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The Werner Upright Special

  • 1.  The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-13-2018 10:00
    Starting the complete restoration on an Werner upright piano for a client. This piano has been in their family for generations, and they are ok with spending the money on it. Iv'e attached a video (hilarious!) and three pictures of the surprises i keep finding.
    Enjoy!
    -chris

    Pink Panther on a WAY out of tune Werner Upright Piano
    Real remove preview
    Pink Panther on a WAY out of tune Werner Upright Piano
    Going to be rebuilding this Werner Upright so this is the before Video. Plus, it's JUST PLAIN FUNNY!!
    View this on Real >




    I love that fancy bass string.



    I up for suggestions on the plate repair.


    And we'll end with a fancy knot. Why KNot!
    -Regards
    -chris







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


  • 2.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-13-2018 11:00
      |   view attached
    Another nice surprise.





  • 3.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 07:59
    Adjustable downbearing! I love it!!!!!

    ------------------------------
    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 4.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 08:01
    Lock 'N Stitch for the cast iron repair.

    ------------------------------
    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 09:19
    My understanding is that the lock and stitch is for a crack repair (with a beginning and end). This is a strut that is broke through. Would a lock and stitch work in that case? I've been looking at possibly welding with a no pre-heat back welding method.
    Here's an example:

    Chernobieff Piano Restorations

    Chris Chernobieff ( pronounced chur-no-bif )
    Lenoir City, Tennessee 
    email: chrisppff@gmail.com
    Follow on:  Facebook
    phone: 865-986-7720









  • 6.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 10:08
    Consider adding a bolt through to the back structure of the piano.

    ------------------------------
    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 7.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 10:15
    Absolutely! As it turns out, all the screws were loose allowing the string frame to move. So I do plan to strengthen all the holes, the back structure. And add more support as you suggested.
    I'm leaning towards brazing with brass the broken strut.
    -chris





  • 8.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 11:06
    The bowing force operating on that strut makes any welding very risky in my opinion. I would apply splices to the sides of the strut. Fit mild steel plates about 1/4" thick to either side of the strut by grinding the sides of the strut very flat. Pre-drill, tap, and counter-sink plates for fine threaded, flat head machine screws. Glue the plates withe steel epoxy. After it cures, drill and tap holes into the cast iron. Use a "bottom" tap that will thread to the bottom of the hole. Don't make the holes any deeper than needed for the screws.

    Leave the application of plate finish until the strings are at tension. Then fill the area and apply plate finish. That way any movement of the structure will not be shown exposed in the finish.

    Adding a brace and nose bolt to restrain plate bowing in that area is a very good idea.

    Customer should know there is a real risk of total failure.

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    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
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  • 9.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 11:36
    ​Ed's comment about total failure (of which I agree) raises a critical question. At what point in the restoration process will one realize the "total failure"? When you start out with a piano I would relegate to the dump, I would reasonably surmise that the "total failure" incident would surface after you've welded the plate, installed a new soundboard and bridges, strung the piano, installed a new action, and finally tuned the piano. What am I missing with this project?

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    Roger Gable
    Gable Piano
    Everett WA
    425-252-5000
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  • 10.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 11:45
    Thanks for your comments Ed and Roger. Roger what you're missing is that the customer has deep personal attachment to it. Therefore I will do everything I can to provide the client with a successful restoration. 
    Ed, alright you successfully scared me regarding the heat, I will contemplate the steel strips along with the added support. Thank you for the tips.
    -chris






  • 11.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 11:57
    Chris,

    I'm so glad there are people willing to spend the money to restore old uprights. I think there's a huge untapped resource for rebuilders and for happy customers to enjoy a well-designed old instrument brought back from extinction. Are you going to do an action replacement with the WNG process and parts? I think they've come up with a remarkable process to completely replace old upright actions, although, at this point, I don't think that the process replaces actions with stickers. The system I saw can replace actions that have capstans that sit atop wires, so the total length of the wire and capstan is 4 to 6 inches, I think, and no stickers are involved.

    When I worked at the U. of NE we had a Steinway M with a cracked strut. It was the far right strut next to the case. For years I was able to tune the piano and the tuning stayed stable. But  it came time for new parts and strings and so I sent the piano to a rebuilder who hired a welder who performed a "cold" weld on the crack. It was a beautiful job and, as far as I know, the piano is still in service and holding up just fine. 

    I'll be interested in following your progress. Keep us informed. Send pictures as you have time.

    Thanks.

    Richard West





  • 12.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 13:58
    Chris and all,

    I have not tried what I'm about to suggest, but I'm curious whether anyone thinks it might have merit. 

    Rather than welding the crack, or bonding and screwing steel plates through the strut, could you make a two-part steel brace that would be bolted around the strut, providing a mechanical repair? It could be accomplished using two or three bolts through the top of the fixture. Such a gizmo might even be able to be installed in a strung piano, if clearances allowed. Any thoughts?

    Mark Schecter
     | |   | | |   | |   | | | 






  • 13.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 14:07
    Richard, thanks for the support.
    Mark, can you draw a picture?
    I like Eds suggestion of adding 1/4" steel to the sides. I think the real key here is more support from the back structure. I'm going to be adding more screws and nosebolts (even adding an additional backpost). I think these steps are necessary as I'm dealing with a skimpy design.
    Keep the suggestions coming. I'm open ears.
    -chris





  • 14.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 14:23
    I'm just working on the idea as we speak. One possibility is to construct or machine a u-shaped fixture. Imagine it fitting the cross-section of the strut on three sides, and sliding up into position from behind the strut. The top of the two sides would extend above the top of the strut, and each have a horizontal groove to accommodate the fourth side by sliding it in. Set screws would keep the top from working out. The bottom of the u could have a long bolt protruding to reach through the backpost you have installed. 

    Mark Schecter
     | |   | | |   | |   | | | 






  • 15.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 14:46
    Or flip the u upside-down, so it slides onto the narrow top edge of the strut and the grooves for the fourth side hang down below the bottom of the strut. 

    Mark Schecter
     | |   | | |   | |   | | | 






  • 16.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 19:07
    Chris,
    The question, "What am I missing" was intended to stimulate thought – regardless about the customs deep attachment -- about what one would do if, after the massive investment, one finds the non-professional attempt to repair the crack failed? Would any technician be prepared to pay for that investment if they realize the second failure would likely doom the piano? Even if there was a successful(?) repair, the thought that I might be contacted by my customer informing me there was a loud bang and the piano drastically out of tune would gnaw at me for years.
    There are professional cast iron welders who have special ovens and equipment plus the knowledge far beyond the scope of a piano repair technician that would greatly enhance the success of a repair. So far, the suggestions I've read would seem to be very amateurish in the eyes of a professional cast iron welder.
    Roger 





  • 17.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-14-2018 21:50
    Edited by Karl Roeder 09-14-2018 21:57
      |   view attached
    Funny old world. As luck would have it the daughter of an old employer of mine who I'd not seen in 25 years contacted me recently and included a photo of a "repair of last resort" that I did back in 1988 or '89. She thought it'd be fun to remind me of the sort of foolishness I got up to back when the sun was young and the earth was small. The victim in this case was a GH1 that fell off a truck causing the plate to crack. The piano was destined for the dumpster and I was instructed to see if there was a way to salvage it for less than $100.  As I was living what one of our salesmen called a Spartan athletic lifestyle at the time I have to admit that I was stone cold sober when I came up with the idea for a "splint". I went to a local machine shop, a dark forbidding place, more reminiscent of Hephaestus' forge than the clean well lit shop you see in Glen Hart's pictures. There I chose a piece of mild steel flat stock 1/4" thicker than the plate strut and had them make a channel as wide as the strut was tall and as deep as the strut was wide. That left 1/4" outside the strut which gave me just enough room for the damper next to the crack to function. The total length was such that It didn't touch the soundboard underneath or the music desk above. I originally planned to drill through the strut and bolt a 1/4" plate on the other side but after I hammered the fool thing on without causing death or grievous bodily injury I chickened out errrrr ..... decided to declare victory. My only consolation in all this is that my former employer's daughter who is a fine pianist in her own right has kept the piano for her own use all these years and it still holds a tune. After reading Mr Gable's very reasonable concerns regarding "amateurish" repairs I was moved to contribute if only to say: Sir; I resemble that remark.

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    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
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  • 18.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-15-2018 07:07
    Karl,
    Very creative repair there. Nice!  Perhaps, you could improve on it slightly with a "paint job?"

    Roger,
    I decided to heed your words of wisdom. Since i have the piano all apart, i decided to invite the client back to my shop and present the case to them. I figured, if I show them how the crack occurred, what the proposed repairs are, and talk about the risks involved, that if they want to proceed after that, i'll certainly feel more comfortable.

    We'll see what happens.
    Thanks All,
    -chris


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



  • 19.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-15-2018 09:35
    Chris,

    THAT is a very prudent thing to do.

    BTW, I think it can be repaired.

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 20.  RE: The Werner Upright Special

    Posted 09-20-2018 15:09
    **UPDATE**

    Ok, the client came out today. I gave them a tour of three piano plates that I have, explaining the different designs. Then I showed them the backframe and how the wood had failed to hold the support screws, that lead to the plate crack. It turns out this piano was in a house with no air conditioning and just a kerosene stove for heat in the winter, So for 40 years it was pretty much exposed to extreme humidity and dryness.

    Then I showed them the proposed repairs. Then i explained that I have to install a new soundboard and install the plate (along with the additional support bolts i will be installing), then string it up to pitch to see if it will hold. I told them its pretty much a $5000 test/gamble. We should know once its strung, i'm sure.

    Without hesitation they still want to proceed with the restoration. This piano has such strong memories for them.
    I'll post some pics of the repairs and after the strings are installed.
    Anyways, my conscience is clear.
    -chris

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