Re: [Harp-L] cracked chromaic comb repair video

Those are wonderful combs you make, Bill. Absolutely wonderful. I respect and bow to your mastery in this area, you've been at it so much longer than I have been alive, there's a lot I learn from reading your posts, probably very little you could learn from reading mine, so I add this primarily for others' consideration. I really want to make sure I make that clear.

The wood combs I have have lasted my lifetime. My oldest has been in use for 17 years, it remains one of my best chromatics. After a good sealing, wood isn't negatively affected by the elements, unless, I suppose, you left it in a creek for a while and when you sand them flat, they get a lot tighter. Maintenance on wood I've sealed is the same as plastic.  
My experience with leaving only one plate as an anchor is the convex reedplate will bow and take the comb along with it. I have remedied this with a board and C clamps, but found that, for me, it's easier to make an intial repair to make it hold for the primary repair, and both reedplates as anchors. The reasons I use a good ol' school glue are 1) it's always handy and 2) I can scrape some off here and there easily and 3) if I accidently get some on a reed, it isn't a big deal. After sealing, I have seen no affects whatsoever from moisture getting in there. 
But that's just me, everybody has a different way of doing things and I'm totally going to try that wax paper thing you mentioned. In the day, I used to flintknap, make flint knives, arrows and things. Binding a flint blade to a handle with fiber (cordage) wasn't very effective, nor was glue. Put the two together and it held like it was molded on with Fiberglas... 

My process breaks down on the Koch valveless chromatics. It's too small inside to do the repair from the top and that's usually when I do a repair like the one you suggested. 

As you said, one can not stress enough the importance of not squeezing the comb together. The comb length of a broken comb is comb/air gap/comb. Remove the air gap by squeezing and you've got a shorter comb. Has to be filled in.

All that said, I'm a firm believer that wood chromatic combs ought to be sealed and a cracked comb repair on a comb that is left unsealed does not address the root of the problem that caused it to crack in the first place.

Dave Payne Sr. 
Elk River Harmonicas 


----- Original Message ----
From: Bill Romel <romel@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: Payne David <dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 3:02:01 PM
Subject: RE: [Harp-L] cracked chromaic comb repair video


The best solution to a cracked wood comb for a chromatic is to  have it
replaced with a machined acrylic comb with custom brass inserts and
stainless steel screws.  This will solve the cracked comb problem provide
an upgrade to a perfectly good chromatic harmonica that will last a
lifetime.  The instrument will be air tight and leak proof.  Unaffected by
temperature or humidity problems and maintenance is a breeze.  Reed Plates
mounted independently so only one has to be removed to be worked on  if

The other solution, is to seal the crack with epoxy very carefully.  Leave
one plate on to act as an anchor,  place some wax paper in the slot where
the crack is located and fill in the crack with 5 minute epoxy cement.  Let
dry for 24 hours.  This usually works very well.
Don't,  I mean don't squeeze the comb together and then add the epoxy. 
Just fill in the crack and let dry.  If you squeeze the comb together, you
will ruin the slot alignment and the reed plate may not fit correctly.

Best Regards,

Bill Romel

> [Original Message]
> From: Payne David <dave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> To: Harp L Harp L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: 11/3/2008 3:52:21 AM
> Subject: [Harp-L] cracked chromaic comb repair video
> Somebody was talking about this yesterday on the list, I had this video I
hadn't gotten around to posting, so I uploaded it. Much easier than
explaining in an e-mail.
> Dave Payne Sr. 
> Elk River Harmonicas
> _______________________________________________
> Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,
> Harp-L@xxxxxxxxxx

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