Thursday, March 22, 2007

The concertina project so far, part 1

The project began in 2000 with the closing of Star Concertina in Cicero, IL. Much dreaming ensued about carrying on the tradition of [Chemnitzer] Concertina manufacturing in Chicago.

A bit of tinkering with old boxes followed.

Some conversations were had with John Bernhardt:
  • What was done by Star in-house.
  • What was outsourced.
  • How some construction details were realized.
  • Where materials were sourced.
  • The marketplace for concertinas and the place held by Star, Hengel, Echo, etc. in the market; also the nature of buyers in Chicago vs. Wisconsin, Minnesota, etc.
Some old parts were purchased from Bill Brown:
  • Reed sets removed from instruments that had been converted to his "Buttontina" product.
  • Threaded brass bushings (with nuts) for key lever pivots. (Turned out to be long: They must be cut down on a lathe to be useful.)
  • L-screws for reed plates in a "pin" reed instrument (smaller than the ones used for long-plate reeds).
  • Grommets for "sound holes" at front of instrument.
Some experimentation with various action arrangements and CNC manufacturing techniques was done:
  • Wood (solid, aircraft plywood).
  • Sheet plastic.
  • Molded plastic.
  • Wire (similar to some English-construction concertinas).
  • Various bushings and pivot methods.
Some experimentation with reedblock arrangements and CNC manufacturing techniques was done.

Suppliers were located for materials.