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Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

  • 1.  Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 16 days ago
    Hello, my current project in a 1923 Baldwin G (serial number starts with A, but plate is cast with G)

    One mystery on this piano is the missing key stop rail. Is there an obvious reason a previous tech would have removed it? Or did the G not have a stop rail, despite having threaded studs.

    Would any of you have dimensions for the height and width the original rail would have been?
    I can easily fashion a new from oak, cherry, maple, watnut - thoughts on the best wood to use here?

    thank you for any advice.

    Q6Tspea9Qya0zmUPqIbP_Baldwin_G_A41834_Petrzelka_Missing_Key_Stop_Rail.jpg

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    Daniel Petrzelka
    Harrowed Strings
    Mount Vernon WA

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  • 2.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 16 days ago
    Daniel,

    My guess would be that it got removed for some service, and stood over in a corner or laid along the wall...forgotten in the rush to put things back together...eventually found by homeowner (not knowing what it was or where it came from...put away somewhere and forgotten about for years...eventually thrown away since nobody knew where it went...

    OR

    Somehow it got broken and piano tech took it to shop to repair...and never got to it...forgot about it...or died.

    Looks like you could make a new one if it's worth it to the client. If not, just hope they don't move the piano anytime soon.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 3.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 16 days ago
    Edited by Daniel Petrzelka 16 days ago
    Peter,
    Agree - those seem like likely scenarios.

    This one is for our home—restoring this for my son to play. He and I both love the tone of this piano, so I'm going into greater detail in the work than might usually be warranted for this era/model.

    Hoping I can find some reference dimensions for the key stop rail.

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    Daniel Petrzelka
    Harrowed Strings
    Mount Vernon WA
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  • 4.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 16 days ago
    The dimensions are quite simple. It needs to be just above the keys so that when you tighten the nuts, the rail doesn't push down the keys.

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    Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
    Mililani, HI 96789
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  • 5.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 16 days ago
    Get a five foot length of oak molding from a big box store, which will be a little more  stable dimensionally and not that much more expensive.  Mark and drill for the needed holes and glue a piece of name board felt on the flat side.  Couldn't be simpler.   I'd replace the leather nuts with brass too.

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    Cecil Snyder
    Torrance CA
    310-542-7108
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  • 6.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    You can see the shadow from the old one on the keyset. That will guide you to the width dimension. You need a foerstner bit to drill the recessed holes for the lower nut. Spruce is very commonly used.

    There was a Technician in the Puget Sound area that was famous for "keeping" prop rails from actions he worked on. Your piano looks like one of his "victims".

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    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
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  • 7.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Wim - that's location or positioning, not dimensions!

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    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 8.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you all.

    I'll see if I can round up a ~48" piece of spruce, with oak as my backup. Looks like 1/4" thick with the bottom recessed approx. 1/8" for the bottom nuts should work about right.

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    Daniel Petrzelka

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  • 9.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    If the threaded rods don't protrude far enough for the nuts, the key stop rail often has some of the wood cut away to make it thinner where the rods come through.

    I would have picked maple, but half-round spruce ought to work. The nuts often have a cut mark to one side of the hole, so they can be easily removed with a screwdriver. A small hacksaw should be able to do it. Are the lower nuts also missing? They have no cut marks.

    I'm attaching two photos of key stop rails: my 1934 7 foot Baldwin, since you're asking about a Baldwin; and one from a George Steck showing the shaping to thin the rail where the threaded rod comes through

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 10.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you Susan.

    For the bottom nuts, its just firm leather threaded onto the studs. They do look pretty short, which would lead me to try that thinned rail style you have in the photo.

    Do you know off hand the thread pitch/diameter? (I'll need to dig out my thread gauge). I can turn down (thin out) some full size brass nuts on the Sherline lathe, to match the thin versions used on the action.

    I know I have oak, cherry, and walnut all in 48" + lengths out in the shop, but I'll double check on maple. The only spruce I keep around is for making acoustic guitars, and its only 22".

    thanks again

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    Daniel Petrzelka

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  • 11.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    That's nice, that you have a Sherline lathe. What I'd do is turn one of the threaded rods out of the key frame, take it to the most complete hardware store in your area, and find nuts which fit it. But they would probably be hexagonal.

    Were you thinking of using a tap to turn a round of brass into a nut?

    Possibly one of the supply houses could sell you new threaded rods with the appropriate nuts to match?

    And that's VERY neat about making acoustic guitars!

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 12.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Hi Daniel,
    For strength you'll probably want it to be thicker than ¼”. The thickness (within reason) is not as important as the adjustability above the keys. Take a look at the other grands you service and you’ll get the idea.
    ~ jeannie

    Jeannie Grassi, Registered Piano Technician
    Island Piano Service
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    206-842-3721




  • 13.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Spruce or any of the hardwoods you have will work fine. All the rail does is keep the keys from falling out. Several have mentioned recessed area for the bottom nuts - usually that is for the top nuts - no? Attached are several pictures of a rail that was laying on the action of a Baldwin M in my shop - although I thought Baldwins were usually rectangular in cross section - maybe this one is from a Yamaha? Anyway, either shape is fine as long as it doesn't hit the fallboard or anything else. This one is half round, 8mm radius, 16mm wide (duh), and spruce. Sorry for the poor focus - iPhone shot - but I think you can still see.

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    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 14.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Thank you all - this is perfect.

    Terry - the additional photos are great.

    Susan - I was thinking I'd just take a full height brass nuts of the correct thread and shorten them if needed. But I also have hex brass rod around and can drill and tap that to make a custom nut if needed.

    Tacoma Screw is my go to place for threaded rod and nuts for other projects - best prices if you have an account, but incredible selection. Also nice because you can singles of almost any hardware, and the staff at our local shop is incredibly helpful when trying to source obscure nuts/bolts/taps/dies.

    I'll post about my progress when I get into it.

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    Daniel Petrzelka

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  • 15.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    If those threaded rods are originally that short, that should be a hint of clearance issues with the fallboard, suggesting that it was pretty thin.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 16.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    I've seen 1/8"  x 3/4" flat steel piece that was original to the piano. No clicking either.

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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
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  • 17.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    FWIW, ACE Hardwares have a very large selection of nuts, bolts, screws, etc. both english and metric.

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    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 18.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 15 days ago
    Mr Farrell wrote; "All the rail does is keep the keys from falling out."

    Not really. Slow motion footage of fast repetition reveals that the key upstop rail is important in controlling key movement. Without the rail the keys will bounce and repetition will be negatively impacted.

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    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
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  • 19.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 14 days ago
    Daniel
    All RPT members have been taught to be familiar with the trade catalogues for this business as part of preparing for the written exam. If you will look at the Pianotek Supply Co. catalog page A-49, item RH-60KS you will find a "Keystop Rail Hardware Kit" that will have all the parts you need to retrofit this to a modern system. The missing rail can then be made to fit the correct parts without having to reinvent the system. Always look first at the catalog and second at the hardware store.
    Rex

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    Rex Roseman
    Akron OH
    330-289-2948
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  • 20.  RE: Missing Key Stop Rail - Baldwin G

    Posted 11 days ago
    Rex - that is a great resource for replacing the threaded rod / nuts / washers, thank you for the part number reference. With this instrument, the rods are in great shape, rod height is set, and I'll work to keep as much original as possible.  

    It was easy to find some nice brass nuts and washers locally, though I may swap them out for the knurled thumb nut style to make tool free removal easier in the future.

    Just in case a future tech is looking for the info:

    1920's Baldwin Key Stop Rail Nuts - 8-32 thread.

    I'm thinking the rail may have been set aside when the last tech set the key height a full 1/8" above spec. Likely moved the keys up enough they started to run out of thread above the key stop rail. The let off button/screws (dowel type) are bottoming out before the let off can be reduced to 1/16". I'm going to set a sample key or two closer to spec, and work to determine why the last tech made these decisions, before I make the new stop rail. There is often a reason for settings being so far from spec (which we all know is only a guideline)-sometimes that reason is simply that the last tech had better intensions than they did skill/information.

    I'll post an update and photos once I've sorted out the key height and fabricated a new stop rail.

    thank you all

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    Daniel Petrzelka

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