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Alternative to Voicing Blocks

  • 1.  Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-08-2018 15:29
    I'm interested in an alternative to voicing blocks after seeing a May 2004 article in the Journal on using a door threshold. I'm interested in an opinion of this and/or any other alternatives that you've tried or currently use and would recommend.

    Thank you.

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    David Bauguess
    Grand Junction CO
    970-257-1750
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  • 2.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-08-2018 17:57
    Here's what I do, suspend a stiff angle iron above the level of the tops of the back checks, to support all the hammers. Then I work on a work bench, and stand, pressing the needles in using my weight. No issues of compression of felt, a nice, firm support.

    I found that the one pictured above, 3/4" x 3/4" angle, needed to be doubled to be stiff enough. The 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" x 1/8" thick is stiff enough, but benefits from a vertical support between the tenor and bass sections: I drilled a hole in the angle, threaded it, and use a 5" carriage bolt with a nut as the vertical support.

    This has been my norm for maybe ten years, when doing a full, deep needle shoulder job. For touch up work, I just use a three hammer wooden block, that descends between the check and the wippen rail, and work at the piano.A stiff angle iron suspended just above the back checks

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    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    http://www.artoftuning.com
    "We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda
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  • 3.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-09-2018 10:50
    I just wanted to add that I REALLY love this voicing block for field & on-the-spot voicing. I ordered it from Jurgen at Fortepiano after my tools were stolen -very much worth the $! Although it is larger than the normal 3-4 note block, it is surprisingly lightweight.
    And Fred, I am SUPER impressed with your set up for bench voicing. So simple-what a great one!

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    [Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
    [Staff Techician]
    [Texas Tech Univ]
    [Lubbock] [TX]
    [8067783962]
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  • 4.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-09-2018 23:36
    Hi Fred,

    Does your voicing rig (sorry, it's too big in my books to count as a voicing jig 😉) support the hammer tails or the shanks? I can't tell from the pictures.

    If it supports the shanks, how does that work out?

    Thanks,

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    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
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  • 5.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-10-2018 09:36
    Voicing blocks that go down in front of the backchecks all the way to the key are a pain. Some don't fit every action, and then are hard to pull out. And I worry about changing backcheck settings.

    Jim Coleman makes a very nice light one that sits on top of the backchecks, supports the tails, and fits everything. Several sizes available.


    P.S. Fred's rig supports the tails.

    -Cy- 

    Cy Shuster, RPT
    Albuquerque, NM
    505-265-4234 (work)
    505-226-1811 (cell)

    www.shusterpiano.com






  • 6.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-10-2018 11:16
    I always support the tails, and that is what the angle iron is designed to do (BTW, it can be adapted to uprights also).
     

    I have never found a grand where my voicing support block, homemade, but very similar to the one Kevin posted that he got from Jurgen, had any problem fitting between checks and the wippen rail. It is a matter of dimension, and I did thin mine a bit from its first iteration, but now it works fine for all. No issue with affecting the check adjustment. 

    I don't particularly object to a block that stands on top of the checks and wipps, but that seems more squishy to me, a less efficient feel to the needles going in, hence my adoption of the key to hammer tail jig. And I think I would worry more about the one on top of the back checks affecting regulation, though probably not much and only in limited circumstances.
    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    fssturm@unm.edu
    http://fredsturm.net
    www.artoftuning.com
    "Practice makes permanent. (Only perfect practice makes perfect)."






  • 7.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-09-2018 16:26
    I use the door threshhold (thanks, Guy Nichols), and it works great in the field.

    It's aluminum and just 3', so it doesn't cover all the hammers, but it's easy to slide. I lay it on top of the wippens, curved side down. Since I've taken Jim Busby and Vince Myrkalo's excellent voicing class at home office (another one offered this spring), I'm filing hammers routinely now, because it takes a lot less time. The threshhold catches most of the wool filings.

    Mine came with countersunk screw holes, which held up some hammers, so I just tapped them flat. On my list is to glue in some felt, because the racket of tails hitting the aluminum is loud!

    I also use it to catch Teflon powder when I'm lubricating key end felt for dampers.

    -Cy- 

    Cy Shuster, RPT
    Albuquerque, NM
    505-265-4234 (work)
    505-226-1811 (cell)

    www.shusterpiano.com






  • 8.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Member
    Posted 11-10-2018 15:48
    Cy, glueing a felt/buckskin covered wooden strip will soften the noise and transition the holes. You can get long strip of buckskin for back check covering.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
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  • 9.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-13-2018 10:52
    The <g class="gr_ gr_5 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling ins-del multiReplace" id="5" data-gr-id="5">threshhold</g> is squishy on the <g class="gr_ gr_37 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_disable_anim_appear ContextualSpelling" id="37" data-gr-id="37">wippens</g>. For a lot of voicing, I'd prefer Fred's setup. But it's great for filing hammers in the field.

    --Cy--


    Aluminum threshhold hammer support

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    Cy Shuster, RPT
    Albuquerque, NM
    http://www.shusterpiano.com
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  • 10.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-14-2018 23:32
    Cy,

    Photo 4 in Guy Nichols' article shows the threshold position voicing with the sides downward, i.e., the same position as when it's used as a door threshold. Your photo shows it "upside down" in comparison. Is this the position you've had it in when you've used it to voice, or is this position only used for filing, in which case it would better catch the filings?

    I'm curious because Guy describes it as "very solid" for voicing. Furthermore he says he's "never had a problem using a lot of downward force" if it is placed as he shows in the photo.

    Position of door threshold for voicing
    I don't have a shop, so your first post encouraged me to buy a threshold to try. Of course, I'll find out soon enough how it works for me.

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    David Bauguess
    Grand Junction CO
    970-257-1750
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  • 11.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-15-2018 11:50
    Thanks for sharing that, David. With the curve down, it looks like the edge is pushing down all the rep levers solidly. I'll try it.

    --Cy--







  • 12.  RE: Alternative to Voicing Blocks

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-15-2018 19:31
    Is Guy Nichols' article anywhere to be found, besides in the original printed journal from 2004 - like a scanned copy or something?