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#1444414 - 05/26/10 10:40 PM How to clean action parts?  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 263
Jerry Viviano Offline
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Jerry Viviano  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 263
Cary, NC
What is the proper way, if any, to clean the wood surfaces of action parts? Hammer shanks and whippens are my main concerns. I am rebuilding a piano for resale, and would like the action to look appealing. There's something very dramatic about an action full of new looking parts. It would be too far to go to buy new parts just for looks. These are all in very good shape.

Yes, Yes, after a point, it's only cosmetics, I know. But I think a bright clean action has pull with most technicians and with most customers. Part of our business is to actually be able to sell our work at a good price, and looks sell. So I think there's legitimacy to the question. May start a lively discussion.


Jerry Viviano
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#1444424 - 05/26/10 11:05 PM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: Jerry Viviano]  
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Gene Nelson Online content
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Gene Nelson  Online Content
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Old Hangtown California
Low pressure sand blaster using glass beads - carefully.


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#1444429 - 05/26/10 11:16 PM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: Jerry Viviano]  
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Chicago Tuning Offline
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Chicago Tuning  Offline
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long soft hair brush and vacuum cleaner


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#1444440 - 05/26/10 11:32 PM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: Chicago Tuning]  
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Jerry Viviano Offline
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Jerry Viviano  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 263
Cary, NC
Much of the wood has darkened to a murky brown over the years. The serial number documents the piano was originally built in 1928. While the long soft hair brush and vacuum cleaner suggestion could be valuable in cleaning away dust, an important part of cleaning, I agree. But I'd also like to brighten things up a bit - more towards what you'd see with freshly milled wood. The light sandblasting sounds like it would probably accomplish that.


Jerry Viviano
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#1444460 - 05/27/10 12:00 AM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: Jerry Viviano]  
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BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
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Oakland
If the maple has oxidized a yellowish brown, it is probably all right. If it has become a reddish brown, it is probably pretty weak. That has been what I have observed.


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#1444510 - 05/27/10 03:11 AM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: BDB]  
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pianobroker Offline
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pianobroker  Offline
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North Hollywood CA.
I soda blasted a 100 year old Steinway action frame,keys,stack,parts,even the hammers just for grins.
It was incredible! Considering the wood was of the darkest brown one could imagine,the wood looked kinda "new" though it does pit the wood ever so slightly. But Hey! if you're salvaging 100 year old action parts,what do you want! grin


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#1444671 - 05/27/10 09:28 AM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: pianobroker]  
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Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member
Jerry Viviano  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 263
Cary, NC
PianoBroker,
Any advantage of soda blasting over sand blasting? I'm not familiar with soda blasting. Any chance that the bicarb particles could get into and affect bushings?

BDB,
The tops of the hammer shanks are reddish brown. The bottoms are yellowish.
[Linked Image][Linked Image]


Since there is uniform air around both the tops and bottoms, I can't understand why the tops would be oxidized more than the bottoms. There's going to be more light on the top, increasing the rate of oxidation, but not really that much more way down in the action cavity. The hammer shanks and flanges do really look to be in good stable shape. And the bushings are almost all in really good conditions. No obvious signs of weakening, other than the color issue. What say?

Last edited by Jerry Viviano; 05/27/10 09:29 AM. Reason: Rearranging order of photos

Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member
#1445767 - 05/28/10 11:29 PM Re: How to clean action parts? [Re: Jerry Viviano]  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 164
Chloe J. Scott Offline
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Chloe J. Scott  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 164
Phoenix, AZ
Mine looks exactly the same, and I've been wondering for years if there is anything that I could do about it. It's a 1928 5' Cable. I don't have any equipment for blasting it, though. I suppose that I could put it outside during one of our Arizona sand storms.


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