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Cuckoo bellows material

gentleman jim

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After a customer dropped off 12 cuckoos for repair i decided to give tyvek another try. A tyvek envelope was dismembered and tumbled with jewelers steel media for 4 hours. Worked great, material is nice and pliable. Just make sure to remove that pesky adhesive strip first.

20190508_163635.jpg
 

shutterbug

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Tumbling may be the key. I've always found Tyvek to be too stiff.
 

D.th.munroe

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Hi Jim
I've been using a "tyvek 400" set of coveralls for about 10 years (same suit lots of material) for that. It is the exact material supply houses sell and is on new bellows, they are around $10 at the hardware or paint store.
Dan
 

D.th.munroe

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Well the suits are sold as disposable, DuPont or some part of them make all kinds of disposable clothes out of Tyvek there is also another brand of these that is similar but I havent tested it, It didn't seem to have the kind of dimpled pattern. If you've ever had to deal with asbestos or other worse contaminants of some type the slightly higher grade of suits are used. I also haven't tested those.
But Tyvek itself seems fine in the wash, Im not sure about in the dryer, it is a type of plastic. I found it easier to make bellows out of a new, unwrinkled flat piece though, I bought a small size suit and so far have used almost a leg, and I've recovered quite a few bellows.
Dan
 

kinsler33

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What is 'jeweler's steel media,' and where would you get it? Looks useful.

Also, be advised that the guys who restore player pianos (visit them at the Mechanical Music Digest, free and fun to read) use a host of different materials to make their pneumatic 'pouches,' as they're called. There are hundreds in some instruments, acting as pneumatic-to-mechanical transducers, pneumatic amplifiers (really), pumps, motors, and mechanical-to-pneumatic sensors or transducers. They all look like cuckoo bellows, and there's always debate over which material to use.

There's rubberized nylon, rubberized canvas, the thinnest leather imaginable, rubberized or non-rubberized nylon cloth, zephyr skin (I have no idea), and your Tyvek. I have missed others. There's an equal level of debate over which cement will hold these onto the wood substrate. Elmer's, hide glue, PVA-C (I have no idea), and I think rubber cement may be leading contenders.

M Kinsler
 

bangster

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I've been told that a well-crumpled $20 bill will work.

:D
 
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D.th.munroe

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I've been told that a well-crumpled $20 bill will work.

:D
Lol thats for the high end cuckoo's
I have seen $1 dollar bill bellows on an older cuckoo and they didnt have to be recovered, still worked great. Course in Canada the smallest bills we have now are $5 and they are all Australian plastic.
Dan.
 

shutterbug

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US bills are made from cloth. They work well for bellows material, and if you avoid Bangsters suggestion and use D.th.munroes, the price is right too :D
 

gentleman jim

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Jewlers use a variety of small shaped steel beads for cleaning jewelry. Commonly called jewelers steel shot. I have been using it for a few years. It cnl also be used with a bit of liquid soap for cleaning clock plates and leaves a nice patina. Be careful it can break delicate parts.
What is 'jeweler's steel media,' and where would you get it? Looks useful.

Also, be advised that the guys who restore player pianos (visit them at the Mechanical Music Digest, free and fun to read) use a host of different materials to make their pneumatic 'pouches,' as they're called. There are hundreds in some instruments, acting as pneumatic-to-mechanical transducers, pneumatic amplifiers (really), pumps, motors, and mechanical-to-pneumatic sensors or transducers. They all look like cuckoo bellows, and there's always debate over which material to use.

There's rubberized nylon, rubberized canvas, the thinnest leather imaginable, rubberized or non-rubberized nylon cloth, zephyr skin (I have no idea), and your Tyvek. I have missed others. There's an equal level of debate over which cement will hold these onto the wood substrate. Elmer's, hide glue, PVA-C (I have no idea), and I think rubber cement may be leading contenders.

M Kinsler
 

MartinM

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Jewlers use a variety of small shaped steel beads for cleaning jewelry. Commonly called jewelers steel shot. I have been using it for a few years. It cnl also be used with a bit of liquid soap for cleaning clock plates and leaves a nice patina. Be careful it can break delicate parts.
Would the variety of sizes have analogues in steel shot from say your average 12 gauge shotshell?
BBB .190" (4.83mm), BB .180" (4.57mm), 1 .160" (4.06mm), 2 .150" (3.81mm), 3 .140" (3.56mm), 4 .130" (3.30mm), 5 .120" (3.05mm), 6 .110" (2.79mm), 7 .100" (2.41mm), 7-1/2 .095" (2.35mm), 8 .090" (2.29mm), 8-1/2.085" (2.16mm), 9 .080" (2.03mm)
 

Bruce Alexander

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The Jeweler's Mix I've come across is made from Stainless Steel which makes good sense since it is often used with aqueous solutions of one type or another. There are various sizes of spheres as well as rods and cones of various sizes and shapes.
 

kinsler33

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Steel shot was originally advertised as 'soft' steel, which is annealed pure iron, to minimize pitting and other damage to the polished interior of the shotgun's barrel. Softer metals like bismuth are also used for shot. The overarching purpose here is to eliminate lead shot, which is ideal in many respects but tends to poison waterways. (You can also buy shot made of recycled lead that's been recovered from shooting ranges and perhaps wetlands.)

M Kinsler
 

shutterbug

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The reason lead is being replace in ammunition is that often wounded animals die and are not found by the hunter. When other critters feed on the carcass, the lead can be consumed and poison them. Eagles are especially vulnerable.
 

kinsler33

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The reason lead is being replace in ammunition is that often wounded animals die and are not found by the hunter. When other critters feed on the carcass, the lead can be consumed and poison them. Eagles are especially vulnerable.
Ah. Thank you. I almost had it right.

Mark Kinsler
 

Dave T

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I've tried Tyvek a few times, but found it too stiff also.
So...I tore the old one off and redid it. But this time I softened it up (Tyvek) some by pulling it over the sharp edge of a table. Then, after I cut out the pattern I pre-creased all the folds with a flattened them by drawing the back of a knife over the line at the edge. Made it much more pliable and it now the bellows raises and drops much easier, and lays flat when closed.
 

kinsler33

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I've tried Tyvek a few times, but found it too stiff also.
So...I tore the old one off and redid it. But this time I softened it up (Tyvek) some by pulling it over the sharp edge of a table. Then, after I cut out the pattern I pre-creased all the folds with a flattened them by drawing the back of a knife over the line at the edge. Made it much more pliable and it now the bellows raises and drops much easier, and lays flat when closed.
I don't think I'm capable of folding a cuckoo bellows, though perhaps I'll have to learn at some point. But as much as I appreciate non-factory parts for repair, is there some reason that a home-made bellows would be preferable to a bellows-top assembly from, say, Timesavers? Materials? General durability? Authenticity? Cost?

It's always interesting to contemplate the use of traditional horological materials on a clock decorated with a plastic water wheel.

M Kinsler

Member, Order of the Iron Pine Cone.
 

Dave T

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The way I look at it.... it's easier to spend the time to make your own to fit it yourself.
I'm sure suppliers offer quality products, but on some old clocks it's difficult to try and order what you need without trial and error.
 

shutterbug

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I keep a supply of bellows tops in my inventory so I can select the best for projects that come up. It's fast and easy to replace them. On old clocks, or those with leather bellows, you're better off making the bellows.
 

Dave T

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I keep a supply of bellows tops in my inventory so I can select the best for projects that come up. It's fast and easy to replace them. On old clocks, or those with leather bellows, you're better off making the bellows.
Where do you get these?
 

POWERSTROKE

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The material that timesavers sells worked perfectly, and produces good sound. I did my first bellows not too long ago and was quite pleased with the outcome. I bought 1 precut sheet as a template and then I bought a couple full sheets to trace the template. I can’t imagine going through this trouble for a couple dollars to get the real stuff.
 

shutterbug

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Does the ones pictured in the link include the top and bottom board? Or just the material. I've never ordered these obviously.
Everything you need is included. They just have to be glued to your existing bellow whistle. The old ones come off with a knife or razor tapped between the top and the whistle. The two holes have to line up, so there's a right and a left in the set.
They're cheap, so I keep several sizes in stock. You can replace the material, but it takes more time than it's worth. Of course, for old clocks you want originality, so you keep as much of the old parts as you can, just replacing the material on those.
 

POWERSTROKE

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Everything you need is included. They just have to be glued to your existing bellow whistle. The old ones come off with a knife or razor tapped between the top and the whistle. The two holes have to line up, so there's a right and a left in the set.
They're cheap, so I keep several sizes in stock. You can replace the material, but it takes more time than it's worth. Of course, for old clocks you want originality, so you keep as much of the old parts as you can, just replacing the material on those.
I just bought the material. Super cheap. I recovered the tops and bottoms.
 

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