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Squeaky Bone Buttons On Lachenal 32B Anglo

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Having tried the search box with no success I am looking for ideas.


I have a Lachenal 32b metal-ended C/G Anglo probably dating from late 1800's and it plays well.


The bone buttons have some of the usual slight staining but their appearance like that is no bother (to me).


However one or two of them squeak quite loudly when depressed, which is a bit of a pain.


Some of these instruments have bushing fitted into opened up holes in the backboard during a restoration I know, and this reduces clacking noises and squeaks. Unfortunately there is no bushing with mine.


So, to stop or reduce the squeaks is there any simple thing I can safely apply or brush on externally to the offending buttons without dismantling ?


Thanks and Regards to all



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Many experts have advised against lubricating oil of any kind, as it collects dust and gets gunky over the years... even if it works in the short term.


I have had success though, with graphite. It comes in a can and it's for spraying into key holes and for locks in general. The graphite powder is suspended in a noxious liquid, a penetrating solvent that evaporates quickly, leaving a very thin layer of slippery dry odorless powder behind.


Step outside and spray a bit in an old can to make a puddle. You don't want to breath this stuff. Bring the can inside and dip a toothpick in the little black puddle. Apply a few tiny drops to the places where the bone touches the wood and push the button down a bunch of times to spread the lubricant around. A little goes a long way.


If that does not work, take the end off and apply your toothpick to the inside of the problem button holes more throughly.


Graphite has freed all sorts of bindings at the rivets too. Great stuff IMHO.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Rob, Carefully remove the metal end-plates and apply a tiny amount of thin lubricating oil to the pivots and springs, which may have received no care and attention since the late 1800s. Apply the oil very sparingly with a very small and fine, top quality, artists water-colour paint brush.

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Graphite is the lubricant to go for, it works on squeaking springs too.


Mention of springs does raise the idea that in order to silence the squeak you have to identify where it comes from. It is worth spending a little time to identify the source.


Assuming you know which button makes the noise try pressing it while gently pushing it sideways. If this is the source you will expect the noise to happen when the button is pushed in some directions but not in others. If it's not the button rubbing on the wood then try looking inside. If you suspect a spring then operate the button while gently resting a finger on the spring which will deaden any noise from the spring. The only other likely source of noise is from the lever pivot and this can also be safely and effectively lubricated with graphite.


To the best of my knowledge oil wasn't used by concertina makers and I've never found it necessary to use oil on a concertina action in the past decade when I have made my living repairing concertinas and other squeezeboxes. In the long term oil can make a mess and while some insist on using it there are more effective alternatives such as graphite which is tried and tested.

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Another thing to look at is the alignment of the button guide plates with the metal ends. Sometimes the buttons can grate against the edge of the holes in the metal ends because of this.


The buttons follow their wooden guide but scrape the edges of the metal end where misalignment occurs.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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What ever your problem is on the concertina, it is not one of lubrication. Please do not lubricate the pivot posts, these are brass on brass and as such DO NOT need lubrication. Any oil will collect dust and cause further issues later, the same around the keys. Spend some time in diagnosis mode, and check alignments along the key axis, the axis of the key must be central to both the finger plate hole, the guide peg hole and the plane of the lever arm as it passes through the key. Also check the condition/ presence of the cross bushing.



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Many thanks Theo, Geoff, and Dave.


I recall the inimitable 'Mr Wheatstone' (Steve Dickinson) once giving me an insistent little lecture a long time ago on the perils of any form of oil lubricant in a Concertina and yes, for all the reasons mentioned above. (He quite rightly waxed even more furiously about modern resin based adhesives being a complete no-no as well, anywhere near a Concertina !)


However I think the graphite idea is a sensible one.


Properly diagnosing the source of the squeak and checking the correct alignment and travel of the offending button is advice well given too, thank you.


Interestingly the squeak had vanished this morning (in time honoured manner), might have been the lower humidity. Ah well, 'hours of fun' eh !



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Hi Robin,


My Lachenal also squeaked, after much searching it turned out to be two locating pegs on the bottom of two keys, rubbing against the side of the holes they locate into in the action board. A little beeswax on the peg and a slight adjustment of the key location on its brass pivot lever solved the problem.


On the matter of Bushing, Dave Robertson here in Norwich bushed mine and it is noticeably better, quieter and smoother in action so I can recommend bushing. At the moment I am practicing drilling, reaming and bushing so I can do my other Lachenals, but feel I am not skillful enough yet to take the plunge in case I ruin what I have, so I can't recommend a DIY approach.


All the best





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Good to hear from you Mike, thanks.


When I bought my re-stored Anglo from Andrew Norman (messrs "A.C.Norman") I asked about bushing knowing that old metal-ended Lachenals of this type can be a bit 'clacky' and he did kindly offer to do the bushing at quite modest additional cost. However my anxiety to get my hands on the instrument led me to decline I'm afraid, bad decision in hindsight.


For all that it is not at all bad really, although when/if I get bit further along the Anglo learning curve (bumping along the bottom right now) I will arrange to get it bushed, probably by Dave Robertson who is not far away, thanks for the suggestion.


Best Regards



Edited by Robin Tims
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