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MMD > Archives > June 1998 > 1998.06.21 > 10Prev  Next

Covering Duo-Art Accordion Pneumatics
By Jim Heyworth

Hi Randy,  You ask whether to use pouch leather or regular pneumatic
cloth to cover the accordion pneumatics of your Duo-Art.

Rather than make a recommendation, since this is a controversial point,
I will relay my limited experience on this subject.

My first Duo-Art (upright) had its accordions covered in red leather
which needed replacement at the time.  For this reason I chose pouch
leather as a replacement.  In retrospect, it seemed to me that when
I removed the original leather it was slightly thicker than pouch
leather, but since that was over 20 years ago I can't swear to it.

Things worked relatively well for a number of years, but gradually the
expression began to suffer.  I finally decided I had a day with enough
patience to take out the accordions and check them over.  I found two
very disturbing things.  The first is that the accordions now leaked
like a sieve, and secondly the gaps were out a mile.  In other words,
the leather had stretched, and in the process had become more porous.

Being a lazy sort of a guy, I whipped up some egg white, painted it
over the leather (which soaked it up hungrily) and readjusted the gap
adjustments to take up the slack.  Upon replacing the accordions into
the piano everything came back to life and I was delighted.  However, a
few months later the expression began to deteriorate again.  With great
mutterings I took the accordions out and although the gaps were still
okay the leakage was back.

I replaced the leather with striker pneumatic cloth about five years
ago and haven't had a problem since.

This isn't the end of it.

Some time before this re-restoration I became the proud owner of a late
Duo-Art grand.  After all, I _collect_ things, right ?  This had been
partially restored and I noticed that the covering on the butterfly
(later style of accordion) pneumatics had been redone quite poorly in
motor cloth !

Because I still assumed that the ideal covering was pouch leather,
I recovered these with the same leather that I had used before on the
upright, and I am now experiencing the same problems as above.

I hasten to add here that the previous "restoration" by person or
persons unknown was so bad that many parts had been damaged.  You can
imagine my delight when Al Pebworth brought it to my attention that he
had a bunch of spare parts that would work in my piano and part of this
was an original untouched expression box of the era, with  butterfly
pneumatics.  I have not yet restored it (it needs it _badly_) but one
of the first things I noticed is that the butterfly pneumatics are
_originally_ covered in pneumatic cloth.

To summarize then,

1.  In my first Duo-Art upright the accordions were covered in leather.

2.  This leather, if I recall correctly, was heavier than pouch leather.

3.  The pouch leather I used for replacement stretched and became porous.

4.  Replacement with striker pneumatic cloth works very well.

5.  In my grand, (5 years younger) with butterfly accordions, pneumatic
cloth was used originally.

Conclusions are left up to you.  I know what my next choice will be.

Jim Heyworth,
Sechelt, B.C., Canada

(Message sent Sun 21 Jun 1998, 21:05:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Accordion, Covering, Duo-Art, Pneumatics

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