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Author Topic: Valve replacement  (Read 6878 times)

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Jamie Robertson

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Valve replacement
« on: January 02, 2008, 01:34:56 PM »

Having just bought a 30s Pokerwork, and having opened it up, I realized that it might as well have no valves at all.  The leather ones it has, although still supple, are curled pretty far out from the reeds.

My question to all readers is: do I attempt to recondition the valves, or replace them?

If replace is the consensus, do I replace with leather, or plastic?

Do I replace the inside valves as well?  If so, are ther any suggestions about efficient wax removal and replacement.

I've written Theo outside of the message board about the issue, and we thought this forum would be a good place to continue the discussion.  I have some ideas already, but would like to see how others feel about the subject.
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Theo

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 02:01:22 PM »

And here is what I said in reply:

Its only worth replacing valves if you also take off all the reeds  so you can replace the valves on the 'inside' of the reedblock. Then you need to clean off all traces of the old wax and fit the reedplates back with fresh wax.   Its pretty much pointless to just do the outside ones, unless its just one or two valves that have been damaged by rough handling.

Its generally easier to do the whole job in one go.  If your objective is to get a playable instrument then let your luthier do the whole job,  if you want to start learning about box repairs then have a go yourself.

Waxing reeds is not particularly difficult, but like any skill it does take some practice.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Jamie Robertson

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008, 02:19:58 PM »

Thanks for publishing your reply, Theo.  You also wrote in another email about my questions to you:

I often replace leather valves with plastic,  they are more consistent
in operation.

Its only worth replacing valves if you also take off all the reeds  so
you can replace the valves on the 'inside' of the reedblock. Then you
need to clean off all traces of the old wax and fit the reedplates back
with fresh wax.   Its pretty much pointless to just do the outside
ones, unless its just one or two valves that have been damaged by rough
handling.
 

I do hope some other experienced forum members will join in with their insights into the actual procedures, etc.
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BruceHenderson

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2008, 03:20:17 PM »

   I've heard it said that leather valves often curl away from the reeds due to years of being stored with the valves positioned so that they hang away from the reeds.  And I've heard that "real leather" leathers can often be rehabilitated by being flattened and "reverse-bent" to take the curl out of them.  But, as Theo says, it's a complex, time-consuming job -- unless you care a lot about "historical accuracy", better to replace them with plastic.

(And Jamie, beware.  In the US, "valve" often is used to refer to the mechanical part that closes the hole in the sound plate - the Louisiana guys also call this the "flapper".  So, if you're talking to a US repairer, be sure to be clear that it's the reed valve leather you're talking about, not the part with the felt gasket on it.)
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Theo

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2008, 04:01:35 PM »

   I've heard that "real leather" leathers can often be rehabilitated by being flattened and "reverse-bent" to take the curl out of them

This is very much a short term fix.  Furled valves which have been flattened soon curl again. 

Quote
unless you care a lot about "historical accuracy", better to replace them with plastic

Historical accuracy is a trick one.  I doubt anyone would want to use a vintage guitar or fiddle with its original strings.  Strings and reed valves are designed so they can eventually be replaced.  If you want to play an old box then replacing valves and wax are just maintenance tasks that have to be done after a few decades.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Kevin Mack

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2008, 07:50:32 PM »

Does it need fine tuning? If so, and this is beyond you, then it would be best to get this done at the same time as the valves, by a tuner. To do the valves without tuning would be false economy, as you might find yourself paying for the same job again later, when you decide it does need a fine tune.
     If it's in excellent tune, you might attempt the job yourself. Test the wax by prodding it. If it's dry and brittle, it's a bigger job, as it needs replacing, but if it seems fresh and pliable, you could get away with just lifting the reeds out carefully, and replacing or straightening the valves, then replace the reed and re-seal with a cool soldering iron.
    It might be an idea to experiment with a few of the outside valves, that you can reach without removing the reed block. You would get an idea of what the job entails before committing to re-waxing.
Best of luck, Kev.
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Jamie Robertson

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2008, 11:58:20 PM »

Thanks for the advice.  Being in central Virginia, US, there is really no one nearby to talk to.  I have contacted Michael Usui (Irish Dancemaster Accordions) in Florida about the repairs and tuning, but I need to get him photos of the innards.  He'll probably try to convince me to get new reeds, and if the actual repair is within a certain percentage of the cost of a re-reed, I might go for it.  We'll see.  Perhaps Bruce could send me (outside of the forum) the name of his repair guy in the D.C. area.

My wife, who puts up with all of my musical endeavors, says my time would be better spent learning to play the thing better than taking it to bits and trying to re-assemble it.

Thanks again
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RoyFromGeorgia

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 03:12:43 AM »

Thanks for the advice.  Being in central Virginia, US, there is really no one nearby to talk to.  I have contacted Michael Usui (Irish Dancemaster Accordions) in Florida about the repairs and tuning, but I need to get him photos of the innards.  He'll probably try to convince me to get new reeds, and if the actual repair is within a certain percentage of the cost of a re-reed, I might go for it.  We'll see.  Perhaps Bruce could send me (outside of the forum) the name of his repair guy in the D.C. area.

My wife, who puts up with all of my musical endeavors, says my time would be better spent learning to play the thing better than taking it to bits and trying to re-assemble it.

Thanks again

Jamie,
I have an accordion that Michael built for me, and I am delighted with it!  Michael takes great pride in his workmanship, and if he works on your accordion, you can be sure that it will be right.
Good Luck!
Roy
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Theo

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2008, 08:52:03 AM »

Jamie,
I have an accordion that Michael built for me, and I am delighted with it!  Michael takes great pride in his workmanship, and if he works on your accordion, you can be sure that it will be right.
Good Luck!
Roy

 The Button Box also has an excellent reputation for  reed work.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Stiamh

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2008, 01:00:35 PM »

The Button Box also has an excellent reputation for  reed work.
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hibbs3

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 01:21:07 AM »

yves helie is good? would you post his info please, I'm in need of someone to overhaul a 6 voice!
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Stiamh

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Re: Valve replacement
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 01:57:32 PM »

yves helie is good? would you post his info please, I'm in need of someone to overhaul a 6 voice!

Ph 819.823.1317
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