Here is a short video demo of fixing accordion reeds with wax. The wax is a mixture of rosin, which makes it very sticky, and beeswax, plus some other ingredients. I have tried making reed wax, with variable success. But nothing compares to the genuine Italian made stuff. They must have a secret recipe.
There are a variety of ways to apply the wax, but this is the way they do it in the Italian accordion factories, and I find it the easiest way.
It takes a lot of practice to get the wax where you want it! It’s easy to undo work by getting it on the reed tongues.
Here are some pictures taken while I was filming for the BBC tv programme The Repair Shop.
In 2017 I was called by Richochet about a new BBC programme they were filming. Could I come and repair an accordion for them? A month or so later I was filming in ‘the barn’ for the first episode of the first series. When it was initially broadcast the programme was completely unknown. But even in that first week of filming there was great confidence that this was a winning idea and that it would be popular. I’ve no idea how they knew…but they were right.
What was interesting was that nobody takes you to one side and tells you how to ‘do telly’, so you have to learn very fast. It’s best, for instance, to switch off your radio mic when going for a comfort break!
Since that first series the programme has gathered a huge following and gained in popularity. It seems that people don’t know how to fix things any more… and this programme somehow gives everyone a warm feeling.
So here are a few photos from my time filming for series 4, in autumn 2018. I repaired a beautiful old Jeffries concertina and had to go back and forth to the barn a few times because it was a complex repair. For information the barn is in The Weald and Downland Living Museum in Sussex. You can visit and peer at the barn (from a distance…it is cordoned off) during filming.
Four voice Hohner 1055 musette piano accordion, with keyboard rebuild and complete re-valve and tune. Palm coupler on treble side for low/basoon octave reed. Musette here means three middle reeds tuned one slightly flat, one on concert and one slightly sharp, to give a rich ‘musette’ sound. Two voice accordions normally have one reed tuned to concert pitch and another reed tuned slightly sharp (or flat on older accordions).