Following on from my previous post, the work continues on the Scandalli and as mentioned before, the celluloid covering on the accordion’s casing has been badly damaged over the instruments long life, and while after a lot of elbow grease I have managed to bring the treble end of the accordion up to an acceptable standard, the Bass casing is significantly worse and so I have had to strip the celluloid off the wood, repair the various cracks and dents to the wood and rub the casings down with a fine glass paper in preparation for a new celluloid covering.
However, to get to this stage, the entire bass mechanism has to be stripped. The bass button machine is relatively easy to remove and comes out as a complete assembly, I will still need to strip the machine assembly at a later date as I need to replace any damaged buttons and associated rods and the rubber retainers that Scandalli use have all perished and will also need replacing, but that’s another big job for later. So for now, once the bass machine had been removed, I was able to dismantle the bass coupler mechanism, the air button assembly and remove the old bass strap.
Once the celluloid had been removed, the seriousness of the damage to the wood became more apparent showing not only deep bruising, but various cracks in the wood. I managed to recover the worst of the deeper bruises using a hot iron and water to draw the wood out, after which the smaller dents could be filled with a wood filler then rubbed down using a very fine glass paper. This needed several repeat operations until all the blemishes were rectified and eventually the finished casing was clean and smooth.
The next operation is most complicated part of this repair, and that is actually applying new celluloid to the wood. It’s not something I have done before and those that have are understandably very protective of their methods, so It’s going to take some experimentation on my part and no doubt several attempts before I get it right. The process involves soaking the new celluloid in a water and acetone mix until the celluloid become soft and pliable to allow wrapping of the casing, so wish me luck and I will report back with my results.
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