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Hi, I have heard you can apply superglue to loose tuning pins as a way of holding them if the owner does not want to replace the pin block.

How exactly do you do this for a grand piano? Do you need to remove the full tuning pin, apply the glue to the bottom, then replace? Or is it possible to not remove the loose pins and drip around the edge of the pin and let it seep down?

Thanks

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Remove the action.
Put a plastic sheet on the keybed. (Some glue may drip onto the keybed.)
Apply CA glue with a hyper oiler. (Some CA bottles already have a long nozzle good enough for the purpose.)
Add until a small pool forms at the base of the pin.
Make two passes, adding more glue if the pool has absorbed into the hole.
Takes 2 - 4oz.
Let stand 24hrs.
When tuning, loosen first to break the glue joint. Trying to sharpen against glue and string tension will increase the risk of breaking the tuning pin.
Do not leave the glue too long or the joint will be too strong and may increase the risk of tuning pin breakage. This did happen to me after leaving the glue for two weeks.
Do not close the lid while the glue dries. It gives off a vapour that will condense on the wood and leave a white cloudy residue that will not come off. BTDT.
Open windows during drying. The fumes are not dangerous but can be strong for some.

Last edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT; 01/11/15 09:53 PM.
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What Bill Bremmer and I do is pull the action out of a grand, then we flip the piano and apply super glue (thin stuff) to the underside of the pin block, Then super glue will go where we want it. This treatment always works well too!


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I would be worried that the glue would drip through the block and down (up) the pin. Dried CA glue is not very attractive. I'm sure you do not use too much. Do you measure it out to avoid this condition?

Yes, I forgot to mention; ultra thin CA glue is needed.

I would not dream to attempt to flip a customer's grand piano. But I'm sure you and Bill must have a special technique to do that.

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Lucas,
I think this is the best way to do CA treatment to a block. Especially if you do it before tapping the pins a little deeper, if that is possible. I have done this on some very well preserved, almost original pianos that had marginal tuning pin torque. They went from marginal to excellent torque and have stayed that way for years now. They tune very well. With smooth turning pins.

Last edited by Ed McMorrow, RPT; 01/11/15 11:19 PM. Reason: clarity

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In either case, whether applying CA glue from the top or the bottom, I can hardly imagine that there would be enough CA glue to actually drip through to the other side! If you are applying so much glue that it is flooding over the pinblock and leaking through the space between the pinblock and the plate flange, you are vastly over doing it!

CA glue literally wants to go into any space or porous material that there is. Applied from the underside of a grand, one ounce is sufficient. Applied from the top in either a grand or vertical, usually one ounce is enough. Otherwise, the glue is being wasted and it is not going where it will do some good.

To "flip" a grand piano is also not anything extraordinary. It is more or less like a normal grand piano moving procedure. Of course, a single person cannot do it. It will usually take at least three strong people. The floor needs to be protected. Or at least, there needs to be some kind of drop cloth material between the piano and a hard floor to protect the finish of the piano.

I recommend the "flip" procedure for cases of a fine grand piano with prematurely loose tuning pins. It happens. Otherwise fine and expensive grand pianos end up with uncontrollably loose tuning pins after 10 years. The warranty has expired but the piano itself has decades more use. Who is going to repin that or replace a pinblock in that for a church, school or even a private customer for untold thousands? The piano is effectively "totaled" unless the one remedy which will actually allow it to survive is employed.

There is no reason why a grand piano cannot or should not receive treatment from both bottom and top but bottom treatment should be tried first.

Any remedy should not be done sloppily. CA glue should be considered to be like "strong medicine" for a condition that would otherwise be terminal. It is not to be slobbered on by a tooner as so many other "pin tight" treatments have been done in the past. Flood the pinblock area with a chemical before even bothering to clean away the dirt that is there. NO!

A vertical piano should be placed on its back for such treatment and the pinblock area should be clean before any treatment is begun. Yes, I know that some success has been had with the piano only tilted back 45 degrees or even left vertically but a true and good treatment requires the vertical piano to be fully on its back so that gravity can take the restorative fluids where they will be most effective. You have to do what you gotta do when you gotta do it, so they say, so the more you can incline a vertical piano, the better.

Any glue that does not go where it is intended should be cleaned up. A Q-tip type swab can work for that or just a piece of cloth on the end of a small screwdriver blade will do.
In the end, a CA glue treatment of a pinblock should be invisible to all but the most discriminating eye.

If the treatment is done from the underside, it should not be apparent to anyone except a technician who, with a flashlight, could perceive that the tuning pin holes have some darker staining upon them, if they can even see that. If the treatment is done from the topside, only a technician may perceive that the tuning pin bushings (if there are any) are of a darker shade than they normally would be. If there are no tuning pin bushings, the treatment should be virtually undetectable.

The undetectability of treatment is, of course, not intended to hide anything or deceive anyone. It is meant to be what it is: an effective treatment that does not disturb any cosmetic aspect of the piano.


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Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT

Any glue that does not go where it is intended should be cleaned up. A Q-tip type swab can work for that or just a piece of cloth on the end of a small screwdriver blade will do.


Taking care that it doesn't catch fire, of course!

http://www.omgfacts.com/lists/9148/Cotton-will-combust-if-super-glue-is-applied-to-it

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Capillary action should draw the glue in. I have had glue with very thin tubes which can be directed quite carefully.

But here in the Bay Area, I see very few pianos that I cannot make hold as long as pianos in other parts of the country just by good tuning technique. Looser pins require less setting than tight pins.


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Yes. Even with paper napkins it produces a lot of heat. One must be careful to not drop the CA where its not intended to go. It is not easy to clean between all these tuning pins and strings.

Verticals must be tilted and layed on their back. There is no way to make a clean job when they are in its vertical position. And you can have the CA going between the string coils and the tuning pin, which obviouly creates problems if you ever need to remove the string.


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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Remove the action.
Put a plastic sheet on the keybed. (Some glue may drip onto the keybed.)
Apply CA glue with a hyper oiler. (Some CA bottles already have a long nozzle good enough for the purpose.)
Add until a small pool forms at the base of the pin.
Make two passes, adding more glue if the pool has absorbed into the hole.
Takes 2 - 4oz.
Let stand 24hrs.
When tuning, loosen first to break the glue joint. Trying to sharpen against glue and string tension will increase the risk of breaking the tuning pin.
Do not leave the glue too long or the joint will be too strong and may increase the risk of tuning pin breakage. This did happen to me after leaving the glue for two weeks.
Do not close the lid while the glue dries. It gives off a vapour that will condense on the wood and leave a white cloudy residue that will not come off. BTDT.
Open windows during drying. The fumes are not dangerous but can be strong for some.
(Emphasis added.)


I'd be a little cautious about using a plastic sheet. C/A glue can react with some plastics and melt them. One or two layers of cardboard might be safer.

Btw, to the OP...
You don't just want to use just any super glue you buy in a little tube at the local supermarket. You definitely do not want the gel type.

You want a good quality C/A glue, like Hot Stuff. I sometimes describe it as "Super Glue's bigger, meaner, older brother."

Last edited by daniokeeper; 01/12/15 02:45 AM.

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If anybody is interested, I was applying superglue to a piano today. Curiosity got me to tear a small sheet of cardboard from the super glue wrapper and try Max's cardboard fix on one of the pins. That pin felt tighter than the superglued pins when I finished.

I rolled the cardboard into a cylinder and put it in the hole with a short piece protruding. I then hammered the pin in until the protruding piece disappeared into the hole. I then continued the process by slow winding the pin in. It is hard slow work but it worked very well for that individual pin.


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I've tried this fix, but using sand paper instead of card board, the grit facing the pinblock of course, with inconsistent results.

This is a fix I would use when there are only a few loose tuning pins but the rest has enough torque

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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Do not close the lid while the glue dries. It gives off a vapour that will condense on the wood and leave a white cloudy residue that will not come off. BTDT.


Yes. Maybe everyone else knows this intuitively somehow, but I didn't, and I also learned the hard way. In all the discussion of CA treatments I've seen around here, I've never thought to bring it up, nor have I seen it mentioned before. Worth repeating.


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Placing the cap right side up on the piano surface can leave a nice sized circle. Oops, does not come off. There was no liquid in the cap, just the residual gas.

Gary


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How about this:

I tilted an upright, and as Bill Bremmer correctly stated, maybe I use a bit too much, but that's what I do.

Anyway, an upright has blind holes, right? So it shouldn't be a problem. Well, I'm applying glue to my heart's content, with the piano tilted over a lovely throw rug, when what to my wandering eyes should appear? Drip. Drip. Drip.

Seems the glue can and will find its way out through any small cracks in the pinblock lamination.

The good news? The glue dripped on to one of the braces of my tilter, and none touched the rug.

Ya! I know!

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If the CA glue is pooling and dripping through areas other than the tuning pins where it meant to go, that means that the tuning pin holes (which are the target) are already saturated. Any more CA glue will not help anything and may well cause other problems. Here is a photo of the Yamaha Spinet piano treble tuning pin area which Lucas Brookins treated on Jan 5, 2015.

[Linked Image]

Do you see any mess? If I didn't tell you that the pinblock had been treated with CA glue, could you see that it was? The only clue is that the tuning pin bushings are slightly darker than they were before treatment, as if they were wet.

This spinet had many tuning pins which would not hold pitch. After CA glue treatment, it felt like tuning a new piano. There was no squeakiness or jumpiness; only a very normal and natural feel.

Comments on what others have said:

I don't believe in tapping in the pins. It may only damage further an already weak pinblock.

If there are a few tuning pins that still remain loose, remove them and put some medium grade CA glue in the hole and on the tuning pin and gently tap it in. It will begin to have some torque on it in a few minutes and will usually end up being very firm.

Max's idea is a version of a very old technique of using veneer to provide torque to a tuning pin. If there are many pins that would need that kind of repair, not only would it be difficult and time consuming, it may only serve to damage the pinblock further.

Lucas used a vapor mask, eye goggles and rubber gloves to avoid discomfort. One should not work in the area as long as the glue odor remains. It may well cause illness. IT is a job best done during the warm season with plenty of cross ventilation. While it may only take a half hour to become effective, it is a good idea to apply the glue one day and come back the next in order to avoid lingering fumes.

It takes a fairly large amount of CA glue to cause cotton or wool to combust. If simply wiping up a drip, the glue will harden instantly in the material used to wipe or sop it up. If however, a large pool of it were to somehow be spilled, it definitely will cause a rag to get hot and smoke. If touched with a bare hand, it could easily cause a burn.

When purchasing a CA glue product, it is important to choose the right product. The following brands all work well but Hot Stuff is my preference and is sold by Schaff Piano Supply and other piano supply houses.

http://www.caglue.com/ (The red label is the ultra thin grade).

http://www.rcplanet.com/Jet_Glue_In...ngRd0bC4PGkIQEr12UQdXVTud4dlTBoCa_Lw_wcB

(The blue label Jet is the ultra thin grade).

http://www.zapglue.com/ (The pink label Zap is the ultra thin grade).


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Crazy question: the quantities, 1 ounce, or 2 to 4...is that per pin, or for the whole set of pins? If you divide even as much as 4 ounces across 200+ pins, it doesn't seem like a large enough quantity to saturate the wood and leak through. If its per pin, then even only 1 ounce per pin would be nearly two gallons of glue, and I could see that much leaking through, of course, not to mention the fumes.


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One small bottle of thin superglue would be more than enough for three or four pin-blocks. Four or five drops per pin max.


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I use 2 to 4 oz per piano. I let it pool at the bottom of the pin unless it doesn't pool with a reasonable squeeze. If you do it right, it's not messy, just the dark colour of the bushings like Bill said.

I've had a few that didn't work when applying less. That's why I'm so generous.

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I agree with Mark. Better to use plenty at first because once it cures you won't get any more in. Bill's description is right on. Definitely use a fan to blow away the fumes - they are nasty!

I get my CA from a local remote control hobby shop. They go through a lot of it so it is fresh. Also I like how they date the bottles. I use the product made by Bob Smith Industries. Its also available at Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Bob-Smith-Ins...sr=8-3&keywords=super+glue+bob+smith
[Linked Image]

I also like to use THESE APPLICATOR TIPS . I cut them to about an inch long. They allow for very precise and controlled application (unless you don't get them on firmly and then you may have a mess on your hands! Also too firmly they sometimes split, also a treacherously messy situation!).
[Linked Image]


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