Keyboard axle removal

Need technical advice regarding repair or renovation of your box? You've come to the right place.
Post Reply
Glug
Novice
Novice
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:57 pm
Location: London, UK

Keyboard axle removal

Post by Glug » Thu May 17, 2018 12:20 pm

Hi folks, thought I'd share this in case it helps somebody.

I've got an old (1935ish) Santianelli 48 bass with some very minor keyboard problems. So I though I'd take a break from fixing the valves to see how easy it is to get access to the key mechanism. I've read AccordionRevival quite a few times and searched on here so after a poke or three I concluded the keys don't come off individually and it's a twin axle design. It's got 2 axle ends visible on the bottom end of the keyboard and no holes or axle cover at the top end.
Keyboard:
1 keyboard.jpg
Axles:
2 foot.jpg
The first axle (upper left one) had the 'loop' protruding just enough to get pliers on it, some twisting and pulling and it came out 2mm so I left it there for the moment. The second axle is the problem: the top of the loop is 2mm below the surface of the celluloid:
6 axles.jpg
So this is what I did:
1) Widen the hole slightly using a very small modelling scalpel, it's now 4mm diameter
2) Push picture wire into the hole and hook it under the cut end of the loop using a jewellers screwdriver
3) Use nail pullers to pull on the wire
The pulling setup looks like this:
7 pulling.jpg
And here's the result:
8 pulled.jpg
Which should be perfectly acceptable when I put an axle cap on it :)
Certainly better than drilling a hole in the top end, think I owe myself a beer or four.

Tom
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 1:08 pm

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Tom » Thu May 17, 2018 12:23 pm

Great work!

User avatar
jozz
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 655
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:03 am
Location: Hilvarenbeek, The Netherlands

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by jozz » Fri May 18, 2018 7:47 am

that was a brave move :tup:

User avatar
debra
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2163
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:45 pm
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by debra » Fri May 18, 2018 7:44 pm

Great start. Let us know how it goes once you go further. A small tip: put painter's tape over the white keys and over the black keys and then you can remove the axles without a great risk that keys will fly everywhere. (Of course you can also pull bit by bit to remove one key at a time, but pulling out the axles in one go is faster.)
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

Tom
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 1:08 pm

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Tom » Sat May 19, 2018 2:37 pm

It's the getting them back in that's the tricky part! Like when you want to fix a key way down here but you have to take the axle out all the way, then get them all back in.

Glug
Novice
Novice
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:57 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Glug » Sat May 19, 2018 5:23 pm

:) Think it's going to be easier than getting it apart.
Pulling the first rod out took more levering and blocks of wood. Fairly sure this hasn't been taken to pieces for 80 years.
Luckily the keys have all got numbers stencilled on.
9 White out.jpg
The pallets are a bit weird too, think it's Persian or Chamois Leather with no felt (judging by pictures on cgmmusical.co.uk)
10 Pallet side.jpg
11 Pallet bottom.jpg

User avatar
debra
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 2163
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:45 pm
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by debra » Sat May 19, 2018 5:44 pm

Glug wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 5:23 pm
...
Luckily the keys have all got numbers stencilled on.
...
I hope you checked whether that numbering is correct? I took apart an old Crucianelli and keys 9 and 10 (as numbered) were actually swapped. Don't just believe that when there is factory-numbering it will be correct!
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

Geronimo
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:00 am
Location: Germany

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Geronimo » Sat May 19, 2018 6:01 pm

No felt at all gives you no equalisation. You can use air pressure for roughing up the leather. But the principal equalisation will have been done by the pallets getting fixed to the pallet levers by filling up with wax while both pallet and key are fixed in perfect position, taping the wax basin off afterwards. That process does not really work with old (stiff and indented) leather seals. If you are planning on using felted pallets, you should probably use the thinnest available and even then it might necessitate rewaxing. Otherwise, try not to change anything, particularly concerning the lever/wax/pallet combination, and pray that stuff will choose to fit fine again.

Glug
Novice
Novice
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:57 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Glug » Sat May 19, 2018 7:14 pm

Hmmm, I think I understand. So if I change the pallets I'm going to have to rewax them to make sure they're flat over the air holes.
Issues at the moment are some slightly stiff keys, one white key slightly operating a sharp, and some pallet clacking. Think I might leave the pallets for the moment and just do the mechanical issues with the keys, and maybe brush the existing pallets with an old toothbrush. If I'm rewaxing I may as well set the key height/action at the same time, so I'll maybe do that next time.
I did check the numbers :)

Geronimo
Superstar
Superstar
Posts: 865
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:00 am
Location: Germany

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Geronimo » Sat May 19, 2018 7:22 pm

Glug wrote:
Sat May 19, 2018 7:14 pm
Hmmm, I think I understand. So if I change the pallets I'm going to have to rewax them to make sure they're flat over the air holes.
Likely. If you are changing the pallet covering, you are probably going to get felted leathers and the felt will be good for a bit of equalisation but not all that much, and you'll want thin felts anyway in order not to make too large of a difference.

So yes: messing in any way with the pallets and/or key level will likely imply a wax job. I don't have experience regarding how tricky or not this may be.

User avatar
kimric
Expert
Expert
Posts: 225
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 7:54 pm
Location: 2511 Broadway Oakland ,California USA
Contact:

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by kimric » Tue May 22, 2018 7:52 am

You want to be careful if you use a leather felt combo that the keys are not lifted enough that the hit the inside of the grill. The old instruments did not have a lot of clearance under the grill.
I often make up a craft felt and soft leather material myself for these jobs.

After waxing the new pallets to the arms and leveling the keyboard I will run a hair drier over the pads to soften the wax up and let the new pads settle.
Smythe's Accordion Center, since 1997
Oakland ,California

Glug
Novice
Novice
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:57 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Glug » Wed May 23, 2018 3:28 pm

Cheers, I didn't think of that, I'll have to measure the clearance, and buy a hairdryer.
What leather do you use ?

Glug
Novice
Novice
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:57 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by Glug » Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:50 pm

Yay, keys back in and everything works.

Fixed the stiff keys - turns out the guide slot the tip of the key goes up and down in was old furry softwood,
which resulted in quite a lot of friction.
12 Rough guide.jpg
I smoothed the slots with a large nail file and faced them with UHMW tape*, which worked a treat.
13 taped guide.jpg
Having put it all back together I found a few pallets were wobbly, turned out the axle end of some keys had too much room to move in and could tilt slightly. A piece of tape on the axle end of the key fixed that completely.

Have to say I really like UHMW tape, first time I've tried it :)


* tape I tried was TapeCase 423-3 UHMW tape, 1/2 inch wide from Amazon:
The UHMW film provides an excellent low friction, non-stick surface similar to PTFE. The film has a very high tensile strength and abrasion resistance. Common applications include drawer slides, chute liners, wear pads and guide rails.
I measured this tape as 0.11mm thick and it seems to stick to anything, including itself, but can be peeled off.

EMan
Expert
Expert
Posts: 150
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:16 pm
Location: St. Augustine, Florida, USA

Re: Keyboard axle removal

Post by EMan » Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:18 pm

That's great information and technique for future repairs ! Thanks for posting.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 3 guests