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Steinway balance rail bearings

  • 1.  Steinway balance rail bearings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    Hi, all.

    This is a new one on me -

    Steinway B from late 60's. S/N 410919, Teflon bushings.

    Balance rail bearings are entirely made of felt, rather than cloth covered wood.

    Was this common? Seems like it would be more prone to flexing, but then I don't know why
    Steinway did things the way they did. Who does?


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    Dave Conte

    University of Tennessee
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    Owner: Rocky Top Piano
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  • 2.  RE: Steinway balance rail bearings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    Were they made of hammer felt, same shape as the wooden bearings? There were a couple years when knuckles were made of felt (no leather covering). Might have been the same era. The reason for the knuckles was said to have been a buckskin shortage.

    Fred Sturm
    fssturm@comcast.net
    www.artoftuning.com
    http://fredsturm.net
    "Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire." -Gustav Mahler




  • 3.  RE: Steinway balance rail bearings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago

    Wow Dave! That IS fascinating. Never heard or seen. Is this one of the primary performance pianos? Are there any issues with the Teflon bushings?? Does it seem to project well or is it a bit weak?? 



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    Kevin Fortenberry
    Registered Piano Technician
    Longview, TX 75602
    806-778-3962
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  • 4.  RE: Steinway balance rail bearings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 7 days ago
    Greetings,
       It was not common, but was an attempt by Steinway in the 1960's to use modern materials.  Knuckles and balance rail bearings were made of a hard compressed felt.  I have seen bearings that were still in fine shape after 30 years, but many of the knuckles were deformed.  I was told that by Joe Biscellli (sp?) that he and another tech at the factory were charged with removing all of these from the production line, but there were many pianos already sent out with them.  The felt parts were not nearly so much of a shortcoming as the small Teflon and action parts they were put in.  Capstan lines were all over the place, often creating heavy actions with shallow dip and huge aftertouch, while damper assemblies were also usually in terrible configurations. Also not uncommon to find shattered action rails in some of these vintages.
    Regards.

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    Ed Foote RPT
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  • 5.  RE: Steinway balance rail bearings

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 13 days ago
    They're white, but too uniform for hammer felt. I can't see any 
    grain. Almost looks like foam, but it's felt. 

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