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Broken hitch pin at F#3 #2448563 08/07/15 03:05 PM
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Chloe J. Scott Offline OP
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Hi,

I hope you guys can help me. I've got a broken hitch pin for the upper 2 strings of F#3. It broke off a while ago while I was restringing and I never managed to get it fixed. But now I'm on it. Tired of 1 string on that note. The piano is a 1925 Cable grand, 5-ft long. Not top tier but the only one I've got.

Most of the pin came out (I don't have it any more), while there is still a little left down in the hole. I haven't measured the depth but it's quite far down. It's the last one on that section, just under the last overstrung base string and right next to where the strut comes into the back of the plate. There isn't much room because of it's location but I think I've got the right tools in order to drill it out carefully and successfully.

I did do a search in this forum and found some good suggestions from a few years back but there didn't seem to be much more than that, and my situation seemed different than theirs.

I read that I should drill out the remnants of the old pin (putting something underneath it to protect the soundboard). I assume that the hole is tapered so that the new one can be pounded in, so I would be a bit leery of changing the hole geometry. I can't get an actual pin but I can get a steel rod in 1/8 dia. which seems just about right. Would that work? I could also turn it on a lathe to change the overall profile if needed. And obviously I'd want to make sure it ultimately matched the other ones still there in size, shape, angle, etc.

My questions are these:
1) Should I be concerned about affecting the hole geometry or should I just resize it for the new pin?

2) Would a steel rod work in this instance, or should I just figure out how to get a real one?

3) When/if I do proceed with this would it be prudent to bend the pin to the right shape before pounding in, or should I pound it in as a straight pin and then pound it over to get the right angle to hold the wire? I would suspect the latter for fit reasons, but want to make sure.

I have fairly good metal working skills so I'm not a novice at it. I've just never tried to do this before and I want to know what would be the best method, and anything else that you might add, caviats, etc.

Thanks very much for your help.

James

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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2448573 08/07/15 03:30 PM
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Gene Nelson Online Content
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Curious if the original pin is drilled vertical into the plate or at an angle?
I really dont think this hole is tapered.
Pin may be driven in and then bent .
I would use a center punch to dimple the remaining pin in the hole.
Reason being it will help keep the drill bit from wandering.
Possibly use a small bit to start just to get a hole in it., then go larger.
If you use progressively larger bits you may get to the point where only a sliver remains and you may be able to tap it out with a punch and avoid going to a larger size hole.




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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2448576 08/07/15 03:48 PM
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Chloe J. Scott Offline OP
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Gene, thanks for answering my question. Now that I think of it the hole may be angled, not sure by how much though. I'd have to measure it.

I was also thinking along the same lines of using progressive drill sizes but didn't think about the center punch to create a guiding dimple. That is a very good idea and I thank you much for it.

Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2448585 08/07/15 04:12 PM
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BDB Offline
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Sometimes it is best just to hire an expert. A machinist, in this case.


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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: BDB] #2448596 08/07/15 05:29 PM
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Chloe J. Scott Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
Sometimes it is best just to hire an expert. A machinist, in this case.


I agree that would be the best solution, but it's not an option in this case. Besides, where would be the fun in that?

Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2448618 08/07/15 07:40 PM
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Dale Fox Offline
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It's a hitch pin for plain wire that shares a pin, right? Just put in a new hole location keeping in alignment with the original side to side placement but either fore or aft of the old one. The plate is full of holes. One more isn't going to hurt anything.


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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Dale Fox] #2448996 08/09/15 08:15 AM
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Chloe J. Scott Offline OP
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I got it done. I was able to drill it out using the suggestions from Gene (mostly). The hole didn't seem to be angled at all once I was able to measure it. The dia. was almost exactly 0.150", so I used a 5/32" steel rod cut and shaped to the right size. However, the first one I made was a bit too short and I couldn't get it to bend over. That one had to be removed. Luckily I was able to get it out without having to redrill it out.

The second one I made I pre-bent and then shaped. It took a few fitting trials but it is now perfect. Yay, I get to have three strings on that unison now! It has been over 20 years.

Dale, I had seen your suggestion and it sounded intriguing, but I ultimately had to discount it because there was very little room. Moving it forward would put it under the strut and moving it back would put it right at the base of the ridge that the string goes over (I don't know what you call it - aliquot bar?). But it would have been my second choice if drilling the pin out didn't work.

There is one complication though: I loosened the tension on the last 2 base strings to unhook them from the bridge and hitch pins to move them out of the way. The second one broke at the becket on the tuning pin. Now I can't get it back on. I've tried straightening the end of the wire and then kind of refashioning a new end to go into the hole but haven't been able to get it right. If I am able to get it right doing that, will it work? Otherwise all I can think to do is snip it off and send it back to Mapes for a replacement.

Sorry to change the direction of this thread but that's just the way things go in the real world sometimes.

Thanks to you all for your help on this.

James

Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2449009 08/09/15 09:09 AM
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Olek Offline
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you could have ordered new pins, they are shiny.

bend once installed, usually. sometime the pin is smashed with a hammer so it is well locked in the hole.

take care that the strings are well at the bottom of the pin or they can bend them and break them/

usually the old bass string with the cut becket can be reused, but you need a tuning pin and a crank, to wind the coil.toos to make it jointive, too

Last edited by Olek; 08/09/15 09:11 AM.

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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2449047 08/09/15 11:33 AM
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Chloe J. Scott Offline OP
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Hi Olek,

Thanks for your suggestions. That may have been why the pin broke in the first place, not being seated right when I was pulling it up. But it was very old at the time. The new pin is probably much stronger than the previous ones so I don't think that I'll have any problems with it.

As far as the broken string goes: I did the previous restringing myself so I do have all of the necessary tools. I've just never had to fix this problem before so I'm at a loss on how to do it. How do I get the end of the wire into the hole in the new pin if it's part of the coil? I have tried to straighten that end to make it a little easier but haven't had much luck.

Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2449054 08/09/15 11:58 AM
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Olek Offline
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at worst you drill the tuning pin hole a little larger, but usually you cut the becket so the end of the wire is neat, you straighten as much as you can, -a screwdriver in the coil and you pull ), and make a new coil, depending of the situation, the new coil is done on an extra tuning pin, then installed on the pin in the piano with round nose pliers to hold it,

Or you coil in the piano. in both cases the coil is not perfect, once there is enough tension on the wire you tap the coil from above with a tubing open on one side (a coil tightening tool) for that to work, the becket must be flush with the pin, and the coil is installed too high, then tapped.

WHile installing the string you hold it with a stringing hook, or with the usual tool.

Its been a long time I did not reuse old bass strings so I do not remind the specific too much.

If you pull the pin out it may be better to add a shim carboard or not too hard wood; and in any case unscrew the pin very slowly to avoid too much heat and enlarging the hole.

It is easier to make the coil in the piano , probably.

Once mounted, you do lower the tension, put the eyelet out of the pin and turn the string 0,5 to 2,5 turns to be sure the winding is tight (double winding cannot be twisted more than 0,5 turns usually because the winding are in opposite direction, the thinner wound can be twisted more than the big ones 2 turns is standard for the thin strings, but if overdone it degrades the tone, so it depend of the situation, it is mostly to avoid buzzing or too dull strings.

good luck



Last edited by Olek; 08/09/15 12:24 PM.

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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2449061 08/09/15 12:28 PM
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Ed A. Hall Offline
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I think you're at the point where you may need to call a piano technician.

Originally Posted by James Scott


There is one complication though: I loosened the tension on the last 2 base strings to unhook them from the bridge and hitch pins to move them out of the way. The second one broke at the becket on the tuning pin. Now I can't get it back on. I've tried straightening the end of the wire and then kind of refashioning a new end to go into the hole but haven't been able to get it right. If I am able to get it right doing that, will it work? Otherwise all I can think to do is snip it off and send it back to Mapes for a replacement.

Sorry to change the direction of this thread but that's just the way things go in the real world sometimes.

Thanks to you all for your help on this.

James

Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Chloe J. Scott] #2449212 08/10/15 07:16 AM
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Unless you're a glutton for punishment. I'd give Ed Hall's advice some thought. Call a tech. Someone with experience could splice the wire, and save you the cost of a new string and the headaches of trying to install it competently.


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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: David Jenson] #2449215 08/10/15 07:47 AM
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Olek Offline
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Originally Posted by David Jenson
Unless you're a glutton for punishment. I'd give Ed Hall's advice some thought. Call a tech. Someone with experience could splice the wire, and save you the cost of a new string and the headaches of trying to install it competently.


David, no splice, it is just reinstalling an old bass wire when the becket broke, with the thinnest wire it is not too difficult, with the thick ones way more particularly as the steel harden in time and is not easy to recoil,

I think of something ; may be heating the wire can help by softening it as long as tempering is not lost ; when making eyelets on a hook or with pliers, the wire that was just bend is easier to work than when it had time to cool.

Calling a piano technician is a too generic description, if the guy is not used to restring old pianos keeping the original bass strings he will not be a big help and will order a new string probably.


Last edited by Olek; 08/10/15 07:49 AM.

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Re: Broken hitch pin at F#3 [Re: Olek] #2449891 08/12/15 01:30 PM
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Chloe J. Scott Offline OP
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Olek,

I was able to get it in, just took a bit of wrangling to do it. Had to take the pin out to make it easier. I also went through all my pins and had to pound a few base ones in a little bit, one a lot. Some had been giving me trouble.

Got the new wire on F#3 yesterday and pulled up, sounds good. It's a bit more shiny than the old wire but I can live with that. I also made sure that my coils were all nice and tight and all the wires were going over their various bars as straight as possible. Now just repeated tunings to stabilize it.

I'm just an amateur but a quick study and I love this stuff. Thanks to everybody for their help and great suggestions. I couldn't have done it without you.

James


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