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Replacing springs.. what is the secret?


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I have had to do this a couple of times so far. And every time! It has been really difficult.

 

is there some inside secret or tool to use here? Between trying to remove the old spring from that tiny little hole. To putting the new spring into the hole.. and then trying to keep that stupid spring in that tiny miserable hole.. while also trying to compress it enough to hook under the arm.. while not launching the spring someplace to only be found months later by the vacuum or messing up the adjacent spring?


I have used drill bits in the loop of the spring. Needle nose pliers to insert the spring. Tweezers. Small screw drivers to hook under the arms. Small screw drivers to try to push the old spring up, etc..

 

I know I MUST be missing something here. Is there some accepted tools to use? Or some mystical yoga contortion  maneuver I need to be doing while trying to do this right?

 

 

As a bonus question… are replacement springs one size fits all in terms of tension? Now that I have installed the new spring. It is substantially more stiff than the 100+ year old springs in there. The stiffer springs definitely make for a much quicker valve closing. But, now I have multiple degrees of spring tension across all of the buttons. Which feels kind of odd.


is it best to just replace them all? Or just replace as they fail?

 

 

Edited by seanc
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I cut a notch in a small screwdriver, works perfectly. 

I tend to replace all the springs with stainless steel, they are easily made and tuned to the desired tension, but some people don't approve. 

20211117_182115.thumb.jpg.838f85ddbc925f8e9f2ccfb06de28f49.jpg

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These are my most commonly used pliers for spring work:

https://tronex-tools.com/collections/pliers-chain-nose/products/chain-nose-pliers-short-tip-1

You can find cheaper ones with a similar nose shape from beadwork or jewellers suppliers.

 

New springs will always need to be adjusted to give your preferred button force.

 

Whether to replace them all depends on what condition they are in. If they are rusty steel or modified safety pins, I would replace them as a matter of course. If they keep breaking on you, then perhaps it's time to change the rest of them. Likewise if you're a pro player and don't want to take the risk of an antique spring going pop in the middle of a gig.

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15 minutes ago, Tiposx said:

I cut a notch in a small screwdriver, works perfectly. 

I tend to replace all the springs with stainless steel, they are easily made and tuned to the desired tension, but some people don't approve. 

20211117_182115.thumb.jpg.838f85ddbc925f8e9f2ccfb06de28f49.jpg


I assume that is to pry up the old springs?

or is also used to seat the new springs?

 

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I place the spring end into the retaining hole, then manipulate the rest of the spring under/ onto the lever with the notched tool. The spring “never” pings off if you maintain a little tension.

It takes about a minute to file the notch with a triangular needle file, it is worth trying out. You can still use the screwdriver as such if needed!

Edited by Tiposx
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1 hour ago, Alan Day said:

If you use brass wire for springs and the brass wire is too soft, a simple way of increasing the hardness is to lightly hammer along a length before you coil it .

Al

In my case. All of the springs appear to be brass. And very old. And they have been going dead or breaking. 20s Wheatstone 22 and a teens Lachenal crane.
 

I have been replacing them, one by one with new stainless springs I got from button box as they give up.

 

 

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The brass ones can also corrode unseen at the right angle where they enter the action board. They can be difficult to remove without snapping at that point. The stubs can be a problem to remove.

My view is that the pioneers used the best material available to them at the time. If stainless steel had existed back then they would probably have used it.

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2 hours ago, Alan Day said:

Brass age hardens and this is the problem, the springs over many years have gone brittle, 

 

1 hour ago, Tiposx said:

The brass ones can also corrode unseen at the right angle where they enter the action board. They can be difficult to remove without snapping at that point. The stubs can be a problem to remove.

My view is that the pioneers used the best material available to them at the time. If stainless steel had existed back then they would probably have used it.

My Wheatstone Hayden was built in the 1980s. Why would Steve Dickinson have used brass springs at such a late date? Should I replace them all with stainless steel?

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When you think that the majority of concertinas played were built between 1880 to 1930 it has taken the brass to age harden some considerable time to become brittle.  Replacement springs were available up to about 1970 (when I was repairing) in packs sufficient to do a concertina by Hobgoblin Group and they were brass. My thoughts would be to leave well alone until one snaps and then consider replacing them but I do not expect problems in my lifetime.

A word of warning that it is very easy ,due to the proximity of one spring to the next ,to get interference between one and another which causes action problems ,sticking or slow action buttons etc. A common fault I came across.

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Had a rake of springs, I took from a busted piano accordion, suited my Lachenal well enough, as they were the right size,  but like most essential stashes, in these extraordinary times, they have gone missing.

I like the idea of making springs. How hard can it be, what could possibly go wrong...

So, if I were to make springs, for my Lachenal, what grade/type of wire would I be looking for  ?

Could I get it in an art supplies shop, or is it an engineering type of material ?

And, I'm sure I remember seeing a vid on making springs, on the web, with a simple (ish) jig, anyone point me to it  ?

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Mine was inspired by Alex, but looks different.  I clamp the foot of the spring against the allen bolt, clamp the long/loose end of the wire to my workbench and then wind the wire around the post. The T bar fits over the post and has a notch to help the wire around, and keep the coils tight and neat. You can do this job without 20211118_121442.thumb.jpg.0df266abca2ea944b51f9420e27a36ba.jpgthe T bar.  The main thing is to keep the tension up as you wind. The bends are put in with long nose pliers against a hard surface to bend the wire.

I use .6mm ss spring wire. I use Evek in Germany via their website. I have bought from them several times including recently and the goods arrive here in the uk within a couple of days.

20211118_121402.jpg

Edited by Tiposx
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1 hour ago, Don Taylor said:

Does phosphor-bronze have the same aging problem as brass? 

 

And are folks (David?) sure that they have brass springs and not phosphor-bronze?

Good question. I have no idea. I never heard of “phosphor-bronze” until just now.

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