Looking After Your Concertina

This will be a short section, because there is not much to do. I include it to answer the obvious question that any new owner may ask “what do I have to do to look after my instrument?” The first thing to remember is that the concertina was developed in the early 18006. The technology has a zero tolerance to ,A,et. and variations in temperature and humidity. The bellows are derived from the bookbinders art, the bellows frame, and the action box from that of the cabinet maker. The reeds are an instrument maker’s product. There are no waterproof, stainless, or modern stable materials employed. Wet it and you get a kit of parts, all un numbered, probably warped or rusty.
The following are sensible actions that a prudent owner may wish to consider:

1. Dust the outside of the bellows regularly to prevent the build up of debris in the folds.

2. Occasionally polish the leatherwork, particularly on the bellows hinges, and gussets. I suggest the Use of a shoe cream like ‘Meltonian Shoe Cream’. Use a soft cloth and take care not to rub against the lay of glued overlapping leather bits. This will protect, keep supple, and reduce wear and creaking sounds from the bellows. If there are coloured papers on the bellows, then use a neutral cream and try to avoid the paper, wiping contamination off promptly. Otherwise select the most appropriate colour, and polish off with a soft cloth.

3. Regularly stretch the bellows out to their fullest extent. This is to ensure that the full bellows travel is being maintained. Note, never move the bellows with having a button pressed]

4. Always ensure that the instrument is stored with the bellows fully and tightly compressed. Usually storage in its dedicated box will achieve this. Be careful of the soft gig-bags, or other replacement cases The original 190X65 were designed to wedge the concertina fully closed. Gig-bags are fine for temporary transport and protection, but they may not have enough end padding and rigidity for permanent storage. Loosely stored bellows will again effect the extent of bellows free movement in play.

5. Keep the instrument away from extremes of heat, cold and clamp or any circumstance that could induce the bellows to rot, or dry and crack, the woodwork to warp or split and steel reeds to rust. Beware of storage in motor vehicles in very hot weather

6. Occasionally (say every year or so) and subject to the amount of play, remove the ends and clean/ vacuum out dust from the reed pans and inside the bellows. Vacuum with a small instrument or camera cleaner – not the family’s new high-powered turbo charged

7. Very, very occasionally, and subject to the amount of play in tobacco-smoke-laden pub env:-, !meats, carefully clean the reeds with methylated spirit soaked lint-free cloth.

8. Do not lubricate anything: it will collect dust and gum up the works.

9. Store the concertina with is axis horizontal to avoid distorting the leather valves.

10. Do not polish metal ends with any metal polish that will contaminate the keys and their felt L may attack the woodwork’s polish, or even leather finish.

11. Do insure your instrument, record the manufacturer’s name, instrument type, semi description and photographs are also a good idea. 4 2- basic Caryatid Maintenance