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Author Topic: M Hohner B/E  (Read 9334 times)

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Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #80 on: March 27, 2014, 08:19:14 PM »

You may have missed this earlier in the thread Christopher but then again it may not be the clearest explanation in the world!

I've done the back and bottom runs first and these will be trimmed off flush with the corners. The front and top runs will then overlap slightly underneath and down the back where they are unlikely to be noticed after the metal corners are refitted.

Rightly or wrongly I elected to stick the buckram to the face of the frame only leaving the edge bellows run and the small tuck around the end of the frame until later. Time will tell if this was a good idea!

So here's the story from the top. I measured the width of the wooden bellows frame at 36mm and I wanted a 10mm overlap onto the bellows where they meet the frame and 4mm to tuck around the end edge of the frame which faces the action box. So four 50mm strips were cut across the 510mm width of the buckram as it would need two pieces to cover each end frame. At this point I decided not to attempt to stick the 50mm to three different faces at the same time, so starting at the chin end of the back of the bellows I pasted the back of the frame only. With assistance I then held a strip of 4mm ply against the edge of the frame and aligned the edge of the strip with that (this gave me the required 4mm wrap around the end of the frame). A pre-cut piece of scrap wood went onto the face of the tape and three spring clamps were applied. Turn the bellows through 90 degrees, paste the bottom run, align with ply again add scrap wood strip and two spring clamps. Repeat on the other bellows frame and leave overnight.

Next day trim off the excess buckram across the full 50mm width, flush with the corners of the wooden frame. Repeat the whole process on the top and front of the frames but this time when you trim off the excess leave a few millimeters to go around the corner and overlap the first piece to avoid any obvious cut edges on the corners. I used an 8mm overlap, most of the width of which is covered by the decorative metal corner pieces.

Last job was to cut the front and back corners and do the neat little tucks and miters where frame met bellows or end box. It was at this point that I noticed something rather odd and alarming, the turn down from the frame onto the bellows was noticeably narrower on one end and was nowhere near 10mm. I immediately cursed my lump-headed stupidity in obviously picking up the wrong piece of plywood to gauge the second frame overlap only to realise that there was only one thickness of scrap ply kicking about on the bench.  ??? Silly me, I should have measured the width of both frames then I would have known that the other frame was 37.5 mm wide not 36mm.  :o  There followed a short interlude when I completely lost touch with reality to be honest. The lineage and marital status of M.Hohner's forebear's was called into question and his skilled workforce were likened unto the less savoury parts of the human anatomy. Even now a small vein pulses in my left temple whenever I think about it.

Which paste did I use? Okay it's time to come clean, I didn't use bookbinder's paste because I wasn't about to spend several pounds to buy a tub of something I'm never going to use up. I used about a tablespoon full of ready mixed wallpaper paste for the whole job. The ready mixed stuff is starch based unlike the cellulose based stuff you buy in packets (with the notable exception of LAP, now owned and made by Polycell). Yes, wallpaper paste contains mould inhibitors and isn't archival quality but I have to express my doubts that Hohner ever used acid free card and paper to make bellows. The paste didn't work at all when I tried to stick the buckram overlaps down at the corners but a quick smear of PVA sorted that out in no time.

I hope that has answered your questions Christopher but do please ask again if my explanation isn't clear.
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #81 on: March 27, 2014, 10:34:14 PM »

Ah! Yes. But Polycell is cellulose based and will rot at about the same time you need to change your wallpaper  :'(
 Sellotape will do it in three months.
Copydex in two.
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Christopher K.

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #82 on: March 28, 2014, 06:33:42 AM »

Like crystal, thanks! The bit about measuring both sides will not be forgotten. Likewise the shim to square the edge.

Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #83 on: March 28, 2014, 08:47:25 AM »

Ah! Yes. But Polycell is cellulose based and will rot at about the same time you need to change your wallpaper  :'(

Pay attention Nick! I said LAP which is old fashioned starch paste and the company is now owned by Polycell so it says Polycell LAP on the packet. That isn't what a used anyway, I used ready mixed starch paste from Brewers (a painting and decorating wholesalers) because I happened to have some.
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #84 on: March 28, 2014, 10:06:00 AM »

Doh!  :|bl
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Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #85 on: March 29, 2014, 07:47:30 PM »

I'm now looking at the badly discoloured bits of metal work from the casing as I could now in theory refit the metal corners and the screws for the bellows clips. I've cleaned the corners up with a rotary brass wire brush (in a speed controlled hobby drill not a Dremel stye multi tool ta very much), years of grime have been removed but they are not the bright shiny things I'd like to see and the hooks that hold the bellows closed seem impervious to any form of cleaning.

So does anyone know anything about electro-plating in it's various forms (including the exciting sounding bronze or black plating), the likely cost of plating a couple of dozen small parts and do they really mean 'No Job Too Small'?

I took my wishlist of new fittings (nice shoulder straps, strap brackets, costalotti style bass strap with nice fixing plates to cover the ends, nice bellows straps, felt washers to fit under the buttons, new facing material for the pallets etc) to Charlie Marshall's online emporium. £85 for bits and I haven't even looked at the reed work yet, eek!

The reed work for this will go to Theo methinks, I don't fancy messing with the brass reeds and he did such a good job of tuning a brass reeded concertina for me a few years ago that I have great faith in the results. I could replace the valves myself I suppose but that might as well be done with the tuning as it will probably save Theo a lot of grief.
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Nick Collis Bird

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #86 on: March 29, 2014, 09:06:01 PM »

Look on the net Pete,  there are several small firms who specialise in electro-plating. There main business comes from vehicle restorers. In the past I've had several bits of Phonograph pieces plated.
They will ask for a photo and size and give you a quote . Shouldn't be too expensive.
Sorry but I can't find any paperwork or info of the firm I used. They are usually, underneath the arches type outfits. And the stuff comes back as good as new. (:)
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Theo

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #87 on: March 29, 2014, 09:24:45 PM »

Please please save yourself some case and don't plate the metalwork.  It is almost certainly mostly zinc, and would have been a Matt grey finish all it's life.  Bright new plate would be out of character.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Broadland Boy

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #88 on: March 29, 2014, 09:59:05 PM »

Pete,

My single row of this pattern (other than it arrived with overtwanged curly brass reeds which yours seems to have escaped) had traces of Nickel plating over the rusty pressed steel hooks (probably tinplate considering the lithographed corners), having cleaned the hooks I bought some Nickel Plating solution on ebay, aimed at 'pen plating' the kits come with a power supply and a pen with sponge / cloth tip which holds the solution with a voltage applied between this and the job, have not yet done it but I had previously seen some small German toy steam engine bits replated by a friend using this method and they look good and seem to hold their plating even when subject to hot meths fumes.
I can't decide how to improve the Silver Medal Award writing which has faded and worn off badly, my penmanship is not good enough to redo but have been wondering if using some silver paint / ink in a draughting pen and adding numerous dots where the silver was would look OK if not closely inspected - some of the restored boxes in the Hohner book look 'over tarted' where this has been simply rewritten anew, I'd like to make it readable, not new.
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Richard A
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Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #89 on: March 29, 2014, 11:33:10 PM »

I wouldn't attempt to recreate anything that was so badly worn it was barely legible, I don't have the skill and we all have to draw the line somewhere! The corners on my bellows frames weren't lithographed nor do they extend to the full width of the wooden bellows frames. I really don't see myself going down the route of DIY plating kits so perhaps I'll just clean everything up as best I can and let it go at that.

Replacing the microscopic 'screws' that fixed the decorative plates on the treble grille in place will be problematic. These were really tiny and I spent ages with a  magnifying glass and a scalpel blade trying to clean out the slot to get the finest of my jeweller's screwdrivers in to remove them. Utterly defeated I gritted my teeth and dragged them out with sub-miniature end-nippers, I bit the head off one and the rest were bent beyond use. They were cheap, cropped off miniature nails with a slot painted on the top.  :o
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 01:49:14 PM by tallship »
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Broadland Boy

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #90 on: March 31, 2014, 12:29:12 AM »

They were cheap, cropped off miniature nails with a slot painted on the top.  :o

ROFL  - Not encountered that one Pete but I'll own to similar breakage in a couple of watches when annoyance / impatience short circuited the 'check if left hand thread' subroutine   :-[
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Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #91 on: March 31, 2014, 10:41:28 PM »

If the rain holds off tomorrow I'll take the bellows outdoors for a photo shoot. The cleaned up metal corners have been refitted to the bellows frames and look pleasantly agricultural without benefit of electro-plating.

I've been hiding the results of my labours for some time now haven't I? You might well ask why, so gather around quietly and I'll let you into a secret. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin . . .

It is an undeniable fact that if you cut a strip of MDF to just the right width and then pass it through an extended set of bellows it will prevent the bellows from closing. It is also an undeniable fact that a set of bellows thus extended makes the fitting of new bellows tape an absolute breeze! So far so good. When however it takes numerous lunchtimes to complete the task, and then you decide to leave them for a few days to dry out, well then a subtle change occurs and it isn't for the better! Remove the stretcher plank and the bellows shrink to a natural width of about 300mm or a foot for the metrically challenged; press them together and they will resist and spring straight back out again. Drop them on the floor and you will spend a few minutes chasing them around the workshop as they bounce Zebedee like around the room!

So the bellows have been under moderately heavy compression between two boards in a woodworker's vice for some days now. They whimper now and again, today the expansion was only about 30mm.  :|glug
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Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #92 on: April 02, 2014, 05:24:09 PM »

That's better!

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Pete Dunk

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #93 on: April 09, 2014, 07:39:50 PM »

I'm now saving up a bit of cash to send the box off for tuning and to buy a full set of straps and other bits and bobs to finish the job off. I would have been happy to live with the existing finish on the casework if it only had the dings and scrapes found on older boxes but at some time it's come into contact with something that has left patches where the varnish is wrinkled and crazed which rather spoils it.

I'm struggling to find anything that gets close to the colour, I can find red mahogany but it's pretty dark compared to the present colour, does anyone have any ideas?
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forrest

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #94 on: April 12, 2014, 08:18:57 PM »

I'm now saving up a bit of cash to send the box off for tuning and to buy a full set of straps and other bits and bobs to finish the job off. I would have been happy to live with the existing finish on the casework if it only had the dings and scrapes found on older boxes but at some time it's come into contact with something that has left patches where the varnish is wrinkled and crazed which rather spoils it.

I'm struggling to find anything that gets close to the colour, I can find red mahogany but it's pretty dark compared to the present colour, does anyone have any ideas?

The box looks great, Pete! One trick worth trying as an experiment; get some 'burnishing cream', a type of very fine rubbing compound used by antique finishers to remove scratches and restore old finishes to a pleasant appearance. Try a small area that is rather inconspicuous, and see if you like the results. (Works well on metal and celluloid too!) Of course you will not be able to make it look as new as the bellows, but it can restore a bit of sheen to the finish and subdue the more problematic areas.
   I just returned from New York City where I was taken by my host to a highly esteemed vintage guitar shop. Many of the instruments were 50 yrs. and older, and many had finishes that would make your Hohner seem quite clean. They had price tags in the thousands of $'s. For what it's worth, even the makers of new instruments are offering models featuring finishes that are distressed, or "road-worn", so you would be right in fashion! Think Patina!  ;)
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Theo

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #95 on: April 12, 2014, 11:16:09 PM »

Agreed, its all too easy to over-restore.
Another tip for restoring minor blemishes is to rub over with almond oil. That's a tip I was given by a violin repairer.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #96 on: April 13, 2014, 06:27:59 PM »

I restored a similar instrument years ago. The finish on these seems to be shellac , and seems to polish nicely with automotive  "fine scratch remover"polish. The finish was worn off on one area and I used a watercolor marker that I bought at a art store to match the color, and then painted shellac over that.
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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #97 on: May 05, 2014, 07:16:03 PM »

Please excuse a neophyte for an off topic interlude. I'll be brief.
I am a new owner of a lovely patina'd early Hohner honey pokerwork melodeon.
It is well used and needs tuning, so I'm looking for a good resource here in the buckle of the bible belt over here in the colonies.
I am trying to determine its tuning and via search, ended up on this thread. The side of the key/button board is marked B/Es.
It has the prominent B followed by the slash, then a prominent E, followed by a quite diminutive 's'.
I know it's a quite rare tuning...
Please advise,
Chris
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Theo

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #98 on: May 05, 2014, 07:23:49 PM »

It is Bflat/Eflat.  A less common tuning for sure, but not rare.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Re: M Hohner B/E
« Reply #99 on: May 05, 2014, 09:30:38 PM »

Thank you, Theo.
I've just become your 300th like on FB Box Place! I know, I know, that and a tuppence will get me...
Nevertheless, I appreciate such a timely reply.
Seems the best thing for me now is to get a nice D/G to start with and let this B/E remain a statically beautiful ornament for the time being.
Let me know if you do not concur,
Cheers,
Chris
P.S. I'm coming over to Blighty on the 23rd of May for a week or so. I know most will be away on bank holiday, but I'll be around London for the weekend before heading south to Poole, for the remainder of my stay.
If I were to send you some pics could you ball park a resto to playing condition? If so, what pics are the most relevant in your being able to make such a determination?
I just might bring it over in my hand luggage, and drop it straight away into the Royal Mail to you, depending of course upon your demands, bookings and schedule.
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