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I hope someone can help me.

My two year old son was playing with my sister-in-law's Baldwin baby grand, when the fallboard fell on his hand, causing substantial damage to one of his fingers.

My wife and I also have a piano at our house, a Steinway baby grand, which I inherited from my great-aunt. I have searched online for some sort of device that will lock the fallboard in the "up" position, rather than in the "down" position, but have not found one. Other than using velcro (a suggestion offered by another forum reader), does anyone know of a solution to prevent this from happening again?

Thanks!

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You might consider a small wedge of black rubber to stick into the gap between the edge and the arm of the piano.


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Originally Posted by Marty Flinn
You might consider a small wedge of black rubber to stick into the gap between the edge and the arm of the piano.
Thats a great idea! You can get those from your piano tuner or from your piano supply house. wink


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Flinn strikes again!!!

Great idea Marty!


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Have you thought about a couple of 3 inch wood screws? Just kidding. If I were you I would try one of those baby lock things that is made for appliances. We have one on our freezer door and it's a strap that holds the door shut. It buckles closed sort of like a mini seat belt. Our kids are long past the baby stage, but we still use it because it keeps the freezer door tight even if something slides off the shelf and leans against the inside of the door. They go on by an adhesive pad that, assuming your finish is up to the task, should be easily removed later. If you use one of those, there is no chance a 2 year old can get fingers pinched.


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Originally Posted by Pianolance
They go on by an adhesive pad that, assuming your finish is up to the task, should be easily removed later.


On a new polyester finish, perhaps, but what if this assumption is wrong, especially on older instruments? Would you really want to that risk?

My son is 15 months old, and is also starting to pull the fallboard of our upright closed. But I wouldn't risk glueing anything onto the fallboard or front panel.


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A more expensive option would be to install an aftermarket soft-close mechanism. It wouldn't prevent a child from pulling it down, but it would prevent them from actually getting hurt.


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Dear All,

Thank you so much for all your advice! Please keep them coming.

Given the age of the piano, I'm afraid its finish will not play well (no pun intended) with an adhesive, but I like the idea of wedging something in the gap. I had also thought of something like suspenders, where I would place one clamp on one side of the fallboard, then strap it all along the backside of the piano and hook it to another clamp on the other side of the fallboard. Sort of like a modified version of Pianolance's idea of the fridge lock.

Thanks again!

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I've seen elegant clamps made from PVC pipe, perhaps 5" in diameter by 2" or 3" long. Simply slice through one side like you're cutting a cake to make a "C" shape. You should be able to pull it open, put one side against the fallboard, and the other under the music desk (of a grand). I'd glue a piece of felt to each cut end, of course.

You can also put something on each cheek block on both ends so that the fallboard doesn't close completely, leaving a safe gap for fingers.

--Cy--


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The velcro appeals to me. You could attach it with the 3M Command adhesive strips, which is supposed to be removable without damaging the finish. The problem with a wedge is that they can be removed by busy fingers, bringing the fallboard with it.

Another option is to have the springs like Steinway uses on their new fallboards installed, but it would not be such a positive lock.


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Perhaps some small neodymium magnets tucked away in an inconspicuous spot would work.

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Have you checked whether it is possible to physically remove the entire fallboard?

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You do not want to remove the fallboard with little kids playing around the piano!


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I'd prefer not to remove the fallboard for several reasons - dust, protecting the keys and, perhaps most importantly, sentimental reasons. My great-aunt, who left me this piano, gave lessons on it until her death at 97 years of age. She bought this piano when she was in her early 20's, and cared for it as if it were one of her children. She was an enormous influence on me, both musically and personally, and if I did anything to modify her piano I would never forgive myself. Plus, she would most likely haunt me until the day I die!

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How about a giant rubber band that you can put around the whole piano. when you don't want it, simply take it off. You could even leave it on the piano and open the fall board with it on. Then when the little kiddies come around, just pull the rubber band around the fall board and presto, no pinched fingers. I believe you can get giant rubber bands online for very reasonable prices.


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Not too dissimilar from my suspenders idea....

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Of course the country solution would involve a nail gun and/or duct tape.

I think this would be endorsed by Red Green also, and he might even feature it on a future program.


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You could simply lock the fallboard in the 'down' position, as it was intended to do, except when you're playing.

I'm sorry your child injured his hand; I hope it's ok now. They do grow out of the 'slamming the fallboard down on the hands' stage pretty fast.


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Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
Of course the country solution would involve a nail gun and/or duct tape.

I think this would be endorsed by Red Green also, and he might even feature it on a future program.

It comes in colors to match every decor too! Not that I would ever put duct tape on or in my piano...well...Ok, maybe a little...it is the handyman's secret weapon after all...


I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.
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