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Seth

My First Restoration with Real Concertina Reeds

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Posted (edited)

I made the new bellows for the 5 fold Lachenal that some folks have been following on Instagram.  It’s the first one I’ve restored/built of the few I’ve messed with that didn’t have accordion reeds.  It’s the same one that had the leaks on the other post.  Now that’s fixed and the thing is extremely airtight, enough so that I can hold it vertical with the bellows extended and it stays upright 

 

Here comes the issue and I haven’t done any reed tuning yet although the set sounds close it needs some tuning.  All the buttons play but it feels like a little bit of a struggle playing the thing.  

 It doesn’t seem like it takes a lot of air to get a note to play but the reeds do seem slow.  Not sure how to explain it but feels like I need 2-3 times the pressure to play it and it feels like the bellows use air very slow.  I still have a lot to learn so I’m getting in after it but I don’t want to mess with the reeds more than necessary.

 

Cheers & have a great weekend, Seth 

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Edited by Seth

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I would think the problem with the reed sounding is to do with position of the reed tongue with respect to the  frame. I would suggest having a look at Dave Elliott's book on concertina repairs where he talks about this. What he says worked for me.  

Peter

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That’s certainly one possibility: the reed tip may be set too high or too low, may be obstructed by dirt, may be off centre in the frame.  It could also be valves that are curled and stiff and don’t open and close as easily as they should.  

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The valves seems pretty soft and supple and I don’t see any curling on this set.  I did notice that the air holes under the pads are smaller than my other Lachenals but I don’t think this has anything to do with it.  I have a few more sets I bought to restore so I’m going to swap the reeds with another set that has pristine looking reeds and see if it makes a difference.  

 

I need to make a jig for tuning reeds.  I have a proper setup for accordion reeds but not concertina reeds.

 

Cheers, Seth

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You could ask Concertina Spares in the UK. I bought a good tuning rig from him.

Peter

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2 hours ago, Peter Smith said:

You could ask Concertina Spares in the UK. I bought a good tuning rig from him.

Peter

Can you post a photo of the jig you have? I have an accordion reed tuning jig that I figure I could make a fixture to fit onto it for use with both reed types.

 

here is mine.

C8D4A0BF-1E97-46C3-9152-9FF6E3D899D7.jpeg

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I work on accordions and concertinas.  I have a simple tuning bellows with a couple of holes on top where I can place an accordion reed block.  When tuning concertinas I place the complete reed pan over the hole and close the side of the reed chamber with a finger.  It works well, but I don’t know anyone else who uses that method.

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MIne has a slot with a slide with a spring action to hold the reed in place. I’m not sure I could put a concertina reed in it but I could create a jig that would fill the slot that would fit a reed.  Maybe I should just cut several sizes of a dovetail slot board in the shape an accordion reed so it will fit the jig.

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6 hours ago, Seth said:

MIne has a slot with a slide with a spring action to hold the reed in place. I’m not sure I could put a concertina reed in it but I could create a jig that would fill the slot that would fit a reed.  Maybe I should just cut several sizes of a dovetail slot board in the shape an accordion reed so it will fit the jig.

 

 

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The tuning bellows I use are shown below. There is a lead weight in the bottom of the bellows which makes life easier! The only addition I might make is an additional reed slot for comparing reeds from an English or Duet.

I hope the photos come out OK.

Peter

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C5156E74-1271-402D-87D5-93532B41C2D3.jpeg

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That’s great, I’ve seen those before.

 I just need the metal part as I already have a spot on my accordion tuning bellows that I can fit this plate jig to?  Ive seen old ones that have the same fixture.  How long and wide is the air hole under where the reed sits.

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The air hole under in the metal plate is 23mm x 3 mm. Mark at Concertina Spares said the plate is laser cut. Maybe he would sell you just the plate.

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Thanks, so it’s long enough for most reeds.  What about the smallest treble reeds, as a few are smaller than the 23mm of the slot?

 

Thanks and I’ll email Mark, I need some spares anyways for the next restoration.  Depending on how wide and long the reed plate is it might fit on top of my accordion jig without any mods.

 

cheers, Seth 

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There are two brass the plates - measuring 75mm x 25 mm. The laser cut slots in the top plate give some 'springiness'. With the smallest & largest reeds I use a finger to cover any gaps - perhaps not idea but it seems to work (though I'm not an expert!!). 

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Hi Seth - As Alec says, I had some of these reed holders laser cut and made the tuning bellows. I can supply the brass parts,big that is all you need. - I will pm you

 

Bill

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4 hours ago, Bill Crossland said:

Hi Seth - As Alec says, I had some of these reed holders laser cut and made the tuning bellows. I can supply the brass parts,big that is all you need. - I will pm you

 

Bill

 

Thanks Alex and Bill, I will await the PM with info on the plate.

I have a pretty nice tuning rig and I think there is room on it to add one of these plates, if not I can modify by moving the accordion reed part to the side.  I have a Bastari bellows and some square ones left from Herrington’s workshop so could always make a second tuning rig if it doesn’t fit on the other one.

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