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Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

  • 1.  Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 7 days ago
    Just finished a new set of Dampers on an "L".  I fought like the dickens to get the tri-chords and hybrids to damp well.  Alignment was excellent. probably my best ever, but the felt just seemed non-conforming. I may have chosen a lousy trichord felt...It was a Pianotek generic felt, which is not the Laroix from Schaff, that I usually use. In chosing the felt the Pianotek seemed to nestle better...or not, apparently.

    I have wet the felts with Profelt, and weighed them down with a beanbag and sash weights with success, and it helped significantly this time too. After the treatment and weights  final tray pickup adjustment was quite easy,and the damping was excellent. But I don't think I will do it again, because it stains the felts, unless I can find something that does not use water as the vehicle to size and shape the felts (as Profelt does).

    I have never used felt squeezing pliers to convince recalcitrant felts to behave. Do we have any experience out there. Do they actually work, as in give a lasting result. David Hughes in his damper article seems to feel they mostly give only temporary  results.

    Any ideas on non-water based sizing liquids?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 7 days ago
    I too find the laroueax damper felt superior. I could not do fine working dampers with trichord felts without the felt squeezers. I heat them to iron a significantly fat tri-side leg. For more subtler sizing just the squeeze will do. Horizontal grain tri-chord felts do not iron or squeeze well. That may be what Mr. Hughes is using.

    ------------------------------
    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 7 days ago
    Which strings were leaking?  Inside, outside, both? Were they Leaking on the hybrids or the all flats?

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    They were leaking  on  one side only, never  in the middle. Also, generally, even having left the underlever springs on, the quality of the damping was less securely damped than I usually get. After the Profelt treatment, the quality of the damping was excellent.

    The flats were not leaking, having used Laroueax flats I cut here, only the double trichords and hybrids. Actually, I will say, the bichords as well, and I'm pretty sure they bichords I chose were Japanese felts, instead of the Laroueax I usually use.

    Thinking about it, I have to say I also fought with the back action, which is not usually an issue for me, even on not very good condition back actions. I had to drill out all the holes on the underlever flange (or whatever the flange with the little brass clamp dealy thing is called) to get entry into the flange. Kinda makes me think, maybe I should do more back action replacement on these rebuilds. However, on limited budget rebuilds, the money is just not there...except, on the other hand, this was an expensive set of dampers to get to damp anyway. There may be wisdom in jumping ship on an old back action, if its going to have elevated actual installation costs to me, no matter what decision I make. Any thoughts on the back action replacement benefits?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    Ed, do you use the piers before you even install the dampers, or only as a leaking fix?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    Jim,

    Do you slice the trichord felt deeper and put a cord in to help separate the "fingers"?

    Edit: Incidentally, what lengths of felts did you choose for your bass dampers? (Related to my previous question in the other thread).  Just curious.

    Pwg

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



  • 7.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    I use round-nosed pliers if squeezing is needed after trimming the length and corners and slicing up into the trichord.

    The damper wire goes into the 'top flange' and sometime that hole needs to be enlarged.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    I do slice the trichord felt a little with a razor. I separate the fingers generally with my fingers, pushing them aside to widen them a bit. I don't get the thread thing...what does that do that separating the fingers with my finger does not accomplish?

    Trichord lengths were 15mm for both the double trichords, both sides and hybrids both sides.

    Jon, what do mean "trimming the corners"?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    I think putting a thread between the split dampers is very effective and keeps the two parts of the damper from closing back up leaving the outside strings open I do it all the time never have a problem

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    After the fingers are trimmed so as not to hang far below the wire, the now widened ends have the corners cut at about 45 degrees to make the leading edge more narrow, a procedure from Roger Jolly.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi Jim-
    I jettisoned retaining the old damper actions on rebuilds quite a while ago for my own mental health. The ease with which you can install your beautifully prepared felts, heads and wires into a newly minted back action as opposed to fighting with an old one was more than worth it to me. When i was doing many short arm teflon ones at an institution I could knock the fabrication out in 5-6 hours. Less familiar one offs may have their own peculiarities to slow you down.

    YMMV-

    David

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



  • 12.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    David...I'll consider back actions more often in the future.

    On a different note, I tried an experiment. Took the last problem child hybrid, which I simply could not get the right string to damp on. Removed both felts, and tried again with Laroueax. Still having the same right string problem. Damper was nice and square and aligned. I tried canting it, and putting it out of square, as well as tweaking square...nothing. So I tried sizing the felt under weight again. This time however, I used ethanol only, pure Everclear. Applied bean bags and some weight, and waited. It worked beautifully, and there was no staining whatsoever, because there was no water added to the mix to encourage a stain.

    My expectation was that the pure Everclear would not size, because, in my understanding, alcohol's only purpose is as a vehicle for water to get into the felt to do the sizing. But the pure ethanol worked...and no stains. I will keep this one in my arsenal from now on. It could be the alcohol does in fact size on its own, or the tiny amount of water in 90% ethanol Everclear is enough to do the trick...or, that water is not required to size felt, only liquid of some sort is required. My wife, Judy, an avid fabric person and weaver, is convinced that felt does not require water to size, only some liquid.

     .

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    Renner has redesigned their back action kit. Has anyone used the new iteration?  My biggest beef on the previous one was that the sostenuto tabs were too far forward and often created problems with back check clearance with the sostenuto rod.

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 6 days ago
    David (Brown and whomever has input),

    When you replace the back action do you install capstans in the tray to adjust final tray lift timing?

    One of the only parts of this installation that went without hitch, was adjusting tray lift timing. I was dreading the S&S back action with no lift capstans, but found that with the bean bags and sizing with bean bags and weight, the tray timing went unexpectedly and pleasantly quick. I had expected a fight to the bitter end, getting the timing right.

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    I have given up on the Renner damper action for exactly the reason David Love cites. Towiwa fits better and accepts concentric pin simply.

    I cut trichord middle deeper, squeeze the fat side if there is one, or on some pianos the unison spacing in the agraffes is off so the felt must pay. I have never chemically sized any dampers. Once you open grain alcohol to the air it takes on the ambient humidity very quickly so that is how it gets "wet".

    I agree with David Brown that once you have a couple of damper action installations under your belt it goes rather quickly.

    I despise capstans on the lift tray. (No offense to Mr. Hughes or anyone else. David's Journal article on installing a damper action is almost exactly what I hit on as well.)

    Grand damper actions have underlevers, underlever top flanges, underlever flanges, sostenuto tabs or flanges, lift tray, damper wire sockets and screws, and end pins. (Tab springs, underlever springs lift tray spring and a couple other goodies.)

    I still don't have a perfect model for how much felt where, how much underlever weight, or how much underlever spring is best.

    I do like fitting a pinned pitman like Baldwin does.

    ------------------------------
    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 6 days ago
    I do install capstans on the tray. The reason I asked about the new Renner back action is that it has capstans as a standard feature with the underlevers predrilled to install  them or you can install them on the tray. Whether they've fixed the sostenuto tab problem is not clear yet. I did order one and I'll find out on the next project-coming soon to a theater near you. Otherwise, like Ed, I've been using Tokiwa trays which work perfectly on Steinways and give you options to relocate the pivot point in line with the underlever centers. 

    I think installing the thread between the trichord split dampers solves the problem of outer strings not damping. Felt has a memory and even if you spread the felt with your fingers and cut it deeper it has a way of finding its way back. Like Jon I think it's important to trim the felt on those to prevent the eventual development of whooshing if the felt goes below the strings too much. I hadn't heard of trimming the corners. I'd like to see a photo if one is available 


    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    Jurgen supplies scissors to trim the edges of the trimmed felt.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    I have long sliced the trichords deeper and installed cord. Very rarely had a problem in a long time.

    Pwg

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



  • 19.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    I missed something here. Folks are saying the " install" thread in the trichord crease!   I'm not aware of this technique. I thought you were just using the thread to initially spread the sides and then taking it out. How do you install the thread in the crease?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Jim,

    Just push the thread into place, with a slot screwdriver blade or the like.

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    Interesting!  I'll try it next time. Dampers are my most recalcitrant skill acquisition...but its getting better. Maybe by the time I'm 120 yrs old they will be amazing.

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    Ed, Why don't you like the tray capstans?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    The capstans are unneeded. Sostenuto tabs need to be aligned to assure solid functionality, thus having to regulate the damper underlevers to be even accomplishes that task.

    As a general rule, I prefer to cut or set things to the proper relationship during assembly/regulation and this settles the issue once and for all.

    ------------------------------
    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    I agree they aren't necessarily needed. But they do add a method of really refining the damper timing from the pedal. Sostenuto problems, especially on Steinways, should first be addressed by getting the underlevers on the same plane to get uniform damper timing from the key stroke. Then the sostenuto tabs should be leveled which sometimes requires some shimming.  Then the tray felt often needs to be shimmed for any irregularities in the pedal timing. The capstans simply replace the task of shimming the tray felt.

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Just cut short pieces of string and stick them in there. They stay. I just use old fashioned kite string

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    Kite string is fairly large compared to a "thread".  I have some waxed cotton string about .030" I used to use for string layout. Is that what we are talking about, or something like button thread, which is beefier than regular thread?

    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    I use kite string. I haven't measured the thickness but it works. Your biggest concern is the outer strings. The center string will be fine because the outer strings will always push the felt back toward the center.

    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Just ccompleted a set on an M today. Not a single leaker.

    Pwg

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



  • 29.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 5 days ago
    Peter,    Did  you use unequal lengths of felt?    Thinking about it, unequal could be useful in terms of setting up the head so there are unequal forces on the front and back of the head. Equal forces front and back would tend to encourage harmonic motion in the head itself, as it seats.  Unequal would tend to disrupt harmonic motion of the head.


    ------------------------------
    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 4 days ago
    Jim,

    I actually went more or less equal, essentially to try out out your advice that 'it basically don't matter' (paraphrased of course). 😁

    Of course I sliced and corded the trichords as I usually do. The felt was actually a set of pre-cut SS dampers I acquired from the late Dick Kimball. It was probably at least 20 years old or so. Works beautifully. Not a single issue so far. (Repeat so far).

    Interestingly the set was short one bichord pair (set was marked "M" and the box was full) but i didnt notice this little detail until got to actually gluing them on, so i had to resort to a little crafty surgery in order to extend what I had one more note. A little shock and a little sweat but success was had.

    Pwg

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



  • 31.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Jon

    So are you just nipping off the corners of the felt? Like this



    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 32.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 4 days ago
    David, yes, easing the edges. It allows the leading edge to enter unencumbered. It will also reduce the whoosh or eliminate it (had it happen).  You don't want a high angle such that the angle extends to the string or above.  I trim the felt to extend below the wires about 2mm. Sometimes the fingers need to be squeezed a little with round-nosed pliers.

    Slicing up into the trichord allows the felt to billow outwards offering the outer wires better damping.

    ------------------------------
    Regards,

    Jon Page
    mailto:jonpage@comcast.net
    http://www.pianocapecod.com
    ------------------------------



  • 33.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 4 days ago

    Jon,

    Agreed. I second on Jurgen's damper felt scissors, they do a great job.

    Ian 



    ------------------------------
    Ian Graham
    Piano Technician
    www.igraham.ca
    ------------------------------



  • 34.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Posted 5 days ago
    Here is a picture of damper fingers (the widened ends) having been trimmed with scissors at the 45 degree angle.
    Split damper fingers corners trimmed at 45 degrees



    ------------------------------
    Mark Davis
    Piano Tuner/Technician
    ------------------------------



  • 35.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 5 days ago
    Jim-

    I have two Renner kits ready to install with the new capstan set up. The entire rest of the industry uses them along with spoons for lift with the key. No need to loosen the wires, just adjust the spoon, simple and fast. I did do a couple of Tokiwa kits recently and liked them fine. Must be all my clean living, but I have never encountered the dreaded back check clearance issues. Perhaps I have not done as many older ones, which I understand to be very prone to it.

    David

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



  • 36.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 3 days ago
    the unison spacing in the agraffes is off. quoting Ed M
    carefully measured by dropping in a fine wedge mute between strings one and two and then two and three on a unison, perfect spacing can be rare.
    also perfect wedges on your Tricord felt is rare, I will align string spacing to damper spacing with a brass blade, carefully nudging Strings left or right as I listen to any leaking.
    similar to string leveling.



    ------------------------------
    Fenton Murray, RPT

    Fenton
    ------------------------------



  • 37.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Posted 10 hours ago

    Sometimes, squeezing the center string and the ringing string together with flat pliers, just in front of the agraffe can re-space the string to get rid of ringing.


    My favorite tool for adjusting damper spoons on both grands and uprights is this one:



    ------------------------------
    Jurgen Goering
    ------------------------------



  • 38.  RE: Damper felt Squeezing Pliers

    Member
    Posted 3 days ago
    "...two birds with one stone"

    ------------------------------
    Glen Hart
    Grand Junction CO
    970-250-9596
    ------------------------------