A Second Müller Conversion

I recently completed a side project I have been working on for quite a while; another conversion of a Wheatstone English to the Müller system.

This one features engraved nickel-silver end plates with a pretzel design by the professional illustrator and concertina player Nina Dietrich.

I have done a small amount of hand engraving in the past, but this design was far more complex than my previous attempts. I built a simple air powered graver to help with the task, and a rotary table to help me follow the smooth curves.

Another new feature of this instrument was 5.7mm diameter boxwood buttons and matching handrails/thumb pads. I really like how these look and feel, particularly in contrast to the metal plates and the black hand straps.

I came up with a simpler strap thumbscrew design for this instrument. The captive nut stands proud of the wall slightly, and the screw intentionally bottoms out before it has clamped the strap tight; this free play allows the strap end to rotate without loosening the screw.

Henrik Müller provided the straps for the instrument to his own design.

Another difference with this conversion was that we moved the buttons away from the hand rails, closer to the top of the instrument. It includes a couple of extra accidental buttons too. What made this possible without ridiculously short levers was that the donor instrument originally had 56 buttons, but we didn’t need to include any of the top notes, which were located around the top ends of the reed pans.

I did need to swap around a few pairs of chambers to enable an action that doesn’t have any levers crossing over other levers.

The oddly placed extra button at the bottom of the right hand is an air button linked to a pair of now-empty chambers at the top of the reed pan. It is quite easy to reach, though you have to retrain your muscle memory to use it because the lowest G# button is confusingly close to where the thumb air button is usually located.