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
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
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.
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.
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.
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!!
Wondering what Teflon spray you found.
I misspoke. It TFL50 Dry Lube. I have always called it Teflon spray when it clearly says on the side "PTFE dry lubricant"
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.
I looked it up wrongly. Thanks for all this Chris, I am going to order..
Yes, the front bushings only and just a very light spritz. I put McLube on the keyrail and front rail pins.