CAUT

  • 1.  Jansen artist benches

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-29-2022 10:07
    There are numerous Jansen artist benches (with Steinway knobs) in the music building that are loose. When servicing one, I found all the shoulder bolts are cross-threaded and almost impossible to remove. First, I can't believe this could happen and spoke to Paul Jansen about it who had likewise disbelief as they are hardened tool steel. But the fact remains that they are boogered-up. I fear I am going to run into this again as I continue repairing the rest. The couple I have already done did not have this problem, but it is early in the process of many. Has anyone else encountered this, and if so, how did you manage to get them out? If anyone has had experience with this, how you solved this would be appreciated. FYI - when I did *finally* get them out, I chased the female threads with new shoulder bolts I had spares of, which worked, but they were sacrificed in the process. So I am going to purchase a tap to chase the boogered female threads. Thanks!

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    Dave Conte

    University of Tennessee
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    Owner: Rocky Top Piano
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  • 2.  RE: Jansen artist benches

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-30-2022 04:33
    We mostly switched to Hidrau pneumatic benches with genuine leather seats (vinyl doesn't hold up).

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    Mario Igrec, RPT, MM
    Chief Piano Technician, The Juilliard School
    http://www.pianosinsideout.com
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  • 3.  RE: Jansen artist benches

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-05-2022 10:27
    Hi,
    I can't tell you how many parts just fall out on the floor! Some get lost.  Once I entered a faculty members room and started to tell her her bench was missing parts (shoulder bolt) and she reached into her desk and gave me a handful.

    At the beginning of the lock down for covid, I ordered lots of bushings and parts and went through all of our benches.  Through this I had to bring out my tap and die set and run the die over the shoulder bolts I think the set screws flattens the threads some because these bolts want to work themselves out and the smooth part of the bolt will rust-clean this with WD 40 and dry. Yesterday I found one that had most of the screw and bolts loose in the wood and rails! One of the screws holding the rail block, to the top cleat had fallen out and was missing.  The cleat screws (painted black) to the bottom of the top were all loose, corner wood brace screws all loose.  Sometimes I find missing set screws.  The wood screws come loose when the wood dries out.

    I see some users sharing a technique of rocking the bench to put the seat up.  This, I think pulls everything apart.  Placing the bench upside down on the top of the piano risks breaking the box frame holding the legs when it gets put on the floor.  I was somewhere a couple of weeks ago and I knew the box was cracked at the corner bracket slot at the top of the frame, where it can't be seen but can be felt and told them how to fix it.  These benches take a lot of time to maintain but are usually very serviceable and with experience gets easier.

    This benches require our attention every time we service a piano.  Don't wait to fix the problems.
    Jessica Masse RPT
    Western Michigan University

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    Jessica Masse RPT
    Western Michigan University
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  • 4.  RE: Jansen artist benches

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 05-06-2022 19:55

    Worth mentioning regarding Jansen benches: depending on how much work is needed on individual benches…it can be quite cost effective to just have say two to four benches per semester sent off to Jansen for repair. They repair whatever is needed and/or re-upholster those which need that as well. I have found their charges to be VERY VERY FAIR…even "cheap" for what you receive in return. We sent in several and were only charged about 200 to MAYBE 270 for the ones with cracked wood support rails, etc.
    I did (finally) become proficient at "rebushing" these with that little bolt & bushing kit they sell-but it was still difficult to carve out time for this with so many other issues Pressing. It's the University Life. 

    This also brings up another issue…down time…at Texas Tech I was able to work it out to have USUALLY two brand new (or refurbished) benches "hidden away"/stashed pretty much all the time so that when one went down (or was destroyed like the one in the choir hall on one incident…don't ask…I had a back-up plan. Only the piano faculty and our staff pianists were aware of these extra benches. Otherwise they "disappear".  When I was notified of one DOWN…I would just say, "let me see what I can come up with". Then at a nice convenient time I would bring them a used/good or new bench-then begin working to repair the broken one for the next need.
    It ends up being a bit of a "game"…and piano majors, piano professors (and recital pianos of course) would usually get the new benches and I usually took their gently used one to give to the "regular" situations, special events, etc.
    I was very optimistic about the hydraulic Jansen benches-but then I had to resign before trying then. The hydra benches were not super popular at this university and they also can only handle so much abuse/wear/tear/time.  And they are only affordable if a mass/ginormous purchase is made it would seem. Very difficult for most School of Music budgets. 



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    Kevin Fortenberry
    Registered Piano Technician
    Longview, TX 75602
    806-778-3962
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