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Cheap options for (pad) leather and where to buy it?


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I got a fairly cheap, very broken, concertina a while ago. My plan is to restore it. I want to get to know the processes of repairing and building and mainly do it for the sake of doing it. But I'm unsure what material to get. I searched the forum but couldn't find information that suit my situation ( If there are other post/-s about this on here, please point them out to me).

At the moment I need leather for new pads.

The leather that has been recommended in posts about pads was always either only available in big quantities (l don't think I need a whole skin at the moment), very expensive, and/or from businesses in the USA or UK (I'm based in Germany and don't want to spend 30-50€ for shipping only).

Can anyone recommend any shops OR does anyone has ideas about cheap DIY alternatives to new leather. Some people might disagree, but this will be my first all on my own concertina repair and I'm totally fine with not top quality options and DIY stuff. I don't have a huge budged and at the same time am aware, that I will have to spend some to get the right material. I came across car towels out of leather and was wondering  if that might work. But I don't know if those are air tight. Maybe getting a leather jacked from a charity shop and skimming/shaving it down to the desired thickness?

Any ideas are appreciated.

 

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I don't know what make or style your concertina is, but pads are a sandwich of card, felt and then the leather facing, I find it cheapest for me to buy pads and dots from people who have the buying power and the tooling to form the pad sandwich and then stamp out the pads I need. These pads are then of a consistent thickness and quality. I would look at repairers on the continent, including Eire  to buy from, stick in the Euro zone.

 

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4 hours ago, d.elliott said:

I don't know what make or style your concertina is, but pads are a sandwich of card, felt and then the leather facing, I find it cheapest for me to buy pads and dots from people who have the buying power and the tooling to form the pad sandwich and then stamp out the pads I need. These pads are then of a consistent thickness and quality. I would look at repairers on the continent, including Eire  to buy from, stick in the Euro zone.

 

It's an English concertina.

Yes, I thought about buying a "pad sandwich". But I would also love to do all the steps myself... I guess if I can't come up with a better idea this would be a good solution.

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I wouldn't like to advise on materials; however I have myself seen in a DIY shop [near to me in York UK] packs full of felt circles [ on a card] that to me look sufficient to replace concertina pad parts [ that cover the holes ] to block off sound when lever is down; to put it non technically. But that is my own curiosity for future reference [ they seem same size as those put on when manufactured, and same felt type too] But please note;  this is just my own observation. Sometimes you can [in my opinion ] find alternatives to the usual furnishings.  Another example [of my own] is purchase of a fine length of aluminium core, exactly same as my buttons on concertina, and light enough for me [if need be] to cut my own replacement buttons if ever needed. Keep looking, wherever you are, and see what you can make of what you find.  I have a music book somewhere which shows a photo of a man playing a sort of guitar he made from  a wooden box [ and yet it played, apparently quite well!].

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The leather should be thin, soft, smooth, not let air through, and not have a coating that might flake off over time. I don't think chamois leather (the yellow stuff for drying cars) would be ideal for pad facing. There's a chance you might find a clothing leather that would work, but I have a feeling the leather they use for jackets would be too thick.

 

You might try looking into where people in Germany who repair church pipe organs buy their materials from.

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Lots of leather sellers on ebay.

Problem is you don't know exactly what leather you want until you have tried a few and learned some of the arcane terminology used in the leather trade.  You might be lucky and get the right stuff first time, but it could be that you have to tray a few different leathers before you find something suitable.  In the long run that could easily cost more than buying pads ready made.  On the plus side you will have learned something useful.

 

The choice of felt and card is also important, and you will need to make or buy punches in 2 or 3 sizes.  I can tell you from experience that the sort of cheap punches you can buy on ebay make a poor job of cutting concertina pads.  They are not sharp enough, the surface finish inside the punch can be rough, and the metal is quite soft.

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