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Advice On Repairing Fret Ends?

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As per the advice of this forums members and general consensus, I’ve decided to keep with the repair of the lachenal to the extent that it is well playable. I’ve been cleaning, restoring and replacing parts on it as of late and have noticed a good improvement in its playing qualities. The cracked fret ends I’ll leave for last, but I’ll just fill them in a bit and polish them back over, just to the extent that they’re stable.

 

I’m waiting on some more replacement spares from concertina connection, after which I’ll go through the whole pad and valve set. When that’s all said and done, I’ll leave the fine reed tuning and bellows work up to the professionals, as I believe those two things must go hand in hand for accurate tuning work.

 

Though, I am very curious about what one does about cracked leather on the bellows peaks. They’re not leaking there from what I’ve been able to tell, but preventative maintenance would probably be good to initiate

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Posted (edited)

Though, I am very curious about what one does about cracked leather on the bellows peaks. They’re not leaking there from what I’ve been able to tell, but preventative maintenance would probably be good to initiate

Somebody more qualified than I should chime in, but you can either remove and replace the leather binding that goes all around each fold or you can make, possibly buy, small leather patches. In both cases you should use a reversible glue, like fish glue, to attach the leather.

 

The problem with re-binding is that it becomes a big job because you have to remove and replace any bellows papers.

 

Greg Jowaisas applied some patches for me and they are almost invisible. They are a lozenge diamond shape of very thin leather with the edges are scarfed down to almost a knife edge.

 

I have not checked recently, but I think that Concertina Spares in the UK used to carry pre-made bindings and patches.

 

Added:. I just checked your pictures and I see that you have nice green leather bellows, I suspect that matching the color is going to be tough unless you die your own leather patches. Do you know any book binders?

Edited by Don Taylor

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Don,

I do have a few patches handy. They look like this:

 

1BbPVTQ.jpg

 

The green is pretty close. I got these from Concertina connection, but alas, applying them seems confusing with the information I have found. A video would be awesome but I havent found one yet.

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Posted (edited)

Again, maybe somebody else who has done this can say, but those patches look very large and rough at the edges.

 

The one that Greg did for me is only about 1/2" on the long dimension and maybe 3/8" across. It looks like Greg has thinned it right down. I have not tried it myself but I wonder if one of those multi-bladed razors could be used to thin out a small patch like this.

 

I think that they need to be shaved/skived at the edges so that the edges meld into the underlying leather.

 

If you use fish glue and you are not happy with the result then it is easy to remove it and try again. I bought my fish glue from Lee Valley.

 

IMG_6505.JPG

 

IMG_6513.JPG

Edited by Don Taylor

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Posted (edited)

Ross -

in case you haven't done so yet, do consult with Bob Tedrow's invaluable photo essay on concertina building:

 

http://hmi.homewood.net/twitterzephyr/

 

 

 

Days 6-8 (in particular day 8, http://hmi.homewood.net/twitterzephyr/zephyr8/) give you an in-depth insight into bellows and how they are put together, this'll help you a lot. One of the things you won't be able to do without is a good jig. There have been several discussions in this subforum on that issue.

Edited by RAc

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Posted (edited)

Don and RAc,

 

Thank you both for the advice and links! Ill definitely invest in some fish glue, as that seams very manageable. Ive a number of shellacs and PVAs, but as of yet no hide or fish glue. Ill start with that aforementioned link and go from there. One thing I also note from that company is that they sell a sort of hide glue that is ready to apply;

http://www.leevalley.com/us/Wood/page.aspx?p=69158&cat=1,110,42965&ap=1

Thoughts? I looked all over this foum for some info on it but couldnt find any

 

Interesting stuff Don and after seeing your patch, I can say that I think a number of corners have been already patched on mine as well. I was wondering why the edges looked different here and there moreso than the others and now I have my answer! I think Ill leave this up to the professionals first go round. once I can see a modern example of such repairs first hand (apart from my own concertinas path jobs) Ill give it a shot.

DLPd9Bi.jpg

JMZGlaG.jpg

 

The link to Teadrows article is most helpful. Ive seen a few examples of folks making bellows and they seek to deviate in some ways but the way they bond the leather all seem to be very similar.

 

Anyway, Id sooner leave these sorts of repairs up to the pros, like Mr. Jowaisas. Alas, theres not much work for me in winter (bicycle mechanic) so funds are tight. Such is life!

Edited by RossDubois

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Personally I use rabbit skin glue for bellows leather work. It's fully reversible, has good tack, and is less messy and more flexible when dry than regular hide glue. You can buy it as small jars of dried granules from art suppliers (I think they use it to size canvases). You don't need a proper hot glue pot for a little patch job like this; an improvised double boiler/bain marie will work fine.

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