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lachenal74693

Maintenance Rather Than Repair...

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I now have enough concertinas to start worrying about maintenance...

 

I want to treat the leather work - the bellows and leather ends.

 

I've seen Dr. Jackson's Hide Rejuvenator used for this, but I can't find

a source in the U.K.

 

Any ideas for a U.K. source please? Any alternatives?

 

Also, for bellows papers, Leathercraft Cement - any good?

 

Thanks.

 

Roger.

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Be very very careful about treating leather. Anything that soaks in carries a risk that it will get to the glue holding the bellows together. Cleaning off surface dirt is a good idea, followed by a good wax polish which will help prevent chafing between folds of the gussets.

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Be very very careful about treating leather. Anything that soaks in carries a risk that it will get to the

glue holding the bellows together. Cleaning off surface dirt is a good idea, followed by a good wax

polish which will help prevent chafing between folds of the gussets.

 

Thank you - very helpful - I hadn't considered a beeswax based wax polish.

 

My concerns are exactly as you describe, and I want to 'gae canny' before I actually do

anything..

 

Shoe creams of the type recommended in Dave Elliot's manual are (presumably) either

water- or solvent- based. Both of these give me a slight attack of the heebie-jeebies as

either could affect the glue used in the bellows, as you suggest. More specialised leather

treatments such as saddle soap, and other products used to treat horse furniture are

also a bit of a concern for the same reason...

 

I think you may well have supplied me with a solution...

 

Thanks again.

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693

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Shoe creams of the type recommended in Dave Elliot's manual are (presumably) either

water- or solvent- based. Both of these give me a slight attack of the heebie-jeebies as

either could affect the glue used in the bellows, as you suggest.

If gilt tooling should be involved a shoe cream or spray might wash away the precious dust too; at least this is what I experienced when doing some tests before proceeding with my paperwork - I ended up using "acrylic medium" (from a painters' shop) for varnishing the papers, which did work superbly.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by blue eyed sailor

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Particularly for keeping gussets supple, and restoring crispy old ones, I find Connolly Hide Care excellent. It's a white cream containing mostly lanolin in a white spirit solvent, which doesn't seem to affect traditional glues. And as I may have remarked before, lanolin is what kept the leather in good condition while it was still attached to the sheep!

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Particularly for keeping gussets supple, and restoring crispy old ones, I find Connolly Hide Care excellent. It's a white cream containing mostly lanolin in a white spirit solvent, which doesn't seem to affect traditional glues. And as I may have remarked before, lanolin is what kept the leather in good condition while it was still attached to the sheep!

Sounds like good stuff. Lanolin tends to stay put compared with other oils. Water can loosen some old glues, but the effect tends to disappear once dry. Wet bellows usually survive if left to dry in a semi open state. Oils can sometimes permanently degrade some glues or render some surfaces difficult to bond to. Non drying fats are generally used in leather to keep them supple. Lanolin fits the bill, though I believe Sheep use it to wayerproof their coats. Their skin ( like ours ) is constantly replenished with new cells. Sheep is not a good bellows leather, being very weak across the grain. It can tear easily when stretched in that direction. Some sorts are preferred for valves, which are not subject to those stresses. ( it would be fine for gussets but not really good for top runs.).

Geoff Crabb mentioned using a wheat paste ( aged ) for papers. It might stay put, but I doubt if it would like to bond to leather that had mineral spirits or oils in it to any degree. I am a little at a loss to understand why you would do anything to the papers which are in an unstressed part of the bellows, other than reattaching them if they have fallen off. They weren't coated when they were made, why would you do that now?

Dana

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If gilt tooling should be involved ...

 

It isn't - yet - but worth bearing in mind. Thanks.

 

...I find Connolly Hide Care excellent. It's a white cream containing mostly lanolin in a white spirit solvent, ...

 

Lanolin eh? I should have thought of that. The more traditionally-minded amongst us still use

lanolin on the standing rigging of boats to keep the rust at bay!

 

...I am a little at a loss to understand why you would do anything to the papers which are in an unstressed part of the bellows,

other than reattaching them if they have fallen off. They weren't coated when they were made, why would you do that now?

 

 

Purely a cosmetic thing - three of my instruments have plain black papers and I was wondering about

brightening things up a bit...

 

Some more good ideas there - thank you folks. At least the Connolly's product seems to be available in

the U.K. unlike the Dr. Jackson's product.

 

Thanks again.

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693

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Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why you would want to coat or treat your leather bellows with any substance at all, unless it showed clear signs of deterioration... stiffening, cracking, etc. The original leatther, at least on vintage concertinas, isn't raw but has been finished, with what has been described as "lacquer".

 

I have never put any compound of any sort on any of my bellows, and I've seen no deterioration over decades of use, though I've occasionally had to wipe off light moisture*. And as far as I could tell, none of them had received any sort of "treatment" beyond the original finish in the 50-100 years or more since they were made.

 

* and in one case a beer spill... which was wiped off immediately, then further cleaned with a damp cloth.

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Roger

 

As one sailor to another...

 

If you are thinking about using Lanocote, the stuff used on standing rigging, then remember that it has a very 'sheepish' smell that never really goes away.

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Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why you would want to coat or treat your leather bellows with any substance at all, unless it showed clear signs of deterioration... stiffening, cracking, etc. The original leatther, at least on vintage concertinas, isn't raw but has been finished, with what has been described as "lacquer".

 

 

Agreed.

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As one sailor to another...

 

If you are thinking about using Lanocote, the stuff used on standing rigging, then remember that it

has a very 'sheepish' smell that never really goes away.

 

Absolutement pas, mon amiral - I have a pot of something similar in front of me - and it honks! It's

also 20 years old! I'll be getting ahold of something more suitable (ie: less smelly!).

 

Frankly, I'm at a loss to understand why you would want to coat or treat your leather bellows with any substance at all, unless it showed clear signs of deterioration... stiffening, cracking, etc. The original leatther, at least on vintage concertinas, isn't raw but has been finished, with what has been described as "lacquer".

 

 

I should have said, in my original post "I want to treat the leather work - the bellows and leather ends - where needed.".

There are a few, (and only a few), places where there is a suspicion of slight dryness and/or cracking - I just want to be

on the safe side, and I've always gone out of my way to 'look after' any leather items I own...

 

Roger

Edited by lachenal74693

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I bought Lachenal 57544 (see page) which hadn't been played in decades, and the leather of gussets etc was totally dry and brittle. My first attempt at moving the bellows cracked the leather on two gussets. So (having replaced those gussets) I applied neatsfoot oil (from Amazon) to the gussets and seams with a fine paintbrush so as to keep it on the leather and away from the cards. It worked well at softening the leather, and so far, I've seen no adverse effects on the rest of the bellows.

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Neatsfoot Oil is often mentioned when the subject of bellows leather is raised. Paul's experience notwithstanding, do not use Neatsfoot Oil. It is too organic, loosens glue, makes it difficult to do subsequent repairs and will moulder given half a chance. So I don't have to go on about it, search the site through google using 'neatsfoot' as the search term.

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Different tannages react with the leather differently over the years. Some like sumac are considered archival. Others can continue to act on the leather over it's lifetime and eventually break down the fibers. Different fats used in the production of most leathers can also break down and produce harmful acids. Steve Segal was selling off some old ( 50-60 ) year old leather that he had discovered from his family's South St. Boston leather district days ( I bought leather from his dad ). He was selling it very cheaply with the caviat that it was now very weak. Given the time concertinas have been made, there are quite likely a variety of tannages ( some not so good but " modern " ) that have been used. Some have doubtlessly held up better than others. "Drying out" is probably more just degrading.

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I know Colin Dipper swears by some stuff called 'Fredelka'. As I was unable to locate a supply of this in reasonably small and affordable quantities, I am using 'Belvoir' Leather Balsam made by Carr & Day & Martin, which seems to work quite well.

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The British Library has an interesting though not too current article on the longevity of leathers in book binding which generally are expected to last longer than other uses. A major culprit seems to be Sulphur Dioxide air pollution. Hopefully that will become a thing of the past in some of our lifetimes, except for the occasional volcano. Since a lot of concertinas spent a good bit of time in Coal's heyday, it wouldn't be surprising that they might be worse off than than ones that lived around less pollution. Some tannages tested held up much better than others over their 35 year test period Some like chrome and regular ( non chrome ) alums can also wash out of the leather if wet, leaving it to revert to the raw hide state.

Check it out if you are interested in this sort of thing.

 

http://www.bl.uk/eblj/1977articles/pdf/article9.pdf

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