Pianotech

  • 1.  Whippen alignment

    Posted 11-08-2023 00:19

    I have been working with a partially "rebuilt" Steinway M that has been a dissapointment.  There is quite a bit of touch irregularity, especially in the low tenor and bass with differences in aftertouch despite my key level, dip and regulation.  Today, while trying to figure out why I noticed that the whippen line was quite irregular, the problem seems to be at the whippen rail. This leads to different jack settings with irregular jack to knuckle positions.

    How common is this and how much attention do you rebuilders typically give to whippen lines?

    Whippen flanges have up to 1 mm differences in positions.


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    Blaine Hebert RPT
    Duarte CA
    (626) 390-0512
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  • 2.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-08-2023 20:13
    Blaine

    I'm not sure what you mean by wippen line, but what I am seeing is very slight differences between the end of the balancer and r rest cushion. Is that what you mean?

    If that is the case, the only thing I can think of is that on those that are a little closer to the rest cushion have travel paper between the flange and rail. 

    Just a guess.

    Wim





  • 3.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Posted 11-08-2023 20:23

    Wim,

    Look carefully at the alignment of the whippen flanges, or at the line of the balancers.  Both show an irregular line, the cause being how the whippen flanges seat and change the position of the whippen, then this affects the relationship of the jacks to the knuckles. You probably need to zoom in on the flange line.

    Blaine



    ------------------------------
    Blaine Hebert RPT
    Duarte CA
    (626) 390-0512
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-08-2023 20:44
    I think I described it wrong, but when I look at the flange line, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Remove one of the wippens that sticks out more and see if there is travel paper under the flange. 





  • 5.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-08-2023 22:20

    Blaine, 

    Yes, I see what you're talking about when I zoom in. I've never had this problem before. I can't even figure out how it could occur (unless the rail is split on the underside and now creating random places where the flanges won't fit).  

    Are these factory parts or aftermarket? What is causing the random tipping of the flanges?

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor 



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



  • 6.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Posted 11-08-2023 22:34
    Hi, Blaine,

    I, too, am wondering if these are "genuine" parts. Depending on the age
    of those, if they are genuine, there were certainly periods when the
    "genuine" machining was not what it could have been.

    I've run into things like this a fair amount; and find myself looking to
    see about traveling paper remnants, as well as possible distortions in
    the rail(s), milling irregularities in the flanges, gunk on the rails
    (were they thoroughly cleaned), if someone has replaced the original
    screws, &c.

    While some of this always seems to feel like grasping at straws, from
    what you describe and the pictures show, there's something mechanical
    that's creating some issues.

    While I'm certainly not perfect in this, I try to get the various
    flanges and centers lined up using a straight edge, a sharp knife; and a
    jaundiced eye before doing much with regulation.

    Hope that there is something here that helps.

    Kind regards.

    Horace

    On 11/8/2023 7:19 PM, Peter Grey via Piano Technicians Guild wrote:
    > Blaine,
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Yes, I see what you're talking about when I zoom in. I've never had this problem before. I can't even figure out how it could occur (unless the rail is split on the underside and now creating random places where the flanges won't fit).
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Are these factory parts or aftermarket? What is causing the random tipping of the flanges?
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Peter Grey Piano Doctor
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Peter Grey
    > Stratham NH
    > (603) 686-2395
    > pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    > ------------------------------
    > -------------------------------------------
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 11-08-2023 20:42
    > From: Wim Blees
    > Subject: Whippen alignment
    >
    > I think I described it wrong, but when I look at the flange line, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Remove one of the wippens that sticks out more and see if there is travel paper under the flange.
    >
    >
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 11/8/2023 8:23:00 PM
    > From: Blaine Hebert
    > Subject: RE: Whippen alignment
    >
    >
    > Wim,
    >
    > Look carefully at the alignment of the whippen flanges, or at the line of the balancers. Both show an irregular line, the cause being how the whippen flanges seat and change the position of the whippen, then this affects the relationship of the jacks to the knuckles. You probably need to zoom in on the flange line.
    >
    > Blaine
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Blaine Hebert RPT
    > Duarte CA
    > (626) 390-0512
    > ------------------------------
    >
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 11-08-2023 20:11
    > From: Wim Blees
    > Subject: Whippen alignment
    >
    > Blaine
    > I'm not sure what you mean by wippen line, but what I am seeing is very slight differences between the end of the balancer and r rest cushion. Is that what you mean?
    > If that is the case, the only thing I can think of is that on those that are a little closer to the rest cushion have travel paper between the flange and rail.
    > Just a guess.
    > Wim
    >
    >
    > Original Message:
    > Sent: 11/8/2023 12:19:00 AM
    > From: Blaine Hebert
    > Subject: Whippen alignment
    >
    >
    > I have been working with a partially "rebuilt" Steinway M that has been a dissapointment. There is quite a bit of touch irregularity, especially in the low tenor and bass with differences in aftertouch despite my key level, dip and regulation. Today, while trying to figure out why I noticed that the whippen line was quite irregular, the problem seems to be at the whippen rail. This leads to different jack settings with irregular jack to knuckle positions.
    >
    > How common is this and how much attention do you rebuilders typically give to whippen lines?
    >
    >
    > ------------------------------
    > Blaine Hebert RPT
    > Duarte CA
    > (626) 390-0512
    > ------------------------------
    >
    >
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  • 7.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 11-11-2023 21:26

    Mr. Hebert,

    this is a common problem on Steinway grands from the CBS era. The holes in the rail are drilled on either side of the rosette center. Fortunately Steinway figured out a way to stop this happening in the late 1980s. Ed McMorrow describes a solution to this problem in his book The Educated Piano. He describes a solution for the hammer rail but it works on the repetition rail as well.



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    Karl Roeder
    Pompano Beach FL
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  • 8.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Member
    Posted 11-09-2023 13:30

    I see variations in the spacing between the whippen flanges-some are close to neighbors and others are not. You should look at the toes of the jacks and attempt to travel the whippens so the toes are centering on the letoff buttons. If you do not find travel paper on the flanges the problem may be variations in the thickness and widths of the flanges. I would measure the width and the thickness of some of the better fits agains the miss-fits. The big question is what brand are these ? Are the hammers/shanks/flanges new ? what condition are the rails in ? are screw holes enlarged ?



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    James Kelly
    Owner- Fur Elise Piano Service
    Pawleys Island SC
    (843) 325-4357
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  • 9.  RE: Whippen alignment

    Posted 11-11-2023 11:10

    This could be a long-shot answer to the problem, but we just finished regulating a re-built 1878 85-note Steinway A-1.  The set of wippens have "TREBLE" stamped on the top 15 wippens or so. If the wippens on your piano appear to have flanges of different lengths it could be possible that the previous re-builder didn't notice this detail.



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    Barb Bernhardt
    Montrose, Colorado
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