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#1508113 - 09/02/10 11:09 PM Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite?
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
I was tightening flange screws on a 15-16 year old Baldwin "L" today, when I discovered that many of the screws were borderline stripped. I could only tighten them so much, and if I insisted, I could keep turning them without much trouble beyond the tightest point I could achieve.

I looked at the rail, and the surface of it at least appears to be "composite," aka "high grade" particle board. Sam or any of you other Baldwin afficionados out there experience this and/or know what materials were used here? It isn't a question of over-tightening too often, because this piano wasn't looked at for 7 years before I saw it last 6 months ago.

Just wondering...
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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
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#1512328 - 09/09/10 04:53 PM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
SM Boone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 303
Loc: VA USA
don't know about this particular piano. L Baldwin is my most favorite piano in the world,... yes, above any Steinway. They hold tune beautifully! I speculate this is due to the rounded hitch pins on bridge. I am someday owner of an L.
Composite would not hold up well. I cannot imagine Baldwin using that material for rail. Can you order a replacement rail and deal with that? SM

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#1512343 - 09/09/10 05:18 PM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Hi Dave,

I don't think it should matter how often we tighten screws, they should not strip. I've encountered this with other Baldwin's not of the age you mentioned but, older ones. I filled in the holes with Bamboo sticks and Titebond to help hold the bamboo into place more solidly. That seemed to work well. The screws didn't come loose nearly as soon either. Another friend suggested a dab of CA but, I don't dare... It'll never come out again maybe... So, I have not done that.. I don't know what material was used, sorry.
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Piano Technicians Guild
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www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1512440 - 09/09/10 07:11 PM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
SM Boone Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/10
Posts: 303
Loc: VA USA
agree!

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#1512511 - 09/09/10 08:39 PM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 4490
Loc: Florida
I saw it on new pianos at the stores in those days - I did Jerry's repair on the few that needed it. It didn't seem to be a wide spread issue.
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#1512545 - 09/09/10 09:56 PM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
Thanks for the input, folks. It is a new enough piano that this shouldn't be happening, but then things DO happen, even when they're not supposed to. It's the first time I've seen stripping holes on such a mass scale on a Baldwin, or any other piano, for that matter, so I thought I'd see if others had seen it.

Other than that, it is indeed a solid piano, and shimming the holes won't be a big deal.
_________________________
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

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#1512595 - 09/10/10 12:56 AM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1203
Loc: Nor California Sacramento area
Dave,
you might try some thin CA on a couple holes first. It will go off almost immediately and usually will tighten up the wood fibers quite nicely. Remove the screws first of course. If they feel like they are "almost" stripped this is usually a good preventative.

Hard to believe anyone would think that kind of material to be appropriate in a hammer rail.... but I never assume people think.

Best.


Edited by Dale Fox (09/10/10 12:58 AM)
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Registered Piano Technician
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#1512693 - 09/10/10 07:29 AM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
UnrightTooner Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 5696
Loc: Bradford County, PA
My experience with grands is limited. I suppose over tightening will strip the threads from any material.

The original question is what material is the hammer rail made of on this L. I know on the R I care for that the rail is made of maple, but covered with sandpaper to hold the flanges in position. Could it be that it is the same with the L and looks like composite at first glance?

I really like the sandpaper idea and wonder if it would be a good option when converting old uprights from brass rail to conventional hammer flanges. Hope to find out some day...
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#1512702 - 09/10/10 07:58 AM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: Dave Stahl]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2265
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
I would add that the current state of those threads depends not only on the material of construction, but quite heavily on how they were treated in the past. When turning a cutting screw or self-threader into relatively soft materials, I have come to learn that one should back out first, until the thread "seats", and only then screw it in. In my experience, if one neglects this seating, that's the fastest way to ruin the thread in the wood (or whatever material). Two or three unnoticed misthreads, and the wood is done for - especially on softer woods or particle board.

I recorded a little just-for-fun video the other day while re-installing my Ibach's dampers. The seating that I refer to, can be seen (and heard) at 1:48, 2:30 and 3:10

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5yE2C5lZLs

Sorry if this is old hat to everyone here, but I just wanted to add it here, because I've seen all too many woodworkers (in the broader sense of the word) who neglect this, and it hadn't been mentioned up to this point.
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#1512741 - 09/10/10 09:46 AM Re: Baldwin "L" hammer flange rail...composite? [Re: UnrightTooner]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
My experience with grands is limited. I suppose over tightening will strip the threads from any material.

The original question is what material is the hammer rail made of on this L. I know on the R I care for that the rail is made of maple, but covered with sandpaper to hold the flanges in position. Could it be that it is the same with the L and looks like composite at first glance?



This could very well be the case, but I admit to not having inspected very closely. Superficial inspection did and subsequent screw behaviour caused me to ask the question. I'll check it more closely at the next service call and give a report.
_________________________
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

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