How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

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John E Giarrizzo
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How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Decided to take a break from violin making. This has been sitting on a shelf in my office for years. Took first close look at it this afternoon. A friend, who has since passed, gave it to me. Belonged to her Grandfather.

It appears to be restoreable. All the notes work. The bellows don't look too bad. Basic material seems to be cardboard, or cardboard like, with a black vinyl over the edges, and maybe leather in the corners? The bellows is still fairly flexible, but wondering if there is something to do to rejuvenate them. If the corners are leather can I put some conditioner on? Concerned that using will cause cracking or damage.

So many questions, as I know absolutely nothing about accordions, or at least this mini accordion like instrument.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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John E Giarrizzo
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

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John E Giarrizzo
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

I've learned something:

Asking how to repair accordion bellows is like asking "How to make a guitar"!!

Found some online resources. Very involved processes and procedures. Rather than doing a full restoration, my goal is to make it playable.
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Jim McConkey
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Jim McConkey »

I fixed up a similar accordion years ago (it's probably in the Library somewhere), and remember coming across a place called Dr. Ike's Boxpital, which had all kinds of repair information and parts along with repair services. It may be worth googling Dr. Ike. I thankfully did not have to mess with the bellows on mine.
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John E Giarrizzo
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Thanks, Jim.

Checked out that site. Fantastic amount of information. This is a whole new area for me. Nice change of pace.

I'm in the process of disassembling and evaluating what it needs to be functional.
Tim Richardson
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Tim Richardson »

Dr Ike is very helpful. I exchanged messages with him when I was working on a similar project.

Warning: Accordions look like a mechanical engineer's dream inside, but that doesn't mean you should lubricate them! That's your first impulse and you can't take it back. Don't do it.

My bellows leaks, the reeds are rusty, and it's time to redo the wax. These things are built of organic components with a finite lifespan. I eventually gave up and bought one in better shape. If I had to fix only one of the three I'd still be working on it. Hee, hee. Hopefully yours will go better.
Ike Milligan
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Ike Milligan »

Dr. Ike's Boxpital (thanks for mentioning) is actually my site. What I will tell you now, after posting that information years ago, is that bellows repair, inless it's a very minor repair, is unlikely to be effective.
For one thing, the repairs, materials and glue, metal corners, will just unbalance the bellows and make the same failures likely to occur sooner in a different place.
I have the experience of Working on the bellows for an hour or more each time I go out to play.
New bellows, precisely fitted, will work much better and save a huge amount of time.
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Jim McConkey
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Jim McConkey »

Nice to have you stop by, Ike! And thanks for the valuable resource.
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Allyson Brown
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Allyson Brown »

Will beeswax work?
Jim McConkey wrote: Fri Jun 30, 2023 12:41 am Nice to have you stop by, Ike! And thanks for the valuable resource.
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Allyson Brown »

By the way, why don't you just replace the entire bellows?
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Jim McConkey
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Jim McConkey »

That's pretty much what Ike said - replacing the entire bellows saves time and works better. Just may be cost prohibitive for some people.
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Allyson Brown
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Re: How to Rejuvenate Accordion Bellows?

Post by Allyson Brown »

I guess the cost will be a great consideration for many.
Jim McConkey wrote: Wed Aug 23, 2023 1:41 pm That's pretty much what Ike said - replacing the entire bellows saves time and works better. Just may be cost prohibitive for some people.
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