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I have a 10-key miniature Anglo Concertina (unknown maker) with extremely stiff 8-fold bellows. I am wondering if anyone has used Leather softener/stretcher on bellows. If done successfully, I would be interested in the brand name. There are many brands advertised at Amazon. I guess primarily it is used for shoes and/or gloves.

Any information would be much appreciated. I recognize that the stiffness of the bellows may be due to the inherent construction rather than the pliability of the leather.

Edited by Dowright
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I would ask you to remember that leatherwork for shoes and gloves use stitching,  Bellows use glues, starch / animal glues rather than modern adhesives.  Any form of softener relies on a carrier medium to pull a restorative, wax or whatever, into the leather and must to some extent saturate the leather. This has two effects, it weakens the existing glued joints, and it makes it very difficult for any future repairs to 'stick'. 


Think of this as a gentle Government Health Warning, as with tobacco products and lungs, leather softeners may damage bellows.


Sorry, if the leather has 'Gone Home' as they say round here, then it needs replacement. Bellows are a consumable item, when life expired then discard. I have had a set of 8 fold bellows made for my 2.75 ins A/F, 12 key Wheatstone English miniature. Why? The leather had gone home.



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Depending on who made it, it may be a bellows not using leather, at all. Then softener would probably not do anything to help in any case. An equally important factor may be the depth of the folds. very shallow folds mean that the bellows have to be pulled out more to achieve the same effect. For example, two bellows...one with shallow fold bellows and one with deeper folds. To pull them out to the same amount, let's say 8 inches, the angle that the folds of the bellows makes with the shallow folds may be 60 degrees, but the deeper fold bellows  may only need to be pulled out to 30 degrees. Just a hypothetical as far as numbers are concerned, but you get the idea. A shallow bellows may never be as easy to play as a bellows with deeper folds.

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