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Very odd valves in otherwise nice anglo


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This Shakespeare anglo is in my workshop at the moment and I got quite a surprise when my initial inspection found this unconventional style of valves.  Has anyone seen these before? There is no repairers signature inside.  The helper springs fitted to the valves are  made of a clear plastic film and the resulting valve assembly is far to stiff for all but the lowest reeds so the reeds are muffled and unable to speak freely.   I'm planning to replace all with conventional valves, and that will entail a retune too.  I think that this is the work of an inexperienced repairer without access to the right materials, but I'm interested to hear if there is a reason for this kind of valve.

 

 

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That's a type of accordion valve. For instance, the right picture halfway down the page in the "Reeds" section, here: 
http://www.accordion.co.uk/accordion-repairs.html

You can buy the springs here: 

http://www.stringsandboxes.de/epages/es117831.sf/en_US/?ObjectPath=/Shops/es117831_stringsandboxes/Categories/"Akkordeon Werkstoffe"/"Federstahl Ventile"

in the "accordion materials" section, for instance.

Edited by mdarnton
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Its similar to an accordion valve, but home made.   Accordion valves are rectangular, not tapered, and the helper springs are almost always steel, not plastic.  These have a very "home made" look. 

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Interesting. The tops of the "valve heads" appear to have been produced by a hole puncher. The fragments that can be deciphered there almost awakens the amateur sleuth in me. For example, one of the text fragments appear to read "MP3" (although it might also be a longer string containing MP3) which would imply it hasn't happened too long ago... Do you also have pictures of the other 3 reed pan faces?

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Having observed how sensitive the valves on a concertina need to be (by working the reed pan on a tuning table where I can see the behaviour) those springs must really hamper how it plays. Even valves made from proper accordion reed leather can be too stiff, which is why (I’ve concluded) you need the purpose made ones.

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I have had two or three concertinas with doctored valves in this way, plus one recently with only say 25% of the low end valves 'helped' in this manner. I have also seen some of the accordion reeded instruments also decked out with accordion valves, which sort of sounds not unreasonable.

 

On big reed instruments I have seen matched valves glued together 'fluffy' side to 'fluffy' side, others with two, even three valves glued together in a stepped arrangement, my own baritone was fitted with valves cut from a tyre inner tube. Nothing would surprise me when it comes to valves and the tricks some people get up to/

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I can understand sometimes the very low pitch reeds need special valve treatment, but this poor anglo has extra stiff valves even on the very highest reeds that would normally be better off without any valves at all. I think Nick is correct though I would describe it as a botched job.  Budging is or was an honourable trade of making simple furniture from green wood.

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On 8/30/2018 at 1:56 PM, OLDNICKILBY said:

At least it is not as bad as the lovely Wheatstone Duet 60 odd keys that had been glued together with Araldite that I was offered

 

I have a concertina with glued in reed pans in the resto pile  ☹️

 

Edited by SteveS
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On 8/30/2018 at 1:56 PM, OLDNICKILBY said:

At least it is not as bad as the lovely Wheatstone Duet 60 odd keys that had been glued together with Araldite that I was offered

 

I have a concertina with glued in reed pans in the resto pile ☹️

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

My Dipper G/D anglo has the larger valves similar to such as Theo has described: leather with a thin vinyl 'spring' held in place by a thin leather 'dot', just like you see on larger accordion/melodeon valves which have the thin steel spring.

 

I cannot imagine for one moment that Colin Dipper, being such a superb maker and craftsman, would use this type of valve as a botch or a trick. Admittedly, his vinyl springs are generally shorter and lighter weight than those in Theo's photos and the valve construction is neater too. One advantage of the vinyl spring and leather dot is that the valve resistance can easily be adjusted by carefully trimming the length of the vinyl spring to make it lighter, or if more resistance is needed, by removing the 'dot', substituting a longer spring and regluing or replacing the dot. No need to remove the entire valve.

 

Photo of the LH reed pan of my Dipper anglo attached. You can see the vinyl springs and dots on the larger valves.

 

Dipper anglo LH reed pan.jpg

  • Thanks 1
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I knew that the Dippers sometimes used valve helper springs on larger reeds, and I've sometimes done the same myself.  The concertina I'm posting about has them on every valve right up to the highest pitches, even the top few that probably don't need any valves.  A quick experiment shows that if I lift a valve while the reed is sounding there is an obvious increase in volume.

Edited by Theo
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