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Baldwin Hamilton Action

  • 1.  Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 15 days ago

    I have a head scratcher with an1980s Baldwin Hamilton console action.  When the sustain pedal is depressed, the keys adjacent to middle C will play, but then stutter.  The jack is tripping out but not returning quickly enough.  At first I thought of the usual culprits, so I tried lubing the center pins and easing the keys..no luck as the jack and hammers do not appear to be sluggish..  Then I thought it might be the old Corfam issue, but I didn't see evidence of the blackened material and the hammer butts look to be made of regular leather, thought they do look like they are hardened.  I  was talking to some tuners in my chapter and they suggested that before I replace the hammer butts buckskin that I  try using a leather reconditioner or to strenghten the jack springs and hammer return springs. Its been decades since I replaced a set of Corfam, so I am hesitant about doing that.  Do you all have any idea what it could be?  Thanks for any help



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 2.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    It might be a coincidence that the keys are blubbering with the sustain pedal on, but it sounds like there might be something under those keys that's preventing them from going all the way down. If there isn't anything there, try removing a thin front rail punching. Or, are the keys level, or has the whole middle of the balance rail gone down a little. 

    Just a thought.

    Wim





  • 3.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago

    A technique not everyone knows is the Baldwin balance rail system using flat head screws to raise or lower. Usually under the A# with a companion hold down screw nearby 



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    Larry Messerly, RPT
    Bringing Harmony to Homes
    www.lacrossepianotuning.com
    ljmesserly@gmail.com
    928-899-7292
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  • 4.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Member
    Posted 14 days ago

    A common problem with the Hamilton. The wippen pins are tight. They don't drop fast all the way. They might look okay but when they are pushing the key down, it doesn't take much. It's funny setting the lost motion. 

    When Baldwin was going out of business in the 90s they must have been pulling reject parts of of the warehouse. The machining where the flange connects was bad on the one I did. One side was rough and the bubble around the pin hole was not formed properly. That one, I was glad I pulled the wips and repined because I could smooth out the rough with some sandpaper. 

    However, Pro-felt and let it sit a day.

    Strengthen the jack springs too. They get weak and the push of the jack helps the wippen drop. 

    Keith



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    Keith Roberts
    owner
    Hathaway Pines CA
    (209) 770-4312
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  • 5.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago

    There are two kinds of Corfam.

    1) the early version, which was black. The worst aspect of this early version is the glue joint for the butt "leather" (the curved surface the jack tip pushes) often fails, and the corfam piece hangs down (and interferes with the jack return).

    The second version of Corfam was tan, but it soon turned very hard & the butt catcher no longer functioned consistently. You probably have this Corfam-2 rather than real buckskin. Replacement with ecsaine would solve the problem but may be beyond your customer's budget. 

    Gram resistance on Baldwin Hamiltons of this era is quite inconsistent, with excess friction in many hammer, wippen, and jack bushings. 



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    Patrick Draine RPT
    Billerica MA
    (978) 663-9690
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  • 6.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    First, that hardened buckskin is not buckskin but synthetic and was also under a program for replacement.  It must be replaced if touch is to be improved.  Replace catcher covering too.  Protocol is to remove the damper levers and flip hammers forward for replacement of butt buckskin.

    The most common problem with poor jack reset is insufficient lost motion, so gently pull back on the hammer rest rail to be sure all hammers follow slightly.  Shim rail w key bushing material if needed.  Every new vertical had this problem in the 1980s.

    Baldwin vertical piano actions are capable of developing action center sluggishness and a mild case might show first with the use of the sustain pedal.   Here it's helpful to release the soft pedal (hammer rest rail) quickly and note any slow returning hammers.  But whip flanges are less easy to test.  Suspect them too if reset is slow with the sustain pedal use.

    Balance rail key bushings usually give problems first with keys which have more side angle, as the bushings wear faster and will hang up on return.  Replacement is required.   Also,  In wet climes or with an un-used piano, suspect tight front or balance key bushings.

    Also, back leading was ignored by Baldwin and improves performance dramatically, use a touch weight protocol to locate lead.  

    Bill Shull





  • 7.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 15 days ago

    I was under the impression the Corfam was just gray/black, so good to know that they are tan as well.  These are all good things for me to check before I try to replace the butt leather.



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 8.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 12 days ago

    I took all of you all's advice to heart and completed the job today.  I carefully lubed every action center and paid special attention to the wippen and jack centers.  I am pretty sure the balance rail holes were too tight, so I eased them a bit, sprayed teflon in the front bushings, put McLube on the balance rail and front keybed pins.  I put the action back in and strengthened a few jack springs, took out lost motion and tested the piano while keeping the damper pedal depressed.  The jacks tripped correctly and there was no more sluggishness.  I did not replace any Corfam butts as I think it would have been too costly for the customer even at my reduced rates.  It looks like it was not the Corfam that was the problem.  Thank you all so much!!



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 9.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11 days ago

    Patrick,

    Wondering what Teflon spray you found. 



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    Dave Conte, RPT

    Piano Technician in Residence
    The University of Tennessee
    College of Music
    Knoxville TN
    (817) 307-5656
    Owner: Rocky Top Piano
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  • 10.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 11 days ago

    I misspoke.  It TFL50 Dry Lube.  I have always called it Teflon spray when it clearly says on the side "PTFE dry lubricant"



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 11.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11 days ago
    PTFE is the chemical abbreviation of Teflon or Polytetrafluoroethylene.
    Do you spray it into the mortises?







  • 12.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 11 days ago
    I found two lubricants that are imo superior to teflon. For spraying applications I use Boron nitride. For metal to felt its fantastic, also use it on my planer. And for action centers I use TSI 301. It lubricates and removes contaminates at the molecular level.
    -chris





  • 13.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 9 days ago

    Hey Chris,  where does a person get TSI 301 and Boron nitride in spray form is not cheap!  I found it on Amazon for $100 for two aerosol spray cans.



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 14.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Patrick, 
    Are you sure you're using Amazon correctly? I buy 12 ( one case) for about $8 a can.
    Tsi301 has a website. Www.tsi301.com
    Hope that helps.

    -chris





  • 15.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 9 days ago

    I looked it up wrongly.  Thanks for all this Chris, I am going to order..



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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  • 16.  RE: Baldwin Hamilton Action

    Posted 9 days ago

    Yes, the front bushings only and just a very light spritz.  I put McLube on the keyrail and front rail pins.



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    Patrick Greene
    OWNER
    Knoxville TN
    (865) 384-6582
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