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Author Topic: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds  (Read 2765 times)

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mselic

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refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« on: July 28, 2018, 01:56:26 PM »

I've taken on a rather ambitious project (for me), of restoring an old Hohner HA114 that is in good cosmetic and functioning condition, but which has rusty reeds that are wildly out of tune.  The valves are plastic and seem in perfect condition, the wax is old but 'ok', so I'm assuming the reason the reeds went so far out of tune is because of the rust?  Does that make sense?  The MM+ reeds are so far out of tune that my tuner begins to register them as nearly a semitone lower than they should be.  The L and H reeds are closer in tune but still off.  The bass side is perfect.  Here is what I'm thinking of doing, in order of operation:

-remove all the reeds from the wax.
-remove all old wax.
-try and remove the rust from the reeds with sandpaper glued to a stick? Or a very fine grit (400) file?  If using sandpaper, what grit would be appropriate for removing rust?  Open to suggestions here...have been reading up on old posts to try and get a consensus on best practice.
-once rust has been removed, should I attempt a rough tuning outside of the box using a set of bellows rigged up to test individual reedplates?  I imagine the removal of rust will have changed the tuning yet further.  As it currently is, most of the reeds are flat and would require raising pitch by filing the reed tip.  This step of tuning is where I'm most unclear; if I will need to sharpen reeds a fair bit, it makes sense to do it outside the box, as I won't be able to have access to reed tips of the smaller, underside reeds.  On a box such as this, with glued-down blocks, it makes it even trickier.  Suggestions, please!
-re-wax reeds back into box. Now, how do people successfully wax between and at the base of the MM reeds that are facing each other on a HA114 with very little room?!  Tips, tricks?
-final tuning inside box.  Again, with smaller, underside reeds, the only way I could see sharpening them is removing the plates to reach the tips each time I wish to tune.  I suppose one could go a little farther than needed and then flatten them once in place?
-play newly fettled box with joy! This one's in A!! 

Thanks :)
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Melodie D, Hohner HA114s in G and A, Hohner Erica D/C#

triskel

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2018, 02:15:31 PM »

... I'm assuming the reason the reeds went so far out of tune is because of the rust?  Does that make sense?

Yes, TOTALLLY! Rust will do that... 

Quote
-try and remove the rust from the reeds with sandpaper glued to a stick? Or a very fine grit (400) file?  If using sandpaper, what grit would be appropriate for removing rust?  Open to suggestions here...have been reading up on old posts to try and get a consensus on best practice.

I'd use small screwdriver blades of the right width to scrape the rust off the blued backs of the reeds, followed by wire wool. On the tops I'd gently use my (tuning) saw file - but that's on concertinas, where the individual reeds are more accessible.

Quote
-once rust has been removed, should I attempt a rough tuning outside of the box using a set of bellows rigged up to test individual reedplates?

Absolutely!
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Lester

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2018, 04:02:54 PM »

To remove rust from the accessible side of the reed I use these Sanding Pens, on the inside I find that the tip of a scalpel with remove the rust with a little perseverance. 

For tuning I use external bellows to rough tune with the reeds mounted on a spare Hohner block, this seems to enable the reeds to be tuned reasonably accurately thus only needing minimal fine tuning once rewaxed in the box.

For refitting the reeds my method is to apply a bead of wax to the bottom of the reed outside the box and then quickly fit in in place I the wax the top and sides. This system seems to work OK on the 1 rows I have fixed and I have had no complaints.

gettabettabox

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2018, 05:53:00 PM »

I think I’ve mentioned this before on melnet, but the good thing about mastering such work on a HA114 is that, thereafter, you will be able to paint your hallway through your front door letterbox.
 (:)  ;)
« Last Edit: July 28, 2018, 05:57:42 PM by gettabettabox »
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Chris Rayner

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2018, 08:49:46 PM »

I think I’ve mentioned this before on melnet, but the good thing about mastering such work on a HA114 is that, thereafter, you will be able to paint your hallway through your front door letterbox.
 (:)  ;)

Many years ago I was told by a rather saucy midwife that this is the fringe benefit enjoyed by gynaecologists.
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Elderly amateur musician hoping to stave off dementia by learning to play the melodeon.  Main instrument a Tommy, also D/G and G/C pokerworks, and a G/C Benny.  A single row 2 stop Hohner, and a new addition to the free reedery, a well used Hohner c-system chromatic button accordion.

Grumpy

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2018, 08:53:57 PM »

Just a bit OTT but an air eraser (available on ebay) used with an airbrush compressor can remove rust from both sides of the reed without (in the case of concertinas) having to remove the reed blade. Its a bit messy and should only be performed with the reed removed and if possible in the open air. These erasers (a mini sandblaster) are a great bit of kit and can clean jewellery, coins and many small items, can also be used to engrave glass.
Also, after a moment of insperation ( decline to say where!) I found that the concertina type plastic drain cleaner can have a disc of MDF clamped in the mouth with another plate of MDF outside and a mounting made to hold a single reed for tuning (two shamfered strips of brass for English concertina reeds) alongside of a hole covered with an old leather valve to allow the bellows to breath in. A cheap but highly functional tuning bellows.
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Theo

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2018, 09:25:16 PM »

I think the sandblaster would be very likely to damage the softer aluminium of the reed plate, especially at the edges of the reed vent.  For good reed function it is important that there is a clean square edge where the reed tongue and the reed plate are next to each other.  Anyway sandblasting, even on a very small scale, seems to be unnecessary complex and very nessy way of tackling a simple cleaning task. 

A very effective way to clean the top reed surface is to use a abrasive rubber polishing block. These are cheap, effective, relativly mess free and last for ages.

For cleaning the underside of the reed a small flat blade screwdriver makes a very efficient scraper.  It is handy to have a couple of different sizes for different size reeds.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Pete Dunk

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2018, 10:32:30 AM »

I keep looking at ultrasonic cleaning baths, would they work for rust removal?
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Lester

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2018, 10:33:05 AM »

I keep looking at ultrasonic cleaning baths, would they work for rust removal?

I have one that doesn't

GPS

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2018, 10:47:23 AM »

I keep looking at ultrasonic cleaning baths, would they work for rust removal?

I have one that doesn't

So have I.
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Among others, Saltarelle Pastourelle II D/G; Hohner 4-stop 1-rows in C & G; assorted Hohners; 3-voice German (?) G/C of uncertain parentage; lovely little Hlavacek 1-row Heligonka; B♭/E♭ Koch. Newly acquired G/C Hohner Viktoria. Also Fender Jazz bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Charvel-Jackson 00-style acoustic guitar and other stuff..........

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Grumpy

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2018, 11:09:52 AM »

Fully agree with Theo but I'm using 380 abrasive  in a very highly accurate jet, I feel this poses far less risk to the reed (or plate) than attempting to rub the reed  blade with an abrasive rubber. However, as always Theo is the experienced expert, melmeters should, if in any doubt take his advice at all times
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Chris D , OBJ Morris.
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mselic

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2018, 02:38:01 PM »

Thanks, everyone. So far I’ve used a sanding block which has been removing all the rust in seconds. I will try a small, flat-headed screwdriver for the underside of reeds.
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Theo

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2018, 03:32:48 PM »

I have found that using the abrasive rubber is a very simple and safe and quick process.  The reed tongue has to be supported of course, and it is safest to only rub away from the rivet to avoid getting the rubber caught on the tip of the reed tongue.

Fully agree with Theo but I'm using 380 abrasive  in a very highly accurate jet, I feel this poses far less risk to the reed (or plate) than attempting to rub the reed  blade with an abrasive rubber.

And where does all the abrasive grit end up?  It must get blown around, along with the muck off the reed.   Do you have some sort of booth to work in that collects the used grit?   Do you use a face mask to avoid inhaling the dust?  And in what sense is the blast jet accurate?

However, as always Theo is the experienced expert, melmeters should, if in any doubt take his advice at all times

Experienced yes, but what is an expert? 

I'm always looking for better ways to do things.  I didn't always use the abrasive rubber, but its the best I have found so far.  In the past I have scraped with various edged tools which I found slow and not very thorough. I've used a fibreglass scratch pen, but it has the drawback of putting very nasty fibreglass fragments into the air which needs precautions to avoid inhaling.  Very occasionally loose fibres can also get lodged in the gap between reed and plate. So I rarely use that method now.  I've tried ultrasonic bath, but as others have already said its not effective for removing heavy deposits.  It does do a very good job of removing fine debris from the reed gap, especially down near the rivet where such stuff can cause tuning problems.  I have also tried using chelating agents such as Evaporust which are actually surprisingly good at removing heavy deposits of rust but are quite slow.

So the word expert is not very helpful in this context.  Describing me thus seems to suggest that I have the best answers and others are not worth considering.   That's the last thing I want to do.  I've learned a range of skills by experience, trial and error and being critical of myself.  So when an new idea comes up i'm usually keen to give it a try, but at the same time I have a very skeptical view of methods that seem overly complicated when simple methods seem to work well.  Hence my questioning of the merits of sandblasting to clean reeds. 
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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Grumpy

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2018, 05:22:07 PM »

Just to clarify Theo, no I do not have a booth for the air eraser, I use the garden and open air, yes I do use a mask. To put the issue in context to de-rust 48 concertina reeds I have used less than a quarter ounce of abrasive (less than a table spoon). The tool was purchased many years back for other uses, it is capable of removing a pencil line from paper without damaging the paper surface, its jet can be restricted to less than 0.5mm. If you Theo ever get to the swamps of Surrey you would be more than welcome to call in and have a play.
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Chris D , OBJ Morris.
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mselic

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2018, 05:31:22 PM »

After looking at Theo’s photo of the rubber block, I realized that that is exactly the product that I used, only I called it a ‘sanding block’. It works very well.
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Melodie D, Hohner HA114s in G and A, Hohner Erica D/C#

Jan Pentz

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2018, 03:52:08 PM »

Old Hohner HA114C conversion......I had the glued down reed blocks converted to the more modern removable reed blocks......one heck of a job but now it's easier to tune and service the reeds.......Why Hohner glued down the reed blocks for so many years is beyond me......it made these wonderful HA-114s throwaways.......Maybe they thought it would mean more sales......idiots. This is one of the best sounding 4-stop there is....now if it gets cranky it can be tuned/serviced.....
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 03:56:48 PM by Jan Pentz »
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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2018, 04:13:05 PM »

Here is another view. Those familiar with the inside of the treble side of an HA-114 will see the difference....
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tirpous

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2018, 04:38:53 PM »

There is a liquid product called Evapo-Rust that works fairly well for rust removal.
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GPS

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2018, 04:50:05 PM »

Old Hohner HA114C conversion......I had the glued down reed blocks converted to the more modern removable reed blocks......one heck of a job but now it's easier to tune and service the reeds.......Why Hohner glued down the reed blocks for so many years is beyond me......it made these wonderful HA-114s throwaways.......Maybe they thought it would mean more sales......idiots. This is one of the best sounding 4-stop there is....now if it gets cranky it can be tuned/serviced.....

I'd be interested if anyone has any practical advice on doing this conversion: the HA113 I'm (on and off!) working on has had its glued-in blocks torn out by some vandal in the past, and as I'm faced with a complete block rebuild anyway.......

Graham
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Among others, Saltarelle Pastourelle II D/G; Hohner 4-stop 1-rows in C & G; assorted Hohners; 3-voice German (?) G/C of uncertain parentage; lovely little Hlavacek 1-row Heligonka; B♭/E♭ Koch. Newly acquired G/C Hohner Viktoria. Also Fender Jazz bass, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Epiphone Sheraton, Charvel-Jackson 00-style acoustic guitar and other stuff..........

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Theo

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Re: refurbishing 4-stop with rusty reeds
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2018, 05:14:06 PM »

Waxinv and tuning onto fixed blocks is more difficult than on removable blicks, but it’s not as difficult as taking out glued in blocks!
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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