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Bushing Felt

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I am interested in learning more about the flets used for bushing concertinas. I have an old Lachenal and am considering bushing the buttons myself. The buttons were not originally bushed in the end plate but they are very clacky so I have been advised to consider bushing the end plate by boring out the button holes a little. I have no idea about what sort of felt to use nor where to get it from. I amd interested in the different types of felt used for different jobs as I have heard some are good and some not so good. I am probably looking for some very thin (<0.5-1mm thick) felt in red probably. Can anyone help here?

Can anyone advise of sources of good quality felt. THanks in advance.


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You may want to check out The Concertina Connection (under Links on this Home Page). They have a parts section.


If you are getting into repair, Dave Elliott has a clear and unintimidating book, "The Concertina Maintenance Manual". It has a section on bushing.


Good luck and remember the Physicians Creed: "Do no harm."



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If you are the J Molloy from Australia, see http://www.parkepianostrings.com.au/

who have a great online catalogue. The only felt in that thickness range is this...


05-300 Bushing Cloth - 0.85mm


I bought there recently, it is a good red baize. He has 10mm strips and per metre. You don't have to buy a full metre. I also bought 1mm baize which turned out to be a good move because the holes in the wooden backing piece (metal ended concertina, this was a rebush) turned out to be inconsistent and I needed thicker material for some.


Others could advise you better, as I have only done two bushing jobs, but it seems you need to fit them quite tight or they will be loose again in no time. The first job I did was like yours, a bushless Lachenal, and I fitted them exactly, calculating the width of the button, adding on the felt and drilling to that size. It was a little disappointing and I am going to do it again sometime with slightly thicker felt. For the second job I was advised to make them tight, and then taking a rod with a slow taper, push it through them to widen them out until they let the button through cleanly. The rod is called a podging stick. I made mine by turning the drill press into a vertical lathe and using a chisel and sandpaper to cut a taper.


I had to take the ends off a few times to get the bushes right. All in all it was a straightforward job and very rewarding as you can feel the difference afterwards.


Although I could have ordered online I went to the factory in Sydney because I like unusual engineering facilities, and I was rewarded by getting to see very large piano strings being wound. The stock of cloths and felts was interesting and looked like good quality at a quick and uneducated glance.





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Is this in a wooden instrument, and designed to hide the bushing from the eye? A stepped drilling would work also but would leave a thin unsupported piece exactly where the fingers thump it.


Sounds like a good idea as a full bush would be very obvious (steady down the back). In the metal instruments I have seen including the unbushed Lachenal I bushed, the wooden backing (what is this called?) has a larger hole than the metal end, hiding most of the bushing.




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The taper on the key holes is as the concertinas were made, 'ream' out to clear the old glue and debris, but do not diminish the size in length of the 'parallel' land.

This taper is not an invention of mine, be assured!


Chris, stepped drillling is a little messy and as you say the bush needs supporting.


I made new ends recently, and thought that I could get-away with a longer parallel section on the outer end of the key hole, however the result was too much friction in the key hole after bushing. Thankfully I only did a handful of holes and then did a trial. I increased the depth of the taper, reducing the length of parallel hole, re bushed and all was fine. This was on an instrument with 100% new springs.


Picking up Chris's other point about hiding the bushes, if the instrument is wooden ended, then sink the top surface of the bush to be just below the surface of the wood, it makes a neater and less ragged looking job. If metal ended then bush the full length of the bushing board, the metal thickness will cap the bush for you.



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  • 2 weeks later...


Thanks everyone for the replies. I shall certainly be following up on the contacts for the felt so many thanks for them.

The question of reaming is an interesting one (and Chris, the podgy stick sounds a bit scary).I think I might just get someone with more experience to do this job now.

Thanks again.


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