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Author Topic: My First Repair Adventure  (Read 281 times)

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Slavko

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My First Repair Adventure
« on: December 04, 2019, 08:05:32 PM »

Hi everybody, I want to restore a Steirische Harmonika.  It seems in decent/playable shape now, but it's definitely got mold issues.  I'd like to open it and use an alcohol/vinegar solution on the bellows and any other nonporous spots I can reach.  Here's hoping there's no rust on the reeds!   

But first...how to get it open?

See pic related.  Is this simply a matter of removing the screws, using a needlenose on the tiny nails (circled), keeping track of their placement so I can put them back in their proper spots on reassembly?  Is it that easy?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.  Compared to many of the other posts on here, I realize how pedestrian this seems!

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Tiposx

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 08:16:43 PM »

I think that the tacks are there only to hold the metal decor in place. The screws will be what holds the bellows to the ends. I might be wrong, but I wouldn't pull on the tacks.
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Winston Smith

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 08:18:07 PM »

HERE BE DRAGONS!
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Lester

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2019, 08:26:27 PM »



Definitely not the nails, and judging from the photo the screw and washer ids just to hold the two ends of the trim down.

All the photos I've seen show Steirische as having bellows pins the same as melodeons so this video may help


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7nVDIXF3qc

Slavko

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 11:27:03 AM »

HERE BE DRAGONS, indeed!

Thanks for your replies.  Tiposx & Lester were right--the tacks were decorative only.  Thanks for that answer and good advice, without it I would've probably wasted a lot of time.

I located four larger 1.5cm nails acting as bellows pins (two on top, two on bottom) that, once removed, allowed me inside.  It was as easy as Lester's video made it appear (nice video, Lester!!)

Now to look at the reeds!

On the treble side there were four blocks of reeds, and they seem to look pretty good to me--see attached.   Looks like a bit of rust on a few of them, but most look clean.  I take that as a good sign.

However, an local old repairman once told me that once there was ANY rust on the reeds, you were basically out of luck. The rust would constantly fight against keeping the instrument in tune, and that you were better off replacing.

What do you think, in my case?  How bad does it look?

Thanks again for your patience, advice, and goodwill.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 11:40:31 AM »

On the treble side there were four blocks of reeds, and they seem to look pretty good to me--see attached.   Looks like a bit of rust on a few of them, but most look clean.  I take that as a good sign.

However, an local old repairman once told me that once there was ANY rust on the reeds, you were basically out of luck. The rust would constantly fight against keeping the instrument in tune, and that you were better off replacing.

What do you think, in my case?  How bad does it look?
That's not too bad at all; I've seen a lot worse and once cleaned up and tuned, the reeds were perfectly good (and stayed good).

Use a narrow bladed screwdriver to scrape the rust off. Support the reed tongue with a shim or reed-lifter while you do it and work from rivet end to tip.
Don't forget to check for rust on the underside of the reed tongue as well. Lay the reed plate down on a flat surface to support the reed tongue in this case.

Some people use a glass-fibre pen to clean off the rust, but wear a face mask and rubber gloves; the dust and glass fibres go everywhere.
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Lester

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2019, 11:40:56 AM »

Those reeds look fine or at least they will do after a clean up. My preference is to use an abrasive block to clean off the rust on the outside. You also need to lift the valves to check for rust on the inside of the reed plate, if there is rust there it can be removed by scratching, I use scalpel in this event.


As too you old repairman's advice he was wrong. I have cleaned up and tuned many a rusty reed which have remained rust free and maintained their tuning.


Re Steve's advice, I would recommend never using a glassfibre pen (bitter experience) as it sheds small pieces of fibre that can cause problems if they get caught in the reed gaps.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 11:42:48 AM by Lester »
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 12:02:02 PM »

Slavko,

I would also recommend replacing the valves too. The darker, older valves are probably a bit dried out and stiff now. Certainly, any curled valves should be replaced. Your reed plates are held in with reed nails, not wax, so it is easy to remove the reed plates to access to the underneath reeds to remove any rust from all surfaces of the reed tongues.

Once the reed tongues are cleaned up you can replace the valves and only then proceed on to tuning. (No doubt you will have questions on this too. There are a lot of previous posts on the forum about tuning!)

Good luck with your fettling...
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Squeaky Pete

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Re: My First Repair Adventure
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2019, 12:33:46 PM »

For getting the rust off the insides of reeds, I use an old snapped off bit of fibreglass rod. It was for fishing electric cable through but the end snagged and snapped off. I sanded it down to a chisel shape the width of the slot in the reed plate and if it gets blunt I sand it again.
It's rough and ready and cheap as chips.
But it works.
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