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Creaky bellows


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Lleanne,

Please Google "saddle soap" and read the reasons NOT to use it. There are many. For example:

 

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7...uths.html?cat=7

 

To some reading this thread, Dave Elliott, Chris Ghent, Leo and I may seem like nay sayers, "Don't do this; Don't do that!" As repairers, builders and aficionados of concertinas we are simply trying to help you be good custodians of your instruments. We've seen the ill effects of neglect, accident and poorly thought out good intentions on our repair benches. With some care and thoughtfulness many of the vintage concertinas out there will make it to the next century and beyond.

 

Some of the techniques and materials used by restorers of Victorian books may be compatible with bellows maintenance. But please remember your bellows are a combination of leather, card, linen and adhesive. Use of a conditioner should be considered very carefully. The amount should be the minimum. Application should be deliberate.

 

Shoe creme or paste, used sparingly, remains the best over the counter bellows application.

 

Keep those concertinas playing and off the repair bench.

 

Greg

Edited by Greg Jowaisas
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Lleanne,

Please Google "saddle soap" and read the reasons NOT to use it. There are many. For example:

 

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7...uths.html?cat=7

 

To some reading this thread, Dave Elliott, Chris Ghent, Leo and I may seem like nay sayers, "Don't do this; Don't do that!" As repairers, builders and aficionados of concertinas we are simply trying to help you be good custodians of your instruments. We've seen the ill effects of neglect, accident and poorly thought out good intentions on our repair benches. With some care and thoughtfulness many of the vintage concertinas out there will make it to the next century and beyond.

 

Some of the techniques and materials used by restorers of Victorian books may be compatible with bellows maintenance. But please remember your bellows are a combination of leather, card, linen and adhesive. Use of a conditioner should be considered very carefully. The amount should be the minimum. Application should be deliberate.

 

Shoe creme or paste, used sparingly, remains the best over the counter bellows application.

 

Keep those concertinas playing and off the repair bench.

 

Greg

Thanks Greg!

I won't be using that, then.

Lleanne

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Lleanne,

Please Google "saddle soap" and read the reasons NOT to use it. There are many. For example:

 

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7...uths.html?cat=7

 

To some reading this thread, Dave Elliott, Chris Ghent, Leo and I may seem like nay sayers, "Don't do this; Don't do that!" As repairers, builders and aficionados of concertinas we are simply trying to help you be good custodians of your instruments. We've seen the ill effects of neglect, accident and poorly thought out good intentions on our repair benches. With some care and thoughtfulness many of the vintage concertinas out there will make it to the next century and beyond.

 

Some of the techniques and materials used by restorers of Victorian books may be compatible with bellows maintenance. But please remember your bellows are a combination of leather, card, linen and adhesive. Use of a conditioner should be considered very carefully. The amount should be the minimum. Application should be deliberate.

 

Shoe creme or paste, used sparingly, remains the best over the counter bellows application.

 

Keep those concertinas playing and off the repair bench.

 

Greg

 

Couldn't agree more Greg

 

I had my own disasters with both neatsfoot oils and saddle soap many, many years ago.

 

If you are stuck with a tin of neatsfoot oil, Alan, either buy a pair of pit boots or swap your armchair for a saddle :lol:

 

Cheers

 

Dave

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Couldn't agree more Greg

 

I had my own disasters with both neatsfoot oils and saddle soap many, many years ago.

 

I have to add my tale of disaster to this topic.

 

When I got my new Stagi, I felt that the bellows were a bit stiff, and thought they might crack when fully distended. So I treated them with a "leather balsam", advertised as solvent-free and made of natural ingredients, which had worked wonders on an old leather jacket, and kept my shoes supple and watertight.

 

After a time, holes developed in two of the bellows corners, and the bellows started "collapsing" on the draw. So I opened it up, and found that most of the card sections had come unstuck from the leather. Not a pretty sight! I patched the holes, and glued the card and leather together again. Until the next card sections became unstuck, and had to be re-glued. This process had to be repeated at intervals for several years. The bellows were never really in a state to withstand a strong draw, and they "bounced" when changing direction (and this on an Anglo!).

 

Finally, I capitulated and ordered a replacement bellows from Concertina Connection, which was supple right from the start. I now have a turbo-Stagi that can be driven hard if need be.

 

I'm sure the makers and repairers are right - there are so many materials involved in a concertina bellows, and any treatment must take them all into account. What's good for leather is obviously not good for glue.

 

If in doubt - apply nowt ...

 

Cheers,

John

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The "bounce " in the bellows folds that John talks about is a symptom of hinge failure or card delamination. On an anglo that relies on quick, frequent and effecient bellows reversals this condition can be a real handicap. Rosalie Dipper calls it "talking puppets" since the folds seem to be coming and going randomly and could well be holding a back and forth conversation.

 

I once saw a beautiful, almost new Dipper that had this syndrome. Quite disheartening. The owner had applied a "leather conditioner", perhaps with too much enthusiasm, to help unstiffen the new bellows. I suspect the conditioner had penetrated though the leather into the card and had affected adhesive and card integrity.

 

It was a graphic lesson that made quite an impression on me.

 

Greg

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:rolleyes: Many thanks for the help, everyone. I bought some Neatsfoot oil today from my local agricultural supplier - cost about £5.00 for enough to immerse the entire instrument!!!!! I'll give a little of this a try as it does indeed claim restorative properties "without damage to leather or stitching".

Thanks again - Alan ;)

 

But be very very careful, neatsfoot oil can damage the adhesives and the card used in concertina bellows. It's designed for horse tack, not concertinas. If you only use small quantities you may be safe. Another problem with neatsfoot is that it remains oily for a long time so the surfaces you treat will be more difficult to clean because the dust that always accumulates in the bellows folds will not easily brush out. I would not put neatsfoot oil anywhere near a concertina bellows.

 

I don't know where the idea comes from that shoe cream is bad for shoes. I've seen no evidence of that myself and I've been wearing shoes, and polishing them, all my life. I think you are quite safe with some black shoe polish. It leaves a waxy surface coating which will act as a lubricant in the areas of the gussets where there are tight folds. It is the rubbing of leather surfaces in these folds that causes the squeaking, and in the long run may result in some wear on the edges of folds.

 

Theo

 

I was told some time ago that certain shoe waxes and polishes (not creams) had too high a solvent content to be considered good for shoes. That person hated "Kiwi" and swore by "Cherry Blossom". Now I guess formulations change but I'd guess it's still possible that polishes with a high naphtha or ethylene glycol content would be less good than a high wak content or solvent free polish or cream.

 

Either way, a polish is going to be better than saddle soap, conditioners and oil.

 

One repairer did suggest that I used lamb fat on a particularly stiff set of bellows and I was all ready to put the roast on until he told me that was a local slang for a particular kind of wax dressing!

 

Alex

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