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Waxing reed blocks

Pierre

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Hello,
I am looking for some help concerning waxing reed blocks. I have already waxed several reed blocks with succes (Italian way with the flat spoon) but don’t know how to proceed with combined block in the bass side. The trebble blocks (chords) part are glued with almost no space between the reed plates and it looks impossible to use à spoon.
Any thaughts?

Thanks,
Pierre (new member and enthousiastic to share experiences about accordion restoration)
 

Tom

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Welcome Pierre!
 

debra

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Welcome Pierre!
Not sure what you mean with "combined block in the bass side".
As for waxing reeds when there is almost no space between the reed plates, the technique I learned is to put reed plates on one by one, left to right or right to left. Put the first reed plate on and wax three sides. Then put a thin line of wax on the side of the reed plate so it sticks to the plate and the wood and then quickly slide the next reed plate in place and press it against the wax. You can later "complete" the job with a soldering gun and thin tip to remelt the wax a bit for better finish. Add wax top and bottom and then again a thin strip on the side and slide the next reed plate in place, etc. The soldering iron to finish the job needs to be quite hot so as to still melt some wax while heat is quickly absorbed by the metal of the reed plates. What I also do is to only put the outside valves on after the waxing job is complete and the reed plates are wiped clean using benzine (I use what we call "wasbenzine".) the plates need to be really clean so that valves to not stick to the reed plates.
 

Pierre

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Hello Debra,
Thanks a lot for your help.
I used the term « combined block » because there are 3 rows of reeds instead of 2 like is usually the case. (there is certainly a correct name?) One is accessible but the other 2 blocks are facing each other and indeed, there is almost no space between the reeds like you mentioned. (some rivets of the reed plates were even touching each other causing anoing buzzes and this is strange for an original Scandalli SuperIV with original parts. (even for an instrument from the 70´s and thus not the best period)
I’ll try the way you explained with a few reeds And a hot iron

still I can’t imagine how they managed to fit the wax perfectly in between the two rows of the reed plates without soaking the rivets ? Could they have used a thin pipe to bring the wax in between the two rows of reed plates?
Maybe they first waxed a complete row without putting wax on the rivet side and than when starting the second row they sealed both reads (face to face) one by one keeping the reed block in oblique to let the wax flow in between ?

I also use « wasbenzine » (dutch name I think?)
to clean de plates afther cleaning with steelwool 000.

Thanks again for your help.
Pierre
 

debra

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Hello Debra,
Thanks a lot for your help.
I used the term « combined block » because there are 3 rows of reeds instead of 2 like is usually the case. (there is certainly a correct name?) One is accessible but the other 2 blocks are facing each other and indeed, there is almost no space between the reeds like you mentioned. (some rivets of the reed plates were even touching each other causing anoing buzzes and this is strange for an original Scandalli SuperIV with original parts. (even for an instrument from the 70´s and thus not the best period)
...
Pierre
That is a strange way to construct reed blocks. Russian bayans do have bass reed blocks with 4 sets of reeds on a single block, but 1) they do not use wax and 2) the reeds are not facing each other.
Your description suggests to me that maybe they had 2 reed blocks when they waxed the reeds and then glued them together to become one block? Otherwise you have to again do what I described, but with the 2 sets of reeds going in parallel: wax the two reed plates that face each other, then the next two, etc.
Some accordions are built without any regard for later maintenance that may be required. They come with reed blocks that are glued to the soundboard, making it hard to do any work on the reeds that requires their removal, and making even tuning very hard because they leave you little room. It's not just something from the past. I have an otherwise really nice Pigini C39 bass accordion with reed blocks glued to the sound board and with rods for the registers running in between the blocks and register sliders inside the reed blocks as well. It's almost as if they consider the instrument a "disposable" item. When something isn't working properly any more, just replace the whole instrument... (It's not that bad in reality. Tuning is possible. It's just harder than it needs to be.)
 

Pierre

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That is a strange way to construct reed blocks. Russian bayans do have bass reed blocks with 4 sets of reeds on a single block, but 1) they do not use wax and 2) the reeds are not facing each other.
Your description suggests to me that maybe they had 2 reed blocks when they waxed the reeds and then glued them together to become one block? Otherwise you have to again do what I described, but with the 2 sets of reeds going in parallel: wax the two reed plates that face each other, then the next two, etc.
Some accordions are built without any regard for later maintenance that may be required. They come with reed blocks that are glued to the soundboard, making it hard to do any work on the reeds that requires their removal, and making even tuning very hard because they leave you little room. It's not just something from the past. I have an otherwise really nice Pigini C39 bass accordion with reed blocks glued to the sound board and with rods for the registers running in between the blocks and register sliders inside the reed blocks as well. It's almost as if they consider the instrument a "disposable" item. When something isn't working properly any more, just replace the whole instrument... (It's not that bad in reality. Tuning is possible. It's just harder than it needs to be.)

Yes it is indeed a strange way to make reed blocks but this was probably due to reduce production costs in the Farfisa period of Scandalli...
What looks clear to me is that the pallets were waxed in into the completed wooden block frame (not divided in two parts) as the wax joint is just in between the two rows of pallets and covering the wood joint.
I think you are right with the idea of proceeding per couple of pallets (face to face) and yes tuning in such a confined space is not easy but I think cleaning and voicing the reeds as changing the leathers will already make it sound much better. (and in tune)

Maybe I’ll try to make an little brass reservoir with a small pipe to have an easier acces to the back of the reed block. I think there was a mention of such a tool somewhere on the forum.

Thanks for your help,
Pierre
 

Dingo40

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"Maybe I’ll try to make an little brass reservoir with a small pipe to have an easier acces to the back of the reed block. I think there was a mention of such a tool somewhere on the forum."
Pierre,
No need to make such a tool: they are available ready made from Batik hobby shops.
They are called "Canting" ( also "Tjanting") tools.
Some are equipped with electrical heating to keep the wax liquid.
See here:
 
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debra

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"Maybe I’ll try to make an little brass reservoir with a small pipe to have an easier acces to the back of the reed block. I think there was a mention of such a tool somewhere on the forum."
Pierre,
No need to make such a tool: they are available ready made from Batik hobby shops.
They are called "Canting" ( also "Tjanting") tools.
Some are equipped with electrical heating to keep the wax liquid.
See here:
Good find! Looks interesting, and not expensive either.
However, the smallest spout is still 1mm. Not sure how that's going to work when reed plates are just 0,5 mm apart (or less).
 

Pierre

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Thanks for the link Dingo40,
I see there is a model with an electric heater.
As the wax cooles down quite fastly maybe this could be a better choice ?
In my case space between the pallets is not a problem but is a special setup with two rows of palets face to face with only about 1 mm between the rivets and only about 2 cm space at the top of the pallets.Not easy to get the wax properly at the bottom.

For normal waxing jobs I had good results using the traditional spoon and technique even with narrow space between the pallets.
For the next job I was thinking of getting the reed block and reeds a little warm (infrared lamp ?) to avoid the wax to harden too fastly...
 

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