Restoring rusty accordion reeds

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Gaines Milligan

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Sep 19, 2021, 1:47:16 PM9/19/21
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When tuning and restoring reeds often there will be some rust on them If
it is only a few reeds with small amounts of rust, it can be scraped off
and treated with a thin film of oil. However if there are a lot of reeds
with significant rust, making the accordion go badly out of tune, the
rust areas can be polished away using a bamboo skewer dipped in oil and
fine abrasive in a rotary tool at low speed.
This can especially be worthwhile if the reeds are very high quality of
the sort no longer easily found. When removing rust one should be
careful not to score the reed plate, as the edge of the slot needs to be
precisely made to create the necessary turbulence for immediate reed
response. A shim is put under the reed when cleaning the upper side to
protect the edge of the aperture. To work on the blued area the reed can
be lifted from the other side.
I'm not saying you should try this yourself. as there is a lot more to
know than I have put in this short post.
One should never use harsh rust-removing chemicals on the reeds, like
Naval Jelly, as this will totally ruin them. It will take off all the
bluing and the reeds will go up in pitch, and also ruin the reed plate
and degrade the response of the reed.
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