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Joined: May 2003
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Originally Posted by Bob
You say that you "superficially" needled the hammers - which tells me you are not deep needling. Shallow needling is not long lasting. Try inserting deeper, at least 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch, depending on the hammer.



Fred Drasche, for many years Steinway's senior field tech, advocated putting a needle straight down from top, directly through the strike point, between the strings, until it hit the core. Then, he said if that wasn't enough, do it again. This will certainly change things, but I never found it necessary to needle that deeply into the crown. 3/8" is about the max I would go from the top.

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Ed,

Is it not interesting that virtually everything Steinway "officially" says not to do, is what they actually DO! From nosebolts to hammers.

Pwg


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Peter,
That's so true. LOL


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Originally Posted by Bob
You say that you "superficially" needled the hammers - which tells me you are not deep needling. Shallow needling is not long lasting. Try inserting deeper, at least 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch, depending on the hammer.



Fred Drasche, for many years Steinway's senior field tech, advocated putting a needle straight down from top, directly through the strike point, between the strings, until it hit the core. Then, he said if that wasn't enough, do it again. This will certainly change things, but I never found it necessary to needle that deeply into the crown. 3/8" is about the max I would go from the top.

Exactly, that's why I said 1/4 " to 3/8 ". I can't recall ever going all the way to the core. But superficial 1/16 inch or even 1/8 inch needling is not going to be lasting.

Sometimes one deep stab is all that is needed. Careful to not kill the attack.



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You all may have noticed that when you spill a few drops of coffee on a countertop that in drying the coffee seems to have migrated from the center of the drop to the edges, leaving a dark outline. The same thing happens when a hammer is lacquered. The sides of the hammer will be harder than its center, and the outer layers will be harder than the inner layers. This causes pings generally, and especially on use of the una corda pedal in the treble. The exterior crust needs to be removed by filing a few thousandths of an inch (010" more or less) off the sides of the hammer, and the crown and shoulders. For this reason, lacquering, etc., should be done before shaping hammers. Using a solvent to leech the hardener away from the crown may help if the hammer is over hardened, but the crust will inevitably re-form at the surface and sides, though lessened, so it's likely that the filing of sides etc will need doing after that for a really clean sound.

The effects of shallow crown needling won't last if the substrate is rock hard. The hammer needs to be graduated in hardness with no radical hardness changes at a given boundary. Also, sugar coating (I hate the term) lasts better if done from 10:00 to 2:00 on the hammer, rather than just where the strings contact the hammer.

It does seem to me that a typical rebuilder would not want the customer, or even another technician fiddling with the voicing of a piano he or she is responsible for adjusting to the customer's satisfaction. My usual remark under such circumstances is that if I do the work, I can be reponsible for the result, if someone else does it or tells me how to do it in a technical sense, then they are responsible for the results. Of course I smile while saying it.


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