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#2280462 - 05/24/14 10:36 AM Needling problem  
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,428
Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Scotland
I made a needling tool by mounting three #7 sharp-point sewing needles into a wooden dowel. The needles were sunk in drilled holes and fixed with CA glue. There is 6mm of exposed needles.

I thought "great" and was eager to start needling as I have several metallic sounding notes noticable since I completed the sanding phase of my regulation work and tuning.

It has been a frustrating experience as inserting the needles along the felt layer direction (parallel) at 10-11 and 13-14 o'clock proved very difficult. I had no idea that the felt would be so firm. I then removed two of the needles and continued but soon after broke the needle which fortunately was then fully extracted from the hammer.

So I have stopped the voicing to post this and hope to recieve some advice. I have seen a new hammer set voicing done on You Tube where the workshop technician used an aggressive stabbing technique with around 40 stabs each side of the hammer (?) This I'm sure is not what is now for my piano.

It is a 28 year old Knight K10 upright with 16lb hammers 2000psi machine-applied natural merino wool felt.

Ian


Last edited by Beemer; 05/24/14 10:38 AM.

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#2280501 - 05/24/14 12:33 PM Re: Needling problem [Re: Beemer]  
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SMHaley Offline
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The first order of business is to get proper tools. Its surprising anyone would know just how much pressure the hammers of a 28 year old instrument were pressed with.


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Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single
#2280639 - 05/24/14 07:36 PM Re: Needling problem [Re: Beemer]  
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Mark Cerisano Offline
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Mark Cerisano  Offline
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I actually make and use the same tool and sell it to my students!

One needle though. It is fine for hammers that are not lacquered too much, and I use a short dowel. Also, only good for surface needling, not deep shoulder needling.

What you describe sounds like Chinese hammers that have been lacquered to death. They are like rock. Not much you can do with needles.

You can try hammer softener. But GO SLOW. Do NOT use too much. Add. Wait to dry. Check tone. If there is no change, forget about it. Use too much and you will have a heck of a time trying to get any tone back.

You can also try steam voicing.

I even had to resort to putting a needle in a Dremel tool once for a Chinese piano that had one hammer that was just way too loud. I can't remember if it made a huge difference; it was a while ago, but I think it helped.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
#2280656 - 05/24/14 09:04 PM Re: Needling problem [Re: Beemer]  
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Olek Offline
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France
I first would "unlock" the top of the hammer by massaging strong the shoulders and near crown area with heavy pliers.

That is a know process to deal with hammers that have been too much heated, or are acting as if the felt was glued.

Thz round part is massaged, not the sides.

Felt ages and loose resiliency and tension. A little may remain on quality hammers and they also can be rejuvenated by recreating a suspension in the shoulders. But the tone will not be as long and as thick as with new hammers.

If you have zero experience with voicing, you can begin with "waking up the felt" around and in the crown, with light, fast, and no deep radial stitches (may be 2-3 mm around and going along the fiber in the "percussion side" (under the head for an upright, needle really minimally and not deep there, diagonal needling avoid softening the side that may be firmer)

You may hear then that the amount of power is less large than you thought, once the percussive attack is somehow policed
. but what may miss then is dynamics.
This could only be obtained with some deep needling.
Better with one or 2 needles, and experiment by comparing 2 notes that sound similar, needle one and compare with the other, to understand what needling is doing.

You also can needle directly near the underfelt, and under the near crown region. The hardness is located there usually.

Needle just once or twice from the flat side. the tone will be longer and less hard. This does not stay put for long but may give you some ideas or where the needles have to work when doing the job normally. You may need to needle deep and near the crown.
Not on both sides probably. on old hammers that is the only available part where you can create a suspension , it is near the crown.

nee ling from 9: to 10:00 with the needles 9░ from the layers will enlarge the higher portion of the hammer, and add some tension there, with a pear shape.

Needdling radially, and almost vertical in the higher regions will give more a "diamond shape"

The part that impact the strings can be a little large, 2-3 mm in mediums will help to have a more powerful attack.

hammer packing and fine hammer mating can be one by playing firmly while stopping the sound with a rubber or felt mute really near the strike point. (it avoid breaking strings, and pushing more on one side will compact the hammer more on one side than the other.

Your hammer centers must have zero play, the hammer is to be firmly hold in the flange. That is why heavy burnishing and adjusting the cloth and flange by moistening is providing a very secure pinning. The wood around a worn bushing can be tightened with a sharp point making small holes all around the bushing.In a hurry or without the good equipment to change the bushing , it can help.

The orientation of the hammer at impact time matters. smaller hammers are better shaped with the crown a little deported to compensate for wear. it also avoid some hardness.




Last edited by Olek; 05/24/14 09:20 PM.

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#2280713 - 05/25/14 01:00 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
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SMHaley Offline
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SMHaley  Offline
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Seattle
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT


What you describe sounds like Chinese hammers that have been lacquered to death. They are like rock. Not much you can do with needles.


I believe it is that they are hot pressed to death to begin with.


PTG Associate
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Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
Zuckermann Flemish Single
#2280737 - 05/25/14 05:50 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: SMHaley]  
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Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Scotland
Originally Posted by SMHaley
The first order of business is to get proper tools. Its surprising anyone would know just how much pressure the hammers of a 28 year old instrument were pressed with.


Data is straight from the manufacturer's K10 brochure

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Bl├╝thner Model A
#2280738 - 05/25/14 05:53 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: Mark Cerisano]  
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Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Scotland
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
I actually make and use the same tool and sell it to my students!

One needle though. It is fine for hammers that are not lacquered too much, and I use a short dowel. Also, only good for surface needling, not deep shoulder needling.

What you describe sounds like Chinese hammers that have been lacquered to death. They are like rock. Not much you can do with needles.

You can try hammer softener. But GO SLOW. Do NOT use too much. Add. Wait to dry. Check tone. If there is no change, forget about it. Use too much and you will have a heck of a time trying to get any tone back.

You can also try steam voicing.

I even had to resort to putting a needle in a Dremel tool once for a Chinese piano that had one hammer that was just way too loud. I can't remember if it made a huge difference; it was a while ago, but I think it helped.


Hello Mark,

Not Chinese or ever lackered. This is a Lander action from:

http://www.piano-tuners.org/herrburgerbrooks/

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Bl├╝thner Model A
#2280741 - 05/25/14 06:02 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: Beemer]  
Joined: Feb 2011
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Withindale Offline
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Withindale  Offline
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Suffolk, England
Originally Posted by Beemer
... I have several metallic sounding notes noticable since I completed the sanding phase of my regulation work and tuning...

Ian,

What was the condition and shape of the hammers before and after your sanding phase: grooves, flats, etc? What string seating and hammer mating work have you done?

The UK Piano Forum might give you some useful advice on Knight hammers.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
#2280753 - 05/25/14 07:43 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: Withindale]  
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Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Scotland
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by Beemer
... I have several metallic sounding notes noticable since I completed the sanding phase of my regulation work and tuning...

Ian,

What was the condition and shape of the hammers before and after your sanding phase: grooves, flats, etc? What string seating and hammer mating work have you done?

The UK Piano Forum might give you some useful advice on Knight hammers.


Ian,

The hammers had never been voiced after delivery. The treble string grooves were as deep as the string diameter. I thought that surely as the length of the string indentation was long the hammer flats would be hitting more than an optimum dimension.

I marked the centre of the strike then by hand sanding I restored the shape although subsequently learned about graduated sanding. After six tunings (my learning process) the grooves are very minor and the triples appear even.

I'm used to working with tools and materials but I really was surprised at the felt density when starting to needle.

The hammers have never been lacquered so I am thinking that steaming would not be appropriate but I could be completely wrong about the benefit of steaming before trying needling again.

Another piece of advice read here is to lightly squeeze across the 11 and 14 o'clock points to loosen the felt before needling then hammer down and smooth.

No rush for me to do this just to get it right without damaging the felt. I forgot to mention before that I have failed to find a method of fixing the hammer in situ similar to how a voicing block is used on a grand?

Thanks for your interest.

Ian



I'm all keyed up
2016 Bl├╝thner Model A
#2280755 - 05/25/14 07:45 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: Olek]  
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Beemer Offline
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Beemer  Offline
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Scotland
Isaac,

Your reply contains much useful information. Thanks for taking the time.

Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Bl├╝thner Model A
#2280765 - 05/25/14 08:45 AM Re: Needling problem [Re: Beemer]  
Joined: Feb 2011
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Withindale Offline
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Withindale  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
Suffolk, England
Ian,

I appreciate you are keen to have a go at voicing but I was keen to avoid damaging my hammers through lack of experience and expertise.

One thing I found is that swapping hammers can help to narrow down problems. In one case the problem moved with the hammer (faulty glue joint) and in others it didn't (strings, terminations).

Another thing that made a big difference was getting rid of the compression in the felt that had formed at each end of the grooves. That's something you can feel rather than see. Massaging with pliers, as Isaac suggests, or by other means can sometimes achieve that and avoid extra filing.

FWIW my method was to roll the shoulders of the hammer backwards and forwards on a breadboard, with the main force being applied to push the fibres back towards the crown. The idea was to loosen up the fibres where they had locked themselves together over the years.

Last edited by Withindale; 05/25/14 02:52 PM.

Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
#2281232 - 05/26/14 12:40 PM Re: Needling problem [Re: Beemer]  
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
Olek Offline
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Olek  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 9,230
France
Plucking the strings is easier than listening to the note with hammer played; or at last it shows well the strings that does not ring clearly enough, then it is easier to recognize those defects in the normally played note.

The cleaning of the wood in front of the bridge pin with a small chisel (it can pass below the string eventually while pushing it up a little) is a very efficient tool for impure strings and also for "false beats")

It is to be done before changing the strings while repairing.
(good magnifying glasses are a must)

Small differences in downbearing also will change the way the strings keep its energy. I like to have some veneer under the "downbearing cloths) so a little back bearing can be ade by tapping on the string. WOrks with cardboard too but carboard always finally is crushed by the wire with time, veneer less.


When things begin to be nice you can also perceive the hammer that have a slightly different rake -(front/back) angle.

The bad shanks also gives some 'broken tone' I check that prior to mounting new shanks, when sounding shanks some give a tone showing they have some crack or inner problem. They will tone as if the hammer is not glued well.

Ideally voicing means building tone, not being "defensive", but on bass bi chords and some poorly matched strings it is often unavoidable to hide a part of the top spectra, or to add power to hide those defects.

Last edited by Olek; 05/26/14 12:43 PM.

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