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Wheatstone #55167, South Africa


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I won this concertina on an online auction in South Africa and received it today.  https://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/530299374/auction.html

What a disapointment!!

It only makes a wheezing sound and when I opened it I found all the reeds very rusted. It has one missing and a few broken buttons,  the valves are curling up and the pallets are leaking. The bellows are leaky and the action looks very fragile.

So, where should I start with a restoration. Should I first take out the reeds one by one and clean them with fine sand paper?

Thank you for any advice.

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Hi

I can't offer too much technical suggestions to begin restoring your concertina. But I think the obvious thing many will suggest is to not touch the reeds and save those for someone with knowledge and experience as they are the "heart" of the instrument and cannot be easily replaced and can be easily damaged beyond repair.

 

Richard

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8 hours ago, Fanie said:

Should I first take out the reeds one by one and clean them with fine sand paper?

 

7 hours ago, richard said:

...not touch the reeds and save those for someone with knowledge and experience as they are the "heart" of the instrument and cannot be easily replaced and can be easily damaged beyond repair.

Sandpapering the reeds may remove the rust, but it will certainly change the pitch.

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This is my preferred material for cleaning the top surface of reeds: Polishing block it's worth getting the blue one and the next finer grade.  You will also need a thin metal support plate to slide under the reed while cleaning it.

 

To clean the edges of the reed tongues scrape with a scalpel. 

 

To clean the underside place the reed tongue side down on a flat surface.  The tongue needs to be supported along it's length, so either allow the fixing to project to lie over the edge of your work surface, or make a small hole to accept the fixings.  Once in place use a miniature screwdriver to carefully scrape off the rust.  Go gently to avoid removing steel. 

 

After the cleaning the reeds will be well out of tune!

 

You will also need a new set of bellows, though you might be able to patch these as a short term fix.

 

New buttons could be turned out of Delrin

Edited by Theo
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It is a crying shame that the bugs and the rust have taken such a chunk out of it. It would be a fair and daunting project for a hobby restoration, but as has already been said, it is not financially worth paying for the work. Depending on the success of reed repairs it might not sound very good either.

Should you go ahead with it anyway (I would, but it is my hobby) then you would best go for 7 fold bellows. 5 are very limiting on an Anglo.

Good luck

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What’s with these reeds? Frank correctly predicted what they would look like yesterday when he said:

21 hours ago, Frank Edgley said:

What do the reeds look like? Are they screwed down?

But I’ve never seen anything like them. They’re clearly concertina reeds and not accordion reeds, but they’re constructed and mounted very differently from anything I’ve ever seen in a Wheatstone concertina (or, in fact, ANY concertina).

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I think others are being over cautious about this.  The amount of rust on the reeds doesn’t appear to be enough to compromise them if they are cleaned carefully.  They will need tuning, and new valves, some buttons and new bellows.  If my understanding of the purchase price is right you don’t have a big investment in it so with a full restoration you would probably spend a similar amount to the price you might have paid for the same concertina from a reputable dealer.

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Theo, I have about 100 pounds invested in it, so I do believe it is worth restoring it into a working piece. 

I have started cleaning the reeds and, thanks to you Theo, they do not look too bad, and they are making a sound again. We will see later how much tuning is needed.

I have also started patching the bellows inside with thin leather patches and PVA glue. I will later invest in new bellows, one day, when I am big. 😉

Some of the buttons have their tails broken off. Can the buttons work without the tail going into the hole, or will it move around? I was thinking of drilling a 2mm hole in the bottom of the button and then glue a piece of wire into the hole?

Thank you for all your help and advice. I appreciate it.

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Flatten then drill the bottom of the button, then insert the wire (or something light e.g. plastic) would be a sympathetic repair. You might not need glue if the fit is good.

Over here you could buy some old buttons, not sure about S.A. Finding the correct size is a pain though.

Those pegs are very important for a smooth action.

Edited by Tiposx
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