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#1976460 - 10/20/12 08:29 PM Lifter elbow replacement (full set)  
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jmw Offline
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jmw  Offline
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Girard, KS,
I've been asked to estimate the cost to replace a full set of lifter elbows. I have done a few at a time before, but never the whole piano. Anyone care to share a "conservative" time estimate for such a job?
Thanks very much,
John


Music teacher and beginning Tuner
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#1976462 - 10/20/12 08:34 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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Loren D Offline
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I usually estimate around 3-4 hours total.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
#1976488 - 10/20/12 09:42 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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That Guy Offline
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Yeah, I'd say closer to 4 hours. One thing to keep in mind is that it's literally a pain in the neck so it might be a good idea to take little breaks, unless maybe you're really short wink Good luck.


Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com
#1976539 - 10/20/12 11:24 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: That Guy]  
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kpembrook Offline
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Originally Posted by That Guy
Yeah, I'd say closer to 4 hours. One thing to keep in mind is that it's literally a pain in the neck so it might be a good idea to take little breaks, unless maybe you're really short wink Good luck.


Why is it a pain in the neck? Do you actually attempt to do the work with the action in the piano?


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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#1976592 - 10/21/12 02:10 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: kpembrook]  
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Loren D Offline
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by That Guy
Yeah, I'd say closer to 4 hours. One thing to keep in mind is that it's literally a pain in the neck so it might be a good idea to take little breaks, unless maybe you're really short wink Good luck.


Why is it a pain in the neck? Do you actually attempt to do the work with the action in the piano?


I've replaced them with the action in the piano. Sitting on the floor, it's not so bad. Usually though I pull the action and take it to the shop. The most time consuming part is spinning the new elbows on and adjusting the lifters when done.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
#1976687 - 10/21/12 10:04 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: Loren D]  
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kpembrook Offline
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Originally Posted by Loren D
[ The most time consuming part is spinning the new elbows on and adjusting the lifters when done.


Spinning elbows on??
The torch procedure is much quicker and more accurate...

For this you need to keep the lifters in order.

1) Put a vise-grip right against the remnant of elbow and clamp in place on the wire.
2) Crunch off the remaining bits of elbow so the wire is clean. (Easy to do with a pliers while you are holding the vise-grip in the other hand)
3) Insert the threaded tip of the wire into a torch flame and get it hot. (Maybe 3-5 seconds -- you'll get the feel of it)
4)Remove the wire from the flame and immediately press on an elbow all the way up to the vise-grip which will serve as a stop.

Presto! All Done! Now the elbows are permanently on and accurately located exactly where the old elbow was -- thus minimizing the lost-motion adjustment.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#1976724 - 10/21/12 11:37 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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Loren D Offline
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I'd rather not deform/melt the inside of the elbow with the heat.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
#1976756 - 10/21/12 01:16 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: Loren D]  
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kpembrook Offline
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Originally Posted by Loren D
I'd rather not deform/melt the inside of the elbow with the heat.


Why? Is there any demonstrable negative factor such as affecting durability or replaceablilty? This practice has been done for over 40 years, at least. I remember my dad doing it. And it is still possible to unscrew the elbow. The only thing I can see that screwing the things on is the opportunity to get carpal tunnel . . .


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#1976858 - 10/21/12 06:47 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: kpembrook]  
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Ryan Hassell Offline
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Ryan Hassell  Offline
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Farmington, MO
Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by Loren D
[ The most time consuming part is spinning the new elbows on and adjusting the lifters when done.


Spinning elbows on??
The torch procedure is much quicker and more accurate...

For this you need to keep the lifters in order.

1) Put a vise-grip right against the remnant of elbow and clamp in place on the wire.
2) Crunch off the remaining bits of elbow so the wire is clean. (Easy to do with a pliers while you are holding the vise-grip in the other hand)
3) Insert the threaded tip of the wire into a torch flame and get it hot. (Maybe 3-5 seconds -- you'll get the feel of it)
4)Remove the wire from the flame and immediately press on an elbow all the way up to the vise-grip which will serve as a stop.

Presto! All Done! Now the elbows are permanently on and accurately located exactly where the old elbow was -- thus minimizing the lost-motion adjustment.


That's genius! I am definitely going to remember this the next time I have to do a set of elbow! Thanks for sharing!!


Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com
#1977309 - 10/22/12 09:45 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: Ryan Hassell]  
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Steven Bolstridge Offline
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Fitzgerald ,GA
I take the lifter wires to my shop and after cleaning them up I clamp them, one by one, in a vise. Then I use a modified back check remover in my drill and screw them on. Very quick and easy. Seems to me that melting them in would make them more difficult to regulate, but maybe not; I've never tried it.


piano tuner/technician
#1977324 - 10/22/12 10:16 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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Bob Offline
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Florida
You regulate by turning the wood capstan on top, not by turning the elbow. There would be no reason that I can see to remove the replaced elbow during whatever short life span the repaired piano has left.

I've said this before - the reason the action is removed during an elbow job is to tighten loose screws, fix bad pinning, file the hammers, align to strings, regulate, replace broken strings, clean under the keys, and do what ever else the piano needs. These pianos always need more than just the elbow replacement. I price that kind of thing into the elbow job.

#1977464 - 10/23/12 06:39 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: Steven Bolstridge]  
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Loren D Offline
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Originally Posted by Steven Bolstridge
I take the lifter wires to my shop and after cleaning them up I clamp them, one by one, in a vise. Then I use a modified back check remover in my drill and screw them on. Very quick and easy. Seems to me that melting them in would make them more difficult to regulate, but maybe not; I've never tried it.


Well, regulating is done by regulating the lifter buttons, but still, I just don't see the need to melt and/or deform brand new parts. I use a variable speed drill also, and it goes very quick, and doesn't leave a trail of melted plastic or scorched lifter wires.

Yes, the argument of "so what?" could be made, but I still think doing the job in a way that preserves the integrity of all the parts is the better approach.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
#1977493 - 10/23/12 08:18 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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jmw Offline
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Girard, KS,
Great discussion! Thanks so much for your thoughts and ideas. I would never have thought of the torch idea- I won't try it right now, but maybe later on my garage piano. I'll have to bid the job a little longer than your estimates just because I'm still pretty new to the field and need to go slower so I don't make mistakes.

A couple mentioned using a drill to spin the lifters on- what do you use to grab the lifter?

Thanks again,
jw


Music teacher and beginning Tuner
#1977506 - 10/23/12 08:41 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: Loren D]  
Joined: Apr 2010
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kpembrook Offline
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kpembrook  Offline
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Michigan
Quote
and doesn't leave a trail of melted plastic or scorched lifter wires.

Yes, the argument of "so what?" could be made, but I still think doing the job in a way that preserves the integrity of all the parts is the better approach.


Isn't this leaping to conclusions based on a lack of experience?

This has been standard practice by many technicians for decades. There are no "scorched wires" and the integrity of the parts is fully maintained. The approach is unsurpassed in locating the elbow exactly where the old one was. The elbow can still be unscrewed if necessary. I am unaware of any lack of "integrity of the parts". You have to look really close even to discern that this approach has been used.

Whether anyone wishes to use the procedure or not is a personal choice. However, would it not be better to criticize a technique if you had actually tried it -- or at least observed a job where it had been done?


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#1977508 - 10/23/12 08:49 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: kpembrook]  
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jmw Offline
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jmw  Offline
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Girard, KS,
Keith, could I get the nearly the same effect by using the vise grips and screwing the new lifter all the way up to the grips? Even if I had a torch, my wife would disown me if tried to us fire in the garage!
Thanks again,
jw


Music teacher and beginning Tuner
#1977515 - 10/23/12 08:59 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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kpembrook Offline
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kpembrook  Offline
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Michigan
Originally Posted by jmw
Keith, could I get the nearly the same effect by using the vise grips and screwing the new lifter all the way up to the grips? Even if I had a torch, my wife would disown me if tried to us fire in the garage!
Thanks again,
jw


I would think so.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#1977536 - 10/23/12 09:59 AM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: kpembrook]  
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Steven Bolstridge Offline
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Fitzgerald ,GA
Thanks for the great post, Bob. Duh, of course the final regulation is done from the top.( it was late) And you are right about the overall condition of the piano. Many of these actions have flanges that are made from the same plastic and crack if over tightened. I'm gonna try the melting thing when I get another one of these jobs, which I hope I never do. I'll try it on a spare first though, to see if it can be unscrewed after it hardens.

Last edited by Steven Bolstridge; 10/23/12 10:00 AM.

piano tuner/technician
#1977702 - 10/23/12 06:43 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: kpembrook]  
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Loren D Offline
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Quote
and doesn't leave a trail of melted plastic or scorched lifter wires.

Yes, the argument of "so what?" could be made, but I still think doing the job in a way that preserves the integrity of all the parts is the better approach.


Isn't this leaping to conclusions based on a lack of experience?

This has been standard practice by many technicians for decades. There are no "scorched wires" and the integrity of the parts is fully maintained. The approach is unsurpassed in locating the elbow exactly where the old one was. The elbow can still be unscrewed if necessary. I am unaware of any lack of "integrity of the parts". You have to look really close even to discern that this approach has been used.

Whether anyone wishes to use the procedure or not is a personal choice. However, would it not be better to criticize a technique if you had actually tried it -- or at least observed a job where it had been done?


Fair points, sure enough. To each his own, I guess. smile One thing, though...on the times where the job is done at the customer's house, I definitely wouldn't want to fire up a torch in his/her living room.


DiGiorgi Piano Service
http://www.digiorgipiano.com
#1977759 - 10/23/12 08:55 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: jmw]  
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Dave B Offline
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I wonder what happened to all the Lester spinets I've replaced elbows on? They all seem to have faded away somewhere.


"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
#1977760 - 10/23/12 09:05 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: Loren D]  
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kpembrook Offline
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Quote
Fair points, sure enough. To each his own, I guess. One thing, though...on the times where the job is done at the customer's house, I definitely wouldn't want to fire up a torch in his/her living room.


Yes! This is definitely an in-shop approach.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#1981530 - 11/01/12 08:18 PM Re: Lifter elbow replacement (full set) [Re: kpembrook]  
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I've always done this job in the customers home and can generally get the elbows replaced, the dust vacuumed out from under the keys, the lost motion adjusted and the piano tuned in a little over 4 hours. I guess you have to determine how far the customer is away to determine if it's worth taking the action back to your shop.


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