Aeolian Restorations I can find on the net seems to be a restorer and tuner of grand pianos. Can't guarantee it's the same outfit, but it is in Galashiels, next door to Earlston where the concertina lives.

As for the description (and I speak as an ex advertising copywriter) it does seem to have the reek of adman's sweat about it...

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The description does seem a bit like "gilding the lily". I don't care for the silicon lubricant on the levers (possible trouble down the road) and I have to wonder how quiet those 85 year old pads are.... :wacko:

 

But perhaps someone close can go have a look? Perchance it is just as perfect as the description. Duraluminum all over might make the weight attractive.

 

Greg

 

BTW For a mere $300 more than the starting bid on the 72b (according to the ledgers) you can get #30691 81b Wheatstone McCann duet from me :D It is "REALLY": the one. ;)

Edited by Greg Jowaisas

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The 8 fold bellows have been lanolin treated restoring flexibility & relacquered in matte finish. (Await your kit of parts as the bellows adhesives break down)



Action plate keyhole bushings replaced with merino wool. ( winces, and hopes they do not mean this)



Key lever guide holes rebushed with finest zephyr leather using the Strachan system of elongated lifetime, noise eliminating, flexible bushes which are impervious to humidity. (oh dear the cross bushing key holes potentially spoilt, what a shame)



The riveted levers have been cleaned & silicon lubricated & springs replaced where appropriate. ( Lubrication = silent moan in exasperation, debris catchers) .



Pads are original & in lovely condition, being flexible & airtight. (raised eyebrow at original = soft etc. obviously made with a unique none ageing leather. waste of money = potential short cut or skimping)



The Reeds having been repolished ( see other's comments)



Cameron steel, ( never heard of it after 45 years of steel works and heavy engineering)



Aluminium frames are desirable? (some may wish to debate this).



The Valves were .... replaced in 1973 & being unused for many years are still in perfect flexible condition. (unique leather? In my experience unused valves go hard and often curl)



to answer the question, 'do the restoration techniques seem sound?' I would doubt that the techniques are what I would have used or recommended, but perhaps the restorer knows more than I do, and has better resources.



Dave

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................................ Cameron steel, ( never heard of it after 45 years of steel works and heavy engineering) ....

Dave

 

A quick google tells me that ... "Cameron Steel is an American-born cricketer who plays for Middlesex and Durham MCCU." !!

 

I rather like the sound of "Fine guage silk curtains applied to rear of fretts....." though I would have thought they might become entangled in the levers and pads!!!

 

Jake

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there is a manufacturer named Cameron Steel. See links below:

 

  • Cameron Steel Inc, Machining, Fabrication, Sand Blasting ...
    cameronsteel.com/
    We at Cameron Steel pride ourselves on being able to machine large components up to 30 tons on our 4 axis floor bore machine. We manufacture turnkey ...
  • Company, Cameron Steel - Cameron Steel Inc.
    cameronsteel.com/index.php?page=company
    Cameron Steel Inc. began operations in Lindsay, Ontario in 1975. Over the years our business has grown into a reputable manufacturing enterprise by ...
  • Contact Cameron Steel Inc
    www.cameronsteel.com/?page=contact
    Includes a map to Cameron Steel's location and the company's physical mailing addresses, as well as email contacts and phone numbers.

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When I looked at the photos on eBay I was immediately reminded of the ends of the lightweight 75-key "Durlum" (as it's written in the ledger) instrument #26232 made specially for Percy Honri in January 1914, and concluded that the frets on this one must also also Duralumin, and when I looked #31681 up in the ledger I saw that it says "(Dural all over)" - so I think we can expect the levers to be Duralumin too.

 

So it was evidently built specially, in November 1927, as a "lightweight" model.- possibly for stage use.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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I'm interested in the fact that on the bass side several of the lowest reeds are set some distance in from the edge of the pan, and on the treble side there is an extra chamber shoe-horned into the middle of the pan.

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I suspect that the low left hand reeds are mounted in from the edge to prevent the push reed from touching the first bellows fold while vibrating.

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Just a couple of observations:

 

Silicon is notorious for 'creepage'. Besides attracting dust, fluff etc. it can contaminate the wood resulting in the pivot posts eventually lifting out of the desks under the action of the springs.

 

The ledger description "Dural all over" simply means that the metal tops are carried to the edge of the instrument, a la Crabb.

 

For speed of response, the distance between the tip of the reed tongue and the pad hole can be critical.

In general,

For reeds of note value C3 and above this distance is normally automatically provided by the length of the reed tongue and reed frame used so the reeds may be fitted to the edge of the reed pan.

For reed note values below C3 this distance is variable i.e the lower the note value, the greater the distance required. This distance is achieved by installing the reeds further from the edge of the reed pan. Note the differences of inset in the picture of the left pan.

 

Inboard reeds (those fitted in chambers within the normal arrangement) although not recommended due to a difference in timbre normally experienced, are fitted when there is no space to include them peripherally due to the physical size of the instrument. If this has to be resorted to then the preferred choice of reed is usually one that may be little used or in the case of English instruments one of a pair of repeated notes i.e G#/Ab or D#/Eb.

 

If pads/valves are functional and not causing a problem these are best left alone.

 

Geoffrey

 

 

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I used to sell silicones and it is a fantastic lubricant especially wood to wood.On levers it could be applied very lightly with a brush,but not sprayed.If it is in aerosol form it should be sprayed into the lid and then used.Geoff is right it will spread so a tiny amount should be used if any.Unless there is a problem of sticking do not apply it as a process.

Al

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With all due respect to Alan and the more active advocates of a wet petroleum based lubricant for levers: It is just not a good idea. I personally cannot say for certain about silicon (Geoff and Dave (and Theo elsewhere) have already cited their cautions) but the oil based lubes attract dirt and over time they congeal and become gummy- and that "gums up" your levers and action. I have a T/T Wheatstone on the workbench presently. I'm painstakingly brushing minute amounts of alcohol into the pivots and rivets to remove the gummy residue and to allow them to work properly once again.

 

We've plowed this ground a few times before. After 10 years of repairing close to a thousand instruments my thoughts have not changed: Graphite, used sparingly, is the only safe lubricant for pivots and rivet action. And even then the problem with a pad not sealing or a lever arm not working properly most likely lies elsewhere, and NOT because the pivot needs lubrication.

 

Let's keep these wonderful instruments working another 100 years! :D

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas

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there is a manufacturer named Cameron Steel. See links below:

 

  • Cameron Steel Inc, Machining, Fabrication, Sand Blasting ...
    cameronsteel.com/
    We at Cameron Steel pride ourselves on being able to machine large components up to 30 tons on our 4 axis floor bore machine. We manufacture turnkey ...
  • Company, Cameron Steel - Cameron Steel Inc.
    cameronsteel.com/index.php?page=company
    Cameron Steel Inc. began operations in Lindsay, Ontario in 1975. Over the years our business has grown into a reputable manufacturing enterprise by ...
  • Contact Cameron Steel Inc
    www.cameronsteel.com/?page=contact
    Includes a map to Cameron Steel's location and the company's physical mailing addresses, as well as email contacts and phone numbers.

 

 

I know of the Canadian stock holder, (not steel maker) they bought from BSC, but were not around when these concertinas were being made.

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Agreed Greg. I can't think of any reason for using a liquid or grease lubricant.

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Lubrication. For many more years than I can remember I have been using my little can of ' 3-IN-ONE ' oil, manufactured by E. R. Howard Ltd of Ipswich, here in the UK. It is a very thin oil, very similar, or the same as that which was recommended and supplied for occasional use on the splendid old Singer manual or treddle operated domestic sewing machines. My can still bears a price ticket which suggests that it cost me the princely sum of 2 shillings and 1 penny. I use it VERY sparingly and VERY occasionally on the riveted lever pivots and the coils and hooks of springs as a preventative against metal to metal friction and consequent wear and tear. Over a period of 35 years it has worked a treat.

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The ledger description "Dural all over" simply means that the metal tops are carried to the edge of the instrument, a la Crabb.

 

I would interpret it that way if it said "all over Dural" Geoff, the same way that the ledgers occasionally say "all over metal" when a metal-ended instrument is of a model that would normally have "turned-in" metal ends, but to me "Dural all over" conveys a deliberately different meaning - which would seem to be confirmed by the the instrument in question having all-Dural metalwork...

 

But, as I've said on previous occasions when the ledgers were under discussion, they were keeping workshop records for what they were doing at the time, not compiling historical documents for posterity, so who knows? ;)

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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