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BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

  • 1.  BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-11-2019 19:23
    This is the vintage where the inverted sticker was a short one just so that Baldwin could say they had a full length hammer shank hence the term "full blow" action.

    The butt leathers are all coming loose from the hammer butts on this one.  I'm painfully aware of the Corfam and Ecsane era but this one has black thin material with a white back side.  It's almost as it they used a self adhesive sheet on the "leather to speed up the application process.

    Question one  ......  anyone know what I'm describing
    Question two  ....  is simply gluing them back on sufficient or am I looking at a full replacement job here?
    Qustion three  ....  you used to be able to send these to Baldwin and get them done.  What's the latest?

  • 2.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-11-2019 22:44
    The black stuff was called corfam.
    Yes, I think full replacement including the catchers is the way to go, if the piano is deemed worth it. Those pianos don't check well with the corfam.
    Here in the tropics that black stuff alternately turns gooey then powdery and one ends up with a black mess everywhere except the hammer butts and catchers where only the white backing is left and that eventually gets worn through and the jack gets fouled either on the up stroke or the back stroke or both.
    It used to be possible to buy a set of catchers and just cut off the old ones and replace them. They don't seem to be available anymore.
    There was a discussion here in the past: https://my.ptg.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=43&MID=224767
    As far as Baldwin being able to do anything, good luck. As related to me by a colleague who requested replacement hammers for a set that had come unglued shortly after Gibson had taken over, their response was "We bought Baldwin's assets, not their liabilities."

    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI

  • 3.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-13-2019 22:14
    I see some replacement material is available from Schaff.  Besides pickup and delivery (along with consequential regulation) any clue as to how long this job takes in the shop?  3-4 hours?

  • 4.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-13-2019 22:56
    You'll find the black corfam is quite difficult to remove (aside from the end that's already loose). I assume you're replacing with ecsaine, and for the catchers too? Use the thinner kind as the thicker version is a bit too thick for this application. Genuine buckskin is of course a good option too.
    Good luck!

    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA

  • 5.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-14-2019 08:34
    Thanks Duane, Ecsaine won't be my first choice.  Buckskin is preferred.

    What is it about the removal of the old stuff that's so difficult?  I've heard that soaking the catchers for a short while helps them release their grip.  I realize I won't have that option with the other area.

    BTW, anyone know what the area is called where the top of the jack touches the hammer butt?

    Larry Fisher
    Owner, Chief Grunt, Head Hosehead
    Vancouver WA

  • 6.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-14-2019 09:25
    Soaking, followed by judicious application of a heat gun will be the way to go. Then cleaning the slot, and probably sanding some crud from the catchers too. It just takes me a long time.
    While you've got the action on your bench carefully check the flange friction.
    Right now I have an Acrosonic action on my bench which had been unplayable: hammer flange friction was about 15 grams! I am most fortunate that the jack and wippen flanges are at their proper specifications. When I've done corfam replacement jobs they usually have very high friction too.
    This action has real buckskin - what a relief!

    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA

  • 7.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-14-2019 08:38
    So much for my reading comprehension this AM .... again.  Patrick, not Duane.  Draine not Duane.  It's Monday, 5:30 AM and a host of other excuses easily used comes to mind. 

  • 8.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-14-2019 12:24
    Edited by Jon Page 01-14-2019 12:24
    There was a discussion years ago on this, look in the archives. Rrmove the material from the catchers but leave the glue reside as sizing. An appropriately sized saw blade will clean out the kerf in the hammer butt. Gluing the new material is done in two stages, the first photo shows them as well as the finished product.
    The other photo is crimping the /buckskin for insertion into the kerf.


    Jon Page

  • 9.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-14-2019 14:17
    Perhaps if you find a very thin ecsaine, you could glue it over the hardened corfam? I realize this would change dimesions of the parts slightly, but the backcheck felt is likely to be quite worn as well. Could save time removing the corfam. How much can one expect from these pianos at this point anyway? Making it work seems to be the value of the goal.

    Joe Wiencek NYC

  • 10.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-14-2019 15:11
    Larry, anyway you cut it, it looks like considerably more than 3 or 4 hours.

    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI

  • 11.  RE: BALDWIN console "full blow" action 1976

    Posted 01-15-2019 09:23
    I agree with Steve. 

     The last one I did - several years ago now - I think I may have used the last of my pre-cut replacements that Baldwin used to send you - and at the end (I seem to recall) it would have been about $700, had I charged for all my time.  It was more than I'd estimated, for sure.

    There was difficult old material removal - so hard on the hands and so time-consuming.
    There was some troubleshooting escaped-glue-at-the-slot noise after putting it back together.
    There was spacing hammers to strings, and some regulation.
    Disconnecting and reconnecting bridle straps....lots of picky stuff, and it all takes time.

    I've helped customers get nice used pianos off Craigslist for $150 - $800 in the last two months...so the economics of fixing these Baldwins is getting pretty dubious, unless decent used pianos are scarce in your area, the owners just want it done and don't want to bother with disposing of one piano and getting another, or you enjoy a shop project.

    No more for me.

    Good luck, buddy!