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Refurbish Bellows? Or Replace?

Soulsaver

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I have an accordion which has a 'no leaks' bellows. BUT a couple of corners have been refixed tattily by a previous owner, the tape isn't clean looking, all the corners are dull, and a couple of folds could do with new tape at the back (belt scrape).

Point of the post : At what stage do you think it better to get a new bellows..' (say £150 inc post from e.Europe).

I'm certain that with care you/I can do a good pro job of taping - I've done it before but would need to improve a little to look new and pro. But is it possible to make a pro job of DIY polishing all & replacing (a few) corners?
 

TomBR

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Is the tape in a state to come off reasonably easily and without damaging the rest of the bellows? With the tape off you could make a good job of cleaning and polishing the corners.
Would just cleaning the existing tape and polishing the parts of the corners you can see get you most of the way?

Is the rest of the accordion looking good enough to stand beside new bellows, or will it look silly?

How many hours are you willing to put in compared with £150.

Without having seen it, my instinct would say, clean what you've got, or replace the bellows if the rest is good enough. A partial refurb might not look good enough to justify the time and effort.unless it's done really well.

I've made one set of bellows from scratch - to my eye the only visible fault is a bit of "less than machine-made precision" in the hand folded cardboard.

Good luck!
Tom
 
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JonathanC

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I have re-taped a set of bellows before and I have to say, i got really board doing it! if the need arose again think I would buy new ones.
 

JIM D.

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I have hesitated to reply on this one as determining on whether to replace or repair a set of bellows can be influenced by different factors. My decision to repair or replace a set of bellows in my shop is quite easy for me as I have all the replacement bellows corners, tape, corner leathers , adhesive , tools and jigs in my shop and purchase them wholesale. I also have a stock of good used bellows in stock for inexpensive replacement. In order for me to advise I will need some info --
(1) year, make and model of accordion?
(2) the value to you (is it your main squeeze?)
(3) How much can you afford?
 

Soulsaver

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JonathanC said:
I have re-taped a set of bellows before and I have to say, i got really board doing it! if the need arose again think I would buy new ones.
Yep - boring AND messy... but satisfying if you do a great job.
 

Soulsaver

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JIM D. said:
I have hesitated to reply on this one as determining on whether to replace or repair a set of bellows can be influenced by different factors. My decision to repair or replace a set of bellows in my shop is quite easy for me as I have all the replacement bellows corners, tape, corner leathers , adhesive , tools and jigs in my shop and purchase them wholesale. I also have a stock of good used bellows in stock for inexpensive replacement. In order for me to advise I will need some info --
(1) year, make and model of accordion?
(2) the value to you (is it your main squeeze?)
(3) How much can you afford?


OK - Fair point by Jim & TomBr: In this instance the rest of the accordion is good nice, red pearl 1960s German (as opposed to Swiss model) Hohner Verdi V 120/4/5 LMMM- not my main squeeze. Its nice shine, with nice white keys (but with a few hairlines that plastic develops from the time), smooth switches, serviced, good flat valves, in tune (mild musette) I guess with a nice bellows £600-700 private, UK dealers would be c£1k+ - but let down cosmetically by the bellows.

This is not it, but you probably couldnt tell, its almost exactly the same - bellows looking grubby in this one, too. And interstingly, this one is for sale (in Germany?) for €1690.
http://wdb126.de/04140062.JPG

Its really for me a question as to whether the man in the street can get a pro finish with home done corners?
Point 3 - I could afford the £150 for Slovenian new. But if someone said no you can get these corners looking spot on with a knife & fork method Id go down that route - infact Ill prob go down that route as Ive nothing to lose. Fail & I buy new.
But Im keen to hear anyone say - yeah, a good job can be done with care - or Nope - you aint ever gonna get a good lined up, airtight, even, unmangled and square corners without a jig/special tools.
 

JIM D.

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Didn't know it was a Hohner you were speaking of here. I would replace the bellows with a new set. :tup:
 

Soulsaver

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JIM D. said:
Didnt know it was a Hohner you were speaking of here. I would replace the bellows with a new set. :tup:

Expand on that, please Jim - you mean DIY isnt ever going to be great & it will stand the cost?
 

JIM D.

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I only recommend bellows replacement on Hohners that have German made bellows ( not Italian made Hohners) as the original parts they have are of very mediocre quality to start with. For example a 20 year old German bellows will have corners that are of mild steel with very little plating and discolor and rust easily. An Italian set of bellows will have steel corners that have been copper plated and then nickle or chrome plated and will last 3 times as long. If you treasure your old Hohner by all means replace that old set -- mount them on your old frames -- and buy a new set of bellows straps. If you have an old squeezre thats still of value, that price of $225.00 to $250.00 for bellows replacement will always add to its resale value. {} :tup: {}
 

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Remember the careful words Soulsaver ......watch your toes in case they fall out. Best wishes.
 

Soulsaver

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Buttons said:
Remember the careful words Soulsaver ......watch your toes in case they fall out. Best wishes.
Im sure I should know what that means, Buttons... but for now its up there with Cantonas seagulls... :D
 

Soulsaver

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JIM D. said:
I only recommend bellows replacement on Hohners that have German made bellows ( not Italian made Hohners) as the original parts they have are of very mediocre quality to start with. For example a 20 year old German bellows will have corners that are of mild steel with very little plating and discolor and rust easily. An Italian set of bellows will have steel corners that have been copper plated and then nickle or chrome plated and will last 3 times as long. If you treasure your old Hohner by all means replace that old set -- mount them on your old frames -- and buy a new set of bellows straps. If you have an old squeezre thats still of value, that price of $225.00 to $250.00 for bellows replacement will always add to its resale value. {} :tup: {}

Well you see more of them than I do, Jim - but Ive got all sorts of age German made Hohners and for the most part the bellow corners are lovely - even on 60 year old oldest. But I bought them cos they were in such nice condition, so it maybe they are the exception. Infact I have to say this Verdi is the only one with grubby corners, albeit not the only example I can find on tnet.
 

Soulsaver

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Ok I've had a look at the existing bellows and decided I'll buy new... they are on order today... just this minute.

I may offer the old bellows for sale when finished, size is 195x480 18 folds 35mm deep edge to trough o/s.
 

JIM D.

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A well thought out (Im sure) and a financially correct decision!
{} :tup: {}
P.S. What colors and # of folds did you decide on ??
 

Soulsaver

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18 Jim, or 17 - with proviso to keep within existing 6.5 cm height closed.
I went for the original colours, red cloth, white leathers, gold tape. I traced the corner shape from the existing bellows and Hohners H3 is the correct corner.
Hohners price was €300+ +postage!
 
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Kem

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Hey, sorry if I'm derailing your thread, but can someone tell me what type of tape is good for resealing bellows holes? I have an accordion with a hole in one corner of the bellows that I'd like to cover, it's not a big hole and it's on the straight edge so it should be easy to seal, I was thinking of using masking tape. I'm not trying to get something that looks pretty, but certainly I'm looking for something that I can practice on.
 

Soulsaver

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Don't apologise - why don't you start a thread with a meaningful title - like 'how do I repair a holed bellows?' Then people can find in the future and people with the same problem can see it and/or contribute? :tup:
 
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Kem

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Thats okay, I was looking at http://accordionrevival.com/OWNER_S_MANUAL.php and saw Bellows Tape I now know its not actual tape, its just fabric that has been glued over the hole to stop the leak. I might get a few sheets of fabric and make a nice zebra pattern across my accordion to cover up the leak. IDK yet though it might make it harder to extend the bellows with the additional fabric.
 

Soulsaver

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"18 Jim, or 17 - with proviso to keep within existing 6.5 cm height closed.
I went for the original colours, red cloth, white leathers, gold tape. I traced the corner shape from the existing bellows and Hohners H3 is the correct corner. "

Hohners price was €300+ +postage!
I have a sort of traditionalist view - if it was designed this way, unless it's horrible, I'd stay with the original colour combinations. Would any of you have gone for something different?
 

Soulsaver

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