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Sal79

Why Was This Concertina Made This Way?

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Actually, flipping the wooden plates over would put the reeds inside, against the plate.

I agree, the best thing would be to refer to the R/H end, which is playing ok, and set up the L/H end the same.

 

Instead of flipping the wooden plates, it's probably that they just need spinning 180 degrees, leaving the reeds showing.

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Bingo! I would never believe it was sent from factory assembled wrong as the tuning had to be complete. It's a decent little instrument. Someone took it apart and put it back together incorrectly

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Thanks for your interest.

I'll try to be clear. The buttons are on the outside and reeds on the inside of a single plate. It's the same plate flipped over in the two photos. The push pull relationship is standard. The problem is that there is not physical room to put the lowest, longest reed where the highest, shortest reed is now. It will hit the bellows frame. Perhaps you can see in the photo that the wooden mounting block is clipped on the outside corner to clear the inside of the bellows frame. What might not be clear is that the mounting block actually tapers and is narrower on that end. Even if I made a new block (no problem, I am a woodworker) it will not fit.

Thanks again.

 

Sal

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Your only hope is to remove the wooden plates, spin them 180 degrees as I suggested, and then attempt to line them up so that they don't hit the frame, as you said, but the holes still align with each reed.

As the hole is small, and the reed chamber is large, you might be able to change the angle enough to get it in, and still have the reeds lined up with the holes. Especially if they are actually fitted wrong at the moment, you might find they align BETTER when you spin the wooden blocks.

 

In any case, it's worth a try as it's not a lot of use as it is.

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You might also consider cutting a little notch out of the inside of the bellows frame where it collides with the reed block.

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OK. I've been thinking this over and do believe with a little jiggering I might make it work. Whether I use the old wooden plates or make new I will need to reattach the individual reed blocks. I did wax in a few accordion reeds some years ago. It was ugly but it worked, very similar to my welding technique. Is there a better way? Seems like somebody must make something like a hot glue gun or even a product that would work in a hot glue gun, of which already have a couple.

 

Sal

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I think a hot glue gun would be a non-starter, it would be far too hot for the job.

I always use beeswax, with a small percentage of resin melted into it. That's what the pros used to use. I don't know if something better has come along, but they used to frown on candle wax. ( I don't know what the problem was, but I followed the advice ).

 

If you heat the mix that I use too high, it goes black and looks ugly. I have a controllable solder iron that I use, I can adjust the temp to the minimum that will do the job. If you don't disturb the wax too much when you remove the item, you can usually reseal it with minimum extra waxing.

 

I still suspect that you'll find that when you get the wooden plates off, they will fit ok when turned around, and line up without too much trouble.

It's more likely that they were fitted wrong, than actually manufactured wrong.

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I've looked at a few waxing methods on YouTube. I'm sure I can make something work. The geometry is going to be more challenging than you think. Though I am obviously not a free reed repairman what I see on the net and from experience is that the air from the valve enters at the riveted end of the reed. Therefore just turning the manifolds will screw up that dynamic. I expect I'll make new wooden mounting blocks and reset the whole thing.

I do like a project. I'll be back in touch in a couple of weeks and let you know how it went.

 

Sal

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( I don't know what the problem was, but I followed the advice ).

 

I have a controllable solder iron that I use, I can adjust the temp to the minimum that will do the job. If you don't disturb the wax too much when you remove the item, you can usually reseal it with minimum extra waxing.

 

 

1. parafin, perhaps is the problem?, as beeswax is basically inert in comparison

 

2. I believe it is called a "rheostat". I had to google the spelling on that one as my teacher/mentor is from Staten Island

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2. I believe it is called a "rheostat". I had to google the spelling on that one as my teacher/mentor is from Staten Island

(sorry for going way off-topic)

 

A rheostat is a big variable resistor constructed in a way that allows it to dissipate a lot of waste heat. They used to be used to dim lights before electronic dimmers became a more cost-effective and efficient alternative, but they are rarely used outside of a lab these days. Variable temperature soldering irons actually have a fancy thermostat: there is a temperature sensor near the tip, and some control electronics in the base unit that vary the power supplied to the heating element according to demand. If you touch the tip of the iron to a cold object, you'll see the power indicator light flashing on for longer periods as it works harder to keep up with the heat loss.

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Paraffin wax is not less "inert" than beeswax, quite the reverse. Beeswax will react chemically with iron and with lime in hot water. As a one time beekeeper I learned this by experience of spoiling some batches of wax. In addition reed wax is usually a blend of beeswax and rosin sometimes with other ingredients too. It is also harder than paraffin wax at room temperature. Paraffin wax also has a lower melting temperature.

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I'm back, behind schedule as usual.

I would not recommend this project to anybody but now for me there is no turning back. The reeds came out easily however the "manifolds" are glued down with something impenetrable. I thought maybe I got a whiff of hide glue when I heated it up with my mini-torch. I can chisel them off but a solvent would be nice.

Second: What glue might work to adhere the new manifolds? Years ago I helped a friend who did stringed instrument repairs. He swore by hide glue; I'll never forget the smell; no, I'm not conteplating a glue pot. Besides, that was wood to wood and meant to be easily reversible.

Third: I toasted one of the leather flaps on one reed. (I know, don't do that!) I think I've got an old reed I can steal one off of but again, what glue?

Forth: I've got beeswax but might use some additive or maybe get the proffessional product if convinced it's necessary.

Below pictures are of my one candlepower wax cooker and a prototype manifold made of fine grained redwood. I was worried the fingers would break off but they seem sturdy.

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I have been using "Old Brown Glue" which is a liquid hide glue that is much easier to use than regular hide glue - just a jug of very hot water. It is not the same as Titebond liquid hide glue. See:

 

https://homegrownlutherie.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/liquid-hide-glues-for-instruments-an-empirical-perspective/

 

I bought mine from Lee Valley Tools along with some of their fish glue for sticking valves down. So far I have been happy with both glues. They both hold well and I have been able to release them without damage. The OBG just needs the patient use of hot water to get it to let go.

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I made my new manifolds and attached them with "Amazing Household Goop" tm. It actually mimicked the original adhesive; which was not hide glue and took an hour and a half boiling and scraping to get off.

Waxed in the reeds with my excellent cooker and paintbrush technique. Reinstalled the keys, made small adjustments, and viola: three dead reeds.

I think I contaminated them with wax. I might try to clean them with lacquer thinner. How about the leathers? Thoughts?

 

Sal

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Not uncommon when waxing in reeds. First make sure the valves that work with those reeds are perfectly free, and if they are you'll probably have to remove the reeds, warm them gently and wipe all traces of wax off. Im not sure if any solvents work on wax. Nice job on the manifolds! I'm sure it's just a minor fix and it'll be playing in short time.

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Sometimes you just can't win. Finally completed that little Italian job ie.the anglo with the backwards left hand and it's still weird (that's the most polite word I can use). It has a clear tone, almost like a violin. However the notes on the bottom two buttons in both keys make no sense, at least not to me. Specifically there is no lower B in the key of C which rules out some tunes and the key of G seems to have an A# at the bottom. No, I don't know how or why.

I did learn some techniques and found a parts supplier, and it was an interesting project, but I'm back to my original question "WHY DID THEY MAKE THIS CONCERTINA THIS WAY?

 

Sal

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Who knows?

 

Can you tune the reeds to the pitches you want? It does look like a very sweet little box.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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I worked briefly with some piano technicians and came to the conclusion I don't have a great ear. All the reeds seem to be a full half step above my piano which I do know is flat, but not that flat. If I had an electronic tuner I might give it a go but I've had enough frustration and am going to give it a rest for now.

My piano accordion needs a little work, think I'll fiddle with that for a while.

 

Thanks, Sal

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