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Buttons Getting Stuck In The Bushing


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I had my Lachenal 46-key Maccann with bone buttons and veneered wooden ends bushed a couple of years ago, expecting that it would be much smoother and quieter, as indeed it was when it first came back from the highly reputable restorer. But I am finding a few buttons (now up to about 8) are regularly getting stuck in the bushing. Although some of them are rarely used right hand high notes, some of them are just about the most commonly used buttons - left hand high notes. Most of the rest work beautifully.

 

I have fiddled with the springs to get maximum force from the springs, pushed the buttons in and out lots of times, taken out the button and used a piece of wood to press down on the bushing round and round, I have removed surface grime from the button where present, etc. This type of thing usually makes things a bit better, but the problem buttons are always stiff. And when I leave the concertina for a few days and next pick up the concertina they are usually as bad as they were last time.

 

I have recently been distracted from musical activities for a few months (new baby) and now they are worse than ever. Is there something I can do to make a permanent solution?

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I had my Lachenal 46-key Maccann with bone buttons and veneered wooden ends bushed a couple of years ago, expecting that it would be much smoother and quieter, as indeed it was when it first came back from the highly reputable restorer. But I am finding a few buttons (now up to about 8) are regularly getting stuck in the bushing. Although some of them are rarely used right hand high notes, some of them are just about the most commonly used buttons - left hand high notes. Most of the rest work beautifully.

 

I have fiddled with the springs to get maximum force from the springs, pushed the buttons in and out lots of times, taken out the button and used a piece of wood to press down on the bushing round and round, I have removed surface grime from the button where present, etc. This type of thing usually makes things a bit better, but the problem buttons are always stiff. And when I leave the concertina for a few days and next pick up the concertina they are usually as bad as they were last time.

 

I have recently been distracted from musical activities for a few months (new baby) and now they are worse than ever. Is there something I can do to make a permanent solution?

Ivan,

 

The problem is the bushing, not the spring.

 

As you have already indicated, the bushing needs to be compressed. I dismantle the end, and use a small screwdriver which will fit conveniently through the bushing, but a metal rod (or wood, as you suggested) will work exactly the same way. The more the instrument is played, the fewer problems will be caused.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Try carefully following this proceedure to burnish or iron WOOL bushings

 

 

 

Remove the top.

 

Purchase or make a six inch piece of brass rod with the same outside diameter of your buttons, round the end of the brass rod with a file.

 

Securely hold the brass rod with a pair of "vise-grip pliers"

 

Place a 2 or 3 inch piece of pine on the bench top

 

With a small propane torch heat the brass rod.

Check the temperature of the brass rod by placing it on the pine. When the brass rod just scorches the pine shut the torch off. Continue to check the temperature of the brass rod untill it no longer leaves a scorch mark on the pine.

 

Give the rod 60 seconds to cool, then ease it through the button hole and use it to press the wool bushing.

 

Bob Tedrow

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Thanks for your ideas. I now recall it being explained that the holes are reamed with a slight taper in order to hold the bushing in place, so the first level of intervention beyond what I have already done is the tapered dowel. If I feel the need for something stronger, I might have a go at ironing.

I was pleased to see the recommended solution doesn't involve slimming the buttons, which was what I was fearing you might say.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have now carried out the ironing in approximately the manner Bob Tedrow suggested, and it has worked wonders. Not having the complete workshop, it required a bit of improvisation. A box of old drill bits was the source of a metal rod of the correct diameter, and I heated it up on the cooker.

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I have now carried out the ironing in approximately the manner Bob Tedrow suggested, and it has worked wonders. Not having the complete workshop, it required a bit of improvisation. A box of old drill bits was the source of a metal rod of the correct diameter, and I heated it up on the cooker.

 

 

Well Done.

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