Pianotech

Topic: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

1.  Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 24 days ago
Is there any particular reason when ordering hammers from Steinway that you couldn't  order the smaller size?  For example, I'm replacing hammers on a C.  Why couldn't I buy the s/m/l/o size? I figured that since they make them so large and oversized ( at least my last two sets were) that ordering the smaller size they'd be just about right without having to do all the machining. I'd be buying the untappered unbored set of course.
Any thoughts?

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ChrisChernobieff
Chernobieff Piano and Harpsichord Mfg.
Lenoir City TN
865-986-7720
chrisppff@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/ChernobieffPianoandHarpsichordMFG
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2.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 24 days ago
Mr. Chernobieff,

You could order a set of un-bored un-tapered Hammers for a model A/B and you'd still have 20 bass hammers and enough treble hammers to complete the set. If you ordered for the SMO you'd get  at least 26 bass hammers and would end up with too few treble hammers. Of course if you have a couple dozen number 89 and 90 hammers laying around and you don't mind the last six notes being mixed and matched it might work. I'd have to measure it but it seems I remember the tail length being greater on the C/D hammers as well

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Karl Roeder
Pompano Beach FL
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3.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 24 days ago
Thanks Karl,
Sounds like it will work. Instead of looking for extra hammers for the top, I would be more inclined to cut the tails on the 6 extra top bass hammers. 
I'll give it a try and post the results.





4.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 23 days ago
You can do that, cut down the 6 extra bass hammers.  You'll be cutting into the shallow part of the cove but Steinway hammers don't cove very deeply so it probably won't interfere with how the hammers get tailed.  If it  might then you can always fill the cove with "Wood Rebuilder"  and then cut the hammers and recove the six hammers with a Forstner bit.

The other issue is that the SMO hammers are shorter  because the bore distance is less so you may have inadequate tail length which can affect checking.

If it was me I'd order a low profile set of Wurzen hammers for that piano (my specs from Ronsen).  I prefer the Wurzen over the Weickert for this piano.

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David Love RPT
www.davidlovepianos.com
davidlovepianos@comcast.net
415 407 8320
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5.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 23 days ago
Thank you David,
I'm forced by customer to buy Steinway hammers. Which I am not fond of. Fortunately, I am ordering new backchecks with the wire, so I may have a tiny bit of fidget room. 
I'm ordering the SMO hammers on monday, now just out of curiosity if this idea works. I also have plenty of spares from past sets. We'll see if I made the job easier or harder.





6.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
Chris,

My approach would be different in that I would be inclined to simply remove material from the B hammers.

You could always try this too:  reason with the client on the fact that Ronsen actually used to make Steinway's  hammers for a period or time, so they have all the specs and equipment to make "Steinway" hammers now, and they have the felt that more closely corresponds to that was there ORIGINALLY.

I would much rather use Ronsen.

Pwg


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Peter Grey
Stratham NH
603-686-2395
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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7.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
Oh, but it won't be a Steinway if it don't have Steinway hammers. 
Like you, I would prefer the Ronsen. 






8.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
The Ronsen Wurzen or Weickert hammer, especially if made close to the pre 1937 dimensions, is closer to the Steinway hammers of that period than the current iteration from Steinway.

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David Love RPT
www.davidlovepianos.com
davidlovepianos@comcast.net
415 407 8320
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9.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
I agree with David.  It is very much the old Steinway sound, and I think has more color than the modern Steinway hammers.

Will Truitt

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William Truitt
Bridgewater NH
603-744-2277
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10.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
I agree also, but the customer wants that Steinway stamp.





11.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago
Edited by David Love 21 days ago
Then I think your only potential issue is the tail length.  New backchecks won't quite do the trick as you can also raise the old checks.  The problem will be with the tail too short the backcheck has to come in closer to the hammer to get high enough checking and it can both hit the low shoulder of the hammer or grab on the way up.  There is a fairly simple way to extend the tails by gluing on an extension using those parts dividers that come in boxes of Renner shanks and flanges.  I think less than 1" tails is a problem and a little bit longer (1 1/16" or even 1 1/8") is even better.  1 1/16" is my target generally.

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David Love RPT
www.davidlovepianos.com
davidlovepianos@comcast.net
415 407 8320
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12.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago
I had concerns about tail lengths also.  One thing that has been sitting in the back of my mind is, what should the hammer bore be for this individual piano?  As you likely know, the stock hammer bore for B's and D's can vary quite substantially from what the piano is asking for.

Let me give an example:  A couple of years ago I rebuilt a Steinway D with an all new WNG action and custom set up.  My customer wanted Steinway hammers.  I was going to try to get a set of unbored hammers for a D and bore them to the piano.  But the hammers were overcentering by 5 mm. at best and 8 mm. at worst.  The custom bore would have left me with little nubbies for tails.  Regulation wise, that would have been self-defeating to my other efforts for custom set up.

So my customer and I had a heart to heart talk about our goals for the piano.  I ended up ordering a set of unbored, uneverything Weikert felt hammers and installed them.  Once the voicing cycle was completed, he was very happy with how good the hammers sounded.  To him, it sounded like a Steinway.  We both liked the color coming from the hammers.

The piano is in a recording studio, where people are paying him to record on a D.  He has had many favorable comments on the sound.  I am not aware that anyone has complained that it did not sound like a Steinway.

The lesson here was that, in terms of our larger goals for the piano, the piano decided what would best meet its needs.

Will Truitt.

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William Truitt
Bridgewater NH
603-744-2277
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13.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago
I get hammers from Ronsen because they are top quality and I can request a custom length molding as well as felt type. Since I taper the bore, I order the molding 3mm longer than the longest bore plus a 27 mm tail length, this insures even tail length. Uncoved because that is a perfect area to remove a few tenths of a gram in the final weigh off and too often the cove is too deep and restricts an optimum tail arc. Coving is a waste of time anyway, it only removes about .3g which translates to less than 2g at the front of the key.

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Regards,

Jon Page
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14.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago

I've successfully adopted (or at least utilized) the oscillating spindle sander and 'un'cove, so my questions are not from a position of skepticism, but I'm having trouble deciphering what you wrote.

Since I taper the bore, I order the molding 3mm longer than the longest bore plus a 27 mm tail length, this insures even tail length. 

Perhaps my confusion would be dispelled if you were to elaborate a bit.  Perhaps.

Thanks


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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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15.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago
Will -
What was it about the customized set up that created this problem?

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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16.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago
Tapering the bore means to bore the shank hole further from the end of the hammer to accommodate the sloping string height. The longest bore plus 27 mm for the tail is usually overall longer than stock supply house hammers. So I order custom length moldings. I also order them 3 mm longest than my max desired overall length so I'll have a good bite into the wood to cut the tails to length after drilling. I install the hammers tapered but not arced. Once hung, I'll remove them from the rail, cut the tails to length on a bandsaw and arc the tails. Then do the final weigh off.

Prior to hanging, I'll weigh each hammer and enter the number on a spread sheet. The chart generated will allow me to match the hammer's weight with a shank to target a smooth SW. The SW of the shanks were weighed and sorted into piles. This way I'm assured of not mating a high weight hammer with a high SW shank exacerbating the final weigh off.

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Regards,

Jon Page
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17.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 21 days ago
Thanks for clarification.  I don't always think of the alteration of string height as a consistent taper.  That's what got me confused.  Everything else is pretty much as I've come to do.

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David Skolnik
Hastings-on-Hudson NY
914-231-7565
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18.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
Mr. Chernobieff,
Just curious when you last ordered Steinway Hammers. While the D hammers are still pretty big (nothing compared to 10 years ago) the B hammers I've used lately are not much different (at least in size) from the Ronsen hammers I've used on B's or C7's. The last 5 years have seen a remarkable change for the better (IMO) in Steinway hammers. You should be aware that they are still pre-lacquering the SMO  hammers so you'll have to specify that they don't do that if you're lacquer averse.

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Karl Roeder
Pompano Beach FL
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19.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 22 days ago
I've heard Karl that it's a crap shoot. The last set I ordered for a B were rather large. 





20.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 11 days ago
UPDATE:
So after listening to you guys, I chickened out. I bought the Steinway Hammers made for the particular model. Instead of ordering untapered and unbored, i got the bored and tapered, which oddly enough are cheaper. Got the set today and they look great. Not oversized as happened in the past.  Hated spending $650 though.
THanks for the feedback. It worked out good.

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ChrisChernobieff
Chernobieff Piano and Harpsichord Mfg.
Lenoir City TN
865-986-7720
chrisppff@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/ChernobieffPianoandHarpsichordMFG
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21.  RE: Steinway Hammer Ordering Trickery

Posted 10 days ago
Well, the client pays anyway.

That's great!

Pwg

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Peter Grey
Stratham NH
603-686-2395
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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