Yes, that's what I'm talking about. And yes, I have broken several of them over the years. Sometimes they have only bent, not broken. And it's always on button #5.
I think it is an inherently weak design, subject to bending or breaking due to metal fatigue.
As to the material they are made from, that varies from one builder to the next.
I have an Acadian in D, and that one seems to use heavy gauge copper electrical wire. On that one, I never broke the wire, but I did bend them to the point it was causing air leaks.
On my Master Bb, the rods are square in cross section. I have been told that they are some kind of welding rod, not copper, but a silver colored metal, which is an alloy of some kind. The alloy is more stiff or brittle than copper and that is why they break rather than bend.
I also broke one on my Guerrini triple row, and those are made of aluminum alloy, and are also more likely to break rather than bend.
Usually the place where they break is where they go into the small pivoting wooden blocks in the keyboard. In one case, it broke on the screw hole where it is attached to the wooden flapper pallet itself.
There should be a hot place in Hell reserved for that dude that messed up your grandpa's accordion like that! Hard to imagine where he was coming from to do something like that.
Dave, I handle my accordion like a fragile baby, constantly trying to keep from scratching them. You should handle yours like that. Don't play football with them. LOL, I still can't imagine what is happening to those rods. Nothing is really ever supposed to touch them. Do you have a brat kid running around? He or she might be the culprit. LOL, Just joking.
Take out that "D" accordion Dave if it ain't broke. This is Octa Clark's version of J'etais Au Bal in the key of "A" on a "D" accordion. Live at Mulatte's.
Donkey Trot Tempo..........
Nothing is touching the rods - they are breaking due to metal fatigue. I assume it is happening when I release the key and the pallet slams back into the face plate.
It's true, I do not have a light touch. In addition to playing accordion, I play electric bass as well. Time was that I would get so fired up playing that I was breaking bass strings on a regular basis. That is not something that usually happens - it takes a lot to break a bass string. But I did.
I know I should try to play with a lighter touch, but I don't know. The die is cast.
Beau Jocque was a big man, and was known to play so hard that he was ripping up the bellows, breaking reeds, etc. Larry Miller told me how he was always picking up the pieces of wreckage and putting them back together.
I would think that new felts and skins would ease a good bit of that slap back. Or a higher grade of rods, wood, and screws. In my mind, it's a got dam conundrum that those rods/screws would come apart just from hard button pressing and releasing. Are you sure there's no young kids messing with your accordion? Because I know first hand, that when you put your accordion into the hands of a toddler, the first thing they go for are the flappers. They love to catch one or two of them and push, pull, or bend them for some reason. "You're never too young to learn Cajun accordion"?? LOL, yes, you can be too young to learn Cajun accordion. That's why the old men dared us to touch their accordions. Didn't want us to mess them up. There's two kinds of players.....wild or smooth. If you choose to be the wild player, be ready to spend a whole lot more money to keep your accordions playable. Ok grasshopper? LOL. Or, you can learn to play the drums, symbols, or the cowbell.