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cracked rim

  • 1.  cracked rim

    Posted 11-09-2018 18:40
    In 40 years I've only run into this twice, both within the last year.
    1) 1933 Steinway A, on a school stage; I was checking it over for an estimate to repair water and other goop damage to the block and strings.
    I found a crack in the rim (case) about an inch above the soundboard, running for about 12 inches parallel to the soundboard, at the rear curve close to the bass end of the bass bridge. I can see and feel the crack on both the inside and outside of the case. It is not an open crack - no space between edges.

    My questions are:
    Would you fix this and if so how would you go about it?

    Does this affect the structural integrity of the instrument? How?

    2) A no name, used and abused grand in a 'wedding venue':
         The crack in the rim (case) is again about an inch above the soundboard, parallel to the soundboard, on the treble side beginning at the back end of the key bed, continuous through the curve at the treble end of the bass bridge. This is an extreme situation that will probably never be fixed. Just incidental that I've found these both recently.

    Nancy Salmon, RPT
    Lavale, MD 21502

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    Nancy M. Salmon, RPT
    Frostburg State University
    LaVale, MD
    301-729-4171
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  • 2.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-09-2018 22:34
    Edited by Peter Grey 11-09-2018 22:35
    Nancy,

    The Steinway is an A3 correct? (6' 4.5")  A super nice instrument.  It is certainly odd that this crack would appear on the inside lamination and similarly on the outside one. My gut feeling (without seeing) would be that it is still structurally sound (if you can't see daylight through it). However, I would inform them that you need to keep an eye on it.

    Has the piano ever been refinished that you can determine?

    As far as repairing it goes, the only thing I can think of presently would be to orient the case so the crack is horizontal and drip thin epoxy or CA into it and observe how much it takes to fill it up. Possibly some delaminating has occurred on the interior which is not observable from the outside (yet).  I woukd look very carefully at the top edge veneer for any hint of splitting which (if so) would indicate delamination top to bottom, which is probably not good thing.

    The other piano I wouldn't worry about. Curious though. Hmmm.  I do remember running into this on a Knabe concert grand many years ago.

    Pwg


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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 01:10
    The Steinway A has never been refinished (ebony). The soundboard has been shimmed and there are 3/0 pins in the block. The work was good. Plate appears to be OK. There was one (of 4 full time tuners) tech here when I arrived in '75 that did excellent work.

    And, yes, I would have thought that just the veneer had split until I checked the outside of the case where one can feel the split in the same place.

    I have photos of the damage in the pinblock area. I;ve got a photo of the exterior of the crack.
    Thanks, Nancy





  • 4.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 07:10
    WOW! Probably a good thing I don't do much of any university work. Did someone recently find that piano at the bottom of the North Fork of the Potomac River - and then drag it all the way back to the university? Man, that is sure one very abused piano. I just got a 1914 AIII in my shop recently for a complete remanufacture - it looks like a two year old piano compared to the pictures. Okay, enough of the non-constructive comments.......

    If the rim crack isn't buzzing, I wouldn't think it would be a concern at all. If the piano is going to be around for a while, I'd certainly measure and mark it and then monitor it - just to make sure it isn't expanding. I can't imagine it being worth trying to repair it unless the piano were being rebuilt/refinished. In that case I would likely expand the exterior of the crack a bit and squeeze/force epoxy into the crack from both sides (thin first and then thicker) and then refinish.

    Certainly strange. Hard to imagine how the crack could go through all the maple laminations that make up that rim. Seems to me there really isn't any stresses in the rim that would make that crack happen. I'm curious to whether the crack actually goes all the way through. You are correct thinking that the cracks being on both sides in the same place clearly suggests that is the case.

    I've never seen such a thing - although I have had a plate crack on me!

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    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 5.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 07:58
    The crack is in the outer rim and probably mostly cosmetic. I have reinforced these by installing Timber Lock screws from underneath to stabilize.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
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  • 6.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 09:15
    Nancy,
    I would try to insert a feeler gage into the crack from both sides in several locations within the crack and maybe determine if it goes all the way through. Just a thought

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 7.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 10:21
    Thanks for all the input- all perspectives and experience is appreciated and welcome.

    The trick with this Steinway A is wording the estimate to reflect what repairs are due to the liquid damage (covered by insurance) and work that should be done while the plate is out; i.e. 90 year old shimmed soundboard that still has bearing, bridges that are in good shape. Refinishing, new block, new hammers and shanks, new aggraffes etc can be attributed to the spilled gunk. And of course comparing to a new instrument.

    I will certainly act on all suggestions.
    And Terry - you must have lived or hunted in the area to know we are actually on the North Fork of the Potomac - the piano is literally 1/4 mile from the river....

    Nancy Salmon, RPT






  • 8.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 08:57
    I am wondering if the piano got smashed into a wall or door when it was being moved around and the impact fractured the finish side and stressed the rim all the way through that the outside lamination cracked. An extremely powerful light put inside the piano in a dark dark room may shine through the laminations but thats a long shot. I use lights to check soundboard cracks so you get the idea. If you ever saw them making rims at the S&S factory it would seem pretty incredible for a crack to go all the way through thick maple. Perhaps stripping off some of the outside finish will reveal more ? Maybe its just a big gouge .

    what is that nasty goop inside ? I though the school pianos I have worked on where bad. I bet the sports teams get new uniforms every year.
    it may be time to retire this one from the active fleet unless they will go for a full rebuild. I feel your pain

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 9.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-10-2018 11:36
    A 90 year old compression board still has good crown and downbearing! I was told by the proponents that's impossible, and is the justification to redesign with massive rib scales and added cut-off bars.

    On the other hand, putting all that new stuff on a 90 year old board seems somewhat counterintuitive. It's pretty much at the end of its expected lifespan.   What if after the rebuild, and after a couple more seasonal changes it goes flat and strings start to buzz?  I'm finding that if you properly explain the process to potential clients, they are more than willing to pay the extra for a new board so they end up with a piano that is equivalent to a new one. Rather than a rebuilt old one.
    -c

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    I don't always play the piano, but when i do, I prefer my own.
    chernobieffpiano.com
    grandpianoman@protonmail.com
    865-986-7720
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  • 10.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-11-2018 07:52
    Nancy wrote: "And Terry - you must have lived or hunted in the area to know we are actually on the North Fork of the Potomac - the piano is literally 1/4 mile from the river...."

    Well, I've had previous careers in forestry and geology, so I'm definitely a map and where-is-this-place-on-the-planet kind of guy. Today though I'm mostly a Google Map kind of guy......  ;-)

    However, as a child my family would visit my aunt and uncle in Franklin WV - about 70 miles straight down the valley from you yearly (US 220 goes right through Franklin and your town). Franklin in on the South Branch Potomac River. So I know the area somewhat well and certainly have a deep fondness for the area.


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    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 11.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-11-2018 19:31
    Nancy,

    I agree that it probably suffered a significant shock somehow (possibly in the process of moving or storage...guessing).  Still quite unusual.

    I agree with using a strong light in a dark room to try to determine if in fact it goes all the way through.

    Submit two separate estimates. One dealing only with what is connected with the spillage damage, the other references the first and expands on all the other logical things that should happen at this point in its life. They submit the first one to the insurance company, and the second one goes to the powers that be that fund the budget.

    I honestly dont think that the crack is a deal breaker no matter how far through it goes. As long as they are aware of it and that, no matter how you attempt to repair it, it will probably show up again through any refinishing, and that's just the way things are.

    Just my opinion FWIW. But that's how I would approach it if it were in my hands.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 12.  RE: cracked rim

    Posted 11-11-2018 20:48
    I agree and thanks for reassurance and orderly thinking. Nancy