Hi All, Bruce Clark asks why leather is not the preferred material
for recovering the bellows in an Ampico rotary pump. My answer is
very simple: They weren't made that way!
In the player piano industry there are many instances where some
other material will 'do the job'. I would never argue that fact.
And it is sad that we (the rebuilders) often have a hard time finding
good quality materials. I've lost count of the number of times I was
stopped in my tracks because I couldn't readily find suitable
materials, and I've returned numerous items that didn't measure up.
The old saying, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" will always
be a truism. But the operative word here is necessity. To me, that
means 'if it's necessary'.
In my humble opinion, maintaining originality is still an important
factor when selecting rebuilding materials. And it isn't that
difficult to test the materials before installing them to insure that
they meet or exceed reasonable specifications.
As time goes by, and good materials or replacement parts get harder
and harder to find, we will all have to look around for the parts and
supplies we need to finish a job. Just this past Friday I spent four
hours locating a six-inch piece of threaded rod that I needed to
replace a contraption devised by the previous rebuilder who didn't want
to "waste his time". I don't consider "going the extra mile" a waste
Also, as time goes by, it might become totally acceptable to use
non-original materials in the rebuilding process. When that day comes,
I'll side with the majority of other professionals.
So, professional rebuilders, which is it: leather or cloth? Is it
possible to come to a final resolve in the MMD about an important
matter like the "preferred" material for recovering the bellows in
an Ampico rotary pump?
John A. Tuttle