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unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

  • 1.  unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 12 days ago

    One of our esteemed colleagues does not directly participate on these lists (or any other lists for that matter), but benefits indirectly by having me consult all y'all on his behalf from time to time. Below is his description of the problem he is currently facing.

    "A 1988 American Steinway B has stuck hammer flange centers and the flanges themselves are stuck, almost glued, to the black cloth on the hammer rail. The hammer rail cloth was definitely gooey. When I began repining, both ends of the extracted center pin were coated with a black, sticky substance from the bushings. I repined a total of 9 hammer centers. Most would swing one time or were completely frozen, several swung three times. The rest of the hammer centers were free. The problem presented itself as no or slow repetition.

    The owner of this piano has a humidity control system (just a humidistat and the heater rods, since it is never too dry in her home) and a string cover. The piano stays in tune beautifully.

    This piano was made after Lloyd Meyer left Steinway when they briefly used the Renner parts on B's and D's and went back to the American parts after Lloyd was gone. I believe they soaked the bushing cloth in some sort of liquid Teflon. Not sure and have no idea of the procedure. Protek did nothing. I needed to physically ream and burnish the bushings and install a half size larger (21) pin. I'm sure there will be more stuck centers."
     

    I have not encountered this before. Have any of you?

    Thanks,

    Alan

     

     



    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 12 days ago
    A black sticky substance on both ends of the offending center pins?

    No, I've not encountered it (thank heavens) but if I do I think I'll rebush any slow shanks. Since so far there are relatively few, I'd leave the rest but talk with the customer about rebushing them all if a bunch start to misbehave. The goo on the rail cloth suggests someone may have tried dosing them with something like WD-40, which might have gone gummy over time.

    Was this piano bought used? Does the owner know of any attempt at lubrication? Did it ever live back east?

    ------------------------------
    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 12 days ago
    Susan,

    Thanks for your post. In response, the inquiring party wrote:
    Was this piano bought used? Does the owner know of any attempt at lubrication? Did it ever live back east?
    It was purchased used in 1999. At that time, I regulated the action and removed excess felt from the hammers to lower the touch weight which was over 60 grams. There has never been any form of lubrication as far as I know. I'm the only one servicing this piano. The problem occurred almost 20 years after I started servicing it. Before repining I tried Protek on one flange. No improvement. The piano has been in Southern California its entire life. As I said, I've never seen this in over 45 years of working on many Steinways. I suspect that the problem is due to the addition of liquid Teflon to the bushing cloth. I may try some Methanol. That works very well on the newer Steinway flanges. Then again, the hammers are close to needing replacement after 30 years of use. If the problem reoccurs, I'll first suggest new hammers, shanks and flanges and probably new wippens.

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 12 days ago
    Hi,

    Nothing in manufacture would result in what has been described. The
    teflon flakes used in the "dip" for the flanges are white. If there's
    black gooey stuff there now, someone, sometime, has done something
    damaging to system. Maybe WD-40; maybe something more aggressively
    obnoxious. Going over a #21 pin will introduce other friction issues.

    I'm on the road most of this week; and try to answer more fully this
    evening.

    Kind regards.

    Horace

    On 12/3/2018 8:55 AM, Alan Eder via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
    > Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.
    >
    > Susan,
    >
    > Thanks for your post. In response, the inquiring party wrote:
    >
    >
    > Was this piano bought used? Does the owner know of any attempt at lubrication? Did it ever live back east?
    >
    > It was purchased used in 1999. At that time, I regulated the action and removed excess felt from the hammers to lower the touch weight which was over 60 grams. There has never been any form of lubrication as far as I know. I'm the only one servicing this piano. The problem occurred almost 20 years after I started servicing it. Before repining I tried Protek on one flange. No improvement. The piano has been in Southern California its entire life. As I said, I've never seen this in over 45 years of working on many Steinways. I suspect that the problem is due to the addition of liquid Teflon to the bushing cloth. I may try some Methanol. That works very well on the newer Steinway flanges. Then again, the hammers are close to needing replacement after 30 years of use. If the problem reoccurs, I'll first suggest new hammers, shanks and flanges and probably new wippens.
    >
    > Alan
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Alan Eder, RPT
    > Herb Alpert School of Music
    > California Institute of the Arts
    > Valencia, CA
    > 661.904.6483
    > ------------------------------
    > -------------------------------------------
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 12-02-2018 23:55
    > From: Susan Kline
    > Subject: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B
    >
    > A black sticky substance on both ends of the offending center pins?
    >
    > No, I've not encountered it (thank heavens) but if I do I think I'll rebush any slow shanks. Since so far there are relatively few, I'd leave the rest but talk with the customer about rebushing them all if a bunch start to misbehave. The goo on the rail cloth suggests someone may have tried dosing them with something like WD-40, which might have gone gummy over time.
    >
    > Was this piano bought used? Does the owner know of any attempt at lubrication? Did it ever live back east?
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Susan Kline
    > Philomath, Oregon
    > ------------------------------
    >
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 12-02-2018 19:03
    > From: Alan Eder
    > Subject: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B
    >
    >
    > One of our esteemed colleagues does not directly participate on these lists (or any other lists for that matter), but benefits indirectly by having me consult all y'all on his behalf from time to time. Below is his description of the problem he is currently facing.
    >
    > "A 1988 American Steinway B has stuck hammer flange centers and the flanges themselves are stuck, almost glued, to the black cloth on the hammer rail. The hammer rail cloth was definitely gooey. When I began repining, both ends of the extracted center pin were coated with a black, sticky substance from the bushings. I repined a total of 9 hammer centers. Most would swing one time or were completely frozen, several swung three times. The rest of the hammer centers were free. The problem presented itself as no or slow repetition.
    >
    > The owner of this piano has a humidity control system (just a humidistat and the heater rods, since it is never too dry in her home) and a string cover. The piano stays in tune beautifully.
    >
    > This piano was made after Lloyd Meyer left Steinway when they briefly used the Renner parts on B's and D's and went back to the American parts after Lloyd was gone. I believe they soaked the bushing cloth in some sort of liquid Teflon. Not sure and have no idea of the procedure. Protek did nothing. I needed to physically ream and burnish the bushings and install a half size larger (21) pin. I'm sure there will be more stuck centers."
    >
    >
    > I have not encountered this before. Have any of you?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Alan
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Alan Eder, RPT
    > Herb Alpert School of Music
    > California Institute of the Arts
    > Valencia, CA
    > 661.904.6483
    > ------------------------------
    >
    >
    > Reply to Sender : http://my.ptg.org/eGroups/PostReply/?GroupId=49&SenderKey=2bcc950a-bfcf-400e-8f5d-ab14732ae620&MID=696268&MDATE=756%253d467458&UserKey=3feecf45-4a69-4cff-bbb2-fd6c7eaf0569&sKey=KeyRemoved
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    > Reply to Discussion : http://my.ptg.org/eGroups/PostReply/?GroupId=49&MID=696268&MDATE=756%253d467458&UserKey=3feecf45-4a69-4cff-bbb2-fd6c7eaf0569&sKey=KeyRemoved
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    >
    >
    > You are subscribed to "CAUT" as hgreeley@sonic.net. To change your subscriptions, go to http://my.ptg.org/preferences?section=Subscriptions&MDATE=756%253d467458&UserKey=3feecf45-4a69-4cff-bbb2-fd6c7eaf0569&sKey=KeyRemoved. To unsubscribe from this community discussion, go to http://my.ptg.org/HigherLogic/eGroups/Unsubscribe.aspx?UserKey=3feecf45-4a69-4cff-bbb2-fd6c7eaf0569&sKey=KeyRemoved&GroupKey=e03c48ae-bba7-4045-9d5f-c5e4b7b46b15.
    >




  • 5.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    What a weird development. Never back east, never sprayed with crap, was okay for quite awhile, then there's sticky goop on the rail cloth and the ends of the offending center pins.

    It is SOMETHING. It got there SOMEHOW. Go figure. Maybe we need an analytic chemist to find out what it is.

    There is something I don't understand. Why would you use methanol, when ethanol will do the exact same thing, only without the toxicity? Steinway says methanol, too. Why would they do that? I asked at a convention once, trying to be polite, and got no answer, but they kept on advocating methanol. The EPA has cleaned up the worst of the methanol. Denatured is only a small fraction methanol, now, but why put up with any of it?

    I read the safety sheets on the "real" methanol some years ago. Small children have died from drinking only a tablespoonful or so. It's absorbed through the skin and from breathing the fumes, ias well as from drinking it. Why have it around at all? Well, the new stuff isn't quite so bad. I could never understand this choice, when potable ethanol is available at all liquor stores, and in some states you can get 190 proof, which makes glorious long-lasting shellac.

    ------------------------------
    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 10 days ago
    I'll second what Susan opined about the use of methanol.  Why use such a toxic chemical when other remedies are available?  Your body absorbs this stuff through your skin in addition to inhalation.  I highly doubt that anyone reading this would ingest as much as a teaspoon, enough to kill you, but before that point it destroys your optic nerve leaving you blind.

    ------------------------------
    Zeno Wood
    Brooklyn, NY
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    I second Susan's suggestion that it sounds like someone applied an inappropriate substance to the flanges and bushings. If our colleague has successfully repinned a few flanges, he should count himself lucky that none of the bushings have popped out with no provocation whatsoever. American made Steinway parts from this era were notorious for having bushings that didn't seem to be glued in securely. He is right that Steinway continued to apply a liquid with Teflon in it to regular cloth bushings.

    If this piano ever spent time in the San Diego area, that might explain the source of the gummy stuff. Slick 50 was used by a couple of techs in that area, during the '80's and '90's.

    Margie Williams
    pnotuner@pacbell.net

    "We, the willing, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing." (Unknown)




  • 8.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    Margie, I love your signature saying!

    Slick 50!

    The only part of this which I still don't understand is that sticky goop appeared long after Alan got acquainted with the piano, and filed the hammers. Perhaps there has been some dreaded "stealth technician" whom the owner doesn't want to admit he or she hired?

    This happened to me once. Someone messed up a piano I had tuned several times, and when I pointed out what had been done, and what I was doing to correct it, the person in charge was apparently too embarrassed to admit she had hired someone else. I suspect who -- never mind.

    ------------------------------
    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    Susan,

    Just to reiterate, this is not my client or my problem (directly), but I am acting as an intermediary with these lists for a colleague. This tech is highly sought-after. Most of his clients are so glad that he services their pianos that they wouldn't even entertain the notion of jumping ship. While it is, of course, possible that someone else got in there and mucked around, in this particular case, I strongly doubt it.

    Thanks for continuing to allow this situation to occupy your mind!

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago

    Sorry, Alan, I had forgotten that you were acting for someone else.

    Any sign of the goop on any of the other rails or centers?
    Any sign that something was spilled into the piano?

    Well, how could you know ...



    ------------------------------
    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    I will convey these questions to the ministering tech as I have done with your previous ones, Susan.

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    The "guy with the goo" says:

    "Nothing has been spilled and the location of the 9 stuck flanges is in all four sections of the piano. There is a group of three in the beginning of the high treble and also number 88. That's as close to a pattern as I have. I had one in the bass, two in the tenor (not adjacent), and two in the lower treble, also not adjacent."

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    What a mystery!

    I hope the  (let's see -- 88 minus 9) don't get envious of the attention, and generate their own goo.

    If this is some kind of epidemic, please don't send any of the afflicted up here ...

    ------------------------------
    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    Indeed!

    Alan


    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    See my post on the Pianotech thread . Any chance of getting some pictures ? Any evidence on action centers in the whippen or on damper flanges ? Sometimes clients forget they had another technician come or they themselves tried to fix some slow hammers after watching a you tube video . plenty of things that can get gooey over time including wine, cola drinks, . I would try to exam the center pins and the bushings as well as the wood under bright lights and magnification,,,,are any of the notes next to one another ?

    I have customers ask all the time if they can use WD40 for squeaks. I had the owner of a Boston ruin the music desk on their studio when they attempted to spray a stain on an area lightened by finger contact. they wanted to make it a warranty issue but their botched attempt voided the warranty. they did not admit to anything but the spray can and ref had been left by the husband under the piano

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 12 days ago
    spilled coke perhaps??




  • 17.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago

    It would help me, at least, to know whether these parts are NY factory (maple, round cross-section, smaller pianos), or Renner-built (octagonal, hornbeam, in B's and D's). The Renner-built bushings at that time, if I remember correctly, were often lubricated with graphite. White cloth, black ring against the pin. These would sometimes get tight and slow in the way of a number of manufacturer's parts in the last few decades, seizing up during heavy playing. There has been much speculation on the cause, but the short of it is that those parts would misbehave, for me anyway, until repinned. I've tried a number of short-cuts, and they have not worked. This would match your description except for the gooey bit. Is this beyond what too much graphite would yield?

    BTW, it is entirely possible for only a few parts to have the problem. It is, unfortunately, also possible for the entire set to need attention.

    If, OTOH, these are NY parts, something was almost surely introduced after manufacture. The centers were sometimes spongy, but I've never seen any that showed any stickiness. In fact, as has been mentioned, there was sometimes too little adhesive, resulting in a tendency for the cloth to push out while repinning. I have, occasionally, had the NY bushings get stiff, again under heavy playing, but the cloth in these bushings always felt somewhat hard and a bit too white. As if the dipping compound was too concentrated. But certainly not black and certainly not sticky.

    The black action flange rail cloth was (and still is) self-adhesive. I have removed it from a number of rails, for replacement along with new hammers and shanks, and had to work on it a bit, scraping off the dried-out adhesive. But I've never had any that was stickier than the original adhesive. Your description would have me thinking, as others have said, of some contaminant that gummed up the adhesive. A petroleum-based lubricant would fit the bill nicely.

    If the bushing cloth is contaminated with a gummy substance, one should be able to feel that with a replacement pin before reassembling parts. That would concern me, as the problem might well recur even after repinning unless the parts were rebushed or (better) replaced.

    Doug



    ------------------------------
    Douglas Wood
    Seattle WA
    206-935-5797
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B

    Posted 11 days ago
    Hi, Doug,

    Spot on.

    Additionally, it is important to remember that, when dealing with S&S,
    the "year of manufacture" of the instrument per se is not necessarily
    the year of manufacture of the parts. That's one reason why there is so
    much discrepancy when trying to diagnose whatever may/may not be the
    "fault" of the factory, or some latter-day new parts installer (_not_ a
    technician) who simply throws things together without doing their homework.

    In many cases, the actual entloesung is a complete rebushing and
    repinning of the parts. Whether or not that is cost effective has to do
    with the given situation; and the skill set of the technician involved.
    YMMV.

    Doug is absolutely correct about the potential for something having been
    introduced post-manufacture.

    Kind regards.

    Horace

    P.S. - Doug, if/as it's convenient, please contact me off-list. Thank
    you very much...hg

    On 12/3/2018 7:52 PM, Douglas Wood via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
    > Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.
    >
    >
    > It would help me, at least, to know whether these parts are NY factory (maple, round cross-section, smaller pianos), or Renner-built (octagonal, hornbeam, in B's and D's). The Renner-built bushings at that time, if I remember correctly, were often lubricated with graphite. White cloth, black ring against the pin. These would sometimes get tight and slow in the way of a number of manufacturer's parts in the last few decades, seizing up during heavy playing. There has been much speculation on the cause, but the short of it is that those parts would misbehave, for me anyway, until repinned. I've tried a number of short-cuts, and they have not worked. This would match your description except for the gooey bit. Is this beyond what too much graphite would yield?
    >
    > BTW, it is entirely possible for only a few parts to have the problem. It is, unfortunately, also possible for the entire set to need attention.
    >
    > If, OTOH, these are NY parts, something was almost surely introduced after manufacture. The centers were sometimes spongy, but I've never seen any that showed any stickiness. In fact, as has been mentioned, there was sometimes too little adhesive, resulting in a tendency for the cloth to push out while repinning. I have, occasionally, had the NY bushings get stiff, again under heavy playing, but the cloth in these bushings always felt somewhat hard and a bit too white. As if the dipping compound was too concentrated. But certainly not black and certainly not sticky.
    >
    > The black action flange rail cloth was (and still is) self-adhesive. I have removed it from a number of rails, for replacement along with new hammers and shanks, and had to work on it a bit, scraping off the dried-out adhesive. But I've never had any that was stickier than the original adhesive. Your description would have me thinking, as others have said, of some contaminant that gummed up the adhesive. A petroleum-based lubricant would fit the bill nicely.
    >
    > If the bushing cloth is contaminated with a gummy substance, one should be able to feel that with a replacement pin before reassembling parts. That would concern me, as the problem might well recur even after repinning unless the parts were rebushed or (better) replaced.
    >
    > Doug
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Douglas Wood
    > Seattle WA
    > 206-935-5797
    > ------------------------------
    > -------------------------------------------
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 12-03-2018 07:05
    > From: Daniel Dover
    > Subject: unusual tight hammer center problem in NY Steinway B
    >
    > spilled coke perhaps??
    >
    >
    > Original Message------
    >
    >
    > One of our esteemed colleagues does not directly participate on these lists (or any other lists for that matter), but benefits indirectly by having me consult all y'all on his behalf from time to time. Below is his description of the problem he is currently facing.
    >
    > "A 1988 American Steinway B has stuck hammer flange centers and the flanges themselves are stuck, almost glued, to the black cloth on the hammer rail. The hammer rail cloth was definitely gooey. When I began repining, both ends of the extracted center pin were coated with a black, sticky substance from the bushings. I repined a total of 9 hammer centers. Most would swing one time or were completely frozen, several swung three times. The rest of the hammer centers were free. The problem presented itself as no or slow repetition.
    >
    > The owner of this piano has a humidity control system (just a humidistat and the heater rods, since it is never too dry in her home) and a string cover. The piano stays in tune beautifully.
    >
    > This piano was made after Lloyd Meyer left Steinway when they briefly used the Renner parts on B's and D's and went back to the American parts after Lloyd was gone. I believe they soaked the bushing cloth in some sort of liquid Teflon. Not sure and have no idea of the procedure. Protek did nothing. I needed to physically ream and burnish the bushings and install a half size larger (21) pin. I'm sure there will be more stuck centers."
    >
    >
    > I have not encountered this before. Have any of you?
    >
    > Thanks,
    >
    > Alan
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Alan Eder, RPT
    > Herb Alpert School of Music
    > California Institute of the Arts
    > Valencia, CA
    > 661.904.6483
    > ------------------------------
    >
    >
    > Reply to Sender : http://my.ptg.org/eGroups/PostReply/?GroupId=49&SenderKey=386da8fd-59b5-4a49-9b0c-ddcaddffbf35&MID=696311&MDATE=756%253d467458&UserKey=3feecf45-4a69-4cff-bbb2-fd6c7eaf0569&sKey=KeyRemoved
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