Author Topic: Vern Smith inventions  (Read 997 times)

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Offline blowharp

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Vern Smith inventions
« on: December 05, 2022, 12:20:13 PM »
This is an acknowledgment of the inventions of our very own Vern Smith. I've been lucky to be the torch bearer of his inventions in recent years. We've had conversations over the years and he has "Schooled" me on more than one occasion when I got the idea to alter his inventions.  :) It usually cost a good bit of money to bring anyone's idea to fruition whether it be Vern's, another players or my own.  I had to sit on this one since I was financially tapped out discovering new ways to improve harmonicas.  It was the summer right before Covid that I visited Vern in CA. I found out he lives about 3-5 miles from my sister so we set up a day to get togerther in his workshop/garage. He showed me how to make Ultrasuede valves (and build HFC's and ENR's) and I made a couple videos on the process for future reference. He then made and shipped tools to me for making them but it wasn't until a week ago that I could actually move forward with it. Ultrasuede is very expensive. I could buy samples but I needed larger pieces for commercial production. The press he provided is good for personal use but not larger production which I had in mind.

   Seeing the jigs that Vern made in his shop and graciously provided me got me into wanting to make my own in the shop. I now make them for duplicating windsavers, making HFC's, boring screw hole locations on custom comb etc.   Here is a photo I took of a valve pressing jig I made last Friday.  I designed it to do  small batch runs of the first hole of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd octave size windsavers based on the length of  Hohner 64 valves. The pressed end and free end vary due to the length of the reed slot.

Mike
www.CustomChromatics.com 
« Last Edit: December 05, 2022, 12:24:49 PM by blowharp »

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2022, 12:59:14 PM »
Just guessing, I think (just by "feeling" suede in my head ::)) that it would seal off a reed slot better than anything, with zero chance of ever buzzing, no?
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Offline blowharp

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2022, 01:22:10 PM »
Just guessing, I think (just by "feeling" suede in my head ::)) that it would seal off a reed slot better than anything, with zero chance of ever buzzing, no?

The difference between the Ultra suede, (which really isn't suede but a 30% plant based fabric), and mylar windsavers,  is when they sit a little off the plate the ultra suede doesn't buzz or pop when called into play. The US (I'm getting tired of writing out ultra suede) makes no sound.  The only thing I can't guarantee is will it become weighed down with saliva from a very wet player?  It does breath though so better chance of having moisture dissipate once you are done playing.

I did run a set of plates in the ultrasonic after applying Us and they did hold. I used Super glue gel though and not my normal valve glue. I'll have to try it with DucoCement to see if it holds.   I hope to run it through a battery of real life tests so I can answer questions on how it stacks up against mylar valves.

mike
www.CustomChromatics.com

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2022, 02:48:47 PM »
Kewl! Keep us informed, bro! :)
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Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2022, 05:17:50 PM »
Mike, a few years ago Wally told me how Vern made his ultra suede valves.  I used two aluminum flat bar stock and a few metal clamps to hold strips of ultra suede ( furnished by my seamstress wife’s supplies) during the cooking phase.  I then cut the conditioned US into 1/8” strips on her fabric cutter then cut each to length as I used them.  Prior to cooking I soaked the US in fabric water proofing chemicals like Scotch Guard.  I use gel super glue with no issues.  I made my first ones a few years ago and have only replaced a couple I hadn’t affixed carefully enough.  They seem to muffle a little, which I like.  I have never had buzzing problems even in cool weather.  I also use them on lots of my short harps to half valve.

For valves less or more width I use a hand held rotary cutter with a straight edge.

My one concern with them is the possibility of them curling away from the reedplate over time when stored flat.  I don’t think storing standing up will be an issue for many years. 

I have never affixed Mylar to any US valves to improve their springing time.  That may be my next foray.
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Offline blowharp

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2022, 08:38:23 PM »
Larry, I apply the moisture inhibitor after cooking. There is a chance you can change the chemical composition if you cook at a high temp or cook it off before it dries into the US.  I don't use Scotch Guard. They got in trouble many years ago by lying about the health risk of it.  I hope they changed the formula.   I use a different brand that is suppose to be safe unless they are lying too. (better living though big chemical). The stuff I use cost around $40 for a small spray bottle. I may apply it with a brush instead to save on it going where I don't want it.

 I had to order both the chemical and us online from NY. You can't find it at Jo Anne Fabric, I guess because of the high price. I paid $80 for 1 yard.   I put it on blow reeds on my Easttop and Saxony.  No muffle issue on the long reeds because of where I decided to press and leave unpressed.  I haven't tried it on any reeds yet beyond hole 6 on a 12 hole chromatic.

I wouldn't worry about the life span since no one has had them expire yet AFAIK. There is a good chance a reed will go first and a new valve can be put on at that time.   I'll have them in stock by around Jan. I'm building up a supply for fast delivery. I don't see a reason to buy a whole set so I'm just selling them by the Octave where you have the most problems. I'm leaving them at the longest reed at the start of each octave  Hole 1, 5 and 9 (based on 280's) so you can cut them for whatever size you need in that octave or even the next octave down.

mike
www.CustomChromatics.com

Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2022, 09:43:30 AM »
Mike, thanks for the tips.  My wife has been a pro seamstress all of her adult life both in clothing and several years in upholstery.  She has new- old stock from back in the day of US ( more than one kind and including the thin stuff) and the professional waterproofing chemicals.  Her supply is dwindling but I still have enough for a few more batches. You’re correct about applying the waterproofing after processing the US.  I think that’s what I did after the first batch.  I still soak and completely dry it before slicing but maybe should cut back on the soaking.

I have given just a few away ( ‘cause I like to help fellow experimenters ) and do not sell them.  That’s where you and Danny come in.  And we’re glad you’re there for us.

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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2022, 08:54:13 PM »
Blowharp,
Please consider manufacturing the gaskets that used to be available from Dee's Finely Tuned Instruments

Offline blowharp

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Re: Vern Smith inventions
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2022, 12:03:17 PM »
Blowharp,
Please consider manufacturing the gaskets that used to be available from Dee's Finely Tuned Instruments

I'm not familiar with those Ed. Where on the chromatic do they fit?

mike
www.CustomChromatics.com