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Fitting the buttons into all the little holes as I put the ends back on an Italian hybrid: any tips to make this easier?


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I have a 20b Frontalini that I just took apart to inspect and take photos. And now I'm facing my least-favorite part of the process: getting all 10 buttons to go back into all 10 holes.

 

Anyone got any tip to make this less a pain? My record right now is getting 9 to line up perfectly but just can't get the 10th. I'm trying this laying down on the couch to make it easier on my neck as I try 20 times in a row, and I'm using the eraser end of a pencil to try to nudge recalcitrant buttons into place, but still not quite doing it. Is there an easy way, or do even experts have to try a couple dozen times until you nail it perfectly?

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1 hour ago, maccannic said:

Maybe turn the whole thing over?  So the buttons are hanging down rather than (not) standing up?

Oh, I'm already doing this upside-down. Laying down on the couch with the keys dangling downward roughly straight.

 

Does nobody else find this difficult, just me?

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Everyone does, or did. Somewhere (not in Geo Salley's article, I just checked) someone described taking a piece of thin plywood and drilling the button hole pattern in it and using it to line up the buttons before putting the end on, like racking up balls for a game of pool/snooker whatever it is called where you are. Maybe it was in one of the 22,000 archived threads here!

 

Ken

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4 hours ago, maccannic said:

Maybe turn the whole thing over?  So the buttons are hanging down rather than (not) standing up?

 

That’s what I do with my Bastari Hayden. It’s a pain, but it’s the only solution. Fortunately, my Wheatstone Hayden is (a little) better behaved.

 

If not all the buttons are hanging straight, try tapping the side of the instrument a few times with a free finger to jostle the whole thing and encourage any buttons that aren’t hanging straight to break loose of whatever is holding them crooked and assume what should be the most stable position.

 

1 hour ago, Ken_Coles said:

Somewhere (not in Geo Salley's article, I just checked) someone described taking a piece of thin plywood and drilling the button hole pattern in it and using it to line up the buttons before putting the end on...

 

Wouldn’t getting the buttons through the holes in the plywood be just as difficult as getting them through the holes in the concertina end? And then, of course, you have to remove the plywood before putting the end on and hope non of the buttons falls out of place.

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When I take apart my 30 button concertina I use tweezers. I try to line maybe one row of buttons onto the plate and apply a small amount of pressure on the plate, just to keep all buttons slightly pressed into the plate. Then I go from button to button with the tweezers and nudge them into the holes. This way I don't have to hold the concertina upside down and I find it's easier to see what I'm doing.

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What everyone said, plus a sharp toothpick to nudge the recalcitrants.  I agree with David B. regarding the Bastari Hayden; the buttons hang crookedly even upside down and with gravity at work.  But the longest that’s taken me is about 3 minutes.  Seems like it will never go, then.....voila!  

 

 

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I finally figured out that I just wasn't being assertive enough at jimmying buttons into place. I was too much trying to slide missing ones into place, as oppose to depress them further and let them swing back into position and then monkey around with them. It turns out that the long tweezers with a slight crook out of my shaving bag were the optimal tool for this, and I got it right after just a couple minutes of experimenting when I'd spent easily a cumulative 20 minutes prior to this messing with it.

 

I got all the buttons back in place... and then promptly found that one reed isn't speaking and I need to take it back off again. Do we have a preferred thread here that explains how to unstick reads that I should read before proceeding?

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I've got 2 pieces of plastic with slots in that I can slide across the buttons so that when the two pieces overlap they hold the buttons in place. Then I can just drop the end over the buttons with perhaps a little poking with a knife or screwdriver and then slide out the plastic before screwing the end back in place. I made the plastic 'combs' by marking the position of the buttons and then cutting the slots along the rows. 

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12 hours ago, Paul Draper said:

I've got 2 pieces of plastic with slots in that I can slide across the buttons so that when the two pieces overlap they hold the buttons in place. Then I can just drop the end over the buttons with perhaps a little poking with a knife or screwdriver and then slide out the plastic before screwing the end back in place. I made the plastic 'combs' by marking the position of the buttons and then cutting the slots along the rows. 

 

Can you post a picture?

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, David Barnert said:

I hope this picture makes it clear. The slots are crudely cut but it works so I haven't bothered to redo it more neatly.

 

WIN_20200514_11_14_20_Pro.thumb.jpg.515bd6e1ec007efc0bc8613396bef9f5.jpg

Edited by Paul Draper
Clarity
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