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Accordian keys sticking

Jane of 'ull 25 Mar 12 - 07:57 AM
GUEST 25 Mar 12 - 08:05 AM
JohnInKansas 25 Mar 12 - 08:50 AM
Greg B 25 Mar 12 - 08:52 AM
Tootler 25 Mar 12 - 12:22 PM
doc.tom 25 Mar 12 - 12:54 PM
Bert 25 Mar 12 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,leeneia 25 Mar 12 - 09:34 PM
JohnInKansas 25 Mar 12 - 09:52 PM
doc.tom 26 Mar 12 - 05:50 AM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Mar 12 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler 26 Mar 12 - 07:18 PM
Greg B 26 Mar 12 - 08:51 PM
EBarnacle 27 Mar 12 - 10:02 AM
Mr Happy 27 Mar 12 - 10:52 AM
Jane of 'ull 07 Apr 12 - 03:32 AM
doc.tom 07 Apr 12 - 05:18 AM
GUEST 07 Apr 12 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,leeneia 07 Apr 12 - 01:50 PM
Dave Earl 07 Apr 12 - 07:04 PM
Tootler 08 Apr 12 - 06:47 PM
redhorse 09 Apr 12 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,crazy little woman 09 Apr 12 - 11:06 AM
JohnInKansas 09 Apr 12 - 12:40 PM
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Subject: Accordian keys sticking
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 07:57 AM

I have a small 'children's' accordian which hasn't been played for a while and some of the keys and buttons are sticking a bit. Is it safe to spray it with something like WD40? Or not??


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 08:05 AM

Yes


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 08:50 AM

Although WD40 is touted as a super lubricant it isn't actually a very good lubricant. It's best use is to quickly and temporarily loosen something so that the "stuck" part can be pulled out and properly cleaned and lubricated with a "real" lubricant. It does not leave all that much "lubricant" behind when it evaporates, so the stickiness is likely to return fairly quickly unless something else is used once the sticky parts can be moved enough to spread "whatever" less penetrating real lubricant you use after the WD40.

WD40 penetrates small cracks quite well. The ability to penetrate where it shouldn't be was the reason the US Army banned it's use in Korea and Vietnam since it wicked into and destroyed the primers in ammunition if used on the gun. (The guns worked fine, but didn't go bang.) The ability to displace water makes it great for "drying" a wet ignition system so you can restart your car after it's been for a swim, but nearly any other use requires a follow up to "finish the job."

A children's accordion is likely to have mostly plastic parts that won't be harmed by plain water, or water with a small amount of soap; although there may also be wood and/or felt/cloth parts that shouldn't be soaked. If the stickiness is due to the keys rubbing against each other, it may be able to pull the edge of a dampened cloth through the cracks to get some of the sugar from the glazed donuts out, or a thin "blotting paper" used edgewise might work to clear the cracks.

If the problem is in the "linkages" inside, the best cleaning methods (and especially the materials to use) would depend on the details of the design.

Plastic parts are somewhat prone to "warping" and an old instrument might have keys or other parts that rub and stick just because they've changed their shape. It the "rub" point is clean, sometimes a scant puff of graphite (the kind used in locks) will provide enough lubrication to be helpful, although any excess can leave a "stain" on your fingers and clothes. If you can find where the sticky is, a dab of petroleum jelly (petrolatum?) is a fairly decent lubricant for cases of friction binding. (I've even use Mentholatum for lots of such "fixes," and it works pretty well if you like the smell.)

John


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Greg B
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 08:52 AM

Go get some "food grade" silicon spray at the hardware store. Useful in other places around the house as well.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 12:22 PM

Rub the pivots with a soft lead pencil - the old fashioned wooden type that you have to sharpen. Graphite is a good dry lubricant.

That said, I touched some sticky pivots on my concertina with a tiny drop of WD40 on the point of a pin and it freed them OK. I was playing in a concert that night and they had started sticking during the afternoon rehearsal so emergency measures were called for. So far the offending pivots have remained free but if they start sticking again I will use the lead pencil method.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: doc.tom
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 12:54 PM

Graphite is definitely best. Lubrication will not work if the cause of sticking is a warping of the keys themselves or a bending of the wires connecting key to pad.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Bert
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 05:00 PM

I would say no to either WD40 or graphite. Graphite has been the death of many a good lock because its use causes severe wear after a while. I got that information from a locksmith friend.

And the solvent in WD40 may well dissolve any plastic parts.

If playing it for a while doesn't help then I would suggest that you take a look inside, because dismantling and cleaning is the proper way to go.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 09:34 PM

Who manufactured it? See if they have a web site and ask their Customer Service people for advice.

Simple home remedies could ruin it.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 25 Mar 12 - 09:52 PM

As Bert says, dismantling and cleaning is the proper way to go.

For Tootler, I'd suggest that if you want to use graphite you should get it from a locksmith or hardware store. While "pencil lead" contains some graphite, in common grades it's actually about 80% hard clay that will scratch, score, and once crumbled in the works will absorb moisture and cause corrosion - or worse.

I bought a new tube of pure graphite a couple of years ago for about a buck ($1 US) only because I couldn't find any of the several 10 to 40 year old ones I know are somewhere handy. NO ONE has ever "used up" a whole tube, and the good stuff is really cheap.

Locksmiths I've talked to seem to differ (among themselves) in their opinions about the wear caused by graphite in locks. It can "cake up" and it's not a perfect lubricant, so you can get some wear debris that binds up the lock. Bad as it is, though, there's not much else you can use in a lock that isn't worse. I have used WD40 to "flush" a stubborn lock (to get the old graphite out), followed by a good shake, some drying, and fresh graphite - but sometimes a 3-pound hammer is about the only thing that works very well at all when a padlock gets really sticky.

John


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: doc.tom
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 05:50 AM

Some would say a 3-pound hammer IS the best cure for an accordion.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 10:38 AM

Thanks for the info, John. I didn't know that about pencil 'lead.'

It sounds like the advice to put pencil lead in a groove where a guitar string hangs up is not such good advice.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST,Ebor_Fiddler
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 07:18 PM

I think your best bet, Jane of Kingston upon Hull, would be to try one of the accordion player's sites. I belong to one for melodeon players and everybody is very helpful, so I should imagine would one run by PA players. If you can't find anything on Google, give The Music Room a ring at Cleckheaton (01274 852020) and ask them if they can suggest a site address. I've always found them very helpful people - they don't just want you to buy a squeeze box.
I LIKE cheap children's instruments - they are often harder to play than full size boxes. I know my Hawkins Bazzaar Red Melodeon makes me work more than my (Music Room) Sandpiper, but I learn from it!
As an experienced squeezebox player, I would be very disinclined to use either graphite or (especially) WD40, except perhaps on an artist's brush to control the quantity, but PECO model railway suppliers do a very good light oil dropper - try your local model railway shop.

Good Luck!


Chris.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Greg B
Date: 26 Mar 12 - 08:51 PM

I believe we should distinguish between the cheap Chinese "Hero" and "Parrot" instruments (all under $50) and better-quality machines. I'd not hesitate to bathe the former in various lubricants. On the other hand, if we're talking a $3000.00 Paolo Soprani accordion or Wheatstone concertina, then hold off, man!


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: EBarnacle
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:02 AM

Can you open the case? Are the keys sticking open or closed?

If the keys are sticking closed, the pads may be sticking to the body. If so, the answer is to clean the relevant surfaces.

If the keys are sticking open, something may be out of alignment.

Are there felt pads connecting pivot points to actuating arms? If so a scant drop of oil on them will be useful.

Are there felt pads that actuating rods pass through? Ditto.

Is there rust? Clean it or get a replacement.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Mr Happy
Date: 27 Mar 12 - 10:52 AM

Try here http://www.accordionforum.co.uk/index.php

or here http://forum.melodeon.net/


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 03:32 AM

Thanks for the info everyone. It's only a cheap Chinese instrument so I might try the WD40 approach.

Does this method work for loosening up stiff tuning pegs on a fiddle? they need sorting too!!


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: doc.tom
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 05:18 AM

I would not recommend lubricating the tuning pegs on a fiddle - think about it!


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 06:25 AM

Get the fiddle pegs refitted. It's not expensive.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 01:50 PM

Doesn't WD 40 have a strong oily smell? Do you want the accordion to smell bad?


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Dave Earl
Date: 07 Apr 12 - 07:04 PM

"3-pound hammer IS the best cure"

Not just for sticking accordian parts.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: Tootler
Date: 08 Apr 12 - 06:47 PM

If you go down the WD40 route, don't spray it on. Use a pin to touch a drop into the joints that are sticking. You only need a tiny drop.

As to your fiddle, you need to take it to a violin repairer and have them fix it. I wouldn't dream of trying to lubricate the tuners of any string instrument. They need to hold the strings taut against the tension needed to maintain the instrument in tune. A friend has a vintage banjo uke which has fiddle style tuning pegs. One of the pegs worked loose and when she plucked the string the peg flew out, pulled by the tension in the string.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: redhorse
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 04:57 AM

WD40 leaves a deposit of slicone wax when it evaporates. In some circumstances this is an advantage, but in most mechanisms it causes a problem as the wax hardens with time, and attracts dust. This can lead to a vicious circle where you repeatedly spray more WD40 to free it again, and deposit a further layer of wax. Good for WD40 sales but not much else.

Good quick fix if you are not too worried about longer term, but that's about it.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 11:06 AM

First do what I would do. See if you can contact the maker and do what they say.

If that doesn't work, put the accordion on top of the fridge for 2-3 days. You live where a major river meets the sea in a notoriously wet climate. It may be that the parts have absorbed too much humidity and are swollen. The top of the fridge is likely to be the warmest, driest part of your house. See if it doesn't dry out some and start working again.

Forget that if you have been running central heat and your dwelling is dry. If you touch a doorknob and get a shock, you'll know it's dry.


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Subject: RE: Accordian keys sticking
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Apr 12 - 12:40 PM

Regarding the question about fiddle pegs, a sticking peg is usually the result of either the hole or the peg being slightly out of round, and the only way to fix that is to make them both round again. A good fiddle luthier will have tools that make this simple, unless the holes are worn enough to require extensive repair.

The pegs and holes are tapered, and if the peg is pushed tightly into the hole it will be hard to turn, and turning it while it's tight causes wear, and eventually causes the out of round problem. Proper tuning requires that you "unseat" the peg by pulling it out slightly so that it turns easily, and when the tuning is right a "push" into the hole should seat it so that it holds. If the peg is hard to turn, just pull it out very slightly. If it doesn't hold position when you push it back in, either the hole or the peg - or both - needs to be "shaved" back to being round.

Any good music shop should have "peg dope" that's a greasy sort of lubricant that you can use on the pegs, but you have to remove the string, or loosen it enough, so that you can pull the peg out far enough to put the dope on the peg where the peg contacts the holes. It's recommended that you do it one string at at time, so that you don't drop the bridge (not a disaster) - or the sound post (a really big deal).

Using a bit of dope on the pegs helps make things stay round a little longer - if you use proper technique - but eventually re-shaving and/or peg replacement is a normal part of fiddlin'.

John


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