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Lachenal 30 key Anglo - recovering the bellows frames


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I am currently part way through renovating a 30 key Anglo that has suffered from prolonged storage in a damp place. Work on rebuilding the action boxes and fronts is nearing completion. My next job is to recover the bellows frames as the bellows needs replacing.

 

Unfortunately, as with the rest of the woodwork, the damp has got in to the frame  joints. The loints, reinforcing shims / biscuits?  and blocks are all loose. There is no sign of glue in the joints themselves, only the blocks. There are traces of white mould in the joints.

 

Can anyone advise if the joints would originally have been glued, or would they have relied on a good fitting shim and the glued block.

 

I had assumed I would need to re-glue all components to make a sound joint, but I just want to make sure.

 

Thanks for any thoughts.

 

Have a Happy  New Year!

 

Rod

 

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You will need to figure out what glue was used originally (or most recently if any restoration has been done before). Some glues will not stick to surfaces with traces of dried glue.  Hide glue was used when the instrument was first built and that will attach to older versions of itself. Before you have to take apart the entire frames, make sure to mark the corresponding corners so you can re-assemble correctly. 

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Thanks Milesy

 

The only glue in evidence is hide glue, and that is what I am using. There are traces of this around the corner blocks.

 

I have taken photos of everything and marked the frame sides so I know where everything goes.

 

 

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If you have to take the pieces apart, it will be a challenge to get everything back to the exact size and shape. Even a few hundredths out of the original hex shape with the bellows frames will make the fit of the reedpans very difficult. Of course you will have to remove the bellows gaskets before you re glue. When re gluing and reassembling the bellows frames try using the reed pans within the frames to keep the original shape. i.e. glue parts together, and put reedpan into the assembled bellows frame before the glue dries, and hold using large elastic band(s). Make sure bellows frames are in the correct order and reedpan is oriented as it was originally.  None of the original parts were probably exact in size, shape etc.

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Good tip Frank! I find using very little glue to hold down the chamois between the bellows frames and the reed pan makes it easier to lift a section and pack it with cardboard under the chamois if the fit is not perfect. 

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11 hours ago, Frank Edgley said:

If you have to take the pieces apart, it will be a challenge to get everything back to the exact size and shape. Even a few hundredths out of the original hex shape with the bellows frames will make the fit of the reedpans very difficult. Of course you will have to remove the bellows gaskets before you re glue. When re gluing and reassembling the bellows frames try using the reed pans within the frames to keep the original shape. i.e. glue parts together, and put reedpan into the assembled bellows frame before the glue dries, and hold using large elastic band(s). Make sure bellows frames are in the correct order and reedpan is oriented as it was originally.  None of the original parts were

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Frank

Thanks for the advice. One of the frames was in  pieces and I have begun its re-assembly ,I am finding the glue starts to go off too quickly to put all the pieces together in one go, I have assembled them as three sections using a template to get the correct angle, Then I will put the three pieces together to create the full frame, much as you advise using the reed pan and bands. I am measuring the distance between screw holes to try to match the action box screws.

 

The other frame should be more straightforward as it is still intact.

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I follow Frank in this. I tend to leave the bulk of the old gasket in place and use the reed pan as described, just to space the bellows frame sections out better around the reed pan 'jig'. I then replace all the gasketing before fitting the bellows, I also use card as a shim under the  new gasket if needed, The glue I use to repair the woodwork is PVA it works well with old animal glue traces. Then a light glue, gum Arabic, as I have it to hand, to attach the gasket chamois. This facilitates the removal of the gasket for access to plate nuts or re-packing by subsequent and future craftsmen.

 

I recently had to deal with an instrument where someone had replaced the plate nuts leaving the replacement top face of the nut and countersunk screws proud of the end face bellows frame wood, needless to say, the 'tina was not overly air efficient!. Whilst the bellows frame is in bits, and naked it is worthwhile checking the condition of the plate nuts and their seating ensures that they are not proud of the bellows frame mating surface.

 

Dave

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