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#2143294 - 09/03/13 06:34 AM Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning!  
Joined: Jun 2001
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Jolly Offline
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Louisiana
A play off of Yamaha's seasoning claims...

But...If one wanted to build an acoustic piano, grand or vertical, with the following attributes:

1. Utmost tuning stability.
2. Maximum resistance to humidity and temperature fluctuations.
3. Designed for a long service life.
4. Good tone and the ability to "sing".
5. Designed for ease of service.

What components would you use in this piano and who would you have build it?


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#2143315 - 09/03/13 07:26 AM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Jolly]  
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VGrantano Offline
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New Jersey
GOD!

#2143453 - 09/03/13 12:44 PM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Jolly]  
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beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted by Jolly
A play off of Yamaha's seasoning claims...


If you know anything about woodworking, you'd know that there is validity to these "claims". Wood must be carefully dried before it is used; if it is not, and then ends up in a very dry climate, post-assembly, bad stuff can happen.

#2143465 - 09/03/13 01:06 PM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Jolly]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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I have spoken with people who have a great background in woodworking. Everyone knows that high quality pianos have well seasoned materials. That is completely different than specious claims about seasoning "for destination."

Sorry, I know that's OT.

Vince put it well ...

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#2143494 - 09/03/13 02:09 PM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Jolly Offline
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
I have spoken with people who have a great background in woodworking. Everyone knows that high quality pianos have well seasoned materials. That is completely different than specious claims about seasoning "for destination."

Sorry, I know that's OT.

Vince put it well ...


I know a smidgen about wood...I was making day money working sawmills when I was 16. OTOH, lb has forgotten more than twice what I'll ever know, and his response to the Yamaha claim was a hale and hearty guffaw.

But if we go back to the original question, maybe we can build that piano without God's help.

Maybe when we use wood, we use laminated wood. Maybe we use a lot of plastics of one kind or another. Maybe we use carbon fiber.

Lots of possibilities....


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#2143658 - 09/03/13 07:41 PM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Jolly]  
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Norbert Offline
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Quote

If you know anything about woodworking, you'd know that there is validity to these "claims". Wood must be carefully dried before it is used; if it is not, and then ends up in a very dry climate, post-assembly, bad stuff can happen.


Wood by piano manufacturers wasn't always dried the way it is now.

Reading from an older Yamaha brochure still printed in Japan:

"The planks are dried until their moisture content is reduced to approximately 20 percent of the original amount"

Not nearly enough, as we know today...

Norbert


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#2143685 - 09/03/13 08:56 PM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Jolly]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
Didn't Bertolli compose a set of concertos called "The Seasonings?"


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2143811 - 09/04/13 12:43 AM Re: Seasoning? We don't need no steenkin' seasoning! [Re: Jolly]  
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Del Offline
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Del  Offline
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Olympia, Washington

Originally Posted by Jolly
...If one wanted to build an acoustic piano, grand or vertical, with the following attributes:

1. Utmost tuning stability.
2. Maximum resistance to humidity and temperature fluctuations.
3. Designed for a long service life.
4. Good tone and the ability to "sing".
5. Designed for ease of service.

What components would you use in this piano and who would you have build it?

This subject comes up so often I continue to believe there is a potential market out there just waiting to be explored. The potential to extend the time intervals between tunings and other necessary servicing is one that could give an enterprising company a strong competitive edge if properly exploited.

But, to the question—some time back I wrote this:
Quote
… Yamaha [uses] laminated hammershanks. So, I believe, does Kawai. I'm not sure the motivation is to achieve stability through moisture changes, though. More likely to improve mechanical consistency. Whatever the motivation it's a good sign. Of course in Kawai's case this comes in addition to their use of composites in their actions which is about as climate-stable as you can get.
In addition to Kawai’s composite actions there is also the Wessel, Nickel & Gross composite action. With its use of hard bushings this action has the potential to improve regulation stability and significantly improve friction stability.

I went on to write:
Quote
As you suspect there are many other areas the can—and sometimes are—candidates for laminated wood construction. The most obvious and widely criticized of these is the soundboard panel. With a little bit of design ingenuity these can be made to perform to a very high musical standard while still offering at least some of the advantages of the stability and resistance to cracking that cross-banding is known for. In addition to the panel itself we have been using laminated ribs for decades with excellent results. And laminated bridges have been used for well over a century.

Moving away from the soundboard, at least some builders have used laminated materials in bellyrail construction. No reason not to. The mechanical requirements for the bellyrail are pretty much the same as for the rim: stiffness and mass. Stability would be a plus.

We are accustomed to thinking of the rim as a laminated structure, and it is. But there are laminates and then there are laminates. For decades piano rims were made of parallel laminate construction. That is, all of the veneers were laid with the grain angles parallel to each other. This practice has been changing to cross-banded construction over the years but the practice had persisted at least as long as the early 2000s. That these rims could (and did) distort, twist and warp apparently didn't bother the builders. Most builders now use cross-banded construction.

Many pianomakers use laminated keybeds. The material works well and I can't really think of any good reasons not to do so.

Of the major components of the piano about the only thing left are the bellybraces and those have been laminated for decades, if not centuries. It's just that their “plies” are rather thick; a typical bellybrace might be made up three to five thinner boards glued together. No reason why thinner stock, or veneers, couldn't be used, though.

So, with the exception of the soundboard—where we are in the odd position of having a public that is ready and waiting but where dealers are petrified by the thought of actually selling them what they want to buy—the industry has been accepting laminated wood construction for a very long time. I expect to see the trend to continue.


This seems the most logical next step. Following this various composites will have to take over. Some of these could well be composite materials based on wood fibers—the next evolution of MDF—that will have mechanical and stability characteristics that are superior to those of natural wood. These already exist but currently they carry a significant weight penalty.

A different approach to skeleton design holds some promise. Both grands and verticals have been successfully built using laminated bracing panels. Alternate materials could be used here as well. I expect—fervently hope—that the designers of the future will not be bound by the archaic traditions that are currently holding back the design evolution of the piano. Between improved materials and design it should be possible to reduce tuning and servicing requirements at least by half.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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