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Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

  • 1.  Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 8 days ago
    Hello all,

    I recently met an 1895 Stieff upright that was in an unhappy way. Its owner was proud of the money he had put into its restoration 10 years ago (new pinblock, soundboard, strings, hammers... original wippens, stickers, etc...) but was concerned that it wasn't holding tune. The work had been done in Houston, and its subsequent move to dry Santa Fe a couple of years ago put an end to whatever torque the pins had to begin with. While it seems that restringing with fatter pins is the thing to do, I am trying to get a feel for how common this kind of failure is and if the client ought to try to get the rebuilder to do the work for some kind of discount, or if he should let bygones be bygones and move on. Any help is appreciated.

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    Robert Rothschild
    Santa Fe NM

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  • 2.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 8 days ago
    A pin block from Houston brought to New Mexico is going to dry out.  Pin torque will be severely reduced.  It's not the rebuilders fault that the customer moved to a dry climate.

    The piano will I'll need to be repinning, but not restrung.

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    Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
    Mililani, HI 96789
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  • 3.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago

    2.0 pins currently in the block? 

    are we sure the block was replaced? 

    Did we try installing a damp chaser to compensate for the dryness? 

    I just finished a job with a Yamaha Spinet - the pins were horribly loose. I gave two choices

    1. restring it.
    2. treat the block with thin ca and install a damp chaser.

    she went with the treatment and damp chaser. The treatment worked great. Piano tilter, leave it sit for a couple of days and that could be an effective option to rebuilding it again. 



    ------------------------------
    David Estey, RPT
    www.EsteyPiano.com
    Piano Tuners Sales Tips for the week. FREE! Sign up here:
    http://coolstuffformusicians.com/fine-tuning-your-salesmanship
    Creating Harmony in a World filled with Discord.
    1-800-ON A PIANO (662-7426)
    dave@esteypiano.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago
    Edited by Peter Grey 7 days ago
    Robert,

    I agree with the above. Not the rebuilders fault (plus were talkin about a 120 year old piano....designed to last 50 years max?)

    Humidity control system absolutely, and I would install the back cover as well. I would do this first and wait to see what happens. They may also want to run a room humidifier for ambient atmosphere (optional).

    I would not hesitate to apply the CA if cost is part of the issue. If cost is not a factor, one COULD justify repinning (lots of work, not a lot of fun), but IF I were to go that route I would use Lo-torq dual diameter pins (my opinion only). And you may still find a need for limited CA work, depending on the severity of the situation.

    I have seen similar situations (as have others) here in New England where it gets dry as the desert in winter and the piano goes crazy.

    Edit: I just re-read and new pinblock. Hmmm...do we know for sure?

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 5.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago
    Customers often have incorrect ideas about rebuilds, pinblocks and soundboards, as well as what constitutes a high price for work done.
    10 years is the maximum warranty period for new pianos, some manufacturers stop at 5 years.
    This is probably something to be negotiated between the customer and the rebuilder.

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    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 6.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago
    Pin block failure should not happen on a properly installed block after ten years. The only scenario would be if it were placed directly in the sunlight.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@pianocapecod.com
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 7.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago
    Had the same thing happen here but the piano came from Arizona to SC so exact opposite. Piano9 was a Baldwin M grand in mint condition. I checked it early winter late fall it was perfect but I advised a full dampp chaser and undercover. Proposal was never accepted by customer although I warned them from the get go it was coming from dry humidity to high wet humidity. Six months latter they called wanting a tuning. the piano had nearly imploded. strings unwound like candy canes and on the high end pins rose up out of the block. some cracks in the soundboard also showed up. LSS - A full dc/undercover lots of coil tightening, pin pounding with a support under block and tlc revived and saved the piano. Eventually piano was moved to florida and twice in florida. It is now back here doing well.

    In your case go with the CA on the block and a full dc with a backcover big deal if it was rebuilt environmentals can kill anything- new/old/
    rebuilt.  Stieffs are nice pianos some even had sostenutos in them

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    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
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  • 8.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago
    This is another question that needs to be asked. Was the pin block indeed replaced. You know how customers don't always understand what was done to a piano. One way to test is the pin block was replaced is to measure the tuning pins. If they are 2/0, then a new block was probably put in. But if the pins are larger than that, it was probably just restrung with bigger pins. In that case, the customer might have a claim against the rebuilder. But even at that, I still stand my by original statement that a rebuilder can't be held responsible for a piano that's moved to a dry climate.

    I've restored quite a few old pianos here, (one was a 1919 O), where the pin block and soundboard were tight. I don't think I should be held responsible if that piano is ever moved to Arizona or New Mexico.

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    Willem "Wim" Blees, RPT
    Mililani, HI 96789
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  • 9.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 7 days ago
    Thank you, everyone, for your feedback. It occurred to me that the customer might have been mistaken about the pin block. However, I was shown a sculpture that had been made of the old one, which bore the same serial number, so there is no doubt. Although I was alarmed to think of pin block failure after 10 scant years, it seems to be what's happened, and considering everything you all have said, as well as a gut feeling, I don't feel the rebuilder should bear the blame for what must be at least partially a humidity issue. I will discuss the Dampp Chaser/CA option vs. repinning with the customer and see what he thinks. Thanks again!

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    Robert Rothschild
    Santa Fe NM
    505-603-7906
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  • 10.  RE: Failing 10 year old pinblock on restored upright

    Posted 6 days ago
    And update us as well.

    Pwg

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