Author Topic: positioning a valve  (Read 1760 times)

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Offline Ed McCullough

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positioning a valve
« on: April 01, 2023, 10:25:25 PM »
If you've done this plenty of times this will bore you.
First. I remove the old valve. If I'm going to install a machine made valve with a dimple at one end, I scrape all the old glue off the rivet (on the reedplate).  If the new valve has a flat plastic layer that will go over the rivet, I leave some of the old glue.
Second, I draw center lines of the reed gap on the reedplate.
Third, I draw center lines on the valve.
Those little steps help me position the valve.

That's my part of the process that helps me position the valve.

The two pictures here are crude and fast, but they demonstrate my explanation.
------------------------------------
Hohner's positioning of valves on reedplates in the last five years has become amazingly precise. Look at the distance the valves extend beyond the end of the reedslot. All the distances are almost the same. They vary 0.5 mm or less.
Maybe the other manufacturers have the same precision. I have not looked at other brands of chromatic harmonicas.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2023, 10:42:05 PM by Ed McCullough »

Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2023, 10:59:05 PM »
I always cut mine a "frog-hair" short. It doesn't leak enough to ever notice, but lets enough air in at the tip of the reed (where the leverage is the best) to "pry open" the valve and minimize the tendency to stick. About .005" is enough to get the job done for me.
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Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2023, 11:37:35 PM »
I agree with Age, leaving them a little shy of fully covering the slot.  It can be pretty fiddley sometimes so perfection has left my repertoire.  It’s all good, no fooling.
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Offline Laina

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2023, 04:33:37 AM »
Thanks for the pics.

Some glue is quite tough and I've had the odd glitch with debris when scraping it off.  John Cook's suggests a method using acetone which I've found easy and effective.  Luckily I've still a batch of Dee's handy self-adhesive windsavers.


Offline streetlegal

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2023, 05:31:51 AM »
Another thing worth considering is alignment of the windsaver over the slot. This is pretty straightforward on the outside, but on the inside, if the comb chambers are narrow - some models are more narrow than others - better to offset (from centre) the windsaver a tiny bit to one side to give more clearance from the wall of the comb chamber - but not so far as might create a leak from that side of the slot - so it is a fraction of a mm offset. This may or may not be a problem depending on the comb - but if you get problems with windsavers on the inside of the reedplate, this clearance issue is worth bearing in mind. 

Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2023, 07:48:14 AM »
On my first narrow channel valve installation I was surprised when my normal alignment method failed miserably.  After installing the valves I reassembled the instrument and gave it a test run.  Yeeks, terrible response!  Upon close inspection I realized some valves were touching the comb.  That’s when it hit me…. Inscribe the edge of the comb onto the reed plate in each channel!  With the harmonica assembled with no valves I used an old sewing needle to scribe the inside edges of each hole.  These scribe marks assured me each valve will have clearance upon installation.  It works for me, YRMV.
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2023, 12:45:26 AM »
Maestro Larry,
   Your idea of using a comb and a needle to scratch the outline of a reed chamber on the reedplate is brilliant. That's one of the most amazing original ideas in this website.
--- But, but: How do you determine the locations of the lines you draw on the reedplates?

  Are you more an artist or an engineer? Please write about yourself a little bit.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2023, 01:43:40 AM by Ed McCullough »

Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2023, 12:02:13 PM »
Ed, when I scratch along the tines onto the brass reedplate the scratch becomes shiny and easily seen once the reedplate is removed and ready to affix the valves.  Hope this helps understand.
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2023, 01:22:33 PM »
Nope

Offline streetlegal

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2023, 12:08:09 PM »
That is a very good idea Larry 8). Your small needle scratches to the reedplate can all be done before the plates are removed from the comb. Then with the plates removed, each windsaver could be aligned just a little inside the scratch, which should ensure sufficient clearance, without going through a trial and error process each time.

Offline schubertfan

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2023, 01:12:22 PM »
Another way to make valve positioning easier is to use translucent valves, such as those sold by Danny’s New Harmonica. One can see the reed slot through these valves so that they can be easily centered.

Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2023, 02:13:43 PM »
Sorry, but I don't see anything all that earth-shattering about centering valves that are way too big in the first place. :P I cut them down to the size they should be (so they quit sticking) then I pay attention to whether or not they're centered. Harrumph! ;)

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« Last Edit: April 04, 2023, 02:21:39 PM by Age »
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Offline Lockjaw Larry

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2023, 03:19:58 PM »
Age, two points…

I use my wife’s fabric strip cutter to slice lots of them quickly and exactly alike at one sitting.  The lengths are all longer than needed and trimmed upon installing. 

My technique accounts for swollen wood tines that are sometimes closer to one side of the reed.  My main reason to adopt this procedure was following normal installation and some valves touched a small portion of the tine that had warped crooked. 

It’s all good.
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Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2023, 05:06:18 PM »
OPINION: :)
It's best if you cut your own valves.  Stock valves are for "regular" players. (as in, the kind that never even take the cover plates off and either throw the things away, or send them to a tech when they quit working) Guys like us, who are constantly "under the hood," should really be cutting our own.

I figured this out thirty years ago, and when I shared it an unnamed "professional," ::) he said: "Right, but let's keep that to ourselves; we don't hafta share all our secrets. ;)"

Here it is:  (and all from my personal experience) IOW, YMMV and all that ;)
The less of the valve that actually touches the reed plate, the better. These aren't "mud flaps," and to apply them as such will only assure that sticking is NOT gunna be a rarity. All you need is enough to seal the space on either side of the reed. Think about it: The more (excess) material that extends on to the reed plate, the more area, "moisture" has to lock that valve down. Moisture is the biggest enemy here. Granted, some valve material seals better than others; the trick is to find it, and use as little of it as possible. Valve work is tedious, period. I believe they make them big to make them easier to work with. Working with smaller valves is "tedious on steroids." :o Here is where "centering" really does get critical. "Just enough to seal, is the deal"

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« Last Edit: April 04, 2023, 05:11:28 PM by Age »
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2023, 06:19:29 PM »
What would Vern say?

Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2023, 10:14:50 PM »
Dunno! This is the first time I ever shared it with anyone else since I was discouraged by that "guy" i mentioned. ::) I just know the principle always made sense to me, then it worked well with the Chrometta I finally tried it on back in 2012. As far as Vern goes, I've also used his carnauba (or whatever) wax trick of a few of my axes. For the few times when I actually did play in the "cold," I used my Fugiwarra Chromatic heater.

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« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 02:09:29 PM by Age »
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2023, 10:31:10 PM »
A:

Do you remove all valves from your harmonicas, cut them to be narrower with scissors or Exacto knives, and then reinsfall them in your harmonicas? That really gives you something to do with your spare time.

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2023, 12:24:13 AM »
I suppose you could, but I think you'll be better with off new valves. I think it's way too much work to put into old valves. Also, dealing with the pre made replacement valve's "dimples" can be a real pain. The set ~I~ made started out as a whole sheet of micropore I got from Bill Romel. After trying a few dimensions (wide) I decided which worked best, then cut myself a set. (Definitely a lotta work. I screwed up about every other one, so it was a long process, cuz I didn't have a super sharp exacto-knife at the time ) I did the job on a Chrometta that had a sticking problem. I was impressed with the results. It didn't look much different, but the trick worked fine. The bad part is that I can't even show you, cuz I gave it to a kid who was visiting from Australia.

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« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 02:09:16 PM by Age »
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Offline BeauKim

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2023, 01:13:50 AM »
I suppose you could, but I think you'll be better with off new valves. I think it's way too much work to put into old valves. Also, dealing with the pre made replacement valve's "dimples" can be a real pain. The set ~I~ made started out as a whole sheet of micropore I got from Bill Romel. After trying a few dimensions (wide) I decided which worked best, then cut myself a set. (Definitely a lotta work. I screwed up about every other one, so it was a long process, cuz I didn't have a super sharp exacto-knife at the time ) I did the job on a Chrometta that had a sticking problem. I was impressed with the results. It didn't look much different, but the trick worked fine. The bad part is that I can't even show you, cuz I gave it to a kid who was visiting from Australia.

Do you remember if it was basically the same build as Bill Romel’s windsavers, just without the adhesive he and Betty used?

Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2023, 01:37:05 AM »
A:

Yeah, new valves.  Keeping valves in pristine condition as  you remove them is not likely to succeed. If you were marooned on St. Helena or Pitcairn Island with a few tools, you could take the time, but we would never do this in the real world.

We know you keep your Swan chromatic pretty much untouched.
How many other harmonicas did you completely switch the valves in?


I am impressed with how well Lockjaw LArry's valves are working. I only used two of them, but golly they work!
Those homemade valves work.

I don't have complaints about the dimples on factory made valves. They give a precisely centered location for one end of the valve.

Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2023, 01:53:30 PM »
Haven't heard the word Pitcarin since I was in Australia. :) (Aussies talked about the place a lot)

First of all: Swan's must get their valves from Tatooine or somethin', and they do so good by themselves that I never felt the need to mess with them.

I only made one set of the skinny ones, but they worked fine, so that proved my point to myself anyway. If I was a dedicated CX-12 player, I would have made a set for my CXGold cuz it sticks like crazy.

The Chrometta that I made the skinny ones for, was a bear from the day I got it. (Oh yeah, and to be fair, I never did the inside valves. In fact, I've never had a problem with an inside valve; I just leave them alone and they work fine) I seldom do anything I hate, and working on harmonicas is near the top of my "I hate this" list.

As I recall, the stuff I got from Bill was uncut (odd size, smaller than an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper) At the time, all I had was an old GEM razor blade that I took from my paint scraper) Even if I ruined some, I knew I could get enough to prove or disprove my theory. I have lots of valves around here. The few times I've had to replace one, I trim them down a tad. Works for me. Now that I'm talking about it, I'm tempted to make a set for that CX Gold?  Nah! I don't like it that much! ;)

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« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 02:09:01 PM by Age »
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Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2023, 02:08:00 PM »
I suppose you could, but I think you'll be better with off new valves. I think it's way too much work to put into old valves. Also, dealing with the pre made replacement valve's "dimples" can be a real pain. The set ~I~ made started out as a whole sheet of micropore I got from Bill Romel. After trying a few dimensions (wide) I decided which worked best, then cut myself a set. (Definitely a lotta work. I screwed up about every other one, so it was a long process, cuz I didn't have a super sharp exacto-knife at the time ) I did the job on a Chrometta that had a sticking problem. I was impressed with the results. It didn't look much different, but the trick worked fine. The bad part is that I can't even show you, cuz I gave it to a kid who was visiting from Australia.

Do you remember if it was basically the same build as Bill Romel’s windsavers, just without the adhesive he and Betty used?

Scratching my head here!  I think it was about 10" x 3" and looked like it could be used to make 3" valves. It was two layers that were fastened on just one end. All I had to do was slice them to any width I wanted, and cut them to length. (no adhesive)

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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2023, 03:39:58 PM »
I bought a set of valves from Hohner 4 or 8 years ago. I do not remember the date. I do not know if Hohner has made another version since then. They sent me about 10 tiny envelopes. Each envelope contains 7 or 10 valves.
-These valves are so skinny that they do not overhang the sides of the reed slots by very much. Yeah, you could make skinnier valves, but not easily. I would prefer to start with Hohner's factory made valves and cut a fraction of a millimeter off each side. SOMEBODY can set up jigs and rigs to achieve the cuts, but I'm not going to try.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 06:00:54 PM by Ed McCullough »

Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2023, 04:50:54 PM »
Yeah, it's definitely a pain in the cheeks re cutting stock valves. Cutting your own from scratch is waaay less frustrating.

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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2023, 06:05:15 PM »
Why are Australians interested in Pitcairn island? Do wealthy Australians muse about building vacation homes there or retiring there?

Offline Age

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2023, 06:40:10 PM »
Now that I think of it, there was a church called "Pitcarin" something or other in North Queensland that I preached at, and a lotta other references to that word, but beside that, I guess a lotta rich Aussies maybe go there on holiday or something? I heard it was like a 12 hour flight from Sydney. Yanks and others just go to Fiji and back every six months (I think) so their visas never run out, but the one's with the $ go to Pitcarin for fun. ;D Of course that was back in 84. Dunno what the rules are now.  :-\
« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 06:42:12 PM by Age »
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2023, 07:09:31 PM »
I am sure that Pitcairn Island has no airport. Landing there by sea takes a lot of advanced planning. You have to get the Islanders to take you ashore.

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2023, 10:01:10 PM »
Did ya hafta make me look all this up? ;D
https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Sydney/Pitcairn
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Offline Ed McCullough

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2023, 10:17:11 PM »
I like almost any discussion of geography, and have read about Pitcairn Island many times. I was making a strong joke about vacation homes and retirement homes there. It is an extremely remote place with infrequent supply ships. The infrastructure is almost non-existent. Your brawn and your ability to build things with your bare hands are highly important. Society and social structure there are very rough.
-There are NO airports, airport shuttle buses or car hire on Pitcairn Island. You need to search for "Pitcairn Island", not "Pitcairn".
« Last Edit: April 05, 2023, 10:23:25 PM by Ed McCullough »

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Re: positioning a valve
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2023, 10:43:01 PM »
Heck, I didn't even know if was an island or even a buncha islands. :-[  I'm a word person. When I spent three months in Oz, I just remember hearing the word "Pitcarin" a lot, and that folks went there.  :P
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