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Gluing a bellows to the stack tier
Hi All,

Troy Taylor asks about gluing pneumatics with internal springs 
to their respective tiers. He says: "The techniques I have read 
and been told about regarding the proper way to do this involve 
collapsing the pneumatic and clamping it down on the board in 
the proper location and orientation."

My guess is that the people he's been listening to have never 
used animal hide glue, which does not require clamps. That's 
a shame because clamps turn a simple job into complex job. 
First, you need all those clamps. Or, you have to stop when 
you run out of clamps, and wait for the glue to dry. With hide 
glue, the job of mounting 88 pneumatics takes about an hour. 
With clamps, it takes at least two minutes per pneumatic, and 
that's if the pneumatic doesn't 'skate' when you start applying 
tension. Worse yet, in Troy's case, is the problem with those 
pneumatics that have internal springs. What's a guy to do?? 

My advice:  Use hide glue and forget the clamps..

Also read Craig Brougher's fine article, "Facts About Hot Hide Glue". 
In the article, Craig suggests using one-pound weights to hold the 
pneumatics in place until the glue sets. I've never used weights 
when gluing striker pneumatics to a tier. Once you know how much 
glue is needed to get just a little glue to squeeze out around the 
edges when the pneumatic is pressed into place by hand, I hold the 
bellows in place for 10-15 seconds and move on. Fact is, the object is 
not to squeeze all the glue out from between the two mating surfaces. 
It's to insure that a little glue squeezes out all the way around the 
perimeter of the bellow. That gives you visual proof that an air-tight 
seal exists all the way around the bellow. And even with larger 
bellows like those on an air motor, I don't use clamps unless the 
design of the motor is such that the weight and position of the 
bellows is such that gravity will cause the bellows to lift away from 
the gluing surface. Then I will use a clamp and apply just enough 
tension to hold the bellows in position -but not so tight that it 
squeezes out more glue. 

Naturally, there is another way around the problem of the internal 
springs, and that's to prevent the bellows from collapsing all the 
way. This can be done by putting a spacer of adequate thickness, 
preferably felt, between the two boards. Then use the clamp to 
hold the bellows in position until the glue dries or sets. 

And while we're on the topic of gluing striker pneumatics, I've 
long believed that putting a hard crease in the cloth (like what 
happens when a clamp is used) decreases the life-span of the 
cloth. To prevent this from happening, I slip the end of my 
index finger between the two boards when I press the bellows 
onto the tier. (With the right hand, the thumb is on the top of the 
bellows, the index finger between the boards, and the middle finger 
under the bottom board. With the left hand, thumb on the right 
side, index finger on top and middle finger on the left side. This 
allows me to position the bellows and apply adequate pressure 
to get a squeeze.)


John A Tuttle

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