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WD-40 Piano Lubricant

  • 1.  WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-02-2019 14:37
    Okay, okay, I know, I know. No, I have never used it. However, I am working on an old grand that should be in the county dump if it weren't for sentimental value. The 100+-year-old WNG action has verdigris (not a Steinway). The jack centers are the worst. I lubed them several times with Protek. Freed up many of them, but some that did not respond I am repining as a better temporary fix. Yes, I have explained all this to the owner. I also explained that the ones that did so far respond positively to the Protek lube, may slow up again - two days, two weeks, two months, two years, twenty years - who knows - from now.

    He wants to spray the action with WD-40. I suggested to him that was likely not a good idea, but had to admit that I didn't know that it would hurt the action.

    Has anyone sprayed verdigris action centers with WD-40? What happened? I'm particularly interested in whether there were any adverse effects.

    Thanks.

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    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505
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  • 2.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-02-2019 15:00
    It turns wood to mush. And then gums up everything after it sits for a while, worse than vertigris. If you want to rebuild and replace ALL of the action parts eventually, go for it. I have no idea what happens upon first spraying the stuff, but the result down the line is catastrophic. My old mentor (RIP) used LP-1 or something like that, but I can't vouch for it. Goose Juice? Perc? Zapper? Soldering Iron?
    I have tried repinning after air blasting Protek into the centers, or even without repinning. Not permanent, but it works for a while. You can see the stuff coming out of the wood at the other end of the flange. Drip a few drops into the felt, then blast it out with air.
    If you plan to keep any wood parts in the action, WD-40 is out of the question. Trust me..
    Paul McCloud
    San Diego

    Terrence Farrell
    Okay, okay, I know, I know. No, I have never used it. However, I am working on an old grand that should be in the county dump if it weren't for sentimental value. The 100+-year-old WNG action has verdigris (not a Steinway). The jack centers are the worst. I lubed them several times with Protek. Freed up many of them, but some that did not respond I am repining as a better temporary fix. Yes, I have explained all this to the owner. I also explained that the ones that did so far respond positively to the Protek lube, may slow up again - two days, two weeks, two months, two years, twenty years - who knows - from now.

    He wants to spray the action with WD-40. I suggested to him that was likely not a good idea, but had to admit that I didn't know that it would hurt the action.

    Has anyone sprayed verdigris action centers with WD-40? What happened? I'm particularly interested in whether there were any adverse effects.

    Thanks.

    ------------------------------
    Terry Farrell
    Farrell Piano Service, Inc.
    Brandon, Florida
    terry@farrellpiano.com
    813-684-3505





  • 3.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-02-2019 20:59
    If it's the jacks, and the piano is staving off a trip to the dump, therefore not likely to merit new parts, using a zapper might just do the trick.

    I think it would have worked better if the jack centers had not been fouled with lubricant first.

    If you have a zapper, and decide to try it, remember to use it for the shortest possible time, since you risk turning the birdseye into char, with smoke coming out.

    I've used it on two grands -- one was a piano which hadn't been sprayed with anything, didn't have verdigris, but the jack centers were just too slow. Just a touch of current fixed the problem very quickly.

    Another was a Steinway, about to be taken to Hawaii, which the owner wanted to be able to play before the move. It had been sprayed with oily stuff relentlessly. I explained that the parts would need replacement, but I used the zapper pretty aggressively. There was so much oil all over everything that it boiled out of the parts, and not smoke but vaporized oil rose up. The parts were a deep dark oiled brown.The piano was playable when I left. Unknown how long it lasted.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 4.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 18:16
    Methanol can be helpful (fuel line cleaner,) but you must wait for it to dry to see effectiveness. My mentor would use Renuzit, which I believe is now banned for its carcinogenic properties. Something with benzene I think.

    Joe




  • 5.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-02-2019 16:56
    Thanks for the info on WD-40.

    However, I have a grand where on account of damp the hammers became quite stiff. We treated with Protec on the pins and it loosened them up - for a few weeks. Nothing short of repinning worked and now done the instrument is lovely again.

    Best wishes

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 6.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-02-2019 19:03

    Terrence,

    If your customer is willing to pay for a more permanent repair, here is my recommendation; Based upon the Steinway verdigris saga and the understanding at this point in time we have not established a permanent fix without replacement, I take the second most viable route that appears to be next to permanent. If we assume the verdigris begins to show its ugly head about 30 to 40 years (correct me if I'm wrong) with exposure to the impregnated wax solution, we could reasonably assume replacing the pin would restart the 30 – 40 year clock, but we're faced with the current binding effects of the verdigris on the new pin. About 5 years ago I repined a Steinway verdigris action by cleaning the bushing with carbon tetrachloride, aka brake cleaner that can be obtained at auto supply stores. The pressurized can with a spray tube is perfect for squirting directly onto the bushing. Adequate ventilation required. About 3 cans will serve all the busing in an action. I experimented with this procedure about 5 years ago with no call backs yet. Maybe they will remain friction free for another 30 – 40 years.

    Roger  






  • 7.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 01:49
    Avoid WD-40 anywhere in the action. Get some PROTEK, Goose Juice or similar products made for pianos if you want to lube action centers Use a gram gauge to measure the friction on the hammer flange before and after treatment, Same thing on the whippens. I would suggest new bushing cloth with new center pins and skip trying to use verdigris felt. Clean up all evidence of verdigris, dirt, gunk. You could get looser action centers by just treating the cloth but you will get a callback soon. Wessell Nickel and Gross was an excellent action- probably one of the best and they can be found in many brands like Knabe. Steinways are not the only piano with verdigris issues because it can develop under the right conditions . Steinway boiled their action parts as a way to seal the wood against warping and to resist moisture. Although mutton has been mentioned I believe it was parrafin which is like candle wax and extremely hard to remove. To keep the expense down I would do all of the notes in the 3/4/5 octaves and maybe selectively in the bass. The best solution in the long run is to just get all new whippens made by Brooks . I have been dealing with a grand that was exposed to some flooding. All of the hammers/shanks/flanges where replaced and although it seemed the whippens responded to protek it did not last. So I did some rebushing and repinning however the problem, keeps returning. I think piano would work just fine with new whippens instead of me repinning all those action centers. Price it all out and go over the pros and cons, how much time and effort is involved with repinning/rebushing. Instead of a full set of whippens get a half dozen and swap them with existing whippens to demo why its money better spent. What are the hammer felts/shanks/flanges/knuckles like ?

    For all you know the customer may have already tried wd 40 or 3 in 1 oil.

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 8.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 04:14
    I agree with James. When you cost out the price of a new whippen plus labor, it's a good deal better than a long series of half way measures.
    So often we ( I ) bend over backwards trying to meet customer's unrealistic expectations. Such as cheaply rehabilitating 100 year old action parts, it's absurd to think that's possible, if you just fix what isn't working at all, there's still all the other parts that are just limping along. Are the key bushings a hundred years old too?
    One thing I've been doing with people who own pianos that barely work is to send them down to the piano store so they can experience what a piano that works properly feels and sounds like. They discover how hard they've been working to play a keyboard that is essentially an obstacle course and that a lot of what they've been ascribing to their own lack of ability is actually an instrument that barely plays.

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 9.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 07:32
    Terry, try Counter Bearing Lube. It is a better CLP than Protek or Goose Juice (no longer available). CBL is not just for treating counter bearing surfaces.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@pianocapecod.com
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 10.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 09:43
    Do not under any circumstances use or tell him to use WD40. People need to get over the sentimental attachment when the instrument is a basket case. Yes the WN&G was a great action but if it is worn down, hung up with verdigris it is insane to even put much into it trying to
    save it. I didn't catch the brand of the piano so is it worth it to redo the top stack, rebush keys, replace dampers, regulate etc....
    It may be time to face the music and send it to the boneyard...

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 11.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 10:15
    Get Jon Page's counter bearing lube. It is better than Protek or anything else. Probably will not "cure" the problem but WILL work better.

    My opinion based on experience.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 12.  RE: WD-40 Piano Lubricant

    Posted 05-03-2019 19:25
    I used CBL as a CLP on a verdigris action today. One jack and treble hammers. The hammers, I worked up and down while pulling to the left and then to the right right. There is a slight wobble to the bushings but that is OK. The action is free for now...

    Using CBL as a counter bearing lube made the tuning a breeze, it's like power steering for your hammer. Pianotek is sampling it for a hopeful inclusion into their product line.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@pianocapecod.com
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------