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Rubber Reed Valves!

knobby

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I think I mentioned in another thread that I was going to buy an old clunker to practice repairs & tuning on, rather than use my Vox 4P. I found one advertised at The Accordion Centre in Birmingham so went to collect it today. It's a Delicia Choral IV which has definitely seen better days but will do for the purpose I need it for. Andrzej took the accordion into the workshop and pulled it apart for me to let me see the reeds, blocks, etc. and he gave it a quick look over, even replacing 3 broken reeds that he found.
But what was bizarre was that every reed valve except 1 is made of some kind of black foam rubber! The reed block below is from the bass end.

IMG_20210123_132109_3.jpg
As you can see, the rubber has shrunk to leave a gap between the valve and the reed plate. It is very stretchy stuff though!

IMG_20210123_132142_8.jpg
Is this some kind of weird Delicia trait, or has some bodger home-made some valves from leftover bellows gasket (or similar)?
 

Glug

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I did think about trying 1mm neoprene for pallet facings - replacing the leather.
I happen to have some suitable felt and neoprene in the cupboard.

I'm guessing it would make slapping noises though.
 

debra

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I have seen this stuff (I think the same stuff) used in an old bayan, used instead of leather, for the basket on the underside of the reed blocks. (Most accordions have leather on the soundboard, but bayans have it on the bottom of the reed blocks. This stuff is rubbish, mostly because it stretches as you discovered. Oh well, time to rip it all out, put in new leather valves, and then new booster springs.
The material is a bit similar to the gasket tape used for the bellows seal, and that too stretches so when applying it it's very important to not stretch it at all, because it will try to shrink back and then not seal properly.
 

Ventura

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well, just like materials used in Italy immediately after WW2 were
severely limited by what was AVAILABLE and then shaped by
need and ingenuity...

behind the Iron Curtain there certainly were similar pressures
at work.. an old Music manufacturing place in Osnabruck turned
out some horrible piano accordions, and doubtless they had
nowhere near the push of the werks in Tula, which were very much
on the Soviet radar and could get whatever raw materials they needed

just try and put yourself in the shoes of the people living at that time
and the circumstances... not the least of them being many if not all
of the Masters of the various factories and disciplines were dead
after the War, and the boys who were left had to guess, finesse and
fake it quite a bit

and again, this is different from the Empiricists, like Silvio
and Settimo and Paolo, who had the luxury of power and command
and could imagine using different things and give them a try just because
they felt like it

in fact, a great Empiricist in France once made the Sounding Board for
a grand Piano out of Paper Maiche'
 

knobby

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Oh well, time to rip it all out, put in new leather valves, and then new booster springs.
I've started to remove the reeds from the blocks as there is a little corrosion on some of the reeds. I'll take them all off, clean the old wax from the blocks, clean the corrosion from the reeds, fit new valves (but probably plastic rather than leather), then rewax the reeds to the blocks. That'll keep me busy for a little while! :LOL:

I have some reed valves already from many years ago, and some larger ones suitable for the bigger bass notes as shown here (which I don't remember using):
1611415040984.png
So a few questions before I rush headlong into this:

1. The yellow side is a sort of fake leather; is this the side that goes against the reed plate or the white, hard plastic side?

2. Do you think I will need booster springs for these?

3. The larger vinyl valves I have are made from three different, staggered lengths of vinyl. Are these likely to require booster springs as they are quite stiff already?

Thanks in advance.
 

Sebastian Bravo

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1- yes, yellow part seals the air, white part is a booster

2- maybe in some years... the white plastic boosters are weaker than the steel boosters.

3- no, they will work good with their own boosters. Leather valves need steel boosters because they are bigger and tend to curl.
 

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