Hi, Peter"Vodka" is just my code name for 100 proof ethanol, which I make by diluting 190 proof Clear Spring from the liquor store roughly half and half with tap water. Some states don't allow the sale of 190 proof ethanol -- the generic Everclear in states forbidding 190 proof will probably be about 100 proof, fine for piano work. Consider it pre-diluted for you.I had a big upright action from the South which I was trying to get working again. The wood was dark brown, it must have been in extremely humid conditions, and it had been sprayed a lot with lubricants, and also the leather was ruined from someone applying alcohol. I put an absolutely ridiculous amount of work in on it. Okay, it was a neat old upright, great big one, I like those, but taking on an action in this condition, hammers standing in air, everything totally gummy, and the shanks warped, twisted and out of space from the humidity swings was frankly crazy.I replaced the hardened and shrunken butt leathers. I repinned. Can't remember if I also rebushed. The shanks were not only warped but incredibly brittle. I had the action at home, and I needed to space the hammers with the hot bending pliers. I remembered from my course days working on Ted's 1926 Pleyel, where the action used continuous center pins so that the shanks had to be spaced using heat. They also were brittle, and with the alcohol lamp I broke eight of them. Luckily they could be replaced like upright shanks.I had no stomach for the number of broken hammer shanks I was likely to produce. I thought about getting some steam into the shanks, and vodka swabbed on them seemed the easiest way to do it, so I used the little throwaway foam brush, which also isn't ruined by vodka, by the way, and can be used for this over and over again. It holds a lot and you don't want it dripping down, so fill it carefully in a miserly way, from a dropper bottle or a little pipette.I was afraid the heat might make it flare up, but the alcohol portion seems to have gassed off, leaving the shanks with water deep inside them. Touched by the hot pliers, they gave a little hiss and became incredibly flexible. If I bent any too far, I just swabbed on some more, used the pliers again, and moved them back again. They were totally docile, and I could space them back and forth as many times as I wished. I worried that they might warp again as they dried, but they didn't.Try it, tell me how it goes. Don't get any vodka into the grand action, please. A plastic bag under the shanks with a shop towel on top of it (also under the shanks) might be a good idea.