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#1933155 - 07/27/12 01:13 PM Steinway A-1 knuckles  
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Silverwood Pianos Offline
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I have come across a Steinway A-1 that has been butchered up pretty badly by a previous tech. This one has three different sets of whippens, two different sets of hammers, and a set of Tokiwa shanks and knuckles.

The knuckles have collapsed so badly there is a flat surface of almost half an inch. This makes the action feel heavy at the start of the stroke…… They are so deformed I cannot even measure them. I am wondering if anyone would know what the correct knuckle size is for this one...



Dan Silverwood
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#1933229 - 07/27/12 03:25 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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I would be inclined to try a 10mm knuckle for that piano. A smaller knuckle will require you to raise the drop screw. Steinway pianos notoriously lack room beneath the stretcher/pinblock for smaller knuckles, though they might work better from a geometry point.

Why not get a couple different sizes, install a couple of samples and try regulating to see what is possible?

Last edited by Dale Fox; 07/27/12 03:28 PM.

Dale Fox
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#1933285 - 07/27/12 05:40 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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I don't know for geometry but I preferred the touch with 10 mm knuckle, it allowed for a larger key dip, while at 9.mm it was reduced to less than 9 mm.

Originally, they seem to be 10 mm according to a few models I have seen in pic or in real.
But I have seen after repairs 9 mm knuckles used (and one with knuckles of standard largeness of course they have to be larger)
Not sure I preferred the touch it is less progressive, and seem to be faster, (?) it gives a different tone because of that anyway


Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1933303 - 07/27/12 06:01 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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Thanks for the responses. My mistake I should have included the fact that this instrument is five hours and two ferry rides away…..

Dale,

I would agree with this suggestion, 10 mm is where I thought to make a starting point. I think I will do just that. Take several sizes of parts with me to see what works best. Along with the three different whippen styles I forgot to note if the jacks were adjustable or not. Some whippens are new Japanese made fifteen on the bottom, some are older and have the inverted L shaped rep lever stop, 25 of those up top, and the rest are something else, perhaps the originals…..

Abel hammers up to key sixty five; then somebody’s homemade hammers they look like; twelve mm wide and really short tails no underfelt.

I noted that a lot of the lead has been drilled out in front of the balance so for sure there is a lot wrong there.

Isaac,

I agree that the 9mm would make the action a bit lighter and faster, but there are performance problems as you and Dale have noted. Might have to go with 10.5 and move the whippen out slightly to get the jack under….


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
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#1933325 - 07/27/12 06:34 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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or possibly glue at 131 132 and move the stack ( new shanks/heads) if it make sense for the keys to whippen lining (magic something) I d pefer to go that direction and keep some extra acceleration.. aiming 10 or 10,2mm max.


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1933328 - 07/27/12 06:39 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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possibly it is enough to modify the stack height and bore accordingly.

at last strings plane is low on those pianos. makes one trouble less.
tested with 16 mm shanks from Renner (maple) . Not yet using smaller bore and 2 mm overblow. I want to avoid screwing capstyans to the max, took, but spread is so little initially it is easy to be in trouble.

Last edited by Kamin; 07/27/12 06:50 PM.

Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1933329 - 07/27/12 06:40 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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possibly it is enough to modify the stack height and bore accordingly.

at last strings plane is low on those pianos. makes one trouble less.


Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#1933366 - 07/27/12 07:59 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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With all the old and mismatched parts it's impossible. I doubt you can avoid installing new parts.

Last edited by Dave B; 07/27/12 08:00 PM.

"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
#2007617 - 01/01/13 07:35 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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I brought this thread back because late last fall I finally got a chance to pull the action of this one apart and have a real good look at things.

Even with replacement knuckles I think this one would be completely impossible to regulate properly because of the variety of interesting repairs that have gone on here. I would think that improvisation is a good term to use for this one.

I did manipulate some of the old parts to see if I could get the spread opened up and indeed because of the slanted capstan I was able to move from 190.45 to 112.30 without coming off the whippen heel cloth. That would assist with the knuckle wear but the rest of the action parts are so mixed that replacement parts would give the best results. Maybe even a new key set and frame too.

Managed to find some time over the Holidays to edit the photo album. Have a look;

Just a quick heads up. I am having some problems with Picasa today and the album wants to skip forward when using the arrows on either side of any photo. Make sure you see them all.

Steinway A1


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
#2007768 - 01/02/13 02:08 AM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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Yikes! Good luck!

#2007800 - 01/02/13 04:53 AM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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What a mess. Did the piano owner do this?
I would not spend a lot of time trying to make it work.
Insert new whippens and hammers with new shafts and flanges, then you can do a decent job.

#2007888 - 01/02/13 11:15 AM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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I'm sure you can make the thing play "better" with the existing parts, but this is a clear example of why knuckle replacement is more often than not missing the point.


Keith Akins, RPT
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#2007894 - 01/02/13 11:26 AM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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Lets just see what we have in the salvaged parts box. Nothing goes to waste here! ;}


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
#2007911 - 01/02/13 12:28 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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I have seen such choice for a backward position of the jack on a 1930 Steinway B that was "prepared for sale"

The initial idea of the tech (I believe) is to provide a huge letoff sensation, so the pianist feel the action is in better shape than it is (I changed 60 hammer centers on that one) .

This is and often find confusion betweenn large resistance sensation and large tactile feedback of the hammer motion.

On Dan's piano the initial problem came visibly from the use of modern flanges on an originally (?) too little spread ( I never find 110 mm) That back position of the jack have mashed the knuckles to the point I doubt they can be repaired.

Too heavy hammers (not thinned) and no correction of the jack/roller relation... plus probable use of the old parts box...

May be done for a no budget situation, we don't know.

The keys where rebushed with white glue probably, that is why the cloth is not holding (I understand it is an island, but I have seen that yet, for instance I had damper felts simply falling from the damper head after 20 years... white glue)

I thought that Tokiwa was proposing flanges with the correct dimension for the old S&S actions, is it the case ? (just 1 mm difference but it add problems where we have yet enough)





Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2008685 - 01/03/13 08:14 PM Re: Steinway A-1 knuckles [Re: Silverwood Pianos]  
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Thanks for all of the additional comments;

B986 that is what I thought when I first looked at this one.

Hi pianolive,
The instrument was discovered in a library in London a little over twenty years ago on its way to being discarded.
The sounding board and bridgework was completed then by a fellow who is now an instructor at the Don Wright School of Music. The work was completed under the private tutelage of the former instructor of the same place. That work and the string and pin work is nicely done.

When the instrument was shipped west, some five years after that, is when the action/keyboard work took place. This is all I got from the owner so far. The work would not have been done by the client as they are musical and not technical people.

The action/keyboard work is somewhat confirmed by the hammer set as it is typically the Abel hammers we all got in the early nineties; lots of felt in the high treble, very dense and heavy.

I did do some work to make this one play better Keith, but also to clean the thing up a bit to see what was actually there. I changed out the keyboard felt to Cresendo front and back. Took 150 grit to the buckskin on the rollers and vise grips to force a restoration of what they used to look like. Soaked them in solvent with a small percentage of lacquer to try to get them to retain some kind of round shape, then the usual Teflon treatment.

Then I spent some time moving the whips back temporarily using cardboard punchings to open up the spread. Returned all the whippens to their respective places.

What do I have in the spare parts box, that’s funny Dale. I thought the same thing when first looking at this one. It seems whatever was handy and sort-of- kind-of- fit was used. I thought the Schwander whippens were, shall we say, quite interesting…….

Isaac that is exactly what I thought once I got the action apart and had a good look. There is nothing wrong with the new shanks, flanges, and even the partial hammer set. What happened to the rest of the hammer set I didn’t even ask…., but they were installed on an old spread and this ground the knuckles right down flat. The lines in the knuckles were half an inch long when I first lifted the shanks vertical. It played exactly like a Stoßzungenmechanik.

I just checked some numbers here and the longest was 109.90on A1 and the rest were mostly 109.45 -65 in that range. Nothing over 110.

Once back together it actually performed not too badly but didn’t last very long maybe a month of regular play and the knuckles collapsed. It isn’t just the buckskin that is deformed it is also the hard felt underneath. Changing the spread really helped in the lower mid and bass sections, but still without a roller system retaining it shape nothing much can be done to patch that part.

Pianolive is correct about the new parts. New action parts would help a lot with this one but the key leads have been drilled out too, so the balance is out of whack whatever one does.

Maybe starting from a new key frame and key set would be best. Then the new action parts. Lots to think about for this one.


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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