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Reassembling action box

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Posted (edited)

Per advice here I attempted to lighten the springs on my Wheatstone.  For my first attempt at the LH I didn't really make much of a difference, and I somehow managed to get things back together.  


This morning I worked on the RH, and bent the springs a good deal more.  Then I attempted to put it all back together.  And attempted again.  And attempted again.  And attempted again.  And attempted again.  And attempted again.  And attempted again.  And attempted again.  


How in God's name does anybody does this in a timely fashion, if the buttons just keep falling over?  After endlessly trying to keep things in line with sticks, long drill bits, holding it upside down, holding it sideways, starting at this end, starting at that end.  Eventually I figured out that a higher work table is a big factor.  And what eventually worked was just shoving a 6" drill bit around, attempting to make contact with...something...hoping I wasn't horking a pallet in the process.  


Of course, I'd get close to finishing, 28 buttons, and one simply didn't seem to be there.  And I'd wonder, ha, maybe it fell over or came off  the lever.  How hilarious!  😠  Then I'd get it all together, and what do you know!  Two buttons were stuck by their bushing.  Eventually I figured out how to fix that - lift things up very carefully, then shove troublesome button down until bushing is back where it belongs.



I spent about 30 minutes actually messing with springs, and 2 hours trying to get everything back together.  This was one of the most aggravating/frustrating/off-putting jobs I've ever done with a musical instrument, and I used to make my own uilleann pipes reeds.

Edited by LR71
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I get them all standing upright and as close as possible to the right positions before trying to put the end on. Lower it gently straight down onto the buttons and look into the holes. If any of the buttons aren't visible, lift it off and adjust their positions again. If they are all visible, push down slightly on the end. Usually most of the buttons will go partway into their holes but a few will be slightly out of position, preventing you fully lowering the end. Use something like a toothpick or the rubber on the end of a pencil to nudge those problem buttons back into the centres of their holes. If one falls over so you can't reach it through the hole, gently lift the end off, stand the problem button back up, and very gently lower the end back on, trying not to knock anything sideways in the process. With enough practice you should be able to do it in less than a minute.


I'm not sure what you mean by "Two buttons were stuck by their bushing".

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I kept envisioning something like a popsicle stick with half moons cut it into it, that you could hold the buttons in place with, and then remove when you're done.  Anything has to be better than endlessly fidgeting with these things.


By pushing around I'd pushed on the bushing around those buttons, and then when everything was in place the buttons were pushing the bushing out of the hole, so I had to work and get the bushing back down where it belonged.  Hope that makes sense.  

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Posted (edited)

The bushings in the endplate should be glued in and unable to be pushed out by the button.  If the bushings in the buttons are in good condition the buttons will not fall over so easily.  

Instructions for working on concertinas need to start with the following;

1. Find a calm frame of mind.

2. Be patient while you learn. 
3. Do not take any setbacks personally, as this will get in the way of 1 and 2. 

Edited by Chris Ghent
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If one can hold their breath and control the heartbeat it helps.  


A pencil's taper, ie the writing point where it comes out of the sharpener, also helps. Press the taper into the bushings on the endplate to give them a taper, and compact any small pieces of felt that may have dislodged. (I now use a tapered brass rod spun up on the lathe) Then stand the buttons all up straight, pray to which ever is your preferred deity and slip the end plate on. Working at a high bench helps greatly because if / when trouble appears one can peek beneath the endplate without lifting it up and displacing any of the buttons you have managed to centre in their holes.

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