[ Mike Green wrote in 030513 MMDigest about his trouble with
[ poor adhesion of the thick bellows cloth to the wood.
If the problem is getting bellows cloth to stick to the wood, the
procedure is not difficult providing that you're using the right
First and foremost, only use hot hide glue. If you're not using hot
glue, you shouldn't be rebuilding a player piano.
To get the hide glue to stick to heavy bellows cloth has been discussed
several times in this discussion, but the procedure is this:
1. Prepare the hot glue for working the night before.
2. Clean the wood thoroughly of the old glue. I have a small torch
meant, I believe, for chef's work, but I find it perfect for music box
and player restoration. I simply scorch the majority of the old glue
and scrape it off and sand off what's left.
3. Coat the wood with glue and let it dry overnight. Coat also
a piece of scrap wood.
4. Start with the widest side of the bellows and work quickly.
Generously coat the wood with hot glue, lay the cloth over it and tack
the corners in place with upholstery tacks. Let it sit about an hour
then do the next side, and so on. Glue also a piece of cloth to the
5. Take an old flat-iron and iron the wood/cloth/glue match. Let the
iron heat up first and test it on your piece of scrap wood to make sure
that it's not too hot to scorch the glue. Iron the cloth to melt the
glue and you should have an excellent seal.
6. To preserve the folds which wear out quickly, you can cut a patch
of flexible leather and glue it in the corner-folds of the bellows
-- this adds years of life to the bellows.