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I recently bought an old Wheatstone Anglo. It's a lovely instrument and I'm absolutely delighted to have found it, it's a massive upgrade from my previous conc. However, I'd like to give the fretwork/metal buttons a bit of a clean - if it gets any greener in parts I'll be held up for letting moss grow on it ;)

 

I'm not going to hold any pretence of having the first clue about the best way to clean up the metalwork... I don't know anything about the maintainence side, I just play! Give me a fiddle and I can clean it up and sort it out no bother but concertinas are an alien breed in that regard, so all advice is very welcome.

 

Thanks in advance!

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I recently bought an old Wheatstone Anglo. It's a lovely instrument and I'm absolutely delighted to have found it, it's a massive upgrade from my previous conc. However, I'd like to give the fretwork/metal buttons a bit of a clean - if it gets any greener in parts I'll be held up for letting moss grow on it ;)

 

I'm not going to hold any pretence of having the first clue about the best way to clean up the metalwork... I don't know anything about the maintainence side, I just play! Give me a fiddle and I can clean it up and sort it out no bother but concertinas are an alien breed in that regard, so all advice is very welcome.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

In my experience the only satisfactory way of keeping metal ends looking their very best is to carefully unscrew and remove the ends so that the flat surface is unencumbered by the buttons and then use a smooth, lint free material to give them a gentle unabrasive clean. Perhaps a mere touch of surgical spirit or something similar will shift your greenery and can also be used sparingly to remove any stickiness from the top surface of the buttons. Having done that make it a habit to always wash and dry your hands very thoroughly before each session and protect the instrument from fluctuations of temperature and humidity at all times...... End of lesson!

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Tize. It's me again. Whilst you have the metal ends off grab the opportunity to find a very small, fine sable artists paint brush and a little can of thin (3in1) lubricating oil. Using the very tip of the brush apply the tiniest drop of oil to the pivoting joint midway along each arm leading from button to pad. Not so much oil that it can migrate elsewhere or attract fluff and dust. This will probably do your neglected instrument no harm at all and you will have bestowed upon it two favours in one.

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... Not so much oil that it can migrate elsewhere or attract fluff and dust.

 

Unfortunately the only quantity of oil that will not attract dust is no oil at all. If the levers move easily and the buttons return as they should then please don't add oil. "If it ain't broke don't fix it"

 

If pivots are stiff a safe lubricant is a mixture of powdered graphite in alcohol. The alcohol will carry the graphite into the joint and then evaporate leaving nothing that dust will stick to.

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... Not so much oil that it can migrate elsewhere or attract fluff and dust.

 

Unfortunately the only quantity of oil that will not attract dust is no oil at all. If the levers move easily and the buttons return as they should then please don't add oil. "If it ain't broke don't fix it"

 

If pivots are stiff a safe lubricant is a mixture of powdered graphite in alcohol. The alcohol will carry the graphite into the joint and then evaporate leaving nothing that dust will stick to.

 

I guess you are right Theo and I have noted your recipe. I have only practiced my suggestion about three times in thirty years but was unaware of the graphite method. It's all a bit hypothetical anyway because it has never been necessary in my case. It just seemed a sensible idea at the time and has certainly done no harm. When I said a tiny drop of oil I definitely meant TINY. I would imagine that open fretted ends are far more prone to allowing foreign matter to be drawn into the internal mechanism. (Some fretted ends look open enough to allow a bumble bee in). The fretting of my instrument is backed by a finely woven fabric which effectively filters out any unwanted dust and other unwanted visitors without restricting the breathing of the bellows.....and looks rather smart as well! It may even play a part in enhancing the tone of the instrument? Rod.

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... Not so much oil that it can migrate elsewhere or attract fluff and dust.

 

Unfortunately the only quantity of oil that will not attract dust is no oil at all. If the levers move easily and the buttons return as they should then please don't add oil. "If it ain't broke don't fix it"

 

If pivots are stiff a safe lubricant is a mixture of powdered graphite in alcohol. The alcohol will carry the graphite into the joint and then evaporate leaving nothing that dust will stick to.

 

I guess you are right Theo and I have noted your recipe. I have only practiced my suggestion about three times in thirty years but was unaware of the graphite method. It's all a bit hypothetical anyway because it has never been necessary in my case. It just seemed a sensible idea at the time and has certainly done no harm. When I said a tiny drop of oil I definitely meant TINY. I would imagine that open fretted ends are far more prone to allowing foreign matter to be drawn into the internal mechanism. (Some fretted ends look open enough to allow a bumble bee in). The fretting of my instrument is backed by a finely woven fabric which effectively filters out any unwanted dust and other unwanted visitors without restricting the breathing of the bellows.....and looks rather smart as well! It may even play a part in enhancing the tone of the instrument? Rod.

 

 

Sorry Rod, but I go with Theo on this, I have seen too many gunged up concertinas to advise any more than a dry lubricant, typically graphite. Then I can only think one on instance where generally freeing & cleaning was not enough, and this years tally of inspected intruments is 22 so far, so I do see plenty. Hook type actions usually have the reverse problem, it's only riveted where this concern can apply; oh, yes I do realise that this instrument will have a riveted action.

 

Dave

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... I do realise that this instrument will have a riveted action.

Dave,

 

That may depend on your (or in this case Tize's) definition of "old". :unsure:

 

Any Wheatstone made after mid-1934 is going to have a hook action, and unfortunately the vast majority of Wheatstone Anglos were made after that date. :(

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... Not so much oil that it can migrate elsewhere or attract fluff and dust.

 

Unfortunately the only quantity of oil that will not attract dust is no oil at all. If the levers move easily and the buttons return as they should then please don't add oil. "If it ain't broke don't fix it"

 

If pivots are stiff a safe lubricant is a mixture of powdered graphite in alcohol. The alcohol will carry the graphite into the joint and then evaporate leaving nothing that dust will stick to.

 

I guess you are right Theo and I have noted your recipe. I have only practiced my suggestion about three times in thirty years but was unaware of the graphite method. It's all a bit hypothetical anyway because it has never been necessary in my case. It just seemed a sensible idea at the time and has certainly done no harm. When I said a tiny drop of oil I definitely meant TINY. I would imagine that open fretted ends are far more prone to allowing foreign matter to be drawn into the internal mechanism. (Some fretted ends look open enough to allow a bumble bee in). The fretting of my instrument is backed by a finely woven fabric which effectively filters out any unwanted dust and other unwanted visitors without restricting the breathing of the bellows.....and looks rather smart as well! It may even play a part in enhancing the tone of the instrument? Rod.

 

 

Sorry Rod, but I go with Theo on this, I have seen too many gunged up concertinas to advise any more than a dry lubricant, typically graphite. Then I can only think one on instance where generally freeing & cleaning was not enough, and this years tally of inspected intruments is 22 so far, so I do see plenty. Hook type actions usually have the reverse problem, it's only riveted where this concern can apply; oh, yes I do realise that this instrument will have a riveted action.

 

Dave

 

Dave & Theo,......I have no working knowledge of the graphite method but have heard of it as a recommended method for lubricating locks. When the alcohol vehicle has evaporated it sounds as though we are left with the powdered graphite and I thought that powder and dust was one of the things that we were trying to avoid introducing to the internal workings of the instrument. Presumably you will reassure me that the graphite powder will do as it is told, stay where it was put and not ultimately start circulating around inside the intrument and settling anywhere it fancies. Perhaps Theo's advice is the one to follow...'If it ain't broke don't fix it' Thank you both for your advice...we never stop learning something new. The amount of oil that I have ever used is infinitesimal....only much smaller ! Rod

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The amount of oil that I have ever used is infinitesimal....only much smaller ! Rod

 

 

Anything less than infinitesimal is none at all, or at least it was when I last studied mathematics. :unsure:

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The amount of oil that I have ever used is infinitesimal....only much smaller ! Rod

 

 

Anything less than infinitesimal is none at all, or at least it was when I last studied mathematics. :unsure:

 

Theo, it was just one of my pathetic attempts at humour! Rod

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... I do realise that this instrument will have a riveted action.

Dave,

 

That may depend on your (or in this case Tize's) definition of "old". :unsure:

 

Any Wheatstone made after mid-1934 is going to have a hook action, and unfortunately the vast majority of Wheatstone Anglos were made after that date. :(

 

Steve,

 

Fair point, but why would you (he or anyone) want to lubricate a hook and eye action?

 

Dave

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... I do realise that this instrument will have a riveted action.

That may depend on your (or in this case Tize's) definition of "old". :unsure:

 

Any Wheatstone made after mid-1934 is going to have a hook action ...

Steve,

 

Fair point, but why would you (he or anyone) want to lubricate a hook and eye action?

Dave,

 

Tize only wanted to know how to give the fretwork/metal buttons a bit of a clean, it was Rod who wanted him to oil the action. Mind you, I have seen the build-up of fluff and gunge when somebody did just that to a hook and eye action, and I had to strip it down to clean it myself... :(

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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  • 4 years later...

 

 

I've restored and repolished a good few sets of metal ends over the last few years, predominantly those with a chrome (or equivalent) coating on german silver. The chrome is removed with a polishing wheel and the base metal polishes extremely well. I then have it stove lacquered locally, as I haven't found anyone to replate them. The result is excellent, and the anglo pictured below has been done about 5 yrs. There is a little hazing around the the core buttons, but it looks an awful lot better than when I got it!

 

 

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