Paul Hardy's Lachenal English Concertina - 52313

Pictures of Lachenal Concertina 52313 as Received

Left right action padboard bellows inside

Description of Lachenal Concertina as Received

It is hexagonal with 48 rather worn bone keys. As it is a basic tutor model, it had the C keys marked in red. The ends are wooden fretwork, and were cracked in places with small sections missing. The bellows are black, and were abraded in areas, with green stars on white coloured patterned transfer on each segment.

One one end, in an oval aperture in the fretwork can be read "Lachenal & Co, Patent Concertina Manufacturer, London". At the other end is a serial number,52313 (originally thought to be 58313), dating it from around 1911. The original thin white linen baffles are present.

It has its original wooden box with velvet lining (in poor condition). Unfortunately this held it in an 'ends-up' position, which was not good for it.

It is an English concertina, which means that it produces the same note when a key is pressed, regardless of whether the bellows are going in or out. The other main type of concertina is the Anglo, which gives different notes according to bellows direction, like a mouth organ does.

My time with this concertina

The instrument was bought in 2012 through eBay from John Sheehy in London, UK, for 201 + 10 p&p.It was indeed in condition "for parts or not working" as described, and not playable.

The biggest problem was a very badly cracked pad board at one end (and smaller cracks at the other). The edging was detached from the pad board on three sides. You can see the state of the pad board in this picture. The thumbstraps were poor and homemade, and the finger rest leathers worn out. The exterior varnish or french polish was badly blistered, and the fretwork was cracked and absent in places.

The reeds are brass, with the C1 on the left side arrived broken (had reed carrier but no tongue visible). Two others didn't work well. Interestingly the low G on the right appeared to be tuned to an F# on the pull and G on the push, presumably to increase the range. It was not in concert pitch, being about 50 cents sharp, so in old London Philharmonic pitch.

Initial Restoration

I stripped the concertina down, removed the blistered varnish/lacquer from the ends, and rebuilt the missing fretwork sections out of plastic wood. I recoated the ends with french polish and brass polished the thumbrests and strap screws.

The padboard literally fell into two along the crack, so I reglued it tight, and filled the (still large) cracks from the wood shinkage initially with two-part epoxy wood filler, then with fine plastic wood, and sanded smooth.

I replaced about a dozen pads. I got two new replacement reeds from Concertina Spares, along with a kit to rebuild the thumbstraps.

The instrument now played, although it was still slightly leaky. It sounded quite good, though still in old pitch.

Pictures of Lachenal Concertina 52313 after Initial Restoration

Left right action padboard

Second Phase Restoration

In 2020 I retuned the reeds to modern concert pitch. I also did some more gluing and filling of the padboard to improve airtightness. The result is a quite playable, and will be a useful instrument when it is played in.

Do you know anything more about this concertina ?

Use paul at paulhardy dot net to send me an email message if you know anything about this instrument.

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