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Replace Keys

Eddy Yates

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I bought my Bugari used and it had cracks on0941F298-EAFA-41D8-8240-0A8980D7A65A.jpeg some of the keys and one obvious scar. They don’t affect the playing at all, but I just wondered if anyone knows a source for replacement keys. It has a reduced size keyboard.
Also, is it a difficult repair?
Thanks.
 

JIM D.

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Yes you will need key tops. In your case you will have to remove the spindle holding the white keys and remove the keys.
In your case I recommend this as removing the old key tops will result in them cracking and not coming off in one piece.
Once you remove all the key tops & clean the residue from the wood key bodies you can reassemble the keys on the spindle and then
adhere the new key tops. Once you measure the key tops you need to go here --


If you get this far, return here for advice in gluing on the new key tops.
 
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Eddy Yates

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Thanks, Jim!
Seems kind of odd that they don't list any prices on their website.
There are a few color choices. Should I send them one to match the color?
 

debra

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Thanks, Jim!
Seems kind of odd that they don't list any prices on their website.
There are a few color choices. Should I send them one to match the color?
There are not only color choices but also different formats (different cutouts for the black keys), and there are whole plastic keys and just keytops to go on wooden keys. You need to know precisely what you are dealing with.
Also, the keytops are normally made out of celluloid and it is best to use "celluloid glue" (a mix of celluloid and acetone) to glue the keytops on wood. The celluloid you use to make the glue should of course be the same color as the keytops. (But when you remove the old cracked keytops you have a supply of celluloid right there!)
 

JIM D.

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(1) for prices contact Frank Romano (FRM) at 781-629-1558 you can also try Liberty Bellows at 257-815-4407
(2) The new key tops will be a pure white. I'm afraid you will never match the color of a older white key top as sunlight (ultraviolet light)
will always yellow celluloid to some degree depending on age.
(3) As for application I've been using 5 min. epoxy for many years now - it allows you time to level and position a key top before it sets. And
of course lightly sand the bottom of the key top for the epoxy to grip.
(4) And as for what the key tops are made of, well the majority of the replacement sold today are celluloid but for a slightly higher
price you can get them in plexiglass. Plexiglass key tops will not yellow with age.

Now as far of your cracked key tops you will find when you remove one you will see areas that didn't have the proper amount of
adhesive to cover the contact points between the top & key body.
 
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Ventura

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i would recommend pulling the spindle just enough to release one white key
for inspection... you may have an all plastic keyboard (no underlying wood)
like the 0320-s on the aforementioned website

several manufacturers used all plastic keys in certain models from
time to time including Scandalli and Excelsior... generally speaking
it is seldom possible or affordable to replace such keys, especially
the older "waterfall tip" type popular after WW2 and used until
supplies of Wood again became widely available

one friend, Walter, had some success brushing re-inforcement on
the underside of the all plastic type keys (i think he used Sally Hansons
hard as nails layered up over a weeks worth of effort... he also sanded
the tops and put a new finish on them somehow for cosmetic purposes
but i do not recall the details nor how long the lifespan of the keys were lengthened

Ciao

Ventura
 

JIM D.

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Your Bugari will have key rods made of wood with a glued on key top.

Scandalli's are frequently found with all plastic keys.
Excelsior only used plastic keys on there older electronic accordion organ models.
 

debra

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i...
it is seldom possible or affordable to replace such keys, especially
the older "waterfall tip" type popular after WW2 and used until
supplies of Wood again became widely available
...
Having waterfall keys does not mean they are all plastic.
I'm currently working on an old Galanti with waterfall keytops and wooden core of the keys.
 

JIM D.

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Refacing an accordion treble keyboard with waterfall keys that have wooden bases is really not a daunting task.
Once the waterfall key top is removed you can use a standard key top with a key top faceplate.
I've done this twice on 40's era Titanos That I have rebuilt with excellent results
Look here for #0320 and you will see the parts I've used.
 

JeffJetton

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The new key tops will be a pure white. I'm afraid you will never match the color of a older white key top as sunlight (ultraviolet light)
will always yellow celluloid to some degree depending on age.

I wonder if "retrobrighting" the old keys would work?
 

JIM D.

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You may try this ---
 

nagant27

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Interesting. I use this exact stuff to bleach deer skulls for European mounts. Works great for that.
 

Ventura

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ahhhh.. Debra..... you are a patient man but i can understand...

there were some amazing and interesting Galanti's and it is
wonderful to hear you would attempt to save one with Waterfall keys.

so yes, now that you remind me, cellulose keytops... they would have been
draped in a soft state and allowed to "droop" over the tip edge then harden
i imagine. My point being that makes each and every one a unique shape
unto itself as well as the raw material (for replacement/repair) being
nearly impossible to get (unless you can create it from scratch)

the Black Hand section of the accordion shops was, of course, outlawed in
modern times... the last place i remember seeing one in active operation
was the original S.E.M. factory before it went bankrupt and was closed...
i recall watching them make 3 color Gabbanelli bodies skinning the
wood frames with the pliable material pulled from the Acetone baths...
cutting and fitting and getting all the bubbles out BARE HANDED

needless to say men who smoked cigarettes were not hired for this position

CEMEX also had a stash of original spare sheets of Cellulose and Celluloid
from the NewYork factory era (all contents of which had been shipped to Italy
many many decades ago) no idea if Pigini kept that material when they
bought them out and moved them down the road

so yes i stand corrected on waterfall keys... some were built by hand one by one
over wood (and can you imagine the time and effort and skill that took !)

ciao

Ventura
 

Eddy Yates

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Thanks,all, for wonderful information!
On another front, my Tiger is glued back together and is working as good as....,uh, before it was cracked. Will post a demo and photos soon.
 

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