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Author Topic: Adding Stops/Couplers et al  (Read 1737 times)

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Lester

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2018, 08:20:08 AM »

Stage A complete!


It will only get easier now you have drilled your first hole in your melodeon (:)


Quote
I should say, I noted Lester's slide construction being of full width mostly because I personally would actually find it easier to make a single, reed block footprint sized slide rather than several strips that must all have straight, parallel edges and interlock. Given the thirds and bass fundamentals are all located on the 'inside' side of my reed blocks, it would also perhaps simplify the construction if the whole thing can move, but, again really I'm keen to design to a scanned image rather than a measured copy as I don't have any good measuring tools, and the equipment is sadly out of action. I would love to know, how does your full width slide feel, Lester? Appreciably different or awkward in any way?


Full width slide is fine and, as you say, it saves having to make the parts separately. Though if I were doing a box like yours and my routing skills were up to it I would follow Rees' suggestion of routing a channel for the slide in the reed block.

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2018, 08:46:22 AM »

Good progress so far Gena!

A few points occur to me:
1. The block which supports the rotella wheel is still going to cause you problems at the moment. I suspect it doesn't need to be as large (long) as it actually is. If you could make it shorter at the end nearest the chords reed block it would help in getting the slider and the stop shaft in a better alignment.

2. Your newly positioned clamp at the top end of the chords reed block has the screw right where you need your slider to be. The offset for the screw/clamp needs to be further down, i.e. towards the tonic/fifths, nearer the air button pallet.

3.
Quote
I should say, I noted Lester's slide construction being of full width mostly because I personally would actually find it easier to make a single, reed block footprint sized slide rather than several strips that must all have straight, parallel edges and interlock.
Lester's full width slider works well because of the alternating side layout of the thirds reeds. In his photo, you can see that he has an elongated cutout for the tonic/fifths reeds; these must be always kept open regardless of the position of the slider. The alternating layout allows room to make the elongated cutouts because there will always be sufficient 'solid' wood remaining to accommodate the single thirds reed cutout to be in the closed, as well as open, position.

Your situation is different. All the tonic/fifths reed plates are on one side of the reed block and these must have airflow to them at all times regardless of the slider being open or closed. The tonic/fifths reed plates (and hence the chamber openings) look to be quite closely spaced, so on a full width slider I don't think you will have the room to make either individual or elongated cutouts for these reeds which would always ensure full airflow; either in one position or the other, some of the 'solid' slider would always obscure a chamber opening. Without careful measuring I can't be totally sure, but it seems that way to me just by looking at your photos.

In this instance, one solution for a full width slider would be to have a single elongated cutout running the full length of the slider to ensure air is always getting to the tonic/fifths. However, such a long cutout may risk weakening the slider; the last thing you want is a broken or distorted slider occurring at some future point after everything has been glued down into place.
Edited to strike out stupid ill-thought out suggestion, sorry! See Lester's subsequent post!

This is why I suggested a narrower slider with minimal cutouts, and the 1 mm ply strips to guide it and also to isolate the tonics/fifths.

Disclaimer: my only experience with installing sliders has been on the two 1-row 4-stop instruments which I've made, where the sliders were built in right from the start. I've never attempted a retro fit on an instrument like yours.

... Though if I were doing a box like yours and my routing skills were up to it I would follow Rees' suggestion of routing a channel for the slide in the reed block.
Yes - I agree that this is the best option for your instrument. Perhaps you can find a joiner/cabinet maker locally who has a routing machine and could rout the channel for you? But failing that, I would go for the plywood strips option.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 09:08:21 AM by Steve_freereeder »
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Lester

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2018, 08:52:38 AM »

In this instance, one solution for a full width slider would be to have a single elongated cutout running the full length of the slider to ensure air is always getting to the tonic/fifths.

If you do this air could leak from a tonic/fifths reed pair with the pallet open to all the other reed pairs. You would need to have four separate cutouts

Steve_freereeder

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2018, 09:48:20 AM »

In this instance, one solution for a full width slider would be to have a single elongated cutout running the full length of the slider to ensure air is always getting to the tonic/fifths.

If you do this air could leak from a tonic/fifths reed pair with the pallet open to all the other reed pairs. You would need to have four separate cutouts
Yes, of course you're right, that wouldn't work. :|bl

Looking again at Gena's photo (attached again below for convenience) there should just be room for the four separate cutouts which allow the tonic/fifths pair to have air at all times. For each tonic/fifths pair you would need a cutout length equivalent to three pallet hole openings, and seeing as there is a pallet hole-sized equivalent gap plus a margin between the pairs, it ought to be feasible. (:)

Looks like you should be OK for a full width slider, Gena! You just need to be very accurate with the measuring and cutting of the slider cutouts.
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Theo

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2018, 10:01:03 AM »

You don't need a full width slide in this case it just makes for extra complication.  The picture shows what I do.  The two hatced parts are glued on to the base of the reed blocks with holes cut to match the vents for the tonic and fifths reeds.  between them they form a channel for the moving part.  I have shown the holes as circular for convenience of drawing, but they should match the shape and size of the vents in the reed block. 

 

« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 11:16:39 AM by Theo »
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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2018, 10:36:37 AM »

You don't need a full width slide in this case it just makes for extra complication.  The picture shows what I do.  The two hatced parts are glued on to the base of the reed blocks with holes cut to match the vents for the tonic and thirds* reeds.  between them they form a channel for the moving part.  I have shown the holes as circular for convenience of drawing, but they should match the shape and size of the vents in the reed block.

Best solution of all!

*I think you mean tonic and fifths reeds
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Theo

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2018, 11:16:49 AM »

Corrected
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2018, 09:32:09 PM »

Scanner is back up and running. Attached is a close approximation of the reed block holes positioned in the bass end (should be 100 dpi). I scanned the bottom of the reed blocks and, crucially, mirrored them, then positioned them in their roughly correct location over a very blurry scan of the bass end. Should only be the 'blur' of the scan out of alignment at worst, so, a few mm left/right which isn't a grave concern to me as any final positioning based on this would be by hand anyway.

I also froze my fundamental reeds today to verify that if wishes were horses, I'd like to add two stops, and I can say that, yeah, freezing those big bass reeds makes my black pearl 2 much more mild mannered, and I mean, if I'm puzting around in here anyway...

One thing I would like to point out, that I feel has not been considered heavily is that, using a completely straight slide for both thirds and fundamentals, because these reeds are both located on the inner side of the blocks, the slide positioned very close to the center line. So, the stops, if you don't relocate them at some point in the mechanism, the plungers may be positioned such that they could block the top bellows clip from working (memories of the 2v Oakwood demo box keep coming to mind). I'm not sure how one might traditionally account for this, probably with the block the plunger attaches to? My intention is to try and make the slides themselves account for this by widening them at the top to move around the obstacles, hence offsetting the mounts inwards, rather than outwards. I was concerned that setting them outwards would, again due to the screw position, render the 'arms' that would run up too narrow, but, I'm not sure my plan is all that much better, so, I'll have to see how the material behaves and consider my options.

Now, I don't intend to make a full width slide, and as suggested plan to use hatched/static buffer material Theo/Rees/et al have used to make a track for a slide to follow. But, since I have to craft the slide from whole cloth anyway, I am considering my options for, let's say creatively getting around any issues that I don't want to solve by making modifications to the instrument itself - I don't really want to remove or alter parts of it that I don't strictly have to, even if I'm effectively just making more work for myself. I might find that some of the work I do impacts something outside of my expectations, so, my core methodology is driven by making sure I can basically undo it all at any time, and you'll likely see that I continue to make decisions with that in mind as time goes.

I'd also like to note that the wonkyness of the holes in the reed block is an interesting issue to contend with. I'm not sure how much of a border the holes cut into the 'hatched' section will require in order for the materials to remain strong - hopefully the answer is not a lot! I also found that there's just like, a hole, in the side of the fundamentals reed block that connects to the 2 of the chambers... they are at least for the higher and middle of the same fundamental note, but, I'm pretty sure the air isn't suppose to be able to get out that way, so, that's cool. I put some tape over it.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2018, 09:03:47 PM »

I have had a very busy weekend! I have completed several of my stages and took photos as I went, so, while my journey is over for now, hopefully this will bring some people along for the ride. Plus, I've only been working on the stop for thirds so if I've missed anything crucial, I can get pictures of it while doing the Fundamental stop (if I don't die between now and then...)

Stage 2 - design 'something'.

So, I used the scan I posted previously to draw ideas for the slide on, just keeping to 200dpi (the attached image is at 100 dpi to reduce file size) and using an image editor to draw around the things I felt I needed - I knew this would just be a guide for things ahead so, approximations that would come out in the wash were fine. Knowing a full width block was fine, I investigated my options for making sure the material maintained a reasonable width by putting a funny old S bend in it.

Stage 3 - see if I can make it and believe that it might functionally work.

I arranged these coloured sections onto something that would fit on paper, loaded some card into the printer, and printed the graphics out. I cut them out with a scalpel and used some pritt stick to glue the templates onto an A4 sheet of this, an A4 sheet of 1mm thick PETG clear plastic sheeting which I happened to have. This is a pretty flexible plastic, honestly - since it's PETG, it's also a thermoplastic, so it can be heated up and shaped and it will maintain that shape, although since it's so thin it will still flex a lot. The material is quite easy to cut with a blade or a drill, but can be a bit of a pain with saws/files as it can end having loose stringy ends. But, it works for me - if you want to smooth edges, it responds well to polishing, especially machine aided polishing, but beware you can abrade material away really easily.

Anyway, I lined up the straight edges of the slides templates (where possible) with the external machine cut edges of the sheet, to try and reduce the the work involved in getting long straight edges, and glued them on. Then I cut them out - literally, with a pair of scissors. Once I had these, I decided the most efficient way to get them as straight as possible on both sides was to run a straight edge by the head my rotary tool of choice while it was cable tied to the leg of a table. This worked concerning well, and I had, where it counted anyway, straight enough edges on all of my pieces. I drilled pilot holes into all of the template holes to match the reed block and then slowly expanded these up half of the way with suitable tool in the dremel.

At this point, I removed the coating and templates from the plastic and made use of the fact that it's transparent to simply lay the pieces on the reed block and mark which direction the holes needed to be dragged in order to line up - I would then drag them over with a round & rounded file, and then actually round them out with the next size of drill I needed to use. They're not perfect but they're really very close to matching - far closer to matching than the holes cut in the fondo in the instrument, I might add. This took me pretty much all of my allotted time I wanted to spend on it on Saturday day time, important because that used up all of the day where power tools were friendly to use.

Feeling confident that the material seemed to be ok to use, and that the mechanics of the functionality made sense, it was time to advance onto Stage 4, hacking up the instrument to allow any of this to fit. I knew that I wanted to pursue this sufficiently that even if the slide breaks I'll just be looking to remake it out of a better material, so, I felt safe progressing. Plus, the rule I set for myself was no power tools to be used on the melodeon itself, only hand tools, so, I was able to make a bit more progress yesterday before packing up.

To be continued...
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2018, 09:40:45 PM »

Stage 4 - creatively relocating offending material

On my instrument, there were two parts of the instrument that are in the way. Firstly, there is a piece of wood directly above the reed blocks, that the block is secured to. Secondly, there's the bellows frame, which while it has a cutout to go around the existing block near the edge, would need an additional cutout to allow whatever it is that secures the external plunger to the slide to move up and down. It would have been possible, I suppose, to build in mind of having the bellows frame there, but I decided that I'd rather cut a piece out since there was already a large cutout on the bottom side of the frame for no reason, and this clearly couldn't be that bad of a thing to do.

I began the process by modifying the bass end - removing material from where the attachment block lined up with the corner block to just before the material curved away, to give, I suppose, 2 points of contact with the reed block. I used my trusty hand drill with tape on the bits to indicate depth to just slowly removed material. Once these holes were expanded up to the point of having no or very thin walls, I joined them up by using a scalpel, and then repeated the process along my other intended cut line. My goal was to get down all the way to the fondo beneath it, and just cut a perfect notch out.

This process was really hard work - this wood is hard and drilling all the holes by hand was quite a bit of effort - I got a blister from it. I'm reasonably happy with the result but, well. mainly of note is that the 'corner' that I left behind serves basically no purpose because the reed block doesn't actually touch it. So, it would probably be a lot easier to make one cut and just take the whole section off, if you can get the hide glue to detach or fancy trying to kinetically shock it off. I was far more cautious, only removing the glue when most of the wood was already gone - moisture worked well for this and made the glue go from clear to opaque and easily scrape away. In any case, having a proper chisel is probably the first thing I'd get for next time, and accepting power drill use the other.

I followed Rees' advice to Epoxy a block of wood to the slide, so I roughed up the faces, and just stuck them together with a 5 minute epoxy. After getting them on one another, I used trousered sticky tape to line the area where they would actually sit, and put the slide and reed block et all into the instrument, and ensured that the block lined up with the maximum position of the slide, flat against the top of the box. The tape would catch the inevitable drip of epoxy that would escape (it did) and help me feel confident the block was positioned correctly.

While waiting for that to set, I moved on to the bellows frame. I'd positioned the bellows on the instrument and marked the material I'd need to remove. I used the tried and true 'drill holes then link them together' technique to remove most of the material, and finished with scalpel and file. A small square shaped file was useful for getting into the corner. I also taped a piece of cardboard on to protect the gasket.

I then realised I'd removed the wrong part of the bellows frame - I'd removed material from the bottom side rather than the top side. I spent so much time making sure I was taking it off of the bass end, I forgot that it can go on either way up, so, I had to do all that again while feeling like a prat. I wrote 'woops' by the mistake and I'm pretty sure that absolves me of any wrongdoing. If this was the big mistake I was going to make, I'll take it.

Once the block was secure, I put everything together and manually actuated it into each position to verify that the stop was working correctly. After playing a few tunes in either orientation, it certainly seems to? I can't detect it being wrong. After playing and discovering no issues, it appeared that stage 4 was completed: the stop works, you can move it, all that remains is to be able to manipulate it from the outside.

To be continued...
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Winston Smith

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2018, 09:58:24 PM »

This is lovely to read, Gena. I'm on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next episode!
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #31 on: October 14, 2018, 11:09:23 PM »

Stage 5 - screaming

I measured out where the stop would go, externally - exactly 1/3rd of the way across, with the same distance from the edge as the bellows clasp screw. I mean, if I have to look at it I might as well try to position it as exactly as I can. I marked the point with the top of a scalpel.

I worked out on some test wood the size that the metal stop plugs (Thanks, Charlie!) would need. They might thread, if forced, into a 3 mm hole, but really wanted a 3.5mm hole drilled for them.

I clamped the block I'd attached to the slide in position as best as I could, with a piece of material under it to stop it flexing out of alignment. Because I was proceeding by hand, rather than with power tools, I figured this would be just fine as I would have time to fix any issues.

And then, well, in no uncertain terms: drilled a hole into my melodeon. It was easy, almost too easy honestly, the same way someone might nonchalantly pull out the plug out from the bottom of a boat.

I went up, size by size, in 0.25mm steps until I hit 3. At this point the next drill I had was 3.5mm. I was having trouble with the drill bits slipping in the hand drill - I ended up breaking a drill bit earlier in stage 4 in fact. The 3.5 mm cleared through the top of the box but was slipping trying to drill the slide block. No matter I thought - I'll just use the electric drill to finish the job - the box is done, I cleaned the edges up with a countersink bit (twisted by hand) so getting the hole in the block this is the last step!

Disaster strikes - under the power of the electric drill, the slide block split in half. I have a hole in my melodeon and the only plug I've got has nothing to hold onto. I contemplated stripping the block off and starting over, but, I decided to try and make the best of it. I epoxied the block back together and knowing it wouldn't take the drill, used my 3mm tungsten carbide cutting bit from my dremel once more in the hand drill to gently bring the size of the hole up to the needed size.

Finally, I was able to then thread the stop plunger into it and for the first time actuate the slide by the intended means. Every time I'd tried to move the slide with the reed block in place by hand, it had seemed almost impossible - I was getting very worried. Using the plunger stop top though, it was easy! It felt just fight. The wood block is a liability, and the hole into it has drifted slightly, causing the stop rod to be slightly angled, I think, but, that is something I can address in the future.

One final short update to go...
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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #32 on: October 14, 2018, 11:23:24 PM »

That was like watching the heroine running upstairs to escape the monster, "Don't do it, don't go up the stairs!" It must be time for another cup of tea, all this tension!
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #33 on: October 14, 2018, 11:39:49 PM »

Thirds stop completed!

So, at least until that block breaks back in half again, I have a functioning thirds stop! It feels happy to move yet resistant when actuated, so, I'm pretty happy with how it feels. I'm done for this weekend though - next weekend perhaps I'll tackle the Fundamentals.

Anyway, I also made a quick little recording of Sportsman's Hornpipe - https://soundcloud.com/user-889775496/sportsmans-hornpipe-wout-thirds
It's in A dorian, and ending on the A bass + C major chord always sounds... wrong, so this has always been my go to tune for testing out a thirds stop. It seems to work. I run through all the chords with the chords in (order should have been G C D B, D C A E) first, too.

So... what have I learnt... well, I guess what I've learnt is that it is possible to add a stop to a melodeon. I know that probably sounds like a cop out but it's apparently what I have done, and I can hardly believe it. I can also take out all the bits and tape over the hole and be mostly back without it, too, so, that's cool. I should probably sort out a better fixing for some of the parts - the static slide parts are held in place with double sided tape, one of the block mounts has a spacer added while the other hasn't, so, should probably add one there, and I have a lot of hoovering to do. I've spent all this time working on it and barely any playing with it, now that I've actually done it that it hardly feels like I have even succeeded.

I wouldn't have considered doing this without all the advice provided in the thread, so, thanks to all who posted that (and for the encouragement). I hope that the photos and log of the experience is helpful or interesting to people, and if there's anything that I could elaborate on, let me know and I can try to do so when I try adding a second stop, whenever I muster the energy for that. I'll try and check the tuning, I suppose, as I'm taking the box to the local box clinic to have my D/F# swapped for an F/F#, a change that makes a lot more sense when you have, you guessed it: a thirds stop.
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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #34 on: October 15, 2018, 01:01:31 AM »

As the most cack-handed person in the world I never cease to be amazed by the technical and manual skills of melnetters so I'm mega impressed with anyone doing this sort of stuff for the first time. Also, isn't it lovely that the box fettlers take the time and effort to share their knowledge freely and fully.
I have two 8 button D/G boxes - the Saltarelle L'Elfique and Hohner Pressed Wood, so one with stops and one without.
I much prefer the major/minor chord solution that doesn't require a stop on my Hohner, i.e. to have thirdless chords for A and B chords. Microbot replaced the thirds with an extra root/root octave or 5th (not sure which) when he put my Hohner together for me.  So....if I'd have been you Gena, I'd have replaced 2 reeds rather than hack my box up. Actually, that's a complete lie - I'd have asked one of our expert repairers to do it!
« Last Edit: October 15, 2018, 01:20:02 AM by Mcgrooger »
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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #35 on: October 15, 2018, 01:10:02 AM »

Well done Gena!
It has been very interesting to read your account and see all your photos. You will have learned a lot by doing this and also helped others who may be contemplating similar modifications. I especially like the way you approach the various tasks a little bit at a time ensuring that, as far as is feasible, you have an 'escape route' back if things start to go wrong.

...So, at least until that block breaks back in half again....

I think the problem is that the timber you have used for the block is soft pine with a relatively wide-spaced grain, which will be prone to breakage in such a small block, especially with the repeated stresses transmitted along it from the screw-thread shaft of the mushroom stop.

My advice would be to use a hard wood such as beech or ramin which has a closely spaced grain and will be inherently much stronger.
The block which holds the reed block clamps is beech - school desk, or kitchen chopping board timber.
Ramin is often used for decorative mouldings, picture frame kits, etc.

Perhaps you can find a small offcut or waste piece from somewhere? (try a picture framing shop for an offcut)
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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2018, 02:24:09 AM »

I much prefer the major/minor chord solution that doesn't require a stop on my Hohner, i.e. to have thirdless chords for A and B chords. Microbot replaced the thirds with an extra root/root octave or 5th (not sure which) when he put my Hohner together for me.

Yeah, I think that's a really nice middle ground that someone should definitely consider because it might actually give them everything they want - you really want to go the route that gives you the best result for what you're playing. I taped off the 3rd on the B major chord on my first box, and adding an extra note to bulk up the sound makes a lot of sense if you never end up wanting it un taped.

But, for me, I've slowly grown a longing for pretty much every chord that I've got going on, as well as some of the ones I haven't... and I think I would miss the major chords in the places that I do use them - eg now I love the B major! But, I'm also looking to play around with keys I really probably shouldn't be, like C, maybe a bit of D minor, and a peppering of A major, mixolydian and natural minor. Obviously a sensible person would just get a CF but, well, I think this thread is a testament to the fact that I am not sensible.

I think the problem is that the timber you have used for the block is soft pine with a relatively wide-spaced grain, which will be prone to breakage in such a small block, especially with the repeated stresses transmitted along it from the screw-thread shaft of the mushroom stop.

Yeah honestly it's just a piece of wood that I have and cut a corner off of. Not really best practices, I'll admit - I guessed at which orientation might offer the greatest durability for drilling, and I was close! I almost got up to size! I thought about getting a plastic block and seeing about plastic welding the two materials together, but I wasn't sure how it would get on with the stop rod's thread. Anyway, I'll heed that advice, especially after the battle with the reed block clamp block, and go hunting for some more appropriate material to replace the block with; most of the wood stock I have is ratty odds and ends. I'm not seeing a lot of options that I can get to (easily) locally for in house picture framing, but a few leads I can have a go with. One option I could look at though is buying turning blanks, as they seem to be readily available in both wood types you mentioned, and roughly already on the order of being the right size. So far, this endeavor has cost me, fiscally at least, the stop plungers from Charlie and the £2.65 piece of plastic that I still have most of left. Investing in some mail order wood would be a small price to pay - the most valuable thing has been the information though. Well, that and the hand drlil, that thing's been my faithful ally.

Honestly throughout the whole process I was convinced I would try to move the rod and it wouldn't budge - every time I tried to move the slide with anything else it felt almost impossible. It's really perfectly fine though, now that it's got the correct handle on it.
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Rees

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2018, 10:02:07 AM »

Hardwood would have been a better choice for threading.
PM your address and I can send you all sorts of hardwood offcuts.
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Rees Wesson (accordion builder and mechanic)
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Eshed

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2018, 11:32:06 AM »

First of all, thanks Gena for this very detailed documentation (and congrats).

One thing I still don't entirely understand is how there isn't a huge air leak from the hole made for the rod. I know there's a rod going through the hole, but everywhere else in the box there are countless gaskets etc. and here they're suddenly not required.
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Theo

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Re: Adding Stops/Couplers et al
« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2018, 01:01:43 PM »

It is Stiamh!  If you took the stop out and left the hole open the air would come flooding out, and in.
With the stop in place there will by a tiny amount of leakage, because of a close fit of the stop rod in the hole, and the relatively small size of the rod and hole.
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Theo Gibb - Gateshead UK

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