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Valve Pallets and keyboard felt

danp76

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Hi everyone, do these look overly compressed to you? Keys make a "clack" upon release. My guess is the material has been compressed causing this louder noise upon key release. Also I only see felt beneath the sharps and flats for cushioning upon key depression. No felts for other keys?...just the long piece along keyboard edge?

Can I "fluff" the pallets with a toothbrush or mild piece of sandpaper to rejuvenate? Or do you suggest replacing? Thank you!
 

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debra

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Fluffing the pallets with a toothbrush is the first obvious thing to try. Keys potentially make a clacking sound when you press them (felt underneath the key hardened) and when you release them (felt on of the pallet hardened). What you see in the picture is only the compression of the leather part of the pallet and that's what you can "fluff" up, but you cannot see whether the felt has hardened. You can only try to feel it.
The trouble with pallet noise is that people get bothered by it over time much more than that it increases over time. People have come to me for other repairs and then asked me whether the felts (pallets) needed replacing because of clacking. I then let them hear the pallet noise on some fairly new accordions and it's the same...
 

Ventura

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partly this depends on whether you are refurbing this accordion to keep and use,
or to just make it decent then pass it along to a new owner...

personally, i think the long felt on the leading edge of the keybed
(where the bottom tip of the front of the key touches)
helps reduce noise and improves feel so i always replace this

secondly, regarding noise in general, there are several sections
of the keybed where adding a layer of felt purely for sound
absorption and resistance to sound bounce can be done...
you just have to study it with a key in and see where it
touches and where it doesn't, you don't want to impede the
motion of the spring of course

also i tend to like to refresh any exposed wood with a nice
soft dab of old fashioned Johnsons Paste wax... this will help the
spring "slip more easily in it's little groove, and it will help the
rod and pivot area too... especially areas of wood that were never
varnished in any way as it helps resist bugs too. I use a soft small paintbrush
and apply the wax very lightly

These specific pallets look fat and happy, the felt is still evenly parallel shaped
(not beaten down until they have a taper) and the leather
looks nice. Do you notice how the leather has taken on two
small bellies where it projects into the square holes ? sometimes
if this is very pronounced there can be a sort of tiny "thwack" noise
produced from when it lifts (because that belly has sealed
slightly in/along the inside edge of the hole while closed
as over time it projected further in and took on the square shape)

the object is for the pallet to lift nicely and as evenly as possible,
quickly and cleanly allowing the air from all sides to flow
uninhibited into the hole and thus to the reed.. anything that
affects the delivery of air can have an affect on how the reed
responds, including a change in the flow or direction of the air.

and then of course it must seal perfectly when lowered all
around and at the same moment

Please also note that your pallets are firmly affixed to the
aluminum arm... note the arm itself... Older accordions had round
rods then the industry improved to using flat aluminum, which has
more resistance to bending (keys becoming unevenly leveled)
though it has less resistance to sideways bending (which is less
of a problem but sometimes noticeable)

Better design introduced various mounting systems that could
allow the pallets to self-level slightly, thereby improving the
perfection of the fit particularly over time. Rigidly mounted
pallets, like this one, are less desirable and of course cost less
during manufacture (though yours appear to be real wood,
which is preferred over plastic pallets in my opinion, as plastics
present a hard reflective surface to sounds and noise

finally, the aluminum plate with all those little square holes...
i have on occasion run super fine wet sanding paper carefully
and then cleaned and polished the aluminum to perfection
so that the leather valves will have no friction during liftoff...

of course this is a ridiculous level of finishing and may not actually
improve the action but i have done it on my keepers

enjoy your project !

ciao

Ventura
 

danp76

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Thanks guys! I see that the black keys (sharps/flats) have a small piece of felt to "land" on, why aren't the white keys set up with a piece of felt to absorb impact/compression? The long strip of felt near the edge of the keyboard doesn't really help, as the key is nearly fully compressed without coming in contact with this long strip of felt.

I pulled about 8 keys last night, fluffed the suede on the pallets and it made a big difference in reducing the "clack" upon key release. I would think actually replacing them with new material would be even better? I'm not sure why manufacturers don't have a felt "cushion" where the pallet "lands" I would think this would help? The hard aluminum surface doesn't help with sound absorption.

I'm guessing I could take a sharp razor blade and cut off the old felt/suede off pallet and glue on a new one? It seems like it would be fairly easy?
 

Ventura

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experimenting is good, but it ain't broke so i would not fix that one...
the pads and felt look fine

buy a junker from some pawnshop and experiment on it first

ps: it is not quite that easy

the glue/adhesive should be of a type and must be applied in a way that it
does not migrate through the leather pad at all..

and you need a smooth non-porous surface where the pallet lands or
you would leak air

ciao

Ventura
 

Glug

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It's also worth checking that the 'pillows' (unflattened bits) on the existing leather are centred.

The bit of leather making the air seal is the 2-3 mm around the edge and if it isn't centred air leaks will result.
If it needs adjusting that involves very carefully tweaking the arm or pallet attachment a bit.
 

Gonk

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I think pallet clack is often an indirect result of another problem, mostly on older boxes - excessive key travel. When I line a keybed with a strip of cork and felt, pallet noise goes way down. However, if you don't have enough key travel the reeds don't sound right.

Those pallets do look fat and happy (I grinned) but I don't know what materials and glues different makers have used for the felt part. If it's a particularly dense felt, or is attached with glue that hardens with age, it's possible it's no longer giving enough squish. How do they feel when squoze?
 

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