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Bill N

Reversible Air Lever idea

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I've been working on an old Lachenal for a friend.  She has small hands and finds the air button awkward.  I made a paddle that slips over the hand strap.  It's a sandwich of a piece of thick, stiff harness leather, some stiff card, and a soft, flexible leather.  The soft leather forms the thumb-rest surface and the loop that slides over the strap.  A small hole slightly larger than the button diameter keeps it centred on the button.  It seems to work really well.

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This looks like a very nice solution for that strap type.  My straps adjust on the other end, so I do something similar with a nickel silver paddle that is hinged in a slot on the bottom of the thumb end of the hand rest.  These things can be clunky if cobbled together, but you did a lovely job.

Dana

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Nice solution Bill.

  I did something similar a couple of years ago when I got a Bb/F ( from Alex W.) 

               I needed to move the hand rest and it made the air release button uncomfortable to use.

   My solution was a couple of old ebony piano keys rescued from a dump.

           I did not need to drill any holes etc.......everything is removable in 3 minutes.

 Seems to work well.........the thumb can slide up or down freely.

Robin

Anglo air release 11.jpg

Anglo air release.jpg

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I wonder what the piano thinks of being reincarnated as a concertina😀

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5 hours ago, Dana Johnson said:

I wonder what the piano thinks of being reincarnated as a concertina😀

A Jeffries!?  I honk,  therefore I am 😊

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On 7/11/2020 at 4:41 PM, Robin Harrison said:

a couple of old ebony piano keys rescued from a dump

 

It’s really sad how many pianos there are in dumps these days.

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I had a small pivot bracket laser cut that attaches to the side of the thumb rest, I then fit a small thumb 'shelf' from the bracket to the existing air button. It's based on a contemporaneous design I saw some years ago. I have fitted probably a couple of dozen of these now. They can be reversed and fitted to the left side for the drone key

 

Dave

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Posted (edited)

Yay, I made one to Bill N's design, and it works a treat, thanks Bill.

 

The problem arises (and it seems to be common one on old Lachenals) because the rebated upper end of the strap bar is still too high to allow the side of the thumb to readily reach the tip of the air button. Bill's modification is really good because in involves no dismantling or modifications to the concertina, and is also removable if required without a trace.

 

Guess I was already a bit spoilt as my Wolverton had from the outset an air lever rather than a button, and which is still a delight to use, thanks Jake.

 

Rob

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Edited by Robin Tims
additional text

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I also played with "modifying" the air button, but for a different purpose.

 

As a beginner, I'm learning "air feathering." The reeds of my new Kensington (thank you, Dana) needs very little air to make sound. That makes the learning process  easier. But controlling the thumb to exert the exact amount of pressure is still a challenge. Most of the times, when I press the air button, the concertina goes quiet. It's frustrating   😟

 

My thumb needs a "training wheel." I glue a rubber spacer around the air button. The tip of the air button barely sticks out above the spacer. This significantly helps my thumbs to control the pressure.

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On the Video section section of this Forum 'Daddy Long Les' recently posted on YouTube  an interesting  review of his Jeffries Anglo:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4debeQ-ZG6w&feature=youtu.be

 

About 5.30 minutes in he mentions the same problem as discussed here regarding the difficulty of touching the Air Button with the side of the thumb. His professional approach to the problem was to send the strap bars back to the original restorer David Robertson (of this Parish) in Norwich UK. David duly slimmed down the thickness of the upper ends of both strap bars making it much easier to touch the side of the thumb on the Air Button (on the right) and the Drone Button (on the left).

 

It was clearly very successful but I guess some purists might question a non-reversible alteration to the original construction of a vintage instrument (although it would not have worried me).   Not a problem with OP Bill N's 'paddle' idea of course which is simply removable leaving no trace.

 

Interesting that this thumb-reach difficulty arises so often on wrist strap bars constructed in this fashion, especially on Lachenals but seemingly on Jeffries' too. Did players have fatter thumbs in the late 1800's (or maybe younger thumb joints) ? Maybe that is how alternative designs came about.

 

Rob

 

 

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One of my concertinas (a Dipper) has a thumb lever instead of a button, and I do find it a bit nicer to use, but I don't have any serious difficulty with the normal thumb buttons on my other concertinas. I asked Wim Wakker if he could provide a lever on one that he is now making for me, but he said it would be a significant complication, so I'm settling for a normal button on that one too.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Richard Mellish said:

One of my concertinas (a Dipper) has a thumb lever instead of a button, and I do find it a bit nicer to use, but I don't have any serious difficulty with the normal thumb buttons on my other concertinas. I asked Wim Wakker if he could provide a lever on one that he is now making for me, but he said it would be a significant complication, so I'm settling for a normal button on that one too.

 

Yes Richard, me too,  I asked Jake to fit his trigger design to my Wolverton when I bought it 3 years ago and it has always worked very well.

 

I would imagine it is not at all a simple thing to retro fit to an existing instrument.

 

Rob

Edited by Robin Tims
typo

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Just an opinion, but handrests (and by implication thumbrests), just the same as handstraps, are an individual choice and not an intrinsic part of the value or musicality of an instrument.  They can be adjusted, modified and replaced to suit the owner/player so that playing the instrument is a) possible, b) comfortable. If you want to preserve total originality, by all means keep the original handrests but have new ones made to suit your hands - not all of us are flexible enough to be able to accommodate the wide range of handrest sizes, button height to handrest height ratio and button distance to handrest dimensions that I've seen across a range of vintage instruments.

 

I've seen "original" thumbrests which are flat right across (rectangular in cross section) as well as triangular, sloping down towards the thumb to reduce the height and a variety of "ergonomic" shaped handrests.  They all work to some extent and some folk find one better/easier than the other.  Whichever works for you, it won't affect the sound and musicality

 

Any concertina maker (or competent woodworker) will be able to make new handrests to suit you, but by all means try a lever type system or a leather patch if that's what works for you

 

Alex West

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