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Theo

Spare Aeola Buttons

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I'm not suggesting that solid metal buttons cause "problems", only that lighter keys are a little easier on the fingers, as well as saving on overall weight, and that the old makers felt that this was so.

By the way, I thought I had seen something about this on the www.concertinaconnection.com website, and I have just found it here, in the section on the Geuns-Wakker 30 key Anglo Concertina :

 

We use Wheatstone type keys on all our concertinas: wooden core with a metal sleeve.

The top of the keys can either be flat, domed or rounded depending on preference.

Because of the wooden core, our keys weigh only a fraction of the solid type keys which are used by most makers nowadays. Lighter keys mean faster and quieter action

 

For that matter, they also have those buttons available as spares here.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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By the way, I thought I had seen something about this on the www.concertinaconnection.com website, and I have just found it here, in the section on the Geuns-Wakker 30 key Anglo Concertina :

 

We use Wheatstone type keys on all our concertinas: wooden core with a metal sleeve.

The top of the keys can either be flat, domed or rounded depending on preference.

Because of the wooden core, our keys weigh only a fraction of the solid type keys which are used by most makers nowadays.  Lighter keys mean faster and quieter action

 

For that matter, they also have those buttons available as spares here.

 

Well, blow me, guess what, I looked at my lathe and guess what popped out;

A magic wooden/nickel silver button of any dimension you want but then guess what, it went away again, offer withdrawn!!!!!!!!!!! nice one Chambers, plonker.post-623-1122312524_thumb.jpgpost-623-1122312544_thumb.jpg

 

Sorry Theo.

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...guess what, I looked at my lathe and guess what popped out;

A magic wooden/nickel silver button...

Roy, that "cap" looks like it was made on the lathe, yes?

It seems to me that the standard ones were much thinner, and probably made by punch-molding thin planchets. Maybe someone else here knows for sure? That should have been much faster and cheaper for production in quantity.

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But I was referring specifically to the English-system Æola in question, in which all the original buttons are on wooden cores, where any odd solid metal ones might spoil an otherwise perfect instrument/set up. I would likewise feel that it would be "definitely a better option" to use solid metal replacements in an instrument that had them originally.

 

My reasoning exactly. Thanks for pointing out the buttons from Concertina Connection, they are only 1" long, I need 1 1/4" which seem to be a less common size. I have some of the 1" ones which I had been planning to use from the start of this job, but when I came to use them discovered that they were too short!

 

Roy thanks for your offer, I may come back to you for buttons for other projects!

 

Well there seems to be a happy ending, Steve Dickinson can supply plastic cored replacements. I doubt that even the most sensitve players would notice the difference in mass between wood cored or plastic cored buttons.

 

Incidentally this concertina reached me in "kit form" almost all the wood joints had failed so I had a 3d puzzle to complete to get all the small pieces of wood back in the correct order. Wim at Concertina Connection supplied a new bellows, and replated the ends. Now I just need the missing buttons and some time to replace the black french polish and we'll be ready to reassemble the entire kit!

 

Thanks for all the helpful ideas.

 

Theo

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Thanks Jim and Stephen for some interesting postulations/feedback. Interesting comments about the weight/speed issue, although it would seem that the curvature of the heads is much a matter of personal preference. Last time I made a full set of keys, I did mean to weigh them for comparison with a set of aluminium and a set of bone keys.

 

As to the curvature of the heads then in solid keys, this is a very simple matter of just grinding the lathe tool to the right shape in the first place.

 

Further to your point about the manufacture of the metal caps Jim, I wonder if it is similar to the manufacture of metal caps for the ends of propelling pencils and suchlike?. Can't be too dissimilar?

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Thanks for pointing out the buttons from Concertina Connection, they are only 1" long, I need 1 1/4" which seem to be a less common size. ...

 

Well there seems to be a happy ending, Steve Dickinson can supply plastic cored replacements.  I doubt that even the most sensitve players would notice the difference in mass between wood cored or plastic cored buttons.

Theo,

 

Glad to hear you got what you needed, I thought Steve might be your best bet. I realised that the Concertina Connection buttons were shorter than you needed, but just mentioned them in passing whilst I was quoting their comments on wooden-cored keys.

 

That sounds like quite a restoration project !

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Further to your point about the manufacture of the metal caps Jim, I wonder if it is similar to the manufacture of metal caps for the ends of propelling pencils and suchlike?. Can't be too dissimilar?

Pete,

 

Only they don't need to crimp them onto the ends of propelling pencils ? ;)

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Further to your point about the manufacture of the metal caps Jim, I wonder if it is similar to the manufacture of metal caps for the ends of propelling pencils and suchlike?. Can't be too dissimilar?

"Propelling pencils"? Are those the ones kids throw at each other when the teacher's back is turned? :unsure:

 

Ah, the delights of differing dialects. :)

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... I was not aware of the plastic used earlier than this although I have had to repair keys made out of  a very brittle bakealite material, so I should have realised.

Dave,

 

The first to use plastic were "those truly progressive makers, Messrs. Lachenal" (to quote J. A. Black, writing in January 1895 about the firm's pioneering use of aluminium). The material in question is a variety of Casein (the protein in milk, hardened by immersion in formaldehyde) called Erinoid, so-named because it was developed by the Condensed Milk Co. of Ireland (a.k.a. "Erin"), though it was then manufactured in Stroud, Gloucestershire, from 1914-1980.

 

Casein was made in rod, sheet and tube from 1927, and Lachenal's seem to have started to use Erinoid for concertina buttons soon afterwards. But unfortunately those late Lachenal instruments had very domed buttons and very strong springs, not a happy combination for ease of playing !

 

Following the closure of Lachenal's, in 1933, both Wheatstone's and Crabb's started to use the material.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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... I was not aware of the plastic used earlier than this although I have had to repair keys made out of  a very brittle bakealite material, so I should have realised.

Dave,

 

The first to use plastic were "those truly progressive makers, Messrs. Lachenal" (to quote J. A. Black, writing about the firm's pioneering the use of aluminium c.1894). The material in question is a variety of Casein (the protein in milk, hardened by immersion in formaldehyde) called Erinoid, so-named because it was developed by the Condensed Milk Co. of Ireland (a.k.a. "Erin"), though it was then manufactured in Stroud, Gloucestershire, from 1914-1980.

 

Casein was made in rod, sheet and tube from 1927, and Lachenal's seem to have started to use Erinoid for concertina buttons soon afterwards. But unfortunately those late Lachenal instruments had very domed buttons and very strong springs, not a happy combination for ease of playing !

 

Following the closure of Lachenal's, in 1933, both Wheatstone's and Crabb's started to use the material.

 

 

So where does "Ivoroid" plastic come in Stephen. Is it Casein or a derivative or something entirely different?

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So where does "Ivoroid" plastic come in Stephen. Is it Casein or a derivative or something entirely different?

Pete,

 

Ivoroid is indeed "something entirely different", it is a type of celluloid, the first commercial plastic, grained to imitate ivory. Celluloid is the "plastic" that accordions have been commonly covered in since the 1920's, and that plectrums are often made out of. It was most famously formerly used for cinefilm, but it is highly flammable and often caught fire in the projector.

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Casein was made in rod, sheet and tube from 1927, and Lachenal's seem to have started to use Erinoid for concertina buttons soon afterwards. But unfortunately those late Lachenal instruments had very domed buttons and very strong springs, not a happy combination for ease of playing !

 

Following the closure of Lachenal's, in 1933, both Wheatstone's and Crabb's started to use the material.

 

My DH's very late model Lachenal English has "plastic" buttons - red, white and black (Chris Algar looked at the serial number and reckoned it must've squeezed out of the doors as they were closing for the last time.) They are certainly more a plastic than a bakelite. (and flat topped)

 

Chris J

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My DH's very late model Lachenal English has "plastic" buttons -  red, white and black (Chris Algar looked at the serial number and reckoned it must've squeezed out of the doors as they were closing for the last time.) They are certainly more a plastic than a bakelite. (and flat topped)

Chris,

 

It's a while since I saw a late English like that, though I've also seen a Crane duet, and a Jedcertina with the coloured Erinoid keys, indeed the material could be produced in a wide variety of colours.

 

Glad to hear yours has flat-topped buttons, the highly domed ones (especially coupled with very hard springs) are not the most comfortable to play.

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Thanks for the info on the early man-made 'plastic' milk compounds.

 

As to the metal caps used on wooden keys, I think these are deep drawn, much a 0.22 shellcase was made (before we in the UK were forbidden target shooting as a competitive sport). The key caps that I have examined all show the tell-tale longitudinal scratches on un-polished surfaces. The crimping appears to be rolled on. All quite sophisticated equipment, but I think fairly hand-eye controllable.

 

Dave

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Ivoroid is indeed "something entirely different", it is a type of celluloid, the first commercial plastic, grained to imitate ivory. Celluloid is the "plastic" that accordions have been commonly covered in since the 1920's, and that plectrums are often made out of. It was most famously formerly used for cinefilm, but it is highly flammable and often caught fire in the projector.

 

For proof of the flammability of celluloid, go here.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/2173870.stm

 

(Not for accordion fans of a nervous disposition :o )

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