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#1164508 - 03/18/09 08:48 AM Tool Choices  
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Les Koltvedt Offline
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Canton, MI
I sitting here trying to put together a tool list and would like to know what tools you just can't live without. Signed up for the Potter course and opted out of the tools. I am working in a shop right now and have access to most everything, but need to start assembling my own tools. My major decision is the hammer... yea I know it's been discussed at length... Am really up in the air on a Fujan hammer and am leaning towards a Hale extension for now with the intentions of supplementing it later with a Fujan or (has anyone been using Mayer Gluzman's hammer... His web site).



Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
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#1164535 - 03/18/09 09:59 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Les Koltvedt]  
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JDelmore Offline
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Gosh...there are just so many...the one you "can't live without" is the one you need at the moment!!

Steve Brady's field repair book has a good list, as I recall.

When I took calculus in college, they made you learn Riemann sums before they told you how to just look at the equation and instantly know the derivative. I tune with an extension hammer, but I'm batting around the idea of a Fujan for the mid-near future. It would be interesting to hear other's ideas about "best tool for the job v. paying dues with the tried and true". In other words, does a wonderfully stiff hammer make learning to tune "too easy", and therefore a liability if you happen to encounter "less than ideal" circumstance? Or is "fighting" a less stiff, but clearly adequate, extension hammer just an unnecessary self-flagellation nowadays?


PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)
#1164536 - 03/18/09 10:05 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: JDelmore]  
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Dave Stahl Offline
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Les,

It's good to have tools for getting wayward screws and other items out of actions.

A mechanic's magnet the kind with the telescopic handle.

Some kind of screw driver/holder.

Forceps. I have the straight kind, but I need to get some with a bend in the nose for inserting punchings.



Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
#1164543 - 03/18/09 10:18 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Dave Stahl]  
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UnrightTooner Offline
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Monster:

Since you are working in a shop, consider making up a survey list of how often you use particular tools. This could be a good guide for making decisions.

As far as hammer selection, well an awful lot of pianos have been tuned and continue to be tuned with a plain Jane extension hammer that is rarely extended.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
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#1164556 - 03/18/09 10:32 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Dave Stahl]  
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Les Koltvedt Offline
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Les Koltvedt  Offline
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Canton, MI
Originally Posted by JDelmore
Gosh...there are just so many...the one you "can't live without" is the one you need at the moment!!


I know that's for sure...lol

Originally Posted by JDelmore
Steve Brady's field repair book has a good list, as I recall.


Will take a look..

I do have a really nice collection of tools used on autos and home maintenance. (just ask my wife or Brother inlaw) What I'm looking for is trade specific. Example, are the smiling pliers worth the $$? which center pin extractor ... etc?

I have the Schaff catalog in front of me and so far my list is;

  • Hale hammer
  • Basic reg kit
  • Temperment strips; Std & thin
  • Some mutes
  • Damper Screw Reg
  • Hart spring tool
  • Bushing Kit Hale or Manino kit
  • Center Pin nipers/side
  • String Lifter


Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate
#1164562 - 03/18/09 10:42 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: UnrightTooner]  
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Les Koltvedt Offline
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UprightTooner

I have been, but my mentor has been in the buisness for many years and is content with his collection as it is.

Concerning the hammer, my thought was to get the Hale extension and the extra $$ towards other tools....yippie. My mentor has 3 Hales and a CF, which he doesn't really care for...


Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate
#1164569 - 03/18/09 10:59 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Les Koltvedt]  
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Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
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San Francisco
Following on from "Monster M & H "...if I may...

The best tool you can have is a mentor who has "been there and done that"....

If they've been to the top of the hill they will at least know how to get you there...and recognize your individual qualities...your best assets.

I only use a Fujan now....and KNOW that it made my tunings stronger and faster...
That is no reason for you to buy one...if you start with an extension hammer is is rather like learning the guitar on a basic model with the aspirations of a Martin or Gibson in the future...and you will grow into understanding how a better 'in my opinion' lever will help you develop once you have some basic chops.

Your 'basic chops' stay with you forever...it is what you build on and the tools you buy will have a real effect on the progress you make.

Always go for quality.

Good luck on this long, amazing journey.


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


#1164587 - 03/18/09 11:45 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]  
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BDB Offline
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My basic tuning kit has three screwdrivers: 1/8 x 3, 3/16 x 3, and 1/4 x 4. I never miss the opportunity to pick up a short screwdriver with a wide blade. Get individual tools, not the universal regulating handle tips. For repairs, I have 1/8 x 8 and 3/16 x 10 and a screw holder. Also #1 and #2 philips.

A heavy-duty steel tuning fork. I am fortunate enough to have a Deagan. The English ones that you can get now are not nearly as good.

Two temperament felt strips.

Rubber mutes: two 2-9/16 x 1/4 with handles, three 3 x 3/8, one with handle. The handles are skewers made for cooking. They are used on uprights. The ones without handles are used on grands.

A tilting head voicing tool and needles. A sandpaper file and extra sandpaper.

A good tuning hammer.

A plectrum for plucking strings. I made mine from an old ivory tail.

A prop for upright lids.

A 6" ruler.

A LED headlamp and another flashlight.

Beyond those, I have string replacement tools and regulating tools, and some extra tools for other repairs. I also carry some supplies.


Semipro Tech
#1164617 - 03/18/09 12:45 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: BDB]  
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Gene Nelson Offline
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Old Hangtown California
Best advice from Peter - get with a mentor before you invest and then take the time to look in his forgotten tool drawer. Invest in quality.
Special screwdriver for removing upright butts.
Hart Spring tool.
Quality key easing tools.
Kit for repinning with stock of center pins and straight reamers and gram guage.
Measuring stuff - micrometer, rule for inch and mm, caliper.
A divided clear plastic box for carrying an assortment of front and balance rail punchings.
I collect capstan regulating tools as there is always one piano that is difficult to adjust without the correct tool.
Drop screw and let off button tools.
Paralell pliers with smooth jaws.
Wire benders - start with the non compound ones.
Stringing tools to include round nose pliers or modified vicegrip for splicing.
Brass butt plate inserter.
Replacement cork bridal tape inserter.
You will need to learn how to make your own tools and modify many that you buy.
Many more but you should graduate into your tool kit so that you minimize the volume in your forgotten tool drawer.



RPT
PTG Member
#1164662 - 03/18/09 02:21 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Gene Nelson]  
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Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
The tool that you just can live without, is the one that you just left home because you haven't used it in 5 years and today, you need it.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#1164952 - 03/18/09 10:13 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]  
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Ron Alexander Offline
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North Carolina
One tool that is often overlooked. You can buy one or make it. A piece of brass shaped like a screw driver blade for seating strings. It takes the "zings" out of strings in a lot of instances.

Schaff sells a reasonably priced Loop and String Setter set, catalog #3161


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
#1164953 - 03/18/09 10:14 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]  
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David Jenson Offline
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Maine
Originally Posted by Jerry Groot
The tool that you just can live without, is the one that you just left home because you haven't used it in 5 years and today, you need it.


And how!

I find that I use a slim-nosed pair of ViceGrips for string replacement (cutting and pulling), making bends in wire splices, working up universal bass strings, and even as an emergency small parts clamp.


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----
#1164969 - 03/18/09 10:41 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: David Jenson]  
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Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
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And then there's that thingy...you know...the whatsit...the thing for getting boy scouts out of horses hooves...


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


#1164977 - 03/18/09 10:49 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Peter Sumner- Piano Technician]  
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BDB Offline
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Originally Posted by Peter Sumner- Piano Technician
And then there's that thingy...you know...the whatsit...the thing for getting boy scouts out of horses hooves...
A girl scout?

(The boy scouts and the girl guides.)


Semipro Tech
#1165072 - 03/19/09 02:04 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: BDB]  
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Supply Offline
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Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
You can spend a lot of money on tools. But that is not too painful, as long as you do it incrementally.

You can make a lot of simple tools yourself so that you don't have to buy those right away. For example: the Hart spring tool is the best in the business, but I suggest making a simple spring hook yourself e.g. from an upright check wire. That will get you by for the time being, while you spend your money on more urgent tools to start. Then later, you can spend the money on the Hart tool.

As far as special pliers goes, yes they are expensive and yes nothing else will really do, such as the pliers for bending wire (damper, backcheck etc) left/right and fore/aft.


#1165137 - 03/19/09 07:31 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Supply]  
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For bending damper wires I have the straight, 45 degree and 90 degree damper wire regulating tools with three combination handles. Using the 45 with the either the straight or 90 allows much better control than with just the 45 degree tool alone, and with less stress on the flange, too. Hold the wire with one tool and bend with the other.


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
#1165226 - 03/19/09 11:40 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]  
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I would say a 6" electronic digital calipers has been my best friend when it's time for measuring strings accurately.

The piano supply houses will normally want a large amount for this. Go to http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com and save a bunch of money that way!

#1165275 - 03/19/09 01:01 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Yamaha06]  
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daniokeeper Offline
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daniokeeper  Offline
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PA
Quote
I sitting here trying to put together a tool list and would like to know what tools you just can't live without.


It's a shop tool...
I've got to have my buffing wheel for polishing capstans and other parts to minimize friction.

Also, the Pierce Atlas is another good "tool" to keep in your case.

Last edited by daniokeeper; 03/19/09 02:10 PM.

Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.morethanpianos.com
(semi-retired)
#1165513 - 03/19/09 07:53 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: daniokeeper]  
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Jerry Groot RPT Offline
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Grand Rapids Michigan
I sitting here trying to put together a tool list and would like to know what tools you just can't live without."

Ahhhh, I have it! A tuning hammer? [Linked Image]


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
#1165528 - 03/19/09 08:27 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]  
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Ron Alexander Offline
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North Carolina
To go with that tuning hammer, add some rubber and felt mutes, a temperament strip and tuning fork. Use an ETD if you want...I aint gonna argue here guys!!! shocked But if you gotta have that ETD, dont let it become a crutch!!! Learn to use those ears!!! thumb


-----------------
Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician
#1165540 - 03/19/09 08:56 PM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Ron Alexander]  
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
That was on my list.

One other thing: A piece of 1/16" music wire, about 6" long, with about a 45° angle bent on the last 1/2" of one end. Good for adjusting capstans and regulating screws and buttons. If I were more ambitious, I would put a stiff handle in the middle 5" of it.


Semipro Tech
#1165656 - 03/20/09 02:16 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: BDB]  
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rysowers Offline
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Olympia, WA
I love alligator forceps! They come in handy for many things. I originally got them for leveling keys in grands with split punchings, but they are perfect for grabbing paperclips off of soundboards, miscellaneous toys out of upright actions, etc. I have a long and a short pair. They are lightweight and best of all they look cool and make you feel like a doctor!

[Linked Image]

I bought mine on ebay:

http://shop.ebay.com/items/alligator%20forceps?_dmd=1&_sop=12

Last edited by rysowers; 03/20/09 02:19 AM.

Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
#1165660 - 03/20/09 02:30 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Yamaha06]  
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Supply Offline
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Originally Posted by Yamaha06
I would say a 6" electronic digital calipers has been my best friend when it's time for measuring strings accurately.

The piano supply houses will normally want a large amount for this. Go to http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com and save a bunch of money that way!


While electronic digital calipers are useful for a lot of things, measuring string gauges is definitely not one of them! They simply are not accurate enough when trying to measure strings in a piano, for example, to give repeatable results with no ambiguity. When using the narrow tips on a small round object such as string wire, all kinds of inconsistancies can and will creep in.

For measuring string gauges, stick to micrometers.

#1165786 - 03/20/09 10:16 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Supply]  
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Les Koltvedt Offline
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Les Koltvedt  Offline
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Canton, MI
Well lets see how much stuff I have thats been offered up, calipers, set of mics 0-1/1-2/2-3, dial indicators, polishing wheel with rouge, inch and lb torque wrench, quite a few pair of visegrips and assorted "C" clamps.

Supply, I just used his Hart spring tool omg, it's on my list of must have now...

I am going to add a few to my above list;
Originally Posted by Monster M&H

  • Hale hammer
  • Basic reg kit
  • Temperment strips; Std & thin
  • Some mutes
  • Damper Screw Reg
  • Hart spring tool
  • Bushing Kit Hale or Manino kit
  • Center Pin nipers/side
  • String Lifter



  • Forceps
  • String setting tool
  • Wire Bending Pliers
  • a set of good chops


Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate
#1165815 - 03/20/09 11:25 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Les Koltvedt]  
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UnrightTooner Offline
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Bradford County, PA
Pork or Lamb (chops)?


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
#1165821 - 03/20/09 11:39 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: UnrightTooner]  
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Les Koltvedt Offline
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Les Koltvedt  Offline
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Canton, MI
Pork please...


Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate
#1165830 - 03/20/09 11:47 AM Re: Tool Choices [Re: Les Koltvedt]  
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Woody-Woodruff Offline
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Coastal Mississippi
Les,
I have found that I am always using my needle-nose vise-grips. I'd recommend one pair for your tool collection also.
Woody


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