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Author Topic: Serafini Box Project  (Read 1515 times)

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ChrisLDD

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Serafini Box Project
« on: September 06, 2017, 11:20:27 AM »

I bought an odd-ball Serafini box off ebay a couple of weeks back that I thought might make an interesting project. It is totally uni-sonoric, the treble end fashioned like a piano keyboard, but with buttons; the bass end (24 buttons) a mixture off bass notes and third-less chords (some notes repeated).

Does anyone have information on Marc Serafini’s Darwin layout, as links to his site no longer appear to be active?

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Jackhumphreys

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 06:25:55 PM »

Google has this about the DARWIN
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=6649.0
and
http://lediato.free.fr/fichiers/darwinflailleur_flailleurA5.pdf

As far as I remember,  the treble side is normal  push-pull bisonoric e.g. GC Acc;  but the basses are unisonoric but not stradella, more reminiscent of Haydon concertina.  Serafini wrote about ending the war of the buttons - i.e. between treble and bass.
Aurelian Claranbaux plays a Darwin very beautifully, but I've not seen many others.
In the pyrennees last year I briefly met a young maker (ex Serafini) who was displaying his own made Darwin, so they are available from him while Serafini himself is no long making.

The seller did offer that box on Melnet and described it here, so maybe he said whether the bass side was like Darwin's or some other design.
Good luck with your project!

« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 06:45:36 PM by Jackhumphreys »
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playandteach

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2017, 06:50:30 PM »

I nearly tried this out on a trip to Brighton, but the seller was busy that day. I did contact Marc Serafini about possibly reconverting it. I would imagine the left hand will go back to the Darwin format easily, as that is the way it was originally built and the guy in Brighton had it converted by Serafini again to his own choice of system. The right hand is the one that made me hesitate - though I would quite have liked to try it as it is.
I'll be interested to see whether you need a whole new right end - or are you leaving it as a piano keyboard set up?
It's a lot of box for the money if you can make it work.
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 10:53:02 PM »

Google has this about the DARWIN
http://forum.melodeon.net/index.php?topic=6649.0
and
http://lediato.free.fr/fichiers/darwinflailleur_flailleurA5.pdf


Hi Jack,

Unfortunately, the links to Serafini in the previous threads are no longer active, but your second link is exactly what I was looking for - many thanks.
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 11:27:30 PM »

I nearly tried this out on a trip to Brighton, but the seller was busy that day. I did contact Marc Serafini about possibly reconverting it. I would imagine the left hand will go back to the Darwin format easily, as that is the way it was originally built and the guy in Brighton had it converted by Serafini again to his own choice of system. The right hand is the one that made me hesitate - though I would quite have liked to try it as it is.
I'll be interested to see whether you need a whole new right end - or are you leaving it as a piano keyboard set up?
It's a lot of box for the money if you can make it work.

I too was hoping that the conversion of the bass end back to Darwin would be relatively straight forward, but alas it is not going to be. First surprise is that three pallets on either end of both bass and chords are not connected at all, and some of the push-rods are doubled up onto certain levers - the layout explains why.

I guess I’ll just take it one step at a time. I’ve already removed all the push-rods ready for a weekend of re-wiring.

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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 09:16:16 AM »

I've now straightened and re-used as many of the push-rods as possible - new push-rods made from 2.5mm aluminium welding rods.
Plastic push-clips and small nylon washers were bought from Amazon (the new white push-clips seem more secure than the originals, so I've replaced them all).

Pleased with how its turned out ... nothing touching internally ... really smooth:)
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playandteach

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 10:30:38 AM »

Good job. What are your plans with the right hand?
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 05:34:44 PM »

Good job. What are your plans with the right hand?

Haven't looked at the right-hand yet, because there's so much still to do on the bass end. I'm hoping that converting to a normal 2-row might not be too difficult.
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2017, 06:04:57 PM »

This both surprised and disappointed me - the bass and the chord reed-blocks have had the unused end-chambers sawn off!
At first, I was at a complete loss as to why this would have been done ... surely not a weight consideration?

I now believe, for the following reasons, that the reed-blocks currently installed were not originally intended for the Darwin:
1). The current reed-blocks, if repaired, would be too long and would touch the internal sides of the bellows.
2). Additional mounting holes have been drilled in the reed-block base.
3). The spacing of the air holes does not exactly match the reed chambers.

I would imagine that this whole modification was done when the bass side of the box was converted from Darwin to its current layout, but in my opinion, it is a horrible kludge, and not befitting a box of this calibre. I’ve now started work on new reed-blocks.


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Lester

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 06:12:46 PM »

Quote
The current reed-blocks, if repaired, would be too long and would touch the internal sides of the bellows.

First visit to this tread.

You are correct about the reed blocks eating the bellows I saw this when I had the box in my workshop a fair bit back. This was before it went back to Marc for modding.
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 06:53:40 PM »

Quote
The current reed-blocks, if repaired, would be too long and would touch the internal sides of the bellows.

First visit to this tread.

You are correct about the reed blocks eating the bellows I saw this when I had the box in my workshop a fair bit back. This was before it went back to Marc for modding.

I've just checked the internals of the bellows - definitely some rubbing from the original bass reed-block. I will bear this in mind - thank you.
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 01:08:28 AM »

Decided not to use the original bass reads as there were already 2 different sizes, and with the additional reeds I needed to add, this became 3!
I had a nice set of Harmonikas, so I decided to use them instead.

The bass and chord reed-blocks, I made with the aid of a laser cutter. The design was not too difficult actually, just a lot of repetition!
Internals made of high quality 2mm ply. 3.5mm walnut for the base and sides, 6mm walnut for the top.
First picture shows the parts for the bass block.

My biggest concern was closeness of internally facing reeds - the 'get out' would have been to make a spacer and raise up the bass block. I've tried it, and it doesn't appear to be a problem, so I'm happy:)
One issue I've noticed is that  a couple of the chord reeds do not sound as loud as others - the valves do not appear to be causing this.
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playandteach

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2017, 12:52:22 PM »

Chris
I had volume differences in the middle of my treble reed blocks. Last year Marc took the blocks back and changed some of the internal chamber sizes - I don't know exactly what he did but it made a big difference.
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ChrisLDD

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2017, 11:07:05 AM »

Chris
I had volume differences in the middle of my treble reed blocks. Last year Marc took the blocks back and changed some of the internal chamber sizes - I don't know exactly what he did but it made a big difference.

I remember you mentioning this in a previous post - I too would love to know what was done.

The problem I have is probably of my own making. I decided to re-use the original reeds for the chords, and started by selecting the best reeds for the fundamental of each chord. When I had a choice of reed of the same frequency, I selected the least molested - this I believe was a mistake. What I probably should have done is picked the reed that had already been subjected to a re-tune, leaving cleaner reeds for the fifths, re-tuning where necessary.

I'm in the process of setting up and fine tuning the bass end. When this is done I will look to replace any underperforming reeds.
 
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playandteach

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 12:19:32 PM »

Makes me realise this would have been an expensive rebuild for anyone not able to do it themselves. Just one comment on the internally facing reeds. At one point one of my bass reeds kept hitting another. Theo planed (actually I think it was a bench sander) a very slight angle onto the reedblock bases to tilt them away from eachother - he naturally knew how much to do without the outside reeds fouling the bellows. That was all it needed - though obviously even that would be difficult by hand (at least by my hand).
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Lester

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2017, 12:26:05 PM »

Another option is to mount the bass reeds in a 'top hat' arrangement as used by Emmanuel Pariselle

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kxrCUNlKswOpFjDq2
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2017, 01:25:20 PM »

"https://photos.app.goo.gl/kxrCUNlKswOpFjDq2"

I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the box, but how the devil do those reeds sound with an open ended chamber below them?
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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2017, 01:50:36 PM »

"https://photos.app.goo.gl/kxrCUNlKswOpFjDq2"

I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the box, but how the devil do those reeds sound with an open ended chamber below them?
They're not open ended. The bass (uppermost) reed blocks are mounted on a 'chimney' arrangement which feeds air into the chamber.
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Edward Jennings

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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2017, 03:01:13 PM »

Having a chimney to feed the top reeds is a great idea, and simple too. But in that picture there doesn't seem (to me) to be enough room between the inner banks of reeds to have a chimney of any sort. Obviously, I'm mistaken, as usual.
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Re: Serafini Box Project
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2017, 04:06:15 PM »

Having a chimney to feed the top reeds is a great idea, and simple too. But in that picture there doesn't seem (to me) to be enough room between the inner banks of reeds to have a chimney of any sort. Obviously, I'm mistaken, as usual.

This photo shows the bass block with the low reeds missing but doesn't show the chimney holes
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