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Speaking of Stanwood
#19868 07/14/03 03:02 PM
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JohnC Offline OP
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Excuse my ignorance, but I'm curious. wink

What, if anything, does a Stanwoodized action provide compared to a properly rebuilt action?

I'm not saying one should rebuild instead of Stanwood, just wondering how they would differ if at all. After all, isn't the idea of a rebuilt action (or a new one for that matter) to most perfectly replicate all the geometry and technical wizardry needed for a "perfect" action? Isn't that what you are paying for to begin with?


There are few joys in life greater than the absence of pain.
Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19869 07/14/03 03:09 PM
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John,

I've played some really beautiful pianos with what I thought were nearly perfect actions (Bosies, Hamburgh Steinway, Fazioli, etc...) but their actions don't hold a candle to my low-life Stanwoodized Falcone. Everyone of those pianos had quirks. I'm not trying to brag, but my action is perfectly smooth from top to bottom - not a quirk anywhere.

I know folks will disagree with this saying the same result can be achieved. Perhaps it can be, but I have yet to see it.

One more thing (edited in) the voicing of the piano is also incredibly even as well - which is another problem I find with even the best prepped pianos.

Derick


Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19870 07/14/03 03:20 PM
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JohnC Offline OP
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Derick,

No argument at all with the results. Just having a hard time grasping what is different if anything from a top quality new or rebuilt action? Why would a non worn out action require this "modification"? Or should it? Is Stanwoodizing just a unique way of rebuilding?

In their own way, wouldn't a rebuilder do the necessary things to make that nice smooth action? Wouldn't the original manufacturer (at least in the more expensive pianos)? Maybe not using David Stanwood's exact method, but certainly using proven quality materials and processes?


There are few joys in life greater than the absence of pain.
Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19871 07/14/03 04:03 PM
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I will try to give you an overview. For more detail, you should go to www.stanwoodpiano.com.
The Stanwood system takes into account the Hammer weight, hammer to hammer, and makes sure that their weight is evenly gradated from bottom to top. In even the highest quality new pianos, adjacent hammers will not be perfectly gradated, and the variations might surprise you. A heavier hammer stays on the string longer, and produces more fundamental in the sound (Darker). A lighter hammer comes off the string faster and stimulates more upper partials (brighter). Voicing can even this out, but the quality of the tone is still different note to note.
Leads are added to the keys to, in part, make up for this variation in hammer weight.
When the keys have been leaded to make up for uneveness in the Hammer weight ( and also friction unevenness, which affects touch weight, but is often ignored by the folks leading the keys) they might have an even gram weighting, but the key inertia will not be evenly gradated from note to note, which the Stanwood system achieves.
The lead pattern in the keys of a Stanwood system is also very carefully considered for maximum eveness.
If the Hammer weight chosen is too high to accomodate an ideal lead pattern in the keys, an extra "support spring" is added to the whippens to allow for specific touch weight.
This is additional custom work on a new or rebuilt piano.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
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Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19872 07/14/03 04:16 PM
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JohnC,

Stanwood's techniques largely address getting a great deal of mass out of the mechanism, then optimizing. The fact that there is a lot less mass involved changes the touch/tone dynamic quite a bit, as inertia becomes much less. There is then a proprietary formula for determining ideal touchweight/tone/response that is a lot more controlled than what original manufacturers do.

Getting so much mass out often requires modifications from original design, and sometimes some original parts are removed and parts of a different design installed- such as wippen flanges that have "helper" springs.

It is really quite a different result than can be accomplished by simply rebuilding an existing design. It should more properly be considered a major modiification of the original design, with quite different leverages, etc.

Most people getting Stanwoodized actually have relatively new actions that are not close to needing rebuilding.

Regards,

Rick Clark


Rick Clark

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Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19873 07/14/03 04:21 PM
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Look especially at the graphs on this page:

Strikeweight graphs

It shows strikeweights for two NY Steinway D's and a new Grotrian. They are all over the map.

Derick


Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19874 07/16/03 10:30 AM
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A question.
What happens next? confused
Does a Stanwoodized piano need a Stanwood expert to maintain the piano over the years, or can you just do garden-variety voicing & regulation afterwards?


Richard
Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19875 07/16/03 11:19 AM
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Garden-variety voicing & regulation is fine. It's no different than a typical action other than weights, friction, etc... has all been taken into account to make a perfectly smooth action.

BTW, voicing is incredibly even with Stanwood since the strikeweight is so precise. If anything you'll need less voicing. The piano will brighten up much more uniformly.

Derick


Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.
Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19876 07/16/03 02:22 PM
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Keith wrote:
Leads are added to the keys to, in part, make up for this variation in hammer weight.
When the keys have been leaded to make up for uneveness in the Hammer weight...

Keith, Have you seen the weight sets sold for hammers? I haven't. My understanding is that Stanwood techs set strike weight (hammer and shank) to be even from the start, or they take existing hammers and either increase, or decrease their mass by adding or subtracting. They don't typically make up for uneven hammer weights by adjusting key weights. This would allows for the very kind of inertial imbalance that they are seeking to minimize.

The differences that might typify David Stanwood's Precision Touch Design from a competent professional rebuild in my mind are:

REWEIGHING
-To most pro's this means adjusting lead in the front of the keys to meet a certain target amount of downweight, whereby the key falls. The scale used, if any, is a standard balance type of scale (think law logo's).
-To a Precision Touch Design (PTD)installer this means actually taking the keys out and weighing them. They also do the same to the hammers/shanks and whippens. There may be some pro's who do this who aren't involved with the PTD method, but I'll bet they are an extremely small minority (near zero wouldn't surprise me). The scales used, here, are digital and measure to the 10th of a gram.

NEW HAMMERS
-Professionals will typically see hammers as a primary source of how the TOUCH will come out because it's the hammers that are at the other end of the key. Since more hammer weight means more weight is needed to push the key down, they may adjust the hammer weight accordingly. This means downward, if they don't want to reweigh the keys and are working on an older piano (new hammers are commonly on the heavy side). The idea of adding weight to hammers is generally foreign to them, as the impact of doing so rapidly takes the weight needed to depress the key too high for an acceptable result.
-PTD installers are supposed to first establish at what weight optimal TONE is produced by adding or subtracting material to the hammer, and only then to set key mass, spring rate and leverage to accomodate the desired touch . They don't see the link between desired TOUCH weight and the mass in the hammers which produces TONE as mechanically inseperable. In fact, they may frequently aim to have independent targets for both. This is done with springs and the other things that all pros SHOULD be familiar with (knuckles, capstans, etc.).

MEASUREMENT
-Most pro's, who would go deep into redesigning an action, would do so with a mixture of intentions to change the distance and weight ratios based upon their experience with the results they bring.
-PTD installers tend to weigh things and focus less on measuring distances. It's what drives their formula. They may mistrust a distance change in favor of seeing how it plays out on a scale, or with a slug of brass. If they make a distance change (knuckles, capstans, etc.), it will be a scale they use to show its effect.

I tried to be fair in making these distinctions without slaming the really good techs who are not Stanwood installers. Nobody on the forum can accurately put a finger on what seperates one from the other, but above are what I'd consider to be some consistent differences. They don't always put actions on a diet (my Stanwood tech favors going springless). I also don't mean to overplay the hammer weight vs tone thing. Voicing still rules the day, after a good tuning, of course.

Chris


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Re: Speaking of Stanwood
#19877 07/16/03 02:54 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Chris W1:
Keith wrote:
Leads are added to the keys to, in part, make up for this variation in hammer weight.
When the keys have been leaded to make up for uneveness in the Hammer weight...
Chris
Chris,
I am sorry I was unclear. I usually write my posts very quickly, with almost no editing, and I am sure it shows. What I meant with the above quote was work at the factory, pre-Stanwoodization.

Quote
Keith, Have you seen the weight sets sold for hammers? I haven't. My understanding is that Stanwood techs set strike weight (hammer and shank) to be even from the start, or they take existing hammers and either increase, or decrease their mass by adding or subtracting. I think making up for uneven hammer weights by adjusting key weights allows for the kind of inertial imbalance that they are seeking to minimize.
Yes, we ended up making one ourselves. The rest of this quote is true.
Your post communicated much better than mine. Good job!
FWIW, we use the xtra support spring quite often. It adds a lot of work, and cost, but when we determine that a heavier hammer scale is indicated, the xtra spring is necessary for the best result.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out www.sitkadoc.com/ and www.vimeo.com/203188875
www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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