Author Topic: The Mouldy Accordion.  (Read 8295 times)

Offline S. Heslop

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The Mouldy Accordion.
« on: July 01, 2015, 08:35:48 AM »
Went to the Wednesday bootsale since it's such a hot day I didn't want to spend it all in the house. Ended up picking up an accordion for £35, and it seemed suspicious at that price but I decided to go for it.



Anyways it didn't take long to find out what was wrong with it.


Mould!


The leather check valves look like they could do with replacing too.


But there's so much mould.


A couple of the reed plates have fallen out too.


I like the way it's built though. Reminds me of a bee hive, and most of it comes apart with either pins or little levers.

So i'm looking up how best to kill the mould. People are saying to use alcohol mixed with vinegar, but i'd expect the vinegar fumes to rust the reeds and make the situation worse. I'm assuming with the mould that the inside must've gotten fairly damp, so it's surprising that the reeds aren't that rusty at all.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2015, 04:01:43 PM »
Got a fright taking off the bottom of the bass side. It's alot more complicated than i'd expected.


Plenty of mould in here too. I might try taking all of the machinery out to clean underneath. The glue is fairly crumbly and it might just pull right off and hopefully stay together. With it that weak i'd like to try re-gluing it.


the mould seems to mostly be attacking the glue, which i'd suspect to be animal glue. Couldn't find an exact date of this accordion, or much info at all, but I found one guy selling a similar one and claiming it was made in the 1930s. If that is how old it is, then it probably will be animal glue.


Anyways I cleaned the bellows up with a mix of methylated spirits and a little bit of vinegar. Vinegar for the smell and the alcohol to hopefully kill the mould. The plan is to knock most of the mould off and then keep the thing dry enough that it doesn't come back. My understanding of mould is that the spores are everywhere, all the time, and only become a problem in the right conditions. But even if I dry this thing out, it's still gonna smell bad, and that's mostly what i'm hoping to fix.

Online awemawson

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2015, 04:28:27 PM »
Get yourself a hand spray bottle of Milton to kill the mould.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2015, 05:44:13 PM »
Get yourself a hand spray bottle of Milton to kill the mould.

Thanks for the suggestion. Not sure how it smells but it's gotta be better than the vinegar and methylated spirits.

Offline hermetic

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2015, 06:03:11 PM »
I reckon Andrew has got the right stuff, most mould and mildew sprays are bleach based, and I am pretty sure milton is too, and it should give lasting protection. It needs to thoroughly dry out.
phil

Offline tom osselton

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2015, 01:38:58 AM »
Or just play moldy oldies   :wack:

Online awemawson

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2015, 02:46:10 AM »
Milton can stain some metals, but I reckon your accordion is beyond that concern!
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline SwarfnStuff

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2015, 02:51:47 AM »
I recall something about Oil of cloves being good. I will try and find more about it. Meanwhile Tea Tree Oil works,drys quickly too. Here is a cut and paste from a search result.
    "Nothing natural works for mold and mildew as well as this spray. Iíve used it successfully on a moldy ceiling from a leaking roof, on a musty bureau, a musty rug and a moldy shower curtain. Tea tree oil is expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Note that the smell of tea tree oil is very strong, but it will dissipate in a few days.

2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water

Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse. Makes about 2 cups, lasts indefinitely.

20 Great Uses for Tea Tree Oil

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/three-ways-to-kill-mold-naturally.html#ixzz3eiJc4z1O

Regards and good mould killing,
John B
Converting good metal into swarf sometimes ending up with something useful. ;-)

Offline SwarfnStuff

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2015, 02:54:29 AM »
Back again after the old search engine did it's thing. Here is a link to a page on Oil of Cloves OR Clove Oil that you may like to read and make your own mind up.

https://www.stayathomemum.com.au/houseandhome/laundry/mould-and-mildew/

Regards,
John B
Converting good metal into swarf sometimes ending up with something useful. ;-)

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2015, 03:53:05 PM »
Was trying to find that Milton stuff to see how it smells, but I know already that tea tree oil smells fantastic so it's tempting to give that a go.

Had some big bits of ice fall from the sky last night.


They were slightly bigger but it took a while to get a photo, and I didn't particularly want to step out into the garden to look for a good sized one while they were still flying down.

Did some more tidying of the accordion.


Took the white keys off and swept all the dust out. Smells alot better with that gone. The keys removed by pulling a long brass rod out that acted as the pivot for all of them. There's another rod for the black keys that's still visible. Made sure to number the keys so I could get them back in with less hassle.


Main reason I took the keys out though was to try fix the highest key, which was sticking open. Because of the method for holding the keys in, it meant removing them all anyways.

Anyways, being an idiot I assumed the key springs worked in this sort of orientation. I spent a good while trying to increase the spring tension, even replacing the entire spring with one made from much stiffer wire. Eventually I gave up and figured the key was bust and decided to stick a block underneath it to render the key immobile (but closed).


When putting the next key in I had the same problem, and quickly realised I was putting the spring in wrong.


While I was at it I replaced this felt buffer that was partly worn away, and the keys hitting against the wood was making the metal arm bit 'twang'.


Wasn't too bad getting it all back together.

So next i'm probably going to redo all the reeds. I'm gonna need to remake the reed wax, which is supposedly a 50-50 mix of beeswax and rosin, then a small amount of linseed oil. They're all things I can get ahold of so that shouldn't be a problem, but I also need some leather for the reed valves. I had a half-used leather jacket (the one I used for the helmet) that I had sitting around for a while, but i've been looking for it and can't find it, so it must've been thrown out. So maybe tomorrow I might take a trip around the city center, visit the music shop for rosin and the charity shops for some leather jackets.

Alternately the music shop might be able to order in some plastic reed valves. I'd read that floppy disk plastic works quite well, but i've also read that you want to get the plastic 'balanced' so that all the notes have the same attack. The reed valves you can buy seem to be made of several layers of plastic, like a leaf spring.

Offline AdeV

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2015, 05:57:12 PM »
If you want floppy disk plastic, I have stacks of them which are no longer useful for their original purpose... it depends if you need the actual disc material (a very floppy plastic indeed), or the case plastic - in which case I need to know if you're looking for 5 1/4" case,, or 3 1/2" case - the former is floppier than the latter.
Cheers!
Ade.
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Or: Zhengzhou, China. An even longer way from anywhere...
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Offline micktoon

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2015, 03:25:41 AM »
Hi Simon, for your leather there is a good shop in Newcastle called Le Prevo , its on the net but located just off the bottom end of Wesgate road beside where the  Kard bar is or was. They sell all types of leather and leaherworking tools, buckles ruvets etc etc. They normally have a scrap bin with small bits of various leathers too.
  Worth a look anyway for future projects anyway.
 Cheers Mick

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2015, 03:43:39 AM »
If you want floppy disk plastic, I have stacks of them which are no longer useful for their original purpose... it depends if you need the actual disc material (a very floppy plastic indeed), or the case plastic - in which case I need to know if you're looking for 5 1/4" case,, or 3 1/2" case - the former is floppier than the latter.

Thanks for the offer but i'm in a similar situation, i've got a whole stack of corrupt and unformattable 5 1/4" floppies, which is why the idea seemed appealing.

Hi Simon, for your leather there is a good shop in Newcastle called Le Prevo , its on the net but located just off the bottom end of Wesgate road beside where the  Kard bar is or was. They sell all types of leather and leaherworking tools, buckles ruvets etc etc. They normally have a scrap bin with small bits of various leathers too.
  Worth a look anyway for future projects anyway.
 Cheers Mick

Damn, that's been there this whole time? There's been more than a few times i've needed leather, but had a hard time sourcing any. I've even been to that area quite a few times, but looking at the map the place seems to be well hidden down a cobblestone alley.

Offline Fergus OMore

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2015, 04:15:40 AM »
I've been away for my usual month and the never ending difficulties with disablement both wife and self but I did get my copy of Ferries Tools inc catalogue down . Mine is 2000 and came from a lassie at the Newcastle CAT who lives up your way. Any way, it has an accordian tool section for reference and the up to date stuff is on the net. It should give you ideas. Local shop is Windcraft in Cambridge

Worth a Google for both.

Cheers


Norman

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2015, 12:28:26 PM »
Had a busy day today. Got some beeswax and rosin.



I held off going to the leather place since the lady in the music shop suggested contacting a guy who repairs accordions in Gateshead. I looked the guy up when I got home and it seems like he does it from his house, and i'm a little hesitant to contact him asking if he knows where to buy reed valves. And I got thinking that it'd probably be fine just to go with leather. Anyways turns out the leather place closes about right now, and isn't open on the weekends. So alas...

In the meantime i'm trying to dry the bellows, got a fan pointed at them, and i'll probably try de-moulding and re-gluing the bass side. I don't want to touch the reeds yet, since i'm planning to do them one block at a time (so I can get them back in the right place more easily). I should also take it easy because all the dust, spores, and fumes are killing my chest.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2015, 02:35:11 PM »
Went to town and got some tea tree oil, mixed it with methylated spirits in a spray bottle to spray around inside the thing, and also onto cloths and brushes. Got all the visible mould out, i'd imagine there's still some underneath all the machinery.


Then glued some of the things that fell off back on.


That strip on the left didn't glue back on in exactly the right place, and was causing alot of the buttons to stick. So I removed this top rail that holds all the... things in place.


Then removed the sticking ones, one at a time, and filed the hole till they stopped sticking.

Earlier the thought of maybe having to disassemble this part was making me feel very uncomfortable, but I think now that with proper labeling of the parts it wouldn't be so bad getting it back together.

Offline bhowden

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2015, 01:23:30 PM »
Sounds like it might be a bit late but here in Canada Home Depot (and many others) sell something called Concrobium (http://www.homedepot.ca/product/mold-control-946-ml/949056) that claims to encapsulate mold spores and crush them when it dries.  It has very little odor and so far I have not stained anything with it.  Seems to work but then once I found any mould I kept it dry so I don't really know.

Brian

Offline nrml

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2015, 06:53:37 PM »
I too have found this thread probably a bit late. I was going to suggest the boron stuff used for dry rot in timber. It is claimed to be effective for dry rot, wet rot and mould but still is non toxic for humans after application.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2015, 02:59:14 PM »
I wanted to avoid using anything water based since I figured it'd mess with the glues, and the bellows are made from cardboard and would probably fall apart if they got soaking wet.

Went to that leather store (Le Prevo) and the guy there was real helpful. It kinda caught me off guard going in, because I was expecting it to be a one of those quiet places i'd suspect are ran as more of a hobby, but it was a real hub of activity. They seem to get alot of business.

Got some odd ends from the scrap bin to make straps and replace the chest-pad piece. The guy identified the original valve leather as... something like kashka, I forget exactly what, but it was expensive stuff. Ended up getting the top half of a goat instead for £6 since it felt about the same as the old valves.


1 row down 7 to go. I did some testing to see how the new leather worked, and it's seems more 'springy' in that it returns to position, where the old stuff just bends and stays bent.


For the glue i'm using 'burnt shellac', which is just regular mixed shellac set alight so most of the alcohol evaporates away leaving a sticky mess. In this photo it's actually just been 'topped up' with the methylated spirits, so I can cover it and leave it without it going dry.


Cutting the leather into strips. Lately i've found a wide chisel more useful than a utility knife.


New chest pad. At first I cut the edges a bit oversized, thinking i'd be fancy and fold them in on themselves, but the leather was too thick to easily do that. I think with a gouge of some sort I could scoop out the material on the back of the fold but it's alot of effort.


Also had a go at a new wrist strap but it didn't turn out so well. This leather is very hard and rough on the hand, and it's a bit loose too. With any spare goat lather I have I might try stitching that onto the thing with a bit of padding underneath.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2015, 05:43:22 PM »
Got the other side of reeds done, so i'm going to wax them on after they dry overnight.

Decided to make the wax now because i've been curious about it for a while.


Melted the rosin first. It looks delicious. I'm also glad I went with a non-stick pan since the stuff stuck to everything else.


Then put the beeswax in. I weighed it and figured 3 sticks of beeswax and 2 lumps of rosin were about a 60:40 ratio. Also put a bit of linseed oil in, I heard it quoted at 5% but my stupid brain doesn't do volumes too well so I put about half a cap full in.


I lay two 'beads' of wax on a bit of wood, before and after the linseed oil, and both were fairly soft. The old stuff in the accordion was glass hard so I assumed it'd probably be fairly hard. So I gave it a test, sticking this bit of bar end to my push stick.


I didn't expect it to hold on too well, so I started shaking it gently. After a bit I was flailing it around as hard as I could, and the thing surprisingly stayed on. The bar end is alot heavier than the reeds, has more leverage from being taller, and has less of a perimeter attached with the wax, so i'm pretty confident this stuff will probably work fine with the reeds. Might even survive if (when) I drop the accordion.

Anyways, i've still got that lung infection. I went to the doctors a couple days ago and he reckoned it was just viral bronchitis and there's not much you can do about it but let it do its thing for a few weeks. But while melting that rosin it got a little hot and started to smoke just a little bit, but that's really done my lungs in again.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2015, 02:02:38 PM »
Well I got the reeds onto the first block, and a couple of them are almost entirely silent, and a few more don't perform too well. Some require alot of air to start vibrating, and some stop vibrating with too much pressure.

Also i've been testing the reeds by blowing into the holes, which has been putting some condensation on the reeds. I might make one of those bellows tables for testing them because it seems that the solution to the reed problems is to spend a good while carefully bending the reeds in or out till they start working properly. So I guess the estimation of having it done by tomorrow evening isn't gonna work out. Especially since after 'voicing' the reeds i'm going to probably need to re-tune them.

Offline Meldonmech

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2015, 06:19:45 AM »
 
  Well Simon, you have come up with some very interesting facts regarding accordion restoration, many of which could be used in other applications. Looking forward to the next installment. I assume you can play the accordion.
 
                                                                          Cheers David


                                                         

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2015, 08:46:04 AM »
I assume you can play the accordion.                                               

I've never even touched an accordion before now. That said they don't seem too hard to play, relatively speaking, but it'll probably still take a while to pick it up.

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2015, 02:24:38 PM »
Got the second rack done.


Started by cleaning it up with a chisel and coarse cross cut file. The old wax is hard enough to not be a problem but the fresher stuff would gum up any cutting tools. I've heard of people dissolving it off in buckets of acetone, but I couldn't get a small sample to dissolve in acetone at all. The wax does get a bit sticky on the surface after brushing the methylated spirits on it, but I still can't imagine soaking the wood in alcohol overnight would do it any good even if it did manage to dissolve the wax off.


The wax was applied with an eye dropper. It stays molten for a considerable amount of time and I had no problems with it going hard inside the dropper. I might try seeing if i've got a working syringe somewhere to apply it to the treble side though, since the gaps between those reeds are much tinier.


Anyways that's 2 out of 4. The reeds in this one all sound fine too.

Online krv3000

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2015, 06:46:32 PM »
hi brill don't no if you no this but theirs a program on the TV named haw its made they did one on the  accordion

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2015, 10:37:00 AM »
hi brill don't no if you no this but theirs a program on the TV named haw its made they did one on the  accordion

I caught that on youtube when looking up accordion building stuff. It's a watchable show but they usually skip over the stuff I actually want to see. I'm still not sure how they make accordion reed plates. Although looking at the sides of the thing, it seems they might be punched. I did find a video of a guy matching the reed to a plate, which was just filed till it fit.

Anyways i've not been working on this thing too hard since the bronchitis got worse, and I figured the stuff in the garage wasn't doing it any favours. But i've got all the reeds leathered and waxed in now. My enthusiasm for the whole thing has been ruined by the slow pace though, and I really just want to get back and finish off the banjo.

I'm thinking I might just get the thing re-assembled for now though. But the big problem is that the bellows still smell. It seems obvious spraying vinegar on them was a stupid idea now, but alas. So I decided to give them a wash in break cleaner. I thought all break cleaner was tetrachloroethylene, which is used in dry cleaning, but this stuff from Rob Wilson says it's mostly light naphtha. I did a test on a bit of cardboard soaked in vinegar beforehand and it seemed to improve the smell, and didn't damage the cardboard.


Sloshed it about in a bucket for a while. I wasn't too worried about the stuff dissolving the animal glue. I didn't imagine it'd do so to begin with, but even if it did it wouldn't be too hard to get back together. Either way it held together and it's now drying.


The break cleaner is now alot dirtier than it was. So I suppose it did the trick. Hopefully it got rid of the smell, but it's a bit hard to tell currently.

Online awemawson

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2015, 11:19:08 AM »
..... arh ... hum....arh ....Milton  :scratch:
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline S. Heslop

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2015, 04:39:24 PM »
..... arh ... hum....arh ....Milton  :scratch:

I couldn't find the stuff, and I think it's water based. I was worried it'd make the cardboard fall apart.

Anyways I was hoping i'd have some good photos of some fancy leatherwork to show but it was pretty much a disaster. Plus the accordions a bit of a mess with a bunch of the reeds not sounding, and me being unable to get them to sound properly. Plus I've really got no idea how an accordion 'should' feel, to know if what seems bad being more just how accordions are.

This whole thing has kinda soured me on the idea of the accordion too. So i'm gonna give it a break and try get the banjo finished.

Thanks for all the advise posted.

Online awemawson

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2015, 05:05:14 PM »
Sainsburys on the household cleaning shelf !

(also used for sterilising babies bottles)
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline David Jupp

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Re: The Mouldy Accordion.
« Reply #29 on: July 14, 2015, 02:42:13 AM »
Milton is just expensive bleach (sodium hypochlorite).