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Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

  • 1.  Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 8 days ago
    Hello,

    Does anyone know how or if you can repair a worn out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster set screw?

    It's been pushed around too much with the breaks on and has finally stopped working. The other one is still locking so I only need to repair or replace or repair one.

    I haven't taken it apart but I'm assuming that whatever metal that the set screw was engaging with is now gone.

    Any helpful advice would be appreciated.

    ------------------------------
    Paul Marshall, RPT
    San Francisco State University
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    Hi, Paul,

    I deal with these casters a lot. I have information that will help you, I think, but I’m in Tucson at PTG convention. It was a couple of years back and it will take me some digging but if you can wait, I’ll try tp find it.

    I have about a dozen pianos with casters like these. On a couple of occasions, the threaded socket that is held up inside the leg with a flange with screw holes, at the bottom of the leg, broke. You can’t buy just one socket or one caster from Steinway or Yamaha, or couldn’t at that time. I bought a couple of whole sets over the years and replaced old ones, so I ended up with an extra socket. I sold it to someone a year or two ago, and he ended up sending me photos of exactly what you are talking about. I know what you mean, each set ended up costing me over $2000 with shipping, but it’s a good way to end up with spares.

    Give me some time to research it, and I’ll get back to you. I recall several photos and a discussion, so we may end up taking it off line, or whatever’s best.

    Kathy




  • 3.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    Thanks Kathy! I really appreciate it. 

    Sincerely,

    Paul Marshall
    Registered Piano Technician
    Advanced Degree in Piano Technology
    North Bennet Street School
    415.706.9142

    For information on pianos, please visit ptg.org






  • 4.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    Found the photo and got permission to use it. I’ll add it later.
    Kathy

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 5.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    I'll try to attach the photo and some text to this "Reply All", and if it doesn't work I'll try again later. It's getting late in Tucson at PTG National, and my time is a bit limited!

    The origin of the topic was a question from Marty, a facilities manager at Shepherd School of Music at Rice in Houston. He'd seen my previous posts, I think, about the big casters and asked for information. His had stopped braking at all, after too much pushing around with the brakes "on" and they wore out inside. With information I sent him, he sent his caster to the "campus research machine shop" where they took it apart. He sent me a nice annotated photo of the insides, and a description of what they were going to do to fix it. 

    I'll try to attach the photo and then the text here. Excuse me in advance if it fails; if so, I'll get it done later. Fingers crossed, let me know if you can see it. After having seen the photo myself, I'd be a bit daunted by the task of trying this repair, but hey......

    Kathy


    Thought you might like to see these wheels taken apart.  The round cap on the end of the axle is threaded and can be removed with padded-jaw pliers although we milled a flat on one to remove it with a wrench..  The problem is that the brake ring threads are stripped.  We will put Helicoil in the hole and re-tap the threads.  The tightening shaft threads are quite solid.  Also, the brake "drum" material is kind of a hard plastic that gets worn, and the inner ring of the wheels gets grooved.  We will smooth that out and either replace or shim the brake "drum" material.  We will also clean and lubricate the bearings, which appear to be in good shape but are dry.






  • 6.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    Hi, all,

    It looks like sending the photo worked, but the picture might be a little small to see the annotated information and small parts. Let me know if any of you want it sent larger, and I’ll give that a try.

    Kathy




  • 7.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    Wow! Thank you. I should probably just do the inevitable and put a spider dolly on it but it seems like a shame. 

    Sincerely,

    Paul Marshall
    Registered Piano Technician
    Advanced Degree in Piano Technology
    North Bennet Street School
    415.706.9142

    For information on pianos, please visit ptg.org






  • 8.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    That’s a thought, but many artists don’t care for the sound transfer or the looks. And if you do, remember that the shorter legs that come with the big casters will require different drop-end arms on the dolly. Normal drop arms end up with the lyre bottom nearly dragging the floor, a recipe for disaster. I’ve seen it a few times and it has to be fixed before someone breaks the lyre off on a high spot.

    I have another trick for big (or any) wheels with brakes that don’t work. I learned it from a stage manager. Get a foot or so of 1/8” or 1/4” line. Wrap it around the bottom of the wheel at the contact point on the floor and snug it up, and then then do a second wheel. The wheels really resist starting to roll when they encounter that little bump. Cheap and quick.

    Kathy

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 9.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 7 days ago
    Over the years we had similar problems with these large brass double - wheel casters, firstly on 2 Hamburg D's purchased in  1988 and then again on 2 American D's purchased in 2011. In  a fixed location or an instrument that is only occasionally moved maybe its still a viable option over the longer leg /Darnell caster choice, but especially in a CAUT busy performance hall  with daily moves of different pianos on and off stage AND with student work study stage crew who would sometimes over tighten the locking device  I don't think they are a good choice. On 2 occasions we had to remove the leg and with help from piano mover/machinist make necessary repairs this after  contacting Steinway who were no help apart from advising to purchase  new  replacements for $2000!!.........martin
    www.snowpianos.com.

    ------------------------------
    Martin Snow
    South Burlington VT
    617-543-1030
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 6 days ago
    I think you named the main issue, Martin; almost all of that damage comes from over-tightening with the handle. Here’s where the mantra, “Snug is good, tight is bad” applies, but you are right, it’s hard to control students, various helpful people, and even piano movers. Somehow when they see that big piano they think it requires them to really jam the wheels. The purchase of new wheels is almost abusive, I know, but I was able to make a lot of headway by pointing out the safety issues of a rolling half-ton of very expensive piano. And purchase of a set just about always leaves one with some very useful spares.

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 11.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 6 days ago
    Kathy/All, I just had to "recondition" a couple of these on our choir hall St D. These were in service quite a few years in our main recital hall without issue until we "downgraded" this D to upgrade the choir hall. Then all 3 began to tarnish & CORRODE badly. Cause is apparently the floor stripper & floor wax people!
    So.. we ordered ONE new extra caster assembly so that I could clean up the others & spray them with clear lacquer to help protect.
    ANYWAY, back to the particular issue at hand;
    I put rather LARGE labels on the non-audience side (and front side) of each front leg of our newer D in the recital saying, DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN !!
    People were constantly over doing it until I put these labels in place. Things have improved GREATLY! Your mileage will DEFINITELY vary....what has shocked me the most is that a lot of my huge signage over the years really has seemed to help significantly!! Turns out there are a lot of "kids" that truly just DO NOT KNOW! Gotta get "in their face" but with kindness.



    ------------------------------
    [Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
    [Staff Techician]
    [Texas Tech Univ]
    [Lubbock] [TX]
    [8067783962]
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 6 days ago
    Paul, are you aware of just how much WORK & expense converting back to old school spider dollies will take??! You will most likely have to replace the legs with the longer legs from Steinway AND probably change out the leg plates including the 3 routed into the bottom of the piano. Steinway sells special legs (Hamburg style) for converting to the new casters but I can't imagine them selling the legs to convert back to the weaker old style plates.
    Besides that MOST PERFORMERS will probably be very unhappy & guest artists will be disappointed (if they find out you went BACK to the old style). The old ones had to have maintenance also but the casters were admittedly more affordable. I highly discourage this.
    Could you possibly cut off the handle shorter to rob them of so much torque??
    Also consider Pianoforte supply sells these type of casters as does Wessel/Nickel ie Mason & Hamlin. Should not be hard to swap out -worth checking into!

    ------------------------------
    [Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
    [Staff Techician]
    [Texas Tech Univ]
    [Lubbock] [TX]
    [8067783962]
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi, Kevin,

    If anyone makes the choice to go from casters to a “spider dolly” (which I would make every effort NOT to do, personally) you don’t need to switch out to the longer legs. Jansen, on I think page 21, “Piano Dollies - Grands" sells one model specifically for concert grands with the big casters. This just means that where the arm ends drop down at the outer ends, there’s less of a drop, to accommodate the shorter legs. That way the lyre doesn’t end up dragging the ground. I don’t know when they started to offer it, but I’ve personally seen so many problems caused by the Short-Leg / Big-Caster arrangement being put onto any old dolly that I wish they’d been available or better advertised back then.

    Kathy




  • 14.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 5 days ago
    Oh ok! Thanks Kathy. My badness. That makes sense. I just was just picturing leg extensions of some sort. Thanks for getting me "up to speed"

    ------------------------------
    [Kevin] [Fortenberry] [RPT]
    [Staff Techician]
    [Texas Tech Univ]
    [Lubbock] [TX]
    [8067783962]
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 5 days ago
    ​Also Steinway no longer sells "old" style leg plates; tried to order a set last week.

    ------------------------------
    John Ginter
    Plum Piano Restoration, Inc.
    La Grange TX
    979-242=5180
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 6 days ago
    Kathy, it's so great to have that photo and all the info you've shared about these casters... thank you!
     
    Teri
     
     
    Hi, all, It looks like sending the photo worked, but the picture might be a little small to see the annotated information and small parts. Let me... -posted to the "CAUT" community
    Please do not forward this message due to Auto Login.

    CAUT

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    Re: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster
    Reply to Group Reply to Sender
    Kathy Smith
    Jul 11, 2019 11:20 PM
    Kathy Smith
    Hi, all,

    It looks like sending the photo worked, but the picture might be a little small to see the annotated information and small parts. Let me know if any of you want it sent larger, and I'll give that a try.

    Kathy

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    Original Message------

    Hi, all,

    It looks like sending the photo worked, but the picture might be a little small to see the annotated information and small parts. Let me know if any of you want it sent larger, and I’ll give that a try.

    Kathy



  • 17.  RE: Worn Out Hamburg-style giant brass double-wheel caster

    Posted 6 days ago
    You’re welcome Teri, and everyone who finds it useful. I never would have predicted I would spend this much time in my career dealing with all these different casters!

    Kathy

    Sent from my iPhone