Building Materials

Photo by Knut Utler
In comments on the Accordion Workshop post, the inquisitive TomB wrote:

The most striking thing to me about these photos is just how much metal is inside these instruments. Has that always been the case?

Building materials are not my forte, so I asked my buddy, Andy from Vermont. In very quick order, he replied:

As far as I know, metal has always been used on the part that I would call the pallet rods, which connect the button lever (the part attached to the button) to the pallet. However, the button levers were (and still are, in many accordions) made out of wood. I believe that the pallets themselves were historically made out of wood (and again, still are wooden in many accordions), but some modern accordions use aluminum pallets.

My Melodie has nylon (possibly Delrin) button levers, copper pallet rods, and wooden pallets.  Your Nik has wooden button levers, and probably aluminum pallet rods.  You can check under the grille and see whether the pallets themselves are wooden or metal. [I checked and they are wood. GC] I've seen some old bandoneons with wooden pallet rods. The only modern button accordion that I've seen (in pictures only) with wood pallet rods is a model made by a French builder, Stephan Le Lan.

An advantage of metal is stability despite humidity changes. If pallet rods shrink or expand, the result can pull the pallets away from the action board, which would result in air leaks and reeds that sound even when the button isn't depressed.

Thank you, Andy from Vermont!

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