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Valve-rubber bushings

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No, not concertina valves - bicycle-tyre valves!

Do any of the elder cyclists among you remember the days when a piece of rubber tubing was used to both seal the valve in its seating on the inner tube, and provide the non-return function for the pumped air? It was called valve rubber, and came in rolls. The man in the bicycle shop would cut a few inches off for you, and you could then cut off shorter pieces (about 1/2") to repair faulty valves.

Like many practical things, valve rubber has uses the manufacturer never dreamed of. Thirty years ago, I used some for a vital part in the lubrication of a ship model. Needless to say, when refitting the model for my grandson, I found that the rubber had perished. As a reflex reaction, I googled "valve rubber" - and actually found some! My model is now as pondworthy as ever it was.


But just now I identified a problem with my Dallas/Crabb Anglo: one of the buttons sits lower than the others. I'm practising some rather filigree phrases at the moment, and the slightly misaligned button (RH #3) is irritating. It turns out that the misalignment is due to the lack of a bushing in the offending button, where the lever passes through it. 

I've tried bushing the button with felt, but the little felt I have is of poor quality, and tears before I get it place.

Then I thought of my valve rubber!

I slipped about 1/4" of it over the end of the lever, and carefully pushed the button into place over it. The connection is flexible, doesn't wobble, and keeps the button at the same height as the normally-bushed buttons around it.


This is a good quick fix, but I'm wondering whether it's wise in the long run. Rubber will perish some time - but maybe felt bushings (like the missing one on my button 3) fail, too. Have any of you had experience with rubber bushings? Should I gradually replace failing bushings with valve-rubber, or should I order a supply of decent bushing-felt from one of the reputable dealers on this list?



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1 hour ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

Thanks! The traditional material is probably the best in the long run. Don't needlework and handicraft shops keep felt, too?


The traditional bushing material isn't actually felt (made by soaking loose fibres in water and pressing them together). It is a woven cloth that has been processed (fulled) to make it denser with a soft surface. Felt tends to be quite thick and it comes apart easily. There have been a few previous topics discussing sources for bushing cloth.

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When I need to refit a button (either replacing one that has broken or just because I have disturbed one while doing something else) I often have difficulty getting the lever through the bushing without pushing the bushing out of the hole. At least once I have used a short piece of silicone sleeving. Like the valve rubber it does the job and it has the advantage of not perishing with age.

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