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Bead Making


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I didn't find much here on how to make the leather beads that connect the arms to the pads.  This is what I came up with.

 

The beads on my Edeophone measure about 3/16" diameter and the hole in the old bead is about .063".  A #52 wire size drill makes the right sized hole.

 

I used a 3/16" punch to make plugs from an old belt.

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Now - how to hold the leather plug to drill a hole through it longitudinally.  Hmmm.

I clamped two pieces of wood next to each other and put a hinge on one end so I could open and close the two pieces, sort of like a nut cracker.

Next, at the crack between the two pieces I drilled a 3/16" hole into the wood to a depth of the belt thickness.  It was too loose and the plug spun when I tried to drill it.  In the end a #16 drill made the right undersized hole to keep it from spinning most times.  With a #52 drill bit centered over the plug I got about a 50% success rate with a fair number of off center holes in the plugs.  Those little drills tend to wander when starting the hole and bend enough in the leather that the holes wander to the side.  The plugs still occasionally spun even with a light feed on the drill.  Drilling from one side, flipping it over and drilling from the other side helped a little, along with a light pecking feed but it was slow and the success rate still was no better than 50%.

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913728629_02BeadClampoverview2(Small).jpg.31b8fd112054ab16bb900be210ac8f41.jpg

 

What worked was to make a drill guide to center the drill and compress the leather from the top.  I used a 3/8" dia cylindrical piece of aluminum with a short section at one end slightly smaller in diameter than the hole in the wooden "vise" and a hole through this guide to center the #52 drill.  In practice,  I put a clamp to hold the wooden vise closed, and with my hand I firmly push the drill guide down on the plug in the wooden clamp and then slowly drill through the bead.  The drill stays pretty well centered and I don't think the plugs are spinning at all.  There is a little tear out at the far end but that can be nipped off with wire cutters or a razor blade if you want.  It would probably be lessened if I slowed the rate at which I advanced the drill bit.

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How do you make beads? 

 

 

Edited by RWL
Able to add the pictures finally
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I have not got around to this yet (soon) but I thought to drill the holes first and then punch out the plugs,would this work?

 

Also, about your photo uploads.  You can downsize images quite dramatically and still have them perfectly visible here, or you could host them elsewhere and post a link to the image.  On Windows I use Microsoft's PowerToys to resize pictures down to 854x480 pixels.

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47 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

I have not got around to this yet (soon) but I thought to drill the holes first and then punch out the plugs,would this work?

 

Also, about your photo uploads.  You can downsize images quite dramatically and still have them perfectly visible here, or you could host them elsewhere and post a link to the image.  On Windows I use Microsoft's PowerToys to resize pictures down to 854x480 pixels.

I think Mike Pierceall did it the way you describe, drilling the hole first and then centering the punch around the hole.  It worked for him.

 

I was using Window's PowerToys resizer and the "medium" resized images were 100k to 190k.  It wouldn't even let me post the first one, telling me that the image exceeded the 30k limit.

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Dave, that's probably the easier way to do it and as dumb as it sounds, I just hadn't considered doing it that way.  I'll have to try that and see how I make out.  

 

I also discovered the reason I couldn't upload the images.  There's a lifetime limit of uploads of about 11Mb and I've hit it.  I hate to delete images from some of my ancient posts because they're a reference for others.  The alternative is to put images on an external site and link to them, but photos at those places also some times are deleted making some previous posts useless. 

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2 hours ago, Bill Crossland said:

Laser cutter......

I have no doubt that would work given sufficient wattage and a belt that would lay flat.  The one at the university where my son works did a wonderful job cutting out the finger joints for two concertina cases I made.  Did you actually cut some beads with a laser cutter?  If so, I'd be interested in seeing how they came out.  If I were doing the entire instrument I might consider having him run off a batch for me.

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I make lots of these for my restoration work and they work well. The burnt edges may not look as pristine as a stamped version, but at least the central hole is consistently central and I can cut 100 in about 5 minutes.... And it only takes 10 minutes to cut new wooden ends, but they take a lot longer to draw than a leather bead!

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I use a jig, making the beads in batches. Drill the minor diameter all the way through a delrin plate. Then flip it and drill the major diameter part way, and slightly less depth than the thickness of the leather.

Punch out the beads and pop them into the holes in the jig. Cover them with masking tape to prevent spinning. Flip the plate over onto a waste piece of wood and drill the minor diameter right through the bead. It doesn't take very long to do.

20220209_193210.jpg

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Excellent.  Although a small diameter drill bit is less likely to drift in Delrin than in wood when making this, I think this could be done with a piece of wood as well.

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I probably over- complicated the description a little. Wood with a reasonably fine grain would be fine. An easier way to drill concentric holes would be to drill the major diameter first with a brad point bit to the correct depth. Then follow through with a twist bit. It doesn't take long to make.

The main advantages of making such a jig are consistency and speed.

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I used wooden beads in the restoration of a concertina intended to be Vegan.  With limited success. (though the wooden beads weren't the problem issue). Steve Dickinson supplied them to me in a repeat of the same beads I used for an Aeola restoration as he said that Wheatstone had used them for a time and were therefore "original".

 

The biggest problem was that, no matter how fine grained the wood is, the act of screwing the beads onto the levers inevitably splits some of the beadds along the weak grain axis.

 

Steve noted to me that the wooden beads were no cheaper to make than leather beads and offered no significant advantage so wouldn't be making any more

 

Alex West

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i agree with the drill first/punch later method. One extra move; I put the punch in the quill of my drill press (I don’t turn the drill on!) and this keeps the punch parallel to the drilled hole. I find if I gently bring the punch down it will make a faint impression on the leather and I can then adjust if it is not concentric with the drilled hole. 

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