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Hide glue not bonding

  • 1.  Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 09:49
    Hello, all.

    I need some help to figure out why hide glue is not adhering to the balance
    rail mortises on a 2011 Hamburg Steinway D.

    Hide glue was used but did not hold. This was found when the keys were put back on the keyframe.
    Many fell out.

    This piano is in heavy use, and I think the previous tech over-eased the bushings to compound
    the sloppy key problem.

    Thinking the jar used to prepare the glue might have been contaminated by Teflon bushings that
    had been in it (yes, I did wash it out) having left some residue that may have been stubborn, that
    vessel was discarded, and a new jar was used. Glue prepared in it for a second set also did not
    hold and the bushings were able to be pulled out dry by simply using fingers or tweezers.

    The set I installed which failed was removed with steam only (which was probably mostly unnecessary),
    with no wallpaper remover, although I had to use that to remove the original factory bushing cloth.

    The ground hide glue was in an unopened bag from one of the parts houses. It looks like a bag Pianotek uses,
    but nothing was written on it. Purified water was used (not distilled).

    I have already spoken to Kent Webb about this, but he is likewise baffled as is Kluge.

    Has anybody else had this happen? How did you solve it? Is anyone using/found an alternative
    glue that can be easily removed using conventional methods?

    Any help or sharing of experience with this issue would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    Dave Conte, RPT
    The University of Tennessee
    865-974-4885 Office
    865-406-5156 UT Cell
    817-307-5656 Personal Cell


    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-01-2021 10:31
    I do hundreds of sets of rebushing each year.  I have run across this a couple times.  I have concluded that the bushing cloth (either the old or the new) was contaminated and that led to either glue staying with wood but not cloth or glue sticking to cloth but not wood.  This is the main reason why I do not advocate any liquid being used to treat/lube key bushings.  Too many unknowns and some people do stuff excessively!  I resolved the problem in each instance by coating the mortise with very thin hide glue so it would sink in to the wood and allowing it to set overnight, then rebushing as usual with a different supply house cloth.

    Deb

    --
    5 Tarr's Lane WEST
    Rockport, MA  01966
    978-546-8428





  • 3.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-04-2021 14:31
    Hi, Debra.

    I think you are probably right about the cloth being overly treated with something.
    The fact that the keys were so wobbly sort of supports that hypothesis. Apparently
    a previous tech tried to get to negative friction. Zero of course being the lowest
    that could possibly exist. I did have success carefully applying Titebond liquid hide
    glue to the wood, but I only used it as a bond, not a pre-treatment. I will try that in the
    future. I think that the urea helped it to penetrate into the beech. One thing I had
    not considered is the density and smoothness of the surface on beechwood. I could
    not come up with anything to rough up the surface that would not ablate away some
    wood on short notice. I did use acetone to try and remove any chemical residue that
    might have been left behind after the second set of bushings failed. Maybe that was
    part of the success I had with the Titebond. It looks like - what is it they say - third time's
    the charm. Or is it three on a match? Only time will tell, I suppose.


    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-04-2021 14:47
    Excellent!  Don't argue with success....finally!

    Deb

    --
    5 Tarr's Lane WEST
    Rockport, MA  01966
    978-546-8428





  • 5.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-01-2021 10:32
    You did not mention if you used cauls of any type to hold the new bushings in to help the felt compress and for the glue to set. I use Spurlocks cauls with a sizing caul and final caul . There my be some residue on the wood affecting the glue adhesion, the hide glue may be bad or not mixed properly etc. I have purchased fish glue from Lee Valley Tools and had good luck with felt attachment. However when it comes to doing full keysets I send them out to Walker Key Service in Kentucky. You may want to call them for some advice. You also need to make sure the wood has dried out after steaming . The keypin size determines the best felt to use . If the keys got over eased make sure the balance pin hole is not over sized or you may need to glue size it or even install inserts. Definitely get new hide glue , date it and store in airtight jar. There are also different cuts Pianotek can help guide you

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 10:58
    Dave,

    We're you by any chance using pre-sliced cloth from Pianotek, or cut your own from stock?

    Edit: I'm pretty sure the originals were glued with heat activated adhesive. If so, some residue might be a barrier.

    Pwg

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



  • 7.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 09:54
    Hi, Peter.

    Pianotek cloth was used. the stuff cut into 52" strips. I can't seem to find a source for
    it on a roll anywhere, like APSCO used to sell (aside from the quality).

    I was suspicious that the thermal set adhesive might have something to do with this issue.
    Neither Kent Webb nor Kluge seem to think so.

    Mark at Pianotek said they haven't carried stock in the thermal set cloth for six years.

    Titebond liquid hide glue seems to be holding better. None have come out on the sample
    keys I have bushed. I would like to try fish glue, but don't have lead time to wait for it to
    arrive. The piano needs to be up and running today.

    Thanks for your input.

    Dave

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 11:17
    Hi Dave- for me fish glue proved a bit too liquid and penetrated some cloths enough to cause noises. YMMV.

    Good luck with this.

    David

    ------------------------------
    David C. Brown RPT
    Garland TX
    tunermandb88.com
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 13:00
    Hi, David.

    Thanks for the heads up. I knew that it was a little thin and that
    might lead to wicking through, especially with thin cloth. 

    Hope you are doing well.

    Dave

    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 10.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-03-2021 08:17
    Dave and David

    I started out over 40 years ago working with pipe organs and hide glue was pretty much all we used for wood to leather and wood to felt glue ups.  Glue sizing was almost always practiced and the next layer is similar to lacquer in that it amalgamates itself to the previous layer.  Sizing was to help the working layer not wick into the wood so badly and stay around for the job intended of sticking things together.  Using heated cauls helps the hide glue work longer as well.  When leathering a pipe organ reservoir we used rags with hot water wrung out very well to assist in both clean up and allowing the heat to help the glue adhere as the glue for the long strips of leather  (up to 36 inches) could begin to tack prematurely if the shop was a little on the cool side.

    Fish glue is great for a lot of repairs as well.  You mentioned that it was a bit on the thin side.  If you pour some up into say a baby food jar and leave the lid off a while it will thicken up to a useable consistency.  Since it is water based like hide glue you can vary the viscosity to your liking as you can with hide.

    Both glues are great to have around.  Another benefit to Fish glue in the field is that it is not affected by freeze thaw cycles that plague Titebond.  As we have seen even Texas can have freeze that cycles occasionally.

    Norman





  • 11.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-03-2021 09:25
    Norman-
    Great point and good advice. I have begun to use fish glue more again recently and like it very much.
    D

    ------------------------------
    David C. Brown RPT
    Garland TX
    tunermandb88.com
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-01-2021 13:27
    Hi, Jim.

    Yes, I used Spurlock mortise sizing cauls, letting them set overnight,
    and brass key bushing cauls from Pianotek (I assume, they were already on hand
    when I got here), letting those also rest overnight. 

    I didn't mention using cauls because I assumed that was a given.

    No problems noticed with the balance rail holes. They are within tolerance
    and behave properly. 

    Hide glue never goes bad when it is kept dry. There was no evidence of any
    moisture having gotten in and the previous tech said he never opened the bag
    and only replaced a bushing when it came out. 

    I usually keep it in a Tupperware container. I will be sure to do that, but I
    don't suspect the glue is the problem. The shop and entire music building is 
    humidity controlled at ~42% RH. 

    I'll reach out to Walker. Thanks for the resource. 

    Dave


    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 13.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-02-2021 09:14
    HI Dave,

    It sounds like you did everything right.  Probably something contaminated the wood, possibly a lubricant of some type.

    In Bill Sprulock's articles on key bushing replacement he recommends coating the wood with a very thin hide glue before putting in the the key bushings.  This gives you better adherence.  Debra Legg also mentioned this in her post.

    Its never fun to have to do a job twice,

    ------------------------------
    David Weiss
    Charlottesville VA
    434-823-9733
    davidweisspiano@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-15-2021 14:27
    I recently discovered a can of "Action Treating Solution" buried at the back of a cabinet in the shop.
    The label say Dimethyl Silicone. My guess is that this was what was used to treat the keybushings in an
    effort to reduce friction. Overkill anyway since the bushings on this 7 year old SS D were over-eased so
    much that they needed replacement.

    Anyone think this might have made it difficult for the hide glue to stick? Maybe the only reason the Titebond
    liquid hide glue held is because I cleaned the mortises with Acetone.

    ------------------------------
    Dave Conte
    Owner
    Knoxville TN
    817-307-5656
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-15-2021 15:50
    Sounds like a possibility. That or some other contaminant.

    Deb





  • 16.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Member
    Posted 03-15-2021 16:04
    Its not a bad idea to use a sanding stick , emory board or fine grit paper glued on a popsicle stick to lightly rough up the wood on the mortise walls to prep it for new felt and glue.  I have scraped with a new exacto blade but its not always going to get things off without cutting into the wood. I am taking on a key rebushing job this week. No way to tell what was used when . May even be original bushings and glue- the plate is a Badger from 1967

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-16-2021 11:05
    Never hear of a Badger. 

    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 18.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-15-2021 17:51
    Does anyone know who sold this product.? Seems like it was intended for 
    use on pianos by its name. I couldn't find it on the Schaff or Pianotek websites.



    --
    Dave Conte, RPT, CCT
    Dave Conte Piano Works
    817-581-7321

    Picture





  • 19.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-15-2021 20:02
    Way back in the late 1970s, and probably early 80s, Wurlitzer sold this to technicians to "fix" seizing flanges. The flange cloth they used was comparatively loose - expanding with high humidity, the wool fibers "grabbing" at the center pins. All those spinets with seized flanges - a real nightmare. They'd mix it with naphtha and dose the action. I bought some but stuck with repinning, or ProTek when that became available. The key bushing cloth was not particularly dense either.

    ------------------------------
    Patrick Draine
    Billerica MA
    978-663-9690
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Hide glue not bonding

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 03-16-2021 08:50
    ...and there was the problem of 'creep' or just the possibility of the problem. Loosening keytops. traveling far from where it was applied, and out of its container.

    ------------------------------
    Cindy Strehlow, RPT
    Urbana, IL
    ------------------------------