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Button Material For German Concertinas

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I have a some German concertinas of varying age and construction but with a common problem - they are missing one or more buttons.

I am planning, wisely or otherwise, to get them working again and I need a material to make some buttons, either as replacements if I can get a match, or as a complete set.


The buttons are (or were) glued to short pieces of dowel, in turn glued to the action lever.


I'm looking for a plastic material that I can turn and shape on a small lathe, that I can glue reliably to wood. I have some Delrin but I don't think that can be glued.


Any suggestions?




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Hmm gluing plastic to wood is particularly tricky to do in a way where you get a strong bond. What I would suggest instead is that on your small lathe you drill a small hole on the underside of the button and a corresponding hole in the lever and put a small self tapping screw through the lever from underneath and into the button, you would surely get a more secure bond.


this website is great for ordering small screws: http://www.modelfixings.co.uk/self_tapping_screws.htm?qty=9.00&sub=10.05&shp=0.00&dis=0.00&vch=0.00&tax=0.00&tot=10.05&unt=5.9&sd=&tp=CONTINUE+SHOPPING


Whether this is possible or not I am not sure as I haven't seen the mechanism in question, do you think it will work?

Edited by Jake of Hertford
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How about making them from dowel as a lot of them seem to have originally been. Like one of the old styles Ive seen you could "top" them with caps made form plastic.Perhaps circles cut from ping pong balls.The larger surface area should then allow a reasonable bond between the plastic and wood. I think the wood dowel to wood lever glued with something like Titebond will probably be more durable than animal glue.David.

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The ones I've looked at seem to have a base of dowel for half to 2/3 of their length, roughly, then the final piece typically plastic or sometimes ceramic.


I've been looking around and at present there are two likely candidates. One is artificial ivory, which is polyester based so I suspect may not glue. The other is casein (you have to fight your way past the dietary supplement ads) which is probably what was originally used so should work. I didn't realise that you can still get it, but it's not hard to find once you know to look.


I have ordered rods of each (20mm so rather wasteful, although not expensive) and will give them a try. Both are claimed to machine well.


The favourite source of these is suppliers for people who turn pens, or knife makers supplies. They have some other interesting materials, too.


I did think of trying to use a screw. It might work on the bigger buttons by putting the screw through the dowel into the cap, then gluing the dowel back on to the arm. Otherwise I'd have to take the arm off to drill through it, more work than I want and they're usually not that wide.to take even a small clearance hole.


I think Titebond is a PVA wood glue, so that was my first thought too.

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Titebond is a maker of many different adhesives. Several grades of aliphatic resin, one of which the previous poster had in mind. They also make a liquid hide glue which is best avoided. The

Edited by Theo
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Another way would be to use the dowel and then cast the tops to whatever thickness straight on top in casein glue( Cascamite or whatever they currently call it) or epoxy .You could use white bath repair epoxy or natural and just colour to your choice.Then use your lathe to shape/tidy and finish. yes Titebond is a pva but it is nice quality, fast drying and as long as it has not been frosted dries opaque tan colour not dissimilar to hide glue.David.

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Titebond makes a wide range of adhesives for woodworking. They have cyanoacrylates, aliphatic resins, PVAs and some more advanced formulations. They all can have different applications and characteristics - be careful of what you're looking for and what you're asking the glue to do and you might well be happy!


Alex West

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Had you looked at buttons made for the bass end of accordions ? These come in many sizes and colours.

Charlie Marshal - "CGM Musical Services" in Scotland can supply them and is most helpful.



Yes, I've used Stephanelli diatonic accordon bass buttons off Charlie to replace the buttons on a Scholer concertina. They're 10mm x 9.5mm and £1.25 each, Ref. no. STB3. Or he's got Hohner ones, 10mm x 10mm, for £1.95 each.

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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