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Inner Lining On Bellows Frames?


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The inner lining that holds the reedpan snug: am I right in assuming that this is the same material the valves are made from? That is the impression I get from my Crabb.


I ask because I have a set of bellows from an accordion-reeded box, and I am building traditional reedpans for it. I need to line the interior for a snug fit.



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Traditionally the seals for the reed pan are done in chamois leather. It is soft, stetchy and has a kind of spongy resilliency.


Valves are lambskin from a prefered part of the lamb. (Shoulder? Help me experts.) The valves have to be supple but with a memory to return to their original position after opening and closing.


That said, as Paul posted (while I was distracted from the computer) there are instances where a soft leather other than chamois is used for the reed chambers and pan seals.


There have been some applications using plastics for valves, some accordions and melodians have gone this route. But I think lambskin valve leather is the widely prefered material.



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It is usually chamois leather. I know some of the later/better Wheatstones had a soft leather. I would say would not tbe the same leather as valves. This is a very specific type of sheep leather

I believe Rich Morse has done a few posts about the different kinds of leather for different tasks within the concertina. It's not just about the animal; it's about the part of the animal (shoulder, back, belly, etc.), the thickness (differing even among valves of different sizes), the direction it's cut (leather has "grain", just as wood does), and the tanning process.


I've probably missed some factors here. Rich's posts are worth Searching for.


As for chamois, I always thought that was goat skin, but I just looked it up, and here's what I found:

... 1. A capriform [goat-shaped] antelope inhabiting the loftiest parts of the Alps, Pyrenees, and other European mountain ranges. Its agility and keen scent make its chase most difficult.

... 2. A soft leather, originally prepared from the skin of the chamois, now also from the skins of sheep, goats, deer, etc. More fully, chamois-leather.

... 3. Of the colour of this leather.


No direct mention there of the soft nap -- rather than a polished finish -- which I've always thought was its main characteristic.

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Hi Caj,


A good grade chamois leather was by far the commonest material used.


It is relatively cheap and easier to obtain than split soft skins


It is tough material and pretty forgiving to work with so I would suggest you stick with that.


Just a tip......

when you come to fit the chamois skirt, only glue it initially to the top edge. ie the bit of the bellows frame that butts onto the action board. When this is thoroughly dry you can push the skirt inside the bellows, 'mould' it to the corners, trim to an even depth and trial fit the reed pan.

This way allows you to lift the skirt (beggin' the Ladies' pardon) and pack behind with thin material to get a perfect fit with the pan.

I would also recommend that you use a reversible glue such as liquid hide glue or a good quality gum as this is easily reversible and any mistakes can be easily remedied.



Hope this is of use



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The inner lining that holds the reedpan snug: am I right in assuming that this is the same material the valves are made from?
The traditional bellows frame lining is chamois (leather made from sheep or lambskin, from which the grain has been removed by frizzing, and marine animal oil tanned) and the traditional valves are of hair sheep (as opposed to wool sheep. Hair sheep skins are finer grained and yet tougher and far more resilient).
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