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1915 Chickering Grand Piano

  • 1.  1915 Chickering Grand Piano

    Posted 05-03-2019 21:28
    Hi Folks, I recently acquired a 1915 Chickering Grand (5'8") grand piano from a family that was downsizing.  They had purchased it new in NYC and it stayed in the family but moved to MN.  The family didn't want it destroyed but wanted to find a 'good home' for someone to rebuild it.  It was my 2019 gift!  My question is can anyone connect me with a skilled tech that restores Chickerings with brass actions?  Also this Chickering has a decal on the plate that says "Designed to be tuned to A 435"  If I install a new pinblock, can I bring it up to A 440 or should I follow the manufacturers direction and tune it to A 435 once it's been restrung.  Thanks much for all your feedback.


  • 2.  RE: 1915 Chickering Grand Piano

    Posted 05-03-2019 22:00
    Is this a scale 123?  I'm doing a 122 right now, and retaining the brass flanges. With the shanks, we machined the flange to accept WNG shanks...quite nice now. We retained the whips and the brass whip flanges because the springs on these whips, with the low friction silk cords are really an excellent design...repetition is a piece of cake with this design. We limited the redesign to heel changes, as  the 122 is such a compressed everything, changing the parts and action design would be asking for trouble. The 123, though, is not that compressed, so there are numerous ways to go on an action overhaul, or re-design.

    If you are retaining the existing whips, you need several sets of brass flanges to make up one good reliable set, as many flanges will be either broken or weak enough to break in play. We stress all of the flanges before accepting them as "safe". Took almost 2 sets to get one set.  The other option is to machine new ones. I don't think Schaff sells their terrible ones any more..and just as well, as they were not ready for prime time.

    I have also completely changed out all the brass for new modern parts, but you need to be able to redesign the action, brackets, and the whole 9 yards...its doable, and comes out nice, but takes some serious design chops.

    If you are retaining the whips, you must also retain the shank flanges, because the brass flange's drop screw is located in a way that requires you use Chickering's rep lever design.

    Re the 435...I re-scale them for 440. The overall tension differential is not that great, and you can scale it at 440 to match the original tensions if you so desire. I generally am jacking the tension a bit, and the plate, which is quite robust does just fine. They are very stable pianos, when set up well.

    Gird your loins for a time consuming pinblock fitting.

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    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
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  • 3.  RE: 1915 Chickering Grand Piano

    Posted 05-03-2019 22:04
    And for heavens sake, don't use heavy hard hammers. Use Ronsen Bacons, and ask Ray to make them light.

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    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
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  • 4.  RE: 1915 Chickering Grand Piano

    Posted 05-05-2019 16:08
    I have a 1907 Chickering 121 that I need a bunch of whippen flange butt plates for. Been seeking a way to make them since they are not available separate from the flange.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 5.  RE: 1915 Chickering Grand Piano

    Posted 05-05-2019 16:47
    not clear on your terminology for a grand flange. Can you be more specific?

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    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
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  • 6.  RE: 1915 Chickering Grand Piano

    Posted 05-06-2019 22:51
    The flat whippen flange uses a "butt plate like" plate to clamp the pin. Unfortunately this plate is not identical to the standard butt plate as used in an upright. The hole location is different so it must be custom made.

    Yes, it can be had but only with the entire flange. My flanges are in great shape (and better quality than any replacement).  All I need is the plates. Making them is a real pain.

    Ideas?

    Pwg

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