Pianotech

  • 1.  Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    It's been a while since I've worked on a rather old (1889) Steinway vertical. Several hammer/damper lever flanges have broken at the hammer butt side. I've got some replacement flanges ordered from PianoTek Supply, but want to improve my efficiency while working on the action.
    Is it generally necessary to remove the hammer rail when removing/installing the hammer butt/flange assembly?
    One of course removes the damper lever from the flange first, but I was finding trying to maneuver the hammer butt (with shank and hammer intact, and damper lever spring sticking out) a seemingly impossible feat. I may have done it in the past by taking the screw out from neighboring hammer flanges, and creating just a bit more space to get the hammer butt & flange in place.
    What's the best practice?

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    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
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  • 2.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Posted 5 days ago

    Patrick...hmmm 'best practice' imho refer the job to someone who cares to work on these  unruly beasts ! 

    www.snowpianos.com



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    Martin Snow
    South Burlington VT
    617-543-1030
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  • 3.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Pat,

    It takes some fancy finagling but they will come out. The exception is when next to a bracket...that can become  problematic requiring more parts removed to get at the ones you want. When working by the hour...😁

    I also made some simple blocks that allow me to take the action out and support it upright on the key blocks. Simple but effective. Or, if you can often just tip it out and support it somewhat laterally on the backs of the brackets. It may depend on the specific model though.

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 4.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    HI Pat, If you're going to replace a lot( more than 3) it may be best to remove the rest rail.  Steinways are pretty easy to remove the rest rail as there is a brass bracket that screws into the rail from underneath at the opposite facing pivot arm.(much like a Yamaha upright action).  The rail will just right pull out from the other 3 arms.  But on occasion you will need to remove a butt assembly that sits next to one of the other pivot arms to give space for the rail to come out. 

     Like others have said you can remove and replace butts with the rail in but it does take some extra effort.  Usually by the 5th butt or so you start to get the trick down, but its not fun.     Best of luck!
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    -Matt Crudo, RPT 
     





  • 5.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Posted 4 days ago
    You may find more issues than you want when you get into it. Sometimes ALL the glue has gone bad.  Cracked flanges everywhere... Better have lots of extras





  • 6.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    I with Martin in this regard. If someone calls with one of these old beasts, I refer them to a guy who doe not mind the extreme aggravation.

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    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
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  • 7.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    Where needed, I warn the owner up front that these instruments (while excellent in their prime), are difficult, problematic, and time consuming to work on at this stage.  Also, verdigris (Steinway-itis) is a likely problem issue, with replacement being the final solution.

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 8.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Posted 4 days ago
    Seems like there was somewhere you can old a whole new action. Germany??





  • 9.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    A full action is available from WNG, requiring a fair bit of retro-fitting in the older pianos. Replacement parts are made by Tokiwa, available from Brooks Ltd, PianoTek, and other suppliers.

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    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
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  • 10.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    Thanks to all for your sage advice. This wanders into the "how to fire a client" topic that Ben brought up several days ago. The clients are quite nice, but I didn't "screen them out" a year ago, when I could have refused to service it based on age and likely fragility. At that time I gave it a pitch raise & fine tuning. Apparently their son was banging on the keys, resulting in the 2 shattered flanges.
    I did "read the riot act" to the mom, i.e., here's Larry Fine's book with all the reasons you need a non-obsolescent instrument, etc.
    There are 2 more notes that need flange replacement, and I gave up trying to extract them the other day. I'll return with new parts, lots of patience, a long table and action cradle, etc.
    Yes, I need to filter out all those "less desirable" pianos from my life . . .

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    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
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  • 11.  RE: Old S&S vertical action service

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    If they're willing to pay for it...

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

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