Concertina Care


(by Ambrose Kodet and Jerry Minar)


1.    Pledge or Liquid Gold

Polish wood and celluloid covered instruments

2.    Goo Gone

Removes grime and sticky materials

3.    4/0 Steel Wool

shines stainless steel bellow parts

4.    Metal polish

Tarnite metal polish, Braso, Wendl, removes tarnish from metal parts on old concertinas

It is always safest to clean the bottom first if in doubt. Be sure to periodically examine the bellows for loose trim parts. Loose corners (metal on celluloid) should be repaired. If the bellows appears to be weak or caving in it should promptly be reinforced by a qualified repair shop.

Bellows; remove dust and crud carefully with a soft brush. The colored foil on the bellows is very delicate and also highly prone to fading.

Beware: No harsh chemicals (i.e. Auto polish, Acetone)

Could result in removing stones and repainting and resetting the stones.

Could result in removing celluloid, replacing celluloid, re-engraving, and resetting stones.


Wipe down after you finish playing especially if sweat is on the instrument. Sweat eventually will remove the paint.

Leave instrument outside the case to air dry.

Do not store instruments in a basement (unless finished basement has a dehumidifier).

— Example of instrument stored in a basement was a double reed purchased over eBay by Ambrose Kodet (about a 1910 instrument from Chicago near the railroad coal

station).                                                                                ~

–Example of a HENGEL concertina stored in a wood pile for security reasons resulted in moldy bellows, staves, and warped inside parts.

Do not store in a hot attic

Keeping the concertina in the carrying case allows for a more gradual transition to dramatic humidity changes.

Note: Any repair or cleaning on the inside of the instrument should be left to a qualified repair shop. Do not disassemble things you do not understand.

Smoking around instruments

1.   Burn marks from dropped live ashes. Impossible or at best difficult to remove.

2.   Cigarettes placed between buttons —- explosive nitrate material in fret plates may cause an explosion.

Heat and Cold

1.   Avoid Extreme Heat or Cold

2.   Heat (automobile trunk in the summer sun) can melt reed wax and can be stressful to delicate parts

3.   Cold (Minnesota, Midwest winters) allow the instrument to warm up before playing. Leave the instrument it in the case to warm up. This reduces the risk of condensation occurring.

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