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Now You Can Get new Custom Made accordion Bellows.

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How to Repair Bellows

By Gaines I. "Ike" Milligan

If  after reading this treatise, you have anything to add, or questions,  please don't hesitate, communicate !
I plan to add links to more subjects related to accordion care later.
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Gaines I. Milligan
Ike's Accordion Hospital
10803 Keller Street
Silver Spring MD 20902


Why It's Important to Have Airtight Bellows

    Once you have played an airtight accordion you will forever afterward understand the facts that: 1. It's much easier on the arm. 2. The reeds respond much better to instant changes in pressure.

    Never put your fingers on the steel reeds, or blow your breath on them, when you open up an accordion, or attempt  accordion tuning without a lot of knowledge. I will gladly answer any questions you may have about repair and care of accordions . If you want to try accordion repair on your own, I suggest trying it on a junk accordion from a flea market which can often be had for around $50. When buying a used accordion, be very conservative, as people often try to sell accordions for a lot more than they are worth.Accordions have thousands of moving parts and hundreds of reeds, and seldom has any repair or maintenance been performed, because America has very few qualified accordion repair persons, and many people who "repair" accordions are not qualified, and often do more harm than good. More about this subject on another page.

    Over the years I have tried many different methods of repairing bellows. I have read the late Mr. John Reuter's repair book Accordion Repairs Made Easy (and others) and have found the methods he describes therein somewhat dated and inadequate. I play for money and have to depend on my bellows, moreover I am using old squeezeboxes (because they interest me) which I have tuned and restored, and old bellows are seldom able to stand up to the stress due to age of the materials. Accordion bellows are made of layers of cloth and cardboard with leather and metal added. These materials dry out deteriorate, and shrink. After 20 years the average set of accordion bellows will begin to leak if the accordion is played a lot. I have developed a method which gives me a reliable way to permanently stop most air leaks.

Finding small leaks.
Note: For best result use exactly the materials I describe,
unless you are sure you have something better.
DO NOT use epoxy glue, or cyanoacrylic (crazy) glue.

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