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Oblong T hammer for early pianos

  • 1.  Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-02-2024 13:59

    Does anyone have a source for a T hammer made for early oblong tuning pins? Larger than the harpsichord ones (offered by Zuckermann and Harpsichord Clearing House). I used to know of a couple suppliers who would custom make to the size you needed, but they seem to have disappeared. 

    Fred Sturm
    University of New Mexico
    "We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same." - Carlos Casteneda

  • 2.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Posted 04-02-2024 18:43

    Check the Journal circa 2010.

    Ken Eschete wrote an article that included instructions for making an oblong tip tuning hammer.

    Ed Sutton
    (980) 254-7413

  • 3.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-02-2024 20:23
    I seem to recall seeing such an article, but the Journal index doesn't find it. I have what I need, but someone asked for a source, and I came up empty, other than seeing a couple for sale on eBay.

    "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." John Dewey

  • 4.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Posted 04-02-2024 20:56

    I found these:

    Jan 1997, p. 23 -- Tuning Hammers, by David Severance
    Jan 2001, p. 29 -- Tuning Lever Design, by Keith Bowman

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    Jason Kanter
    Lynnwood WA
    (425) 830-1561

  • 5.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Posted 04-03-2024 09:00

    From Ken's April 2009 article on epoxy consolidation of pinblocks. This question comes up often enough that it should be indexed and perhaps republished as a stand alone, or part of a larger article on historic tuning pins.

    Making an Antique Tuning Pin

    Start with cutting the correct length of drill rod. The diameter should be the diameter of the original pin or slightly larger. Put the tuning pin blank into the drill press and use a file to fashion a bullet shape on one end. Once the shape is established, use the file to reduce the diameter so that it is the same as one of the original pins. If the pin is tapered, copy that taper. Before removing the pin, add light threads by holding the file at a diagonal and taking a few final passes along the lower part of the pin. Forming the head is done by hammering the pin on an anvil, and finishing off the shape with a file. To keep hold of the pin during this part of the work, use a dowel with a hole drilled in the end as a pin vise. Once the pin is complete, heat it with a butane torch until its color turns blue, and quench it in water. This will harden the pin and "heat bluing" will prevent rust from forming.

    Making a T-Hammer for Antique Pins

    Following the procedure above, make the top part of a dummy tuning pin that has the same dimensions as the head of an original pin. Next, cut an 8" length of drill rod (the diameter depends on the size of the tuning pin), and chuck this into the drill press. Choose a drill that is slightly larger than the diameter of the tuning pin head, and clamp it vertically in a drill press vise. By lowering the turning rod onto the point of the stationary drill, centrifugal force will force the drill into the correct position to drill a hole into the exact center. Use cutting oil as a lubricant and drill to the desired depth.

    Now for the fun part. Holding the drill rod with pliers, heat its end with a butane torch until it is cherry red. Quickly put the head of the dummy pin into the hole, and using a big hammer, smash the rod until the round hole has deformed into the shape of the tuning pin. Remove the dummy pin, reheat to cherry red and quench in water. Test the fit on the original pins, and clean up the outside shape with a file so that it will fit between the pins.

    To make the handle, cut the rod to the desired length and file four flat spots on the end to make it square. The wooden handle can be turned out of some exotic wood, or can be as simple as a hardwood dowel. in the middle of the handle, drill a hole that is somewhat smaller than the squared-off end of the rod, and simply drive the "square peg into a round hole." Add a pin that runs through if necessary.

    Ed Sutton
    (980) 254-7413

  • 6.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-03-2024 13:06
    Thanks, Ed. I edited the description of that article in the Index to make it easier to find those topics. (It had "T handle" rather than T Hammer, and "antique tuning pin" without the descriptors "oblong, tapered.")

    Fred Sturm
    "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." Brecht

  • 7.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-03-2024 08:31


    I bought one from probably Ford Piano Supply when I was going to North Texas. APSCO and Schaff had them also.

    You might reach out to Schaff and Pacific Piano Supply to see if they have any old stock. And maybe Jurgen?

    Dave Conte, RPT

    Piano Technician in Residence
    The University of Tennessee
    College of Music
    Knoxville TN
    (817) 307-5656
    Owner: Rocky Top Piano

  • 8.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-05-2024 14:43
      |   view attached

    Fed and all,

    Marc Vogel's website has t levers and gooseneck levers with oblong tips in different sizes, see the attachment.

    Jahn has some listed, but out of stock.  I have been trying for years to get a double headed lever that fits Graf type pianos, they list it but it hasn't ever become available.

    Ken Walkup

  • 9.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-05-2024 15:22
    That was the first place I looked, but I missed it in some confusion over how the web pages and menus are laid out.

    Lots of sizes.
    Tuning key with iron grip, T-lever Rectangular hole for wrestpins with flat head

    A = tuning-key size
    Ø = for wrestpin-diameter
    C = extra big grip

     Art.No.      A     C         Ø             L x H         O /    U x B
    61-2884     I             3.0 - 3.5     72 x 90     1.4 /  2.9 x 6.0
    61-2886     II            3.5 - 4.0     72 x 90     1.9 /  3.4 x 6.5
    61-4469     II      •     3.5 - 4.0     92 x 90     1.9 /  3.4 x 6.5
    61-2888     III           4.0 - 4.5     92 x 90     2.4 /  3.9 x 7.0
    61-2890     IV           4.5 - 5.0     92 x 90     2.9 /  4.4 x 7.5
    61-2892     V            5.0 - 5.5    112 x 90     3.4 /  4.9 x 8.0
    61-2894     VI           5.5 - 6.0    112 x 90     4.0 /  5.4 x 8.5
    61-5271     VII          6.5 - 7.0    112 x 90     4.9 /  6.4 x 9.5

    Fred Sturm
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    "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone. " Blaise Pascal

  • 10.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Posted 04-05-2024 15:30
    Hi, Fred,

    Thank you very much for this. It's most timely information.

    Kind regards.


      Original Message

  • 11.  RE: Oblong T hammer for early pianos

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 04-06-2024 14:00

    They do also have gooseneck levers, or L-form as they call them; the UxB dimensions are the minor x major dimensions of the oblong opening.

    Ken Walkup