Posted 7 years ago
This little button accordion was made by the company Andreas Koch in Trossingen, Germany in the 1920's.
It was in bad shape when it arrived, covered in grime, with missing keys, poorly made leather straps. The bellows had some small holes and the bellows tape was missing in some places. The first image shows the mess.
I decided to restore it because there are not too many Koch accordions left. Koch Company was incorporated by Hohner in 1929 and after 80 years, few of them survived. These Koch boxes are not the best sounding musical instruments you can find but they look great with all its decorative presswood designs.
I started by cleaning it and removing the old lacquer, bringing back the original honey color and making the beautiful decorative patterns visible again. This box has its sides, front and back covered with oak leaves and acorns. The treble side grille has a cutout pattern showing vines and a harp. The bass side cover has more vines and two birds. I didn't apply new lacquer and decided to use carnauba wax instead.
I then removed the bellows carefully from the bellows frames, scrapped the old bellows tape, repaired the holes from the inside. The original bellows lining was in good shape after being cleaned. The bellows tape was replaced, and the bellows were reglued to the frames.
The original grille lining was torn and when I opened the bass side there were mouse droppings inside it...disgusting! A mouse probably tore the bass grille lining and lived there for a while. The grille lining was replaced with the same gauze fabric used in those days.
I cut a new leather bass strap and bellows straps and fixed them using the original metal hardware. I removed the thumb strap 'cause I don't like to play using it. I installed shoulder strap brackets instead.
All the screws were replaced with new brass screws and washers. New mother of pearl button keys were cut by hand to replace the missing ones. After one and a half month of work, the little accordion looks like new.
It doesn't sound like new yet, cause this is the next step: to rewax all the reedplates and replace the valves. I hope next month I can share a video of the Koch squeezebox singing again.
You can see the exact same accordion at the Deutsches Harmonika Museum at http://www.museum-digital.de/bawue/index.php?t=objekt&oges=1324