Topic: Ultimate Soundboard Screw 

1.  Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 11:31
If one were to be compelled to use a screw to pull the soundboard to a rib, what would be your choice (Let's assume that the responses already posted included that one should never, ever complete such an repair and the only proper way to fix it is yada yada yada)?  You need something quick and effective for a 100-year-old instrument that the customer is simply trying to keep alive until the kids go off to college.

I've seen many ineffective screws used and it occurred to me that the perfect screw would be one that has a extremly wide hexical ridge (thread) and would be just long enough to barely poke through the soundboard.  Any thoughts?

Ron Bergeron
Austin, Texas

2.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 11:39
I use square drive pocket hole screws.


Jon Page

3.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 12:44
Sheet Rock or commonly called wall board screws. Drill slightly larger hole in rib and pull board up tight after glueing.

Sent from my iPhone

4.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 13:02
Ok, if you must. The suggestion of using a drywall screw is a not so good one. They are a rather weak screw. In my shop in the past, when using them as "clamps", similar to what you're doing, they would often break and create more problems. 
There are heavier duty deck screws that are quite strong. At home depot, some come in small boxes, along with the proper screw tip.

5.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 13:14
Since I always drill a larger hole on the piece to be clamped, I’ve never broken one but I’m not too old to learn. Thanks. I do like Jon’s pocket screw idea . It removes the drilling step.

Sent from my iPhone

6.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 13:30
Yes, I would drill a hole also. I noticed too, that the black drywall screws were not as strong as the gold ones.

7.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 15:22
I like the responses on this one so far.  I've used standard wood screws, flat head phillips with a counter sunk underside.  Predrilling the rib to just the soundboard surface is critical if you want an effective job.  From there I let the screw find it's way into the soundboard.  Sheet rock screws are OK but they have to be installed by hand so as to not strip out the part that pulls the soundboard up tight against the rib.  I've never had one break in this application ..... given the rib is predrilled.
I'll give a close and critical look at pocket screws next time in HD or Lowes.  If they self-drill that shortens up the timing of this job immensely.
When done properly I've seen a tubby sounding piano come to life .... making me look like the neighborhood hero  .....  at least for a few minutes anyway. 
=========  DISCLAIMER SECTION ===================
FWIW, this thread is only a small snapshot of a job that has it's failings if not done right.
FWIW, this job is to extend the quality of sound on aging soundboards that have seen their proper usefulness pass.

8.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 15:30
Edited by Chris Chernobieff 11-24-2017 15:50
Wouldn't it be better to go through the panel into the rib? More Meat For The Screw To grab and thus a stronger clamping?

9.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 16:11
Not that I would ever consider this sort of repair (wink,wink) but when errr I meant if  I ever did a steel sheet metal screw with a tight washer from the top of the panel worked I mean would have worked pretty well. A little bit of silicone or latex caulk might keep the washer/screw/panel  contact point from buzzing. Or it might have done if I were ever to do such a thing.

Karl Roeder
Pompano Beach FL

10.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 16:47
A pocket hole drill recesses the head and bores for the shank into the rib. A #6 x 5/8 screw just places the point thru the board. I plan on getting 1/2" to try or make a small punching to act as a washer. A pallet knife slipped between the rib and board stops the bit from entering the board.

I've also, just bored for the shank and a bit into the rib and screwed the board to the rib. Uprights just get the screw head but grand get a small fender washer with a bushing cloth punching underneath. I had one vibrate loose after a few years, that was a fun buzz to find but a quick twist to fix.

I get some pocket hole screws from McFeely's and others from a local construction supply store.​ I prefer square drive, I wish everyone used them as an industry standard.


Jon Page

11.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-24-2017 18:39
Hi Chris, if access allows, yes.  I have only done this repair on vertical pianos.  One or two screws either side of the crack that's usually there. 

Black & Decker makes a stamped metal drill that is just right for this job.  It counter sinks the hole and is just the right length for a rib.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

12.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-25-2017 08:01
Of course, if the piano is a Steinway, you absolutely must use a genuine Steinway screw ;)

Kent Burnside, RPT
Franklin TN

13.  RE: Ultimate Soundboard Screw

Posted 11-26-2017 08:40
Thank you all.  It's off to Lowe's!

Ron Bergeron, RPT
Austin, Texas