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To Whom is Skilled and Generous with Their Time:


I am a guitarist that loves the sound of reed instruments. I wanted to add an instrument to my music, and the harmonica or mouth organ sound too thin for me. So I chose the concertina. I purchased a Jackie, as it is a new beginner instrument that was not junk, for $500. During an emergency I had to leave it in my not hot, but warm car. When I got it home there was a big rattle of one side, and as I checked the buttons, about ⅓ did not sound. 


So I opened it up for the first time and discovered that 4 of the reeds had detached. And as I inspected the damage, I noticed that the reeds have no markings on them to help me know where they belong. There are some scuff marks on them however, that seem to be some sort of marking in length? And the reeds themselves are different lengths. So by matching the length of the reed to the air chambers I was able to determine where they belong, and by matching the wax patterns on the edges of the reeds, I am pretty sure I have them all facing the correct direction. 


The reeds kinda stuck back on to the wax, but I just loosely placed them. I live very far out in the country, and I doubt if I could find anyone to repair the instrument within a 3-5 hour drive. Also I should note that I work as a luthier, and can fix anything. I know I need to test the reeds with a tuner to make sure they are placed correctly. 


But as I am new to this instrument, I wanted to make sure I am repairing this correctly, and ask how I should reattach the reeds. In particular, do I need to obtain some new wax? If so, what brand is the best, and where do I get it? And what kind of tools are used for this? And where can I get those? As I have a strong inclination to believe this type of repair will need to be performed many times in the future, and I might as well have the correct tools. I've worked in wax before for encaustic paintings, and we had hot wax "pens" for this, but I don't own any of these currently. I think they might work well for this, but I'd rather use the tools of the trade. What are my steps to a repair that is going to be superior to the factory? 


Thanks in advanve to anyone who replies. I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to answer my questions. God bless you!


patrick scheidegger

fom tooley

☞ UPDATE ☞  my laptop had a meltdown of ram chips right when i sent this first part, and it took me a couple days to get it fixed. anyways, i decided to press the reeds into the wax and give it a try. Everything worked, except 2 of the buttons wouldn't sound the reed on extension, but would on compression. The reeds make the same note forwards and backwards. If this is true, is there still a front and a back? I was happy to have places all the reeds in the correct locations, and I played for a moment; then one popped back off. So I definitely need some informational help in terms of:


☞ am I doing the repair correctly?


☞ where do I order wax from, and what brand is the best?


☞ are there any tools i need?


☞ etc.


Thanks again and a special blessing for anyone that helps.


patrick scheidegger

fom tooley



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One home remedy is to warm a table knife is an alcohol flame and just run it through the wax to reset it. My impression is that it is not high-tech, but we'd better wait for the experts to chime in here.


Where are you in Indiana?



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The ones that won’t sound on draw but do on push are still loose. 

If the surface the reed is sitting on is clean when the reed is placed on it and if there is sufficient wax around it then the application of heat, doesn’t need much, will reseal the assembly to the wood. I use a soldering iron and try not to actually touch the wax.  If you are short on wax then it is possible to find bits elsewhere on the reed pan that might be cut off and repurposed but there is not usually much of this available. You can buy the wax, it is not candle wax, it has other ingredients.  Maybe someone close to you might send you a small amount. 

Regarding the reeds you don’t know the orientation for, it may be that the tuning is affected by being up the other way. If they are in tune or close to it then all is well.   

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This is the sort of wax you need (I don't know if this is a good quality brand though):



A temperature-controlled soldering iron is one way to melt the wax (it needs to be set much cooler than you would use for melting solder). If you already have a cheap unregulated mains soldering iron you could try powering it from a lamp dimmer.

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