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#2119339 - 07/17/13 10:35 PM Bluthner 5694 underway  
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Craig Hair Offline
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Bluthner 5694 has arrived, and work has begun. This piano really is very different from anything we have seen previously. I think we were lucky that the rim was in such bad shape, as the spine almost fell apart. I'm glad we saved all those square grand lids. We will need the rosewood, and, I think, some of the oak cores. The treble agraffs seem to have a brass pin inserted to make a bearing point

[img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/eyxgVwqWec6VoHkOLEL_lgCeVoS-qAKhSmiwADXW4nE=w640-h480-no[/img]

[img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/rUk2BEB3XKzXUMAtH2bapdomJPF3x31FvT946XFDzdU=w276-h207-p-no[/img]

[img]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/6gS6Hw0HD5anzRxcOtBsdmNrYzH_-9YkXT_QEk9BClA=w276-h207-p-no[/img]

For the curious, this is the big file of pics:

https://plus.google.com/photos/1054...1572534921429841?authkey=CNi8gKKat8Hm3AE

Last edited by Craig Hair; 07/17/13 11:18 PM.

Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
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#2119348 - 07/17/13 11:08 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Sandy Eggo, California
It says I need permission to view the album (last link).



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2119355 - 07/17/13 11:19 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: OperaTenor]  
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Does that make it work?


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2119358 - 07/17/13 11:24 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Yes, thank you!



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2119367 - 07/18/13 12:02 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Wow, that was some major piano porn...

I anxiously await photos of the finished piano.



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#2119369 - 07/18/13 12:05 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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The photo of the serial number says 55694, which is reasonable. That piano was made after the last date on the soundboard decal. 5694 was not.


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#2119409 - 07/18/13 01:37 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Fascinating piano, no question. I like the way the backscale ends of the tenor go through the bass bridge. I have seen that before on older German pianos. I hope you are being paid by the hour.

I agree with BDB - the piano is not as old as it may appear, it was built in 1899.

#2119416 - 07/18/13 01:41 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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The photos aren't working again...

#2119465 - 07/18/13 04:37 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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What a huge stripping .. will you un glue the soundboard now ?

Thanks for the pics.



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#2119518 - 07/18/13 08:52 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Craig Hair,thanks for these photos of a grand. We shall hope to hear its sounds in the future. I wish you patience and intelligent decisions during the restoration work this grand. Good luck!
You are happy man. I like if a tuner had intersting job

#2119519 - 07/18/13 08:56 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Are the photos working? I can't tell from my computer.

The date. I can easily be of either mind on the subject. The late number appears once on a paper tag that looks nothing like the paper tags I have seen pictured in other period Bluthners. The early number, I have found four clear examples, and I believe, also evidence of the obliteration of that number on the pinblock face. The four digit number could just be a rotating factory number like Chickering used. Though its presence on the block would compicate that view.

At the moment I am content to leave that question on the shelf. In either case, the piano represents an early phase of Bluthner production, one that earned him his name. This will be informative, even if it is the last Model T to roll off the line, rather than the first.

As a personal aside, my formal training, rather than music or engineering, was in philosophy and archaeology. So this question of the date is a mysterious subplot in an historic adventure. I could not be more entertained.


Yea, next comes the soundboard. Well, first come the plate support strips, then the board. I'm glad you used the term unglue. It is the clearest description of what we try to do.

I have never seen a piano that needed to come so far apart in order to put it back together.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2119614 - 07/18/13 12:28 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Holy smokes! That one seriously unhappy piano! May I ask what makes it worth rebuilding? Does it have some sort of historical significance? I can't imagine wanting to pay to have such a rebuild done on a 85 key piano unless there was some great significance attached to it.

#2119626 - 07/18/13 12:47 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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I was able to open the album again.

I noticed two different four digit numbers on the plate; 2252, and 5694. It is tempting to think of the 5694 as a working number instead of the serial number, but, the 55694 looks like it was typed onto a card and glued in there - not exactly a permanent installation. Has anyone ever seen it done that way before?

[Linked Image]


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#2119630 - 07/18/13 12:55 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Yes, that is how Blüthner puts serial numbers on their pianos.


Semipro Tech
#2119804 - 07/18/13 07:30 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: ando]  
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What makes it worth it. The piano is a family heirloom. So I guess for the client it is primarily sentiment. It cannot be replaced, and she wants it back the way she remembers. As for myself, I've already learned a lot from this piano. After all, who expects both the soundboard and plate to be recessed into the rim? So, yea, I think it is a worthwhile project.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2119806 - 07/18/13 07:39 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Just a funny piano universe coincidence. I was reading stuff on Bluthner, and it was mentioned that he got his training in the shop of one A Bretschnieder. "I know that name!" I looked in the piano stacks and sure enough I have an old german square by A. Bretscheieder. I haven't had that piano on its feet in twenty years, now its interesting again.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2119825 - 07/18/13 08:14 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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For me the date/number question is pretty straight forward. The real number is the one on the paper: 55694, putting the piano at 1899. The 5694 is simply an abbreviation of the longer number, an in-house number. In 1899 there was no question in the factory that they were building pianos in the 50,000 range, making a few thousand per year. So they simply left off the first digit. You see that very so often: a long serial number, but a manufacturing number where they simply truncated the long serial number to the last three or four digits.

A serial # of 5694 would determine that the piano had been built in 1867. This would not only pre-date the soundboard decal dates, but also the Patent Action found in this piano.

Thanks for access to all the great pictures!

#2119865 - 07/18/13 09:40 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Supply]  
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When was the patent action first introduced?


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2119926 - 07/18/13 11:35 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Before anyone else chimes in and declares me wrong, I will do it myself laugh

I just did some research and found that the Blüthner Patent action, which was used into the 1920s alongside of the Erard action, was actually developed early on (Blüthner was founded in 1853) and found its way into the first pianos as early as 1856. That means that this unusual and simple, almost primitive action was used for almost 70 years. Wow.

So I stand corrected in the effort to date this piano by its action. Thanks for letting me throw the first stone (at myself)! thumb

#2120025 - 07/19/13 06:09 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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France
Originally Posted by Craig Hair
Just a funny piano universe coincidence. I was reading stuff on Bluthner, and it was mentioned that he got his training in the shop of one A Bretschnieder. "I know that name!" I looked in the piano stacks and sure enough I have an old german square by A. Bretscheieder. I haven't had that piano on its feet in twenty years, now its interesting again.



Hello, where did you find that mention ? I just had a look back at the Bluethner "150 years of piano making" book, and did not find such name in the early trainings of Julius Bluethner.
A. Brentschnieder was a piano maker in Leipzig, with no direct relation with Bluethner, only that he learned a lot from the lLeipzig instrument makers.
He was first cabinetmaker, worked in a factory called Hölling & Spangenberg as cabinet maker (1842-45) then he went to Ibach and various firms in Leipzich, as Foerster, Kahnt, building square pianos mostly.

I can try to scan you the historic part, was mostly trying to find your model... there is a pic showing "one of the first grands", that looks similar but probably straight strung.
The absence of aliquot should put it before a certain era, I suppose. (1872)

Last edited by Olek; 07/19/13 06:32 AM.

Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2120065 - 07/19/13 08:17 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Olek]  
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Good morning,
I'm just referencing Alfred Dolge. He is a sparce historian at best, and perhapse I am reading more into what he writes than is there.(my particular specialty) He does,however break his early career into "learned", amd "studied", and this in two different cities. Now this is pure conjecture, but I hear a reference to apprenticeship and journeymanship; two unavoidable stages in the guild system.

As I said Dolge is thin soup. But his focus is on who worked for whom and who they learned from. If Dolge makes a special reference, there is most likely a significant relationship.

Here are the pages in question. I think that our scholarly discussion covers "fair use", don't you?

https://plus.google.com/photos/1054...02288666385930129?authkey=COHy7r-ti8e5Rg


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2120081 - 07/19/13 09:38 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Seem to me that Julius Bluethner "studied" a lot, also he bought books on "acoustics" , while at the same time he was working as cabinet maker in different factories.
He may have been in contact with different piano makers in Leipzig.

He was very soon determined in understanding anything availeable, he worked to repair an Erard grand with good success, for instance, while at those times was only availeable to him Viennese or "English actions".

That is a long story, the chapter is long, there are not much original illustrations in this book unfortunately. It seem to be focused on the family, the history, more than to technical aspects.

There is a nice color pic of a piano with similar case than yours, however.

Your instrument have the 4th string or no ? It may have been a common feature on most models if not all , seem to me.




Last edited by Olek; 07/19/13 09:39 AM.

Professional of the profession.
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I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2120084 - 07/19/13 09:44 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Originally Posted by Craig Hair
What makes it worth it. The piano is a family heirloom. So I guess for the client it is primarily sentiment. It cannot be replaced, and she wants it back the way she remembers. As for myself, I've already learned a lot from this piano. After all, who expects both the soundboard and plate to be recessed into the rim? So, yea, I think it is a worthwhile project.


Thanks Craig, so it's a family heirloom. I still struggle to understand how a piano gets so dilapidated if it's an heirloom. Even more inexplicable that the owner can recall it being in decent condition. It looks like it sat in a damp barn for 60 years! Still, I'm sure you can resurrect it with your skills. Good luck.

#2120110 - 07/19/13 10:42 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Olek]  
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No fourth string. And, now that we have some of the plate support strip off, I can say that the board is mounted at right angle to the case. Doesn't the cylindrical soundboard system incorporate an angled mounting?

Wow, this Julius sounds like a real dynamo. How old was he at this time?


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2120424 - 07/20/13 05:21 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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He was 18 , in fact he said he learned from Bretschneider piano making, when he wanted to build his piano making firm and needed to be made citizen of Leipzig.
SO you are right , he worked for Breitshneider in 1851, and obtained from him a certificate as piano maker, that helpêd him to obtain the citizenship for Leipzig, where he had decided to setup his firm.
Zeit (the original town of Bluethner)was only a few hours from Leipzig, but in Prussia, while Leipzig was in Saxony.
The firm begun from scracth , with 3 workers all diligent cabinet maker.
They produced 8 grands and 2 square pianos the first year. First sale to a reputed university professor, specialize din hearing, made a good advertising to the quality of the instrument.

It is possible that the soundboard was not yet arched, at that time. ribbed, after drying, certainly.

The name of the case wood is may be Jacaranda, a variety of Rio rosewood that was widely used at those times.
The non cast framing makes the instrument prior to 1865 certainly.





Last edited by Olek; 07/20/13 05:29 AM.

Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
#2123794 - 07/27/13 12:38 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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Any updates? How is the soundboard restoration going?








#2125163 - 07/30/13 06:54 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Strings & Wood]  
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OK, here is a link to our second photo cashe. This is the extraction of the soundboard and the removal of the ribs and bridges.


https://plus.google.com/photos/1054...06228293338964129?authkey=CMbrvMLtwNmGJQ

It is an interesting board. It has few ribs, particularly in the bass, and these are rather slight, being wider than they are tall. Except in the treble where they are made taller and only a little less wide. It seems Bluthner was trying to graduate the stiffness of the board from highly compliant in the bass to highly resistant in the treble.



Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2125490 - 07/30/13 06:55 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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I think this is a great picture.

[Linked Image]


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#2125537 - 07/30/13 09:01 PM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: OperaTenor]  
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Yea, I think I really caught him in that one.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
#2125711 - 07/31/13 06:08 AM Re: Bluthner 5694 underway [Re: Craig Hair]  
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France
Thank you Craig , wonderful job (you did that with an help ?)

I am amazed you keep the roomm clean !

The construction is certainly very well setup.

What are those green boxes ? weights or some water drop system ?


Best Regards



















Last edited by Olek; 07/31/13 06:42 AM.

Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!
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