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d.elliott

Just when you think you have seen it all

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I thought that I was on top of the game, I had seen it all; every variation in build, nigh-on all possible faults, and concertina GBH (grevious bodily harm) that could be infliced in the instrument but NO!

 

I have a Lachenel 188,000 series Anglo 30k mahogany ended, dead plain and basic for servicing.

 

But, and what do I find? brass reed tongues, whoopy-do you may think

 

BUT, all the reed frames are steel, and original with nice hard stamped note values, and all fit perfectly into what appear to be the original reed pan machined slots.

 

Has anyone come accross this before, I haven't. A failed experiment perhaps? an enhancement that did not enhance?

 

comments anyone?

 

Dave

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I thought that I was on top of the game, I had seen it all; every variation in build, nigh-on all possible faults, and concertina GBH (grevious bodily harm) that could be infliced in the instrument but NO!

 

I have a Lachenel 188,000 series Anglo 30k mahogany ended, dead plain and basic for servicing.

 

But, and what do I find? brass reed tongues, whoopy-do you may think

 

BUT, all the reed frames are steel, and original with nice hard stamped note values, and all fit perfectly into what appear to be the original reed pan machined slots.

 

Has anyone come accross this before, I haven't. A failed experiment perhaps? an enhancement that did not enhance?

 

comments anyone?

 

Dave

 

 

Hi Dave,

 

I've seen a couple over the years.

 

The last one was similar vintage but a 20 key. Not too impressed with the quality of the reeds I remember. Perhaps a short lived experiment on Lachenal's part ??

 

Regards

 

Dave P

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I thought that I was on top of the game, I had seen it all; every variation in build, nigh-on all possible faults, and concertina GBH (grevious bodily harm) that could be infliced in the instrument but NO!

 

I have a Lachenel 188,000 series Anglo 30k mahogany ended, dead plain and basic for servicing.

 

But, and what do I find? brass reed tongues, whoopy-do you may think

 

BUT, all the reed frames are steel, and original with nice hard stamped note values, and all fit perfectly into what appear to be the original reed pan machined slots.

 

Has anyone come accross this before, I haven't. A failed experiment perhaps? an enhancement that did not enhance?

 

comments anyone?

 

Dave

 

Hello Dave,

 

Dunnow if this makes sense, I haven't seen that many concertina's.

 

The size of a reed chamber makes a difference, as does the quality of the reed. but also, for what I have heard, I think that the best sound of the reeds is when they are (good quality) steel reeds in brass frames.

 

The quality of the mixture for the frame (%cupper and %tin) may play a role in the instruments sound. Of course the frame should fit perfectly in the slot.

I believe these 2 things are important for a good sound of a concertina although some wellknown concertina makers think otherwise.

 

Steel frames may sound okay when they are new and there is no rust. But in the long run the problem may be that there is oxidation and it will leave its ideal shape, and if the fit is imperfect, there goes the sound quality. If there is that much oxidation then it is not easy to repair without replacing the whole frame.

 

But I am not sure about this, do you have similar thoughts?

And how do you judge the sound of this Lachenal?

Is n´t it true that Lachenals from say 1900 to 1920 have better reeds than what you have there?

 

Cheers,

Marien

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Hello Dave,

 

Dunnow if this makes sense, I haven't seen that many concertina's.

 

The size of a reed chamber makes a difference, as does the quality of the reed. but also, for what I have heard, I think that the best sound of the reeds is when they are (good quality) steel reeds in brass frames.

 

The quality of the mixture for the frame (%cupper and %tin) may play a role in the instruments sound. Of course the frame should fit perfectly in the slot.

I believe these 2 things are important for a good sound of a concertina although some wellknown concertina makers think otherwise.

 

Steel frames may sound okay when they are new and there is no rust. But in the long run the problem may be that there is oxidation and it will leave its ideal shape, and if the fit is imperfect, there goes the sound quality. If there is that much oxidation then it is not easy to repair without replacing the whole frame.

 

But I am not sure about this, do you have similar thoughts?

And how do you judge the sound of this Lachenal?

Is n´t it true that Lachenals from say 1900 to 1920 have better reeds than what you have there?

 

Cheers,

Marien

 

 

This forum has had many postings on the make-up of reeds, and what makes a good reed. Personally I think that the general contribution from the frame is its geometry, particularly in terms of dimensional stability, closeness of fit to the reed tongue, vent angle, cleanness of the corner between the vent and the top surface, and its ability to resist corrosion. These steel frames are not happy, although they could be saved if you have the time to throw at them. The aluminium frames, when they corrode, just eat away and are often good for nothing.

 

The key thing in reedwork is the metallugy of the reed tongue (elasticity), its geometry relative it's elasticity thus controlling controlling power to weight v frequency ratios. The reed tongue's clearances to the frame, gapping and evenness of cross section (reduces odd vibrational effects etc.).

 

Then all the other impoderables kick in............................................ not least of which is sounding the right reed(s) at the right time, in the right order, for the right duration; I read about this once, I think its called 'music' - something that we repairers seem to loose sight of sometimes. :ph34r:

 

Dave

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Steel shoes does sound like an experiment that was doomed to go wrong. Wood breathes and over time moisture moves through it (depending on the resistance of the wood to this movement which is why good hard wood is so highly valued). That and the fact that these are a form of mechanical wind instrument just is begging to have corrosion start taking a bite out of the steel. Though I would think that you would tend to get black oxide instead of red which would in fact seal the metal. Depending on the wood used the steel could also react with that as well.

 

I have to agree with Dave in that there are many more properties that have a much more direct effect upon the voice of a reed before you ever get to the metal reed is fixed to. The fact that the reeds shoe is press fitted into the reed pan (in my knowledge to the majority of the British "traditional" reeded instruments) means the the pan itself acts to a limited degree as part of "frame" for the reed to sound against. One of the problem when stoning a harmonica reed plate smooth is that you really do not want to thin it very much as it will add an unwanted tinning to the voice of the instrument. Concertina shoes have a very unique shape that in function causes a minute amount of decrease in pressure on the reed as the throat of the reed well is beveled and not straight up and down as you will find in most other free reeded instruments. I wonder if the polishing that i do for harmonicas would have the same effect on concertina reeds in both voice and longevity of the reeds playability?

 

Michael

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I've been watching this thread and thought from the beginning that the staining of the wood that the shoe is attached to, might pose a problem of sorts.

 

I have an extreme example. I was down on the beach log hunting several years ago, looking for cedar to mill up for decking in 2 " slabs. I came across a 4' at the butt log in very good shape, except for the steel rods every 12' (log was 60' long). I removed the rods, a story in itself, and began the process of quarter sawing the log. To cut a long story short, it took 6 times as long, and destroyed several saw chains in the process. The staining had blossomed inside the log from each steel rod almost in a 4' diameter (stayed 4' from rod hole, but diameter of log reduced as I traveled from butt to tip). It looks to me like it was a combination of salt water and the iron ions (?) replacing the tree's moisture in the cells, then drying into the log from hell. I used 4 chain saws, having two sons sharpening while I did the grunt work. I have to say it is lovely decking....but never, ever, again....

 

The wood was absolutely stunning, in a deep purple/black way and this ordinary western red cedar, which is a pretty soft wood, was as hard as nails and destroyed my planer blades (gave that up real quick) and saw chains the moment they came in contact. So I would assume steel shoes that eventually stained the wood enclosing it, would also change somewhat the mechanical characteristics of that wood. I wonder if it would be for the better or worse? I'll assume worse, but you never know...

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Steel shoes does sound like an experiment that was doomed to go wrong. Wood breathes and over time moisture moves through it (depending on the resistance of the wood to this movement which is why good hard wood is so highly valued). That and the fact that these are a form of mechanical wind instrument just is begging to have corrosion start taking a bite out of the steel. Though I would think that you would tend to get black oxide instead of red which would in fact seal the metal. Depending on the wood used the steel could also react with that as well.

 

I have seen steel reed frames once before - some were so corroded into the wood of the reedpans that they were nigh-on impossible to remove.

 

Steve

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Steel shoes does sound like an experiment that was doomed to go wrong. Wood breathes and over time moisture moves through it (depending on the resistance of the wood to this movement which is why good hard wood is so highly valued). That and the fact that these are a form of mechanical wind instrument just is begging to have corrosion start taking a bite out of the steel. Though I would think that you would tend to get black oxide instead of red which would in fact seal the metal. Depending on the wood used the steel could also react with that as well.

 

I have seen steel reed frames once before - some were so corroded into the wood of the reedpans that they were nigh-on impossible to remove.

 

Steve

 

 

Similar issues with the one I have, it is difficult to remove the frames, but the main issue is from effects of condensation precipitated in the reed frame vents, this where the worst of the prblem lies, they are a mess.

 

Dave

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Similar issues with the one I have, it is difficult to remove the frames, but the main issue is from effects of condensation precipitated in the reed frame vents, this where the worst of the prblem lies, they are a mess.

 

Dave

 

So, what would be the expert approach to this one - is it a viable restoration?

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So, what would be the expert approach to this one - is it a viable restoration?

 

Rob,

 

It can be repaired, even to the extent of stripping out reed tongues, replacing some steel frames with brass ones, replacing damaged reed tongues etc. Having done all that, the instrument is a dead basic 30k mahogany ended anglo, with brass reed tongues. If the istrument is worth say £800; perhaps you may have paid say £250-£300 for it. The basic re-furb was to cost say £300; would you spend the extra ££££££££££££££, on it when there is no guarantee of its ultimate sound quality or how much extra you would have to pay? So repairable, probably yes, viable financially, its doubtful, viable as great -great grandad's famous concertina, or as a retirement project, or as a musical rubic's cube............. take your own view.

 

regards

 

Dave E

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...a Lachenel 188,000 series Anglo 30k.... A failed experiment perhaps?....

Guesstimate: 172001..187400: 1904-1918

End of, or post WW1 material shortages?

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...a Lachenel 188,000 series Anglo 30k.... A failed experiment perhaps?....

Guesstimate: 172001..187400: 1904-1918

End of, or post WW1 material shortages?

 

Ho- Hum

 

actually 188738........, so probably not a bad assumption to make, but an assumption never the less. Shrewd though, very shrewd. Perhaps we need some numbers off other similar instruments.

 

Dave E

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For the 188,xxx+ range the actual guesstimate is 187401..196800: 1904-1927 which is a lot wider, but the previous range ending at 1918 may be a useful clue. A low 187xxx was said to have led the troops into Armetiers, so the WW1 period is a distinct possibility. I don't think we'll ever find an answer, just a few suggestions, of which material shortages is one. From the database: 188736 (but could that be a misread of the instrument you have?) and 189937 (which probably isn't Mike's as it was scrapped) are reported with steel frames. In between we don't have data on frames (8 instruments) although the two metal ended ones are both noted as 'cheap metal ends' which isn't a commonly noted attribute, so perhaps thats a plus for the shortages suggestion?

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