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Asbestos?

  • 1.  Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 16:24
    I received an email from someone looking at used pianos with a question I have never heard.  This person read online somewhere that you need to be careful not to purchase a piano with asbestos as an ingredient in hammer felt.  I responded that no, I have never heard of any manufacturer using asbestos in hammer felt.

    The thing that is nagging me is that I do not know that as a provable fact.  I am sure that if there were even trace amounts of asbestos in hammer felt we would be well aware of it with all the hammer filing that we do routinely.  Can anyone with more detailed hammer felt experience confirm this for me?  I feel stupid for even asking but have to admit I don't know it for a fact.

    Thank you!

    Chris

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    Christopher Purdy, RPT
    School of Music, Ohio University
    Athens, OH . 45701
    purdy@ohio.edu
    (740) 590-3842
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  • 2.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 17:07
    I've never heard of it either. Just curious, but after looking up what asbestos are, why would they, in theory, be bad for piano hammers?

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    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
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  • 3.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 17:59
    At least in a fire, the hammers wouldn't burn up!  😆

    Somehow I smell some funny business going on. Like a sales tactic.

    Hammer makers, KNOWING that their hammers are going to get filed, with particles going everywhere would be (I think) setting themselves up for a major lawsuit given what we have known about asbestos for quite a long time.

    At least I certainly hope it's bunk. I rarely wear a mask when filing them.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 4.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 17:52
    I am not aware of any hammer felt making process that uses asbestos.  You can google it and see what products are available.  Nothing for pianos.

    http://www.asbestos-attorney.com/asbestos_product_brands.htm

    "PTG - Expand your Horizon - Share the Vision"

    PTG - Providing Quality Service to Pianos of the World

    "Good, Better, Best.  Never let it rest. "till the good is better, and the better, best."

    Bill Davis, RPT, SERVP

    2315 Rocky Mountain Rd NE
    Marietta GA 30066-2113
    CP: 770-778-6881
    bill@pianoplace.net
    www.pianoplace.net






  • 5.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 18:49
    Christopher, it's a brand new idea to me, too. I have no idea why anyone would want to put asbestos into piano hammers, to start with. And obviously pianos manufactured after asbestos was proven to be hazardous wouldn't have any.

    You are making me glad I used a new fancy dust mask while shaping hammers on an upright Steinway the other day.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 6.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 19:14
    I wouldn't be surprised if there was. When people hear asbestos they think cancer, but asbestos has a useful characteristic. Fire proofing. I could see how China for speed of manufacturing and to avoid burning the wool could use asbestos in the wool. Also since they have no regulations of any kind. It may be worth having some hammers sent to a lab. 





  • 7.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 19:24
    Chris,

    That does make some sense (unfortunately)

    Pwg


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



  • 8.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 19:48
    In my mind asbestos could be used as a filler. Asbestos fibers mixed in with felt fibers. I have no data whatsoever, it just seems possible. Asbestos was the miracle fiber back in the day. It seems to have been used in everything from insulation to baby blankets.

    On the other hand, if there was ever a trace of asbestos in hammer felt we would have been hip to this decades ago wouldn’t we? We would all have respiratory issues and there would be a fleet of enterprising young lawyers advertising in the Journal...

    Chris




  • 9.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 20:25
    China has all sorts or regulations for health and safety. Not well enforced, but ours are also that way sometimes.

    One could buy an asbestos test kit from a paint store and test for it.

    The way asbestos works as a fire retardant is as a barrier, mixed into felt it would not do much of that.

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    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
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  • 10.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-09-2018 23:56
    It would be in everyone's best interest to track down  this article/story and fact check it. It is likely a marketing miss-representation . Asbestos is a known carcinogen and its handling and removal is dangerous and hazardous. It was often used for fireproofing , found in brake linings, used in flooring tiles and siding shingles. When it is found during demolition or renovations it brings things to a halt and needs to be remediated by licensed professionals . It is not something to be messed with . EPA an\d States have strict regulations governing the handling, removal, disposal of asbestos as well as test protocols, haz mat training, protective gear , pemits.  I doubt that there is any type of testing done on wools/felts coming here from China or anyplace for that matter to screen for asbestos. If it were being blended into wool one would think there would be high rates of lung cancers and asbestos related deaths like with shipbuilders or mechanics that got exposed to asbestos brake pads.

     On the other hand we have seen major issues with imported dry wall (black mold) and deadly pet (mostly dog) foods that attacked kidneys and other organs. I am not sure how one would or could check the felt in a hammer for asbestos- a question that perhaps be asked of an environmental agency, lab, environmental engineer, or environmental hygienist . Since many of us shape hammers to remove string cuts and flat spots it would be good to know if there is any chance of something like this. Having a simple dust mask on is not going to give you much protection and releasing asbestos fibers into the air is deadly to others . I would also think that if fibers were in the hammer felt they would be getting released with every hammer strike, damper lift, test blow - that's not a very pretty thought.



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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 11.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 00:09
    Interesting article found in a quick search moments ago ...


        http://asbestosvictimadvice.com/2016/03/when-asbestos-dampens-the-tunes-played-on-an-old-piano/

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 12.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-11-2018 15:07
    I would gusee that European made hammers would not have any asbestos in them and I doubt that Japaneese made hammers would have, but what comes in from China, who knows?

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    Clarence Zeches
    Piano Service Enterprise School of Technology
    Toccoa GA
    706-886-4035
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  • 13.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 10:10
    While we're on the subject of hammer filing...
    I'm wondering where you file hammers. Do you file:
    1. In situ, without removing the action?
    2. In the customer's garage or driveway on a folding table?
    3. Always take the action home?


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    Scott Cole
    Talent OR
    541-601-9033
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  • 14.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 10:50
    Many ways.
    Depends. Heavy filing or just touch up? Vertical or grand? Old player or spinet? Fine performance or just make bad better?
    For example, you can make little extenders to lean a vertical action outward in the piano.
    You can clamp small bar clamps to the top end of vertical brackets and stand the action on a table.
    Take a grand action outside on a grand action dolly.
    Take it home, remove and sand hammers individually on a drum sander.
    And dust control is another matter.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 15.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 14:22
      |   view attached
    If you're removing hammers, you can gang file them. I'm attaching Ted Sambell's photo of it.

    Chris Gregg wrote a detailed article about gang filing which appeared in the July 1988 Journal.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 16.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 13:14
    This is a "hijack" of this thread:
    I can't imagine when or why anyone would have used asbestos in piano hammers, though it is a possible (tiny) contaminant of talc and that might have been used for whitening.

    BUT; moth-proofing was occasionally done with arsenic.  In pianos the common form of arsenic was probably cupric arsenate, which is green and obvious, but pure arsenic is white.  Arsenic was once commonly used in museums to preserve scientific specimens and testing and removal has been a major headache for many museum collections.

    My fear is that some felt companies may have used arsenic as moth proofing (probably in the mid to late 1800s) and that shaping these hammers might result in arsenic poisoning.

    I wouldn't worry about modern hammers, moth proofing of modern felt involves removal of lanolin which makes the felt less nutritious.

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 17.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 13:36
    From just a brief on-line search for "asbestos piano" I did find information from ONE article that seems to have been copied or repeated many times on other sites about possible asbestos use in pianos.

    The issue seems to be what is the definition of "piano felt"; if this is hammer felt we need to be very concerned.  If this was electrical insulation or fire-proofing for unusual applications such as electrified player pianos or water proofed pianos then we have little to fear except for these unusual situations.

    This is an issue of enough concern to all piano technicians that perhaps PTG should consider investing a small amount of money to support testing of a few selected piano samples to reassure out members and the industry.

    Unfortunately, since I am giving a presentation this summer on "Piano Chemical and Biohazards" it falls rather squarely on my shoulders.....

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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 18.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-10-2018 14:57
    See http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1198463/Re:_Asbestos_in_Pianos.html

    This may be where it began. The lab tests for asbestos were negative.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 19.  RE: Asbestos?

    Posted 02-13-2018 15:32
    My brother has spent the last 35 plus years in the wool/textile industry. He tells me that he has no knowledge of asbestos in piano felt (at least within that time period).

    His advice was to have lungs checked specifically for asbestos (any signs of it) by doctor (before filing any class action lawsuit 😎).

    It would seem to me that any of us filing hammers for the last 40 years would show some signs of it IF it were actually present in any of these pianos. Personally, I highly doubt it, and would be seriously surprised if it was found to be true.

    But any of you who see the doc regularly, have him/her check for signs of asbestos in the lungs. I never go to the doc, nor have any inclination to do so (as yet).

    Pwg

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