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1892 Steinway

  • 1.  1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-07-2017 20:27
    I am trying to keep an 1892 Steinway upright running.  The hammer butt spring rail is warped (and very brittle) and limits the travel of the the bass damper levers.  The wire hits the spring rail and will not allow the damper felt, the bichords in particular, to completely clear the string.  I may try trimming the felt, but there is still a problem with spoon adjustment because there is not enough travel.  Does anyone have a straight rail from a similar vintage Steinway, serial number 74264.  Or other repair/adjustment strategies?  Thanks.

    Richard Capp

  • 2.  RE: 1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-07-2017 22:16
    Make a new rail.


    Jon Page

  • 3.  RE: 1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-08-2017 02:16
    I wonder if you could cut numerous shallow kerfs every inch or so, bend (unwarp) the rail until its straight, and glue a long thin strip of veneer to the rail to keep it straight.  Often spring rails are mounted to the action brackets with thick cardboard punchings.  If so, maybe some could be removed (I'm sure you've already checked this out) -- I realize this increases the spring strength on the butts.   If it weren't so brittle I suppose you could try heating the rail to unbend it, like "burning" hammer shanks.   There's also the technique of forcing a wedge into a slightly too small groove, or dado, but on a thin, brittle rail, this might be iffy, or may just cause it to break.   As already suggested, making a new rail may be best.
    --David Nereson

    David Nereson
    Registered Piano Technician
    Denver CO

  • 4.  RE: 1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-09-2017 08:14
    I recently saw a photo in which a technician had fastened a thin strip of angled aluminum
    to the hammer spring rail. It wasn't a Steinway, but it appeared that it should have worked.

  • 5.  RE: 1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-09-2017 14:17
    I thought of that also but wasn't sure you'd be able to find an angle strip that small.

    David Nereson
    Registered Piano Technician
    Denver CO

  • 6.  RE: 1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-14-2017 16:35
    Thanks Jon P., David, and John G.  Maybe I will take another look at making a new rail.  Thinking about all those tiny holes for the spring tails seemed daunting at first.


  • 7.  RE: 1892 Steinway

    Posted 11-15-2017 09:41
    Will Truitt recently introduced me to "carbon fiber tissue" or fabric, which I intend to experiment with. It occurs to me that it might be useful in a repair such as this where there is a need for stiffness without bulk. Epoxy is the binder.

    Just a thought. Google it.


    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH