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Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
#2527433 04/03/16 04:53 PM
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My church owns a fully restored 100-year-old Mason and Hamlin 7-foot grand. A pleasure to play! Recently, a new staff member has removed the music desk and opened the lid to full stick but without folding back the hinged part like you are supposed to. I believe this was done because they like how it looks that way, and its been left that way for at least a couple weeks now. I know that this is not the proper position for a piano lid--the hinged section should be folded back before you open the lid. But my question would be is there any danger in it being this way? Might it fall? Is this putting a strain on the hinges or the lid that might cause damage? I don't want to raise a fuss with the church staff member unnecessarily. I'm simply concerned for the piano. Thanks.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527436 04/03/16 05:03 PM
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The screws on the lid's piano hinge are under constant strain in this position. I can't imagine that that's good.


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Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527443 04/03/16 05:37 PM
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Good question...

I've seen grand pianos for sale on eBay or Craigslist with lid open and fly-lid not folded back. I agree that this can put a lot of stress on the fly-lid hinge, and is not the proper lid prop position. It may look nice to some, but I don't think the lid was meant to be propped open this way.

When I saw the title of this thread, I thought was another thread about which lid-prop slot to use; the lid-prop stick should be positioned at 90-degrees in the lid-slot to be safest.

Of course, this is just my opinion. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527444 04/03/16 05:41 PM
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I entirely agree that putting the lid into this position will put undue strain on the hinge screws. The obvious solution is to nail a few battens to the underside of the lid so that the front part is better supported. Probably it would be a good idea to use nails that are a bit too long so that the protruding ends can be hammered at right angles into the top of the lid. You might also consider putting some epoxy glue onto the battens before they are nailed in, just to be on the safe side.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527445 04/03/16 05:45 PM
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Or just flip the flap (fly lid) back. 😀


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Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527446 04/03/16 05:47 PM
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Spoilsport.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527448 04/03/16 05:51 PM
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Yes, when I googled to try to find out if not folding back the lid was an issue (couldn't find an answer), I did come across discussions about using the proper slot for the proper stick. Interesting thing is that this piano has only one slot even though there is also a short stick. I looked closely at the open lid this morning and could only see the one slot. Perhaps pianos of this vintage were designed to work with the same slot for both sticks? While I have played several different grand pianos in different churches around this area, I don't get to mess with the sticks and haven't taken much notice of them, so I don't have a comparison on how frequently grands have one slot or two. My home piano is a studio rather than a grand.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527450 04/03/16 05:58 PM
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Hi Rick, I've got a new song (chorus only) for you - sort of a jive number:

Flip that flappin' fly back,
Flip that fly lid back,

Repeat 1st two lines

If you don't flip that flappin' fly,
Somethin's sure to crack.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527455 04/03/16 06:12 PM
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Hi Vonette,

I hope that you won't feel that I've been unnecessarily flippant so far. The answers to your questions are first that it is a rotten idea to prop the lid without folding back the front section as the strain on the hinge will sooner or later cause the hinge screws to loosen and the hinge to distort. Second quite a lot of pianos have only one prop button(or slot), you can use it with either stick. Third I play often in churches and I would be quite annoyed to find that the desk had been removed, and I'm sure that other players would feel the same.

Regards, J-C.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527456 04/03/16 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Vonette
Yes, when I googled to try to find out if not folding back the lid was an issue (couldn't find an answer), I did come across discussions about using the proper slot for the proper stick. Interesting thing is that this piano has only one slot even though there is also a short stick. I looked closely at the open lid this morning and could only see the one slot. Perhaps pianos of this vintage were designed to work with the same slot for both sticks? While I have played several different grand pianos in different churches around this area, I don't get to mess with the sticks and haven't taken much notice of them, so I don't have a comparison on how frequently grands have one slot or two. My home piano is a studio rather than a grand.


I would not, under any circumstances, inform the pianists who play this piano, that the lid may break, and fall on them, causing serious injury. To do so is to admit liability, and you will be sued. If you do not warn them and the lid falls off, it is an act of god.

edit: spelling error

Last edited by prout; 04/03/16 06:16 PM.
Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527463 04/03/16 06:39 PM
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JC, no offense taken. It might sound strange to some folks on here that I would even consider not speaking up about this immediately. Unfortunately, I have reason to believe the person responsible will not welcome my input and may even disregard it. )-: I realize also that it sounds strange to leave the music desk off a church piano. I certainly wouldn't want to use it that way! However, strange as this might sound (even downright heretical on here!), the person in question has moved the piano to the side and set it up this way as stage decor. There is no intention for anyone to play it. I was in fact forbidden to move it so it could be used this morning, and since I have no idea where the desk is, I had little choice but to obey. We are expected to use the Roland electric keyboard instead. Even more unfortunately, my piano students are scheduled to use the grand for their recital in a couple weeks, and I do hope there will be no difficulties raised about restoring the desk and re-orienting the piano to a more usable position. Being a church musician is not easy! Sigh.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527469 04/03/16 07:03 PM
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I have seen old, restored pianos that are "all or nothing." They only have the long stick for fully open or closed with no short stick. Sometimes, I see short sticks that look to have been added, which may account for the single hole. Either stick really should be at a 90-degree angle to the lid, in an appropriate hole.

I dislike playing without the music desk--I'll put the vertical part down when playing from memory, but I'd rather not watch dampers bob up and down. That could really distract young students.

Church politics is tricky, and pushing too far might mean they'll sell the piano and put drums in its place! Sympathy!


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
WhoDwaldi #2527470 04/03/16 07:18 PM
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Nobody's mentioned it yet, but it sounds from the initial post as if the lid is being kept up all of the time. That's also a bad idea.

Larry.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527472 04/03/16 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
Hi Rick, I've got a new song (chorus only) for you - sort of a jive number:

Flip that flappin' fly back,
Flip that fly lid back,

Repeat 1st two lines

If you don't flip that flappin' fly,
Somethin's sure to crack.


Okay, Jean Claude, April Fools' day was 3 days ago, but I'm game... smile

Flip that flappin' fly back,
Flip that fly lid back,
If you don't flip that flappin' fly,
Somethin's sure to crack.

It may crack in the front, Jack,
Or it may crack in the back
But if you don’t flip that fly-lid back
You’re gonna get some flack

Flip that flappin' fly back,
Flip that fly lid back,
If you don't flip that flappin' fly,
Somethin's sure to crack.

Do it now while you still can
Or it may fall and give you a whack
Don’t test your fate or try to debate
Cause Murphy's Law ain’t gonna wait

Flip that flappin' fly back,
Flip that fly lid back,
If you don't flip that flappin' fly,
Somethin's sure to crack.

Come on now, Jack, and don’t be coy
You know what you should do
If that fly-lid falls and hurts your fingers
You know you may want to sue

Flip that flappin' fly back,
Flip that fly lid back,
If you don't flip that flappin' fly,
Somethin's sure to crack.

grin





Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527477 04/03/16 08:07 PM
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Vonette, the hinges that hold the weight of the lid should be more than capable enough of holding the lid up regardless of whether it's unfolded or not, and the long "piano hinge" that keeps the lid sections together should also be sufficient enough to hold them together without pulling out screws [these screws are in what's known as a "shear plane" and are [basically] under the same stress whether the lid is folded or unfolded, or be it up or down], but that's not what bothers me.

What does bother me is in regards to the lid section that is normally folded over upon itself being "flapping in the breeze" free; with it unfolded and extended out towards the keyboard, it is now in direct contact with the 90° corner and edge of the piano's longside, where no such contact is or was ever intended. Through the vibrations associated with playing or even the vibrations of adjacent instruments or speakers, there's a good chance that eventually over time the lid's surface coming in contact with the rim will result in damage to the corner, the underside of the lid, or both. This corner and the corner opposite it are critical to any piano's aesthetics, and both are very easily damaged from any sort of unnecessary contact with anything from above, alongside, or the front of it.

The placement of the lid's 2 or 3 hinges and the rubber bumpers that are usually placed strategically along the surface of the rim's top surface are placed as such to intentionally keep the lid from making direct contact with the top surface of the piano's rim, to keep each of them isolated from one another so as not to cause unwanted vibrations and wear due to any uneven surface touching one another.

Personally, I think to keep the piano's lid in such a position, along with its music desk removed disallowing others to play this instrument, is both unwarranted and naive.

And lastly, if you're involved with your Church's music program you have every right to speak your peace about a musical instrument's position, where such a vital part of it such as it's music desk is located, and lastly, giving input in regards to this musical instrument's proper use without fear of repercussion from anyone. If I were you I would go right to the top of the Church's food chain, then go in prayer to the highest power there is Above, where I'm sure you'll receive an answer on how to preceed in a way that will be satisfying to you and your Church, as you're there to serve, not to be subservient. You might even receive an unexpected blessing in the process wink

Hoping all turns out well grin

Regards,
Andy


1979 Yamaha C7D - Yamaha P115 - Korg MicroKORG synth. - Korg Kaossilator Pro synth.
Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527491 04/03/16 08:42 PM
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Greetings,
There is no right or wrong way. However, the repair for the front lid hinge runs about $ 175 to plug and redress the holes. And, you will need to do that in the future, as this lid position is guaranteed to eventually pull the screws out starting at the top. I have repaired more of these damages than I can remember.
Also, if someone thinks the piano looks better this way, I consider them esthetically challenged AND ignorant. But I do enjoy repairing the damage. Sometimes it is gradual, other times, all it takes is someone leaning on it to rip it loose.
Enjoy,

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527492 04/03/16 08:46 PM
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Not to belabor the point too much, but just a bit of clarification. Leaving the lid in this position does in fact put additional strain on the 5/8" to 3/4" X 4 screws holding the lids together. Since the fold over lid is not being supported on the rim in the same manner as the larger piece there is torque being applied to the hinge from the fold over part, pulling the screws out of the lid. Additionally, these screws are put in end grain wood which is really the worst possible placement of a fastener... hence the dozens of screws. I hate to find music desks removed from pianos because the invariability get broken and/or lost and can cost $400 - $600 to replace. By all means share your concerns and share what you have learned on this thread. If the inevitable damage occurs you at least warned them and they will only have their own stupidity and stubbornness to blame.

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
DrewBone #2527496 04/03/16 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DrewBone

And lastly, if you're involved with your Church's music program you have every right to speak your peace about a musical instrument's position, where such a vital part of it such as it's music desk is located, and lastly, giving input in regards to this musical instrument's proper use without fear of repercussion from anyone.


Ah, if only this were universally true, life would be so much more pleasant. Vonette, I completely understand your concern for discretion. There is nothing quite as tricky as negotiating your way through a maze of art, religion and volunteers without causing hurt feelings. Good luck. Don't worry about the music desk. Choose your battles wisely. But it is a bad idea to keep the lid propped open without folding back the flap. It is your job to approach this person and complement them on how nice the piano looks as they have staged it, but that you consulted some experts and they indicated it was bad for the piano to prop the lid up without folding the flap. (You can truthfully say you hear this from someone who is a great fan of Roland digital pianos.)


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Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
Vonette #2527508 04/03/16 10:29 PM
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You hit the nail on the head when you said to "choose your battles wisely"! That's exactly why I wanted to get some facts before diving into this battle--make sure it is worth fighting. Good advice too on how to broach the subject. Thanks for everyone's advice and expertise!

And the Roland is a nice digital piano. I prefer that to a worn out or badly maintained acoustic any day. There are some nice options for alternative sounds, too. But that M&H grand is such a lovely instrument, I'd choose it over the Roland any day . . . ❤️

Re: Is this a safe way to position a piano lid?
anrpiano #2527512 04/03/16 11:27 PM
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anrpiano, respectfully submitted, this is quite an interesting discussion.

We can start with how the lid's fold over piece weighs the same whether it's folded over or not, how different forces are working upon these parts, and lastly how these forces add up and form a direct association with one another.

In scenario #1, in it's normally encountered position of up and folded onto itself, the piano hinge and its fasteners bare four forces; one of torque; the twisting created by the forces applied to it by the fold over piece's weight, gravity, its rectangular shape, and the location of/its farthest distance from the piano hinge and the fold over piece's narrowest dimension, another of tension; the forces attempting to physically pull the screws out of wood, another of compression; the forces applying pressure to maintain the screws position, and lastly; that of shear forces created by gravity and the weight of the fold over piece attempting to shear the piano hinge and its screws. Since the forces required to motivate the fold over piece to shear through the piano hinge and the solid brass screws that attach the lid's two pieces together are insufficiant to do so, these screws instead pull out of the wood if it's not of sufficient density, the size of the screw is insufficient, or the hole(s) in which its been screwed into doesn't offer the required resistance to sustain the weight load because of being stripped from overtightening, from constant removal/replacement, or inadvertant & unnoticed loosening.

Now, in scenario #2, if the lid were unfolded and up, with the placement of the fold over piece beside instead of atop the lid, it's not in a position to create or cause torque, as the loads are only straight down and apart in the forms of shear and tension; the weight of the fold over bearing down due to gravity puts the hinge and the attachment screws in a shear plane, along with the weight of the fold over causing the upper most screws and the screws below it in a continually lessening degree to be in a tension load by creating forces trying to pull the screws out of the wood either side of the piano hinge in which they're screwed into.

In the end we've got a difference of screws being twisted out of wood vs. being pulled out of wood. With the fold over lid folded over there will be two places present to start a catastrophy with the help of torque - the top and bottom of the hinge. Picture the forces applied to the hinge trying to be twisted apart represented by the letter "X" with its pivot point in the center. By contrast, the unfolded fold over has only one place present to start a catastrophy - envisioned like the top of the letter "V." As such, in scenario #1, you've got some screws in tension and some in compression due to torque, while all are in shear; in all, you've got 4 different forces working on the screws at once. In scenario #2, you've got screws in varying degrees of tension, while all are in shear; in all, there are only 2 forces working on the screws at any given time.

A mechanical engineer would have to study both scenarios to come to an absolute conclusion, but I would tend to think that 4 forces working in harmony with one another could accomplish more towards "motivating" things more easily than 2 forces could, but alas, there are so many different variables to consider here that I do believe I'm starting to get a headache.

wink

Regards,
Andy


1979 Yamaha C7D - Yamaha P115 - Korg MicroKORG synth. - Korg Kaossilator Pro synth.
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