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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2217970 01/21/14 02:26 AM
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I thought we might get those photos.

Reshaping hammers is less labor-intensive than replacing them, but the work that is done in reshaping them has to be done when the hammers are replaced. But a good tech will know when the hammers need to be replaced, and can even warn ahead of time. New hammers cost quite a bit even before installation.


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
88Key_PianoPlayer #2218042 01/21/14 07:31 AM
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"Chuck B, what article would you send to someone whose piano's hammers look like the first example? Another thing I was thinking ... I'm guessing reshaping hammers is a lot less labor intensive, and thereby is charged a lot less, than replacing the set, right? What about the idea of a tech having a deal where if the customer isn't satisfied with the results of hammer reshaping, then (if done within a year or so) they can get the cost of reshaping applied toward the cost of replacement? Have any techs ever done that, or considered it?" 88Key_PianoPlayer


Hi 88Key (I really wish people would sign with their actual name, but that's another issue) - I'm sure you're kidding with your first question - at least the winking smiley face would indicate that. If you filed the hammer labeled C4 in you photograph so that it had a suitable shape, it would look like a C8 instead. Of course you could compensate by restringing with way lighter strings and tuning everything up 4 octaves (right back atcha wink )

As far as your second idea - I've done exactly that to a degree. On jobs that are an optional less-expensive choice, I've offered to take 50% of the price of the first job and apply towards the more expensive job down the road within a certain time frame -usually a year. I've done this with filing hammers as opposed to replacing them, polishing worn keytops as opposed to installing new tops, C.A. treatment as opposed to a new pinblock, ect. I haven't had very many situations where I've ended up doing both jobs, but I do think it helps eliminate the worry (on the customer's part) that the money is being wasted if the first treatment is just a temporary one.

For shaping / replacing, the difference in cost is considerable, at least for me. For replacement, I charge approximately 7 times the amount that I do for reshaping. Based on the pictures that Paul provided, I would be very much tempted to suggest reshaping as a first course of action. Chuck Behm



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Re: How to determine to replace hammers
chopinoholic #2218061 01/21/14 08:39 AM
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The hammers on the third picture appear to hit the strings with their sides.
If these are the offending ones this could perhaps be the main problem.

Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218102 01/21/14 10:27 AM
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For another point of comparison, here are some pictures of hammers that I decided to replace after 10 years of use (following a reshaping at 5 years):

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Fiorentino #2218108 01/21/14 10:47 AM
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From appearance, your hammers look eminently serviceable. A Tech who is skilled in hammer reshaping could quickly shape a few of the lower treble, (note around #55) to test results.

Hammer shaping is way less expensive than replacement.

Some actions are set with such a low touch weight from the factory that removal of one large, front key-lead per key is often needed after reshaping to restore dynamic control and repetition speed.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2218376 01/21/14 05:44 PM
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Thanks all for the input. I gained a far better insight on how to proceed in communicating with my tech concerning the servicing of my piano.
I'm glad to hear that the majority thinks reshaping the hammers would be the best course to take. So I will contact my tech suggesting just that. I don't have a couple of grand lying around anyway.

Still have a question though, regarding the reshaping. I hope you guys don't mind.
Originally Posted by bkw58
be sure you understand the possible effects in hammer mass, action weight, et al.


Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Some actions are set with such a low touch weight from the factory that removal of one large, front key-lead per key is often needed after reshaping to restore dynamic control and repetition speed.


Can the filing produce such a significant effect? Should I be worried?
If a new set will be placed in a couple of years, should I be aware of differences in quality of the diverse makes?
Are there differences in density or weight? Or are only Renner hammers appropriate for Renner actions?
Ok, it's not just one question, I'm just so darn curious... eek



Paul

[Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218532 01/21/14 11:13 PM
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It would be best if your tech is experienced at evaluating the dynamic control of the sound the hammer is producing. Of course this is done with input from you, as you try all the different dynamics you want to produce with the piano and explain which ones are most problematical to control. This information can guide the technician on what kind of touch resistance you prefer.

Shaping hammers always reduces the touch-weight. In the treble the lighter hammers will actually produce more sustain, dynamic response, and less slap noise at impact. Of course the gradient of felt density of the hammers under the striking point must be wide enough to allow for surface voicing to restore pianissimo sound quality without losing FF sound quality. This is when you know hammers are worn out. There is too little felt for the needed density gradient that gives tone color change with dynamics.


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According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218582 01/22/14 01:54 AM
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The weight of the felt removed when resurfacing is negligible.


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218690 01/22/14 10:50 AM
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Negligible to what, BDB?


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218738 01/22/14 11:54 AM
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Negligible compared to the weight of the hammer. Negligible compared to the changes in friction. Negligible compared to the accuracy that touch weight is measured.


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218751 01/22/14 12:06 PM
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BDB,
Thanks for responding. Hammer shaping is usually not negligible to the pianist familiar with a particular piano. Otherwise we would have a difficult time getting them to pay us technicians to do it.

One gram off of a hammer reduces average touch weight approximately five grams. It has a much more significant effect on the dynamic spectrum of the tone and the inertia of the action. These things are difficult to measure with simple tools.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: toneman1@me.com
Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2218762 01/22/14 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB,
Thanks for responding. Hammer shaping is usually not negligible to the pianist familiar with a particular piano. Otherwise we would have a difficult time getting them to pay us technicians to do it.

One gram off of a hammer reduces average touch weight approximately five grams. It has a much more significant effect on the dynamic spectrum of the tone and the inertia of the action. These things are difficult to measure with simple tools.

All of which leads me to believe that you have never done a before and after weighing of a hammer that is being resurfaced. As you say, it is difficult to measure with simple tools. You need a very accurate scale, because the change in weight is negligible.


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2218852 01/22/14 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB,
Thanks for responding. Hammer shaping is usually not negligible to the pianist familiar with a particular piano. Otherwise we would have a difficult time getting them to pay us technicians to do it.

One gram off of a hammer reduces average touch weight approximately five grams. It has a much more significant effect on the dynamic spectrum of the tone and the inertia of the action. These things are difficult to measure with simple tools.


Good point. I think we've all been amazed at times when a client notices the tiniest of change to the action - so slight that even we cannot really feel it. Placebo effect? Sometimes, perhaps. But not always.


Bob W.
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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2218888 01/22/14 03:26 PM
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Yes, but I would feel better about it if someone actually measured these things, instead of just talking about it theoretically.


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2219006 01/22/14 05:46 PM
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It is a pretty simple exercise; I have done this.

I took a hammer from the mid area of the piano and proceeded to shave off felt with a sharp knife, with the goal of removing one gram. By the time I had removed that one gram, the hammer was so small that it no longer resembled anything that a technician would deem OK in a piano. Even a very, very severe filing or a series of moderate filings would only reduce the hammer mass by a few tenths of a gram.



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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Supply #2219117 01/22/14 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Supply
It is a pretty simple exercise; I have done this.

I took a hammer from the mid area of the piano and proceeded to shave off felt with a sharp knife, with the goal of removing one gram. By the time I had removed that one gram, the hammer was so small that it no longer resembled anything that a technician would deem OK in a piano. Even a very, very severe filing or a series of moderate filings would only reduce the hammer mass by a few tenths of a gram.


Experimental data! I love it!


Poetry is rhythm
Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Supply #2220310 01/24/14 11:32 PM
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I took hammer 88 from a C6 Yamaha #4300316 and weighed the entire shank/flange/hammer assembly on my electronic gram scale that displays in 0.1G increments.
Stock weight 10.3 G
Minus staple 10.1G
Trim shoulder felt with razor knife 9.7G
Shape tail on disc sander 9.4G
Taper sides of hammer and narrow hammer width at strike point to 3/8"
on disc sander 8.7G

For a net reduction in hammer weight of 1.6G which would reduce static down-weight by about 8 grams. Sure can feel that and boy will the key return be slow if front weight is left unaltered.

The weight reduction lower in the scale is greater due to the greater size of the hammers. I chose #88 because it has the least to work with.

The resultant hammer shape fits the unison more than adequately and no felt was removed from the wearing point.

I do know some technicians have a problem understanding how to properly shape hammers for best tone and touch and longevity-but my customers sure like the results.

To do a proper shaping job on many worn hammers the staples often must be removed or the resultant shape is too blunt for good tone. Do you really enjoy sanding at the staple?


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2220318 01/25/14 12:08 AM
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Trimming a hammer to reduce the weight is not the same as reshaping a worn hammer, so it is not what we were talking about.

After you have done all this, and the hammer wears down, have you ever weighed the hammer before reshaping and compared it to the weight after? That is what we were talking about.


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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
chopinoholic #2220473 01/25/14 09:36 AM
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This is the perfect example of a thread which should be in the tuner/tech forum.

Your bickering might fit in better over there.


Marty in Minnesota

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Re: How to determine when hammer replacement is needed
Minnesota Marty #2220546 01/25/14 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
This is the perfect example of a thread which should be in the tuner/tech forum.

Your bickering might fit in better over there.


What is your objection? Are you objecting to Jurgen and me trying to show that an expensive and environmentally unsound practice is unnecessary?


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