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"s.c. Taylor" English For Restoration


JimLucas

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A couple of years ago, in this Topic, we discussed this instrument and possibilities of who actually made it. I had intended at some point to restore it, and then either play it or sell it to someone who would.

 

Unfortunately, I still don't have access to a workshop, but I now find myself in somewhat urgent need of cash. So I'm hoping that someone will make me a reasonable offer for it now and do the restoration themselves. I think it would make a fine restore-and-resell instrument for an experienced restorer (you know who you are :)).

 

I haven't updated the above web page since the earlier discussion, but I do have a few more details that I'll try to post tomorrow. (Can't do it now, because I need to leave in a minute for a shipboard concert.) And of course, I'll be happy to answer any questions (as well as receive offers) via PM or email.

 

.............. Jim

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...this instrument...

 

I haven't updated the above web page since the earlier discussion, but I do have a few more details that I'll try to post tomorrow.

Well, it's a few days past "tomorrow" (ah, the things that intervene), but here are some more details:

 

Special features:

Baffles (spruce or pine?).

Nickel (I believe) reeds.

The unusual slotted-post-and-rod construction of the action seems to be both quick and durable.

The little washers under the heads of the end bolts are a characteristic detail, albeit a minor one, which prevents damage to the wood around the bolts.

Reeds:

I believe the original reeds are
. There seem to be 11-12 replacement reeds. 7 are brass and 4 are steel. The 12th? One reed seems to be of a slightly different, more "steely" color than the ones I believe are nickel, but it's non-magnetic. An original reed where something affected the finish or a trick of lighting makes it appear different? Or is it maybe some other alloy (e.g., nickel silver)? I don't know, but it seems to be good quality.

 

Four of the reeds will need to be replaced. Three have gone seriously flat, and I believe they are cracked. The fourth sounds badly and might also be cracked, but it's one of the replacement steel reeds and looks as if it was crudely made or mishandled in some previous tuning attempt. I think it would be easier to replace than to fix, even if it's not cracked. The others are all sounding well and at some point the instrument was tuned to A440. It should now need only slight adjustment, on the order of what would be needed after replacing valves and pads.

Bellows:

I have discovered a tiny hole in one bottom corner. It should be easily patched. (I could include a bit of dark green title skiver. It's darker than the bellows, but to cover a tiny patch on the underside of the bellows, it should be fairly inconspicuous.) Aside from that, the bellows appear to be in beautiful condition, with no obvious wear and very clean inside and out, as can be seen in the large photos.

 

"Drawbacks"? Four folds, though I never found that a problem with an instrument that is otherwise tight. And they are presumably about 150 years old, so might not survive an additional 150 years of hard use.
:)

Ends:

The ends are solid rosewood, not veneer. As you can see in the photo, there are two small pieces missing from the fretwork of the left end. Their replacement would be a cosmetic nicety, but shouldn't affect either playability or sound.

 

In addition to the missing small pieces, there are a few hairline cracks in the left end. But in general the wood seems quite solid, not deteriorating, and if those cracks are sealed I wouldn't expect them to expand or new ones to appear in the foreseeable future.

Action:

You can see in the pictures the fine condition of the interior. There is some accumulated dust, but no apparent wear. And the obvious quality of the construction and materials makes it clear that this was defintely not a low-end instrument.

 

The pads seem to seal well, though the springs are perhaps not as strong as on later instruments. (Maybe because one wouldn't be expected to drive nickel reeds with as much pressure as the later steel ones?) On general principles, I think that the pads should be replaced, but that the replacements should only be top quality.

 

If desired, I might be induced to include a set of stronger springs, since I have some I got from Steve Dickinson many years ago.

Buttons:

The buttons are 3/16" (4.8 mm) diameter, with thin bushings that are in good shape and I don't think should be replaced. I assume that the buttons are ivory, though I don't see any obvious grain. The accidentals are painted black, the C's red, and the note names are stamped into the ends of the white buttons. This is definitely *not* a sign of an inferior "student" model, but was the fashion of the time.

Reed pans:

The reed pans have shrunk slightly, though far less than on many instruments I've seen. But some shimming under the chamois lining the bellows ends is called for to stop the leakage around the edges of the reed pans.

 

The valves are amazingly thin, but still pliable and sealing well. They show no signs of sagging, as would be induced by storing the instrument on its end. A couple that I thought at first were torn really only have rough surfaces, and seal well. Nevertheless, because of their age I think the entire set should probably be replaced.

The instrument is in excellent condition, with the exceptions noted above. I've already received a couple of inquiries. I hope this description might prompt a few more.

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A further note: I find the reeds quite responsive and quick, with a bright quality to the sound, though I think not as edgy as steel reeds. It has a good dynamic range, and can get decent volume in spite of the baffles, louder than the few brass-reeded instruments I've had. In fact, that surprised me a little, since the only other nickel-reeded instrument I've handled was the quietest concertina I've ever played.

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