Remove old valve glue
#1
I'm repairing this accordion and replacing all of the old leather valves with shiny new vinyl ones.

But when I take the old valves off, sometimes a crust of old glue is left, sometimes covering over the hole where the reed on the other side is sitting.

I've been using my soldering iron to burn this glue off, but I don't imagine the fumes this produces are very good for me, and I'm sure there's a better way.

What do people tend to do to remove this old valve glue?
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#2
(23-01-2019, 12:12 PM)londonrob Wrote: I'm repairing this accordion and replacing all of the old leather valves with shiny new vinyl ones.

But when I take the old valves off, sometimes a crust of old glue is left, sometimes covering over the hole where the reed on the other side is sitting.

I've been using my soldering iron to burn this glue off, but I don't imagine the fumes this produces are very good for me, and I'm sure there's a better way.

What do people tend to do to remove this old valve glue?

Wow, this is the first time I heard of anyone trying to burn off the glue. Definitely not a good idea, not just because of the fumes but also because it heats up the reed plate. The best way if to scrape it off with a small flat screwdriver or a flat thin piece of steel, like the "pinger" used to put under reeds while filing or scratching during the tuning process. If the glue that was used is old shellack it should come off quite easily. If it is Bostik or Pattex or any shoe glue it may be more sticky (as it never hardens for 100%) but you should be able to scrape it all off without exerting too much force.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#3
I've got a 'sharp stick' I use for exactly this purpose.
It's a small diameter piece of hardish wood shaped like a chisel on the end.
In fact it's more or less a wooden chisel - zero danger of damaging something metal.
Tooth picks also work usually.
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#4
Thanks for the useful replies. Yes, no more burning glue off.
I've opted for a tiny flathead screwdriver, like one used for spectacles. It does scrape the metal surface a little bit though so I like the suggestion of a wooden chisel. Not sure I've got the skills to make one though so I'll just be careful with the screwdriver!
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#5
Try a brass wire brush; it's softer than the steel but harder than the glue.
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#6
Not necessarily for this purpose, but it's really handy to have a "fibreglass pen" in your toolkit - it can do some amazing things!
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#7
You can also try a short piece of brazing rod - probably easier to find than brass rod and similar hardness wise.
(I made a reed lifter with brazing rod)
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#8
If you want to get it super clean, use a little naphta-based lighter fluid on a cotton earbud. You can also use that to remove old wax on the reed plate. Although, then you're back to having some fumes.
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#9
(24-01-2019, 02:20 PM)Morne Wrote: If you want to get it super clean, use a little naphta-based lighter fluid on a cotton earbud. You can also use that to remove old wax on the reed plate. Although, then you're back to having some fumes.

There is no reason to get it super clean, except for beauty when removing a valve to not replace it (can happen around C6 where the transition between valve or no valve is). You are going to put new glue on and that will smooth out any small bit of residu you could not get off and will fill in any small scratches created by scraping off the excess old glue. There is such a thing as "good enough".
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#10
I see your intention is to replace your valves with Ventilli (Plastic) .
If your old valves were leather I suggest replacing with leather.
Clean the reed plates and leave the old residue from the old shellac left on the reed plates.
The reasoning is that the only thing needed to fasten new leathers is simple white glue.  Wink
Owner & Operator "THE FISARMONICA SHOP" Chicopee, MA USA
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#11
(26-01-2019, 09:14 AM)JIM D. Wrote: I see your intention is to replace your valves with Ventilli (Plastic) .
If your old valves were leather I suggest replacing with leather.
Clean the reed plates and leave the old residue from the old shellac left on the reed plates.
The reasoning is that the only thing needed to fasten new leathers is simple white glue.  Wink

In general I agree that leather should be replaced by leather. But what I also see is that manufacturers who used to use only leather valves are switching to plastic for the highest notes. And it is also my experience that plastic valves work better for high notes (typically the highest 3 or 4 notes that still have a valve, on each reed block). I always use shoe glue for valves, whether leather or plastic. As a general rule I learned to not use white glue on metal, hence also not on reed plates.
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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#12
My doctor told me I'd been using cotton buds too much... but it went in one ear and out the other Smile
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#13
(26-01-2019, 07:34 PM)debra Wrote: In general I agree that leather should be replaced by leather. But what I also see is that manufacturers who used to use only leather valves are switching to plastic for the highest notes. And it is also my experience that plastic valves work better for high notes (typically the highest 3 or 4 notes that still have a valve, on each reed block). I always use shoe glue for valves, whether leather or plastic. As a general rule I learned to not use white glue on metal, hence also not on reed plates.

What are the differences between leather and plastic valves? I can only think leather provides a better air seal than plastic, but it hardens with the time and also gets dirty
I'm Sebastian and i Play on a Hohner Concerto III called Modesto.
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#14
(02-03-2019, 04:42 PM)Sebastian Bravo Wrote: What are the differences between leather and plastic valves? I can only think leather provides a better air seal than plastic, but it hardens with the time and also gets dirty

Leather valves not only seal better but are also quieter. However, small leather valves do not open as easily as plastic ones which is why manufacturers started using plastic valves for the highest notes that still have a valve, and leather for lower notes. (On less expensive models plastic valves may be used also for lower notes, but typically around or below C4 plastic no longer cuts it and everyone uses leather (with plastic or metal boosters).
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl
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