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Single replacement key for Steinway D? #2870263
07/18/19 09:39 AM
07/18/19 09:39 AM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Does anyone know a source for a single key for a Steinway D?

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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870279
07/18/19 10:30 AM
07/18/19 10:30 AM
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Surrey, UK
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It's going to be a one-off custom made item. You'd need at least a couple of keys either side of the missing key to figure dimensions, and I'm not sure what one would do regarding key covering, white key or black. Are there any parts of the missing/damaged key available? A photo would be most helpful if possible!


Started work at the Blthner piano re-building workshop in Perivale, UK, in 1989. Self employed since 2000. Learning something new about pianos every day... smile

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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870284
07/18/19 10:40 AM
07/18/19 10:40 AM
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Rockville, MD
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I am told that Dean Reyburn took over Richard Cromwell's Detroit Piano Works and is now making custom keysets. You might want to email him about a single key. I would think that all you would have to do is send him the one keystick and say "replicate" please.

Perhaps an email to Kluge in Germany would be useful too?


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
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1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870301
07/18/19 11:10 AM
07/18/19 11:10 AM
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Oakland
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Kluge has not always made Steinway keysets. Keysets are not always uniform. Adjacent keys are not always enough to make a new key accurately.

This is a difficult job. If the key is broken, I would suggest repairing it, rather than trying to replace it. That is difficult, but not as hard as replacing it.


Semipro Tech
Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870311
07/18/19 11:37 AM
07/18/19 11:37 AM
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Key or key top? If key top, ivory or non-ivory?

Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870323
07/18/19 12:15 PM
07/18/19 12:15 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Thanks all smile The key itself is broken and unfortunately I made a mistake. I’m assuming that when I clamped it the pieces moved a bit under pressure and I didn’t notice. When I took off the clamp this morning I noticed it is about 1-2mm out of position. I’m kicking myself.

I think it’s entirely in the direction of front/back/length. Seems to me that that a key 1-2mm too long will be very noticeable. I suppose I could cut it and try and shave off the precise amount too long but I’d need some help with that level of precision. In any case I won’t know for sure until I take it back to the piano and put it in.

So I was wanting to see what options there are for key replacement in case I can’t make it work.

Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870329
07/18/19 12:24 PM
07/18/19 12:24 PM
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What glue did you use? If you can clean off the glue, or soften it, you might be able to correct the repair. Some glues are water soluble, and some soften with heat.

You do not need to use a lot of pressure if you have a tight fit, which is usually the case with broken keys. A good dry fit is essential!


Semipro Tech
Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870350
07/18/19 02:22 PM
07/18/19 02:22 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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I used Elmers Wood Glue. I could get the pieces pretty much perfectly in position when dry. It was a decent fit. I applied pressure and held it for a bit before clamping, and I suppose the pressure from clamping made it move down somewhat.

Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870352
07/18/19 02:33 PM
07/18/19 02:33 PM
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Georgia, USA
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A trick for next time (which may mean THIS time, actually.)

If you bring in one key to the shop for gluing, don't bring ONE key.

This may work, if you can un-glue the culprit.

Bring in the entire action (best way) or a group of keys surrounding the broken key. Take out the group and lay them together, including the broken one. Support them as necessary to get the group fitted to each other.

Restrain the group at each end, back ends and front ends, also.
Dry fit the culprit. Lay it into the group.
Examine. Recheck dry fit.
Does it fit correctly end-to-end?
Does it space evenly along the keys to each side?
Is it lying flat with its neighbors?
Is it against both the back stop and the front stop restraints you set up?

Plan a means to hold the culprit after gluing. (use paper, wax paper, spacer cardboard, etc to space it back into the group)
Apply the glue and your plan. Even stretched masking tape can provide enough pressure for the job.
Lay the glued culprit back in and triple check.

Your plan can even include lightly pressing the grouped keys against the culprit to assist in the final set-up. The point is to get it right, NOT tight.

Let it dry. Apply reinforcement to each side of the break, after the primary break is cured, if you choose to do so.



Note: It is even possible to do this on-site, after you un-glue the key in the shop ahead of time and let it dry out, etc. Using CA and the same techniques, you can fix it there.
(Pray for the Lord's help, of course, if you decide to glue a key with CA on a Steinway D. What could go wrong?)


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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870353
07/18/19 02:37 PM
07/18/19 02:37 PM
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Georgia, USA
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That glue is a polyvinyl acetate with added aliphatic resin. (I think) They normally respond to vinegar and water.

Worth a redo!


Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration
Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870387
07/18/19 04:49 PM
07/18/19 04:49 PM
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Tampa, FL
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A heat gun will take that apart especially if the glue is still pretty fresh (less than a day old).


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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870389
07/18/19 04:52 PM
07/18/19 04:52 PM
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Oakland
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Of course, the problem is not necessarily taking the glue joint apart, but correcting the alignment. Heat, perhaps with steam, would allow you to correct the alignment.


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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870403
07/18/19 05:39 PM
07/18/19 05:39 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Thanks for the suggestions!

I didn’t realise I could take the joint apart. I did it about 25 hours ago. I won’t be back there for 4-5 days so maybe I could try heating it up and adjusting it better to see if it lines up well enough for when I go back. If it doesn’t then maybe take it apart fully? If I can’t adjust it with heat then I’ll just take it apart and redo it while I’m there next time using the nice suggestions given.

Does that sound like a plan?

Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870409
07/18/19 05:53 PM
07/18/19 05:53 PM
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If I could not get this properly straightened out on site, I would probably take the entire keyframe assembly home, where I have more equipment. If all else failed, I would probably saw along the bad glue joint and glue it with some extra wood to fill in the kerf. It would still be tricky, however, but not a tricky as trying to get a single key, and a lot cheaper, easier, and faster than getting a new keyboard, if it works. But I would take the entire keyframe, because that is the only way you can ensure that everything fits correctly.


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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870412
07/18/19 06:05 PM
07/18/19 06:05 PM
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Old Hangtown California
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Iv always wanted to try making one.
Where did it break - the balance rail?
Are the balance rail hole or key button damaged?
Is there some sort of flaw in the wood from machining or nature?
Any idea why it broke?
Got a band saw?


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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870419
07/18/19 06:20 PM
07/18/19 06:20 PM
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Old Hangtown California
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If you can unglue your joint and clean it up to get that perfect dry fit as described earlier, I’d be tempted to coat all surfaces with slow set super glue, the thicker stuff, then quickly assemble the parts and have a trusted friend spray the joint with the kicker and you’ll have an instant bond that will be stronger than the keystick.
It pays to rehearse this before using the superglue if you dare try it.
If balance rail hole or key button is damaged you can buy pre made inserts.

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 07/18/19 06:20 PM.

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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870455
07/18/19 08:46 PM
07/18/19 08:46 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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I guess I need to be brave ... smile My woodworking skills aren’t the best (even if I’d like them to be). I think I can do it though.

It broke on the front half of the key. Nothing sensitive or difficult and it was clean enough that there aren’t many splinters or missing bits.

Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870463
07/18/19 09:18 PM
07/18/19 09:18 PM
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I just tried to heat it up and I wasn't able to get it to budge. Perhaps I'm being overly cautious trying to separate them.

I've attached photos for anyone curious. The first image looks like a decent fix (the crack over to the bottom right is superficial, and I think it came apart a bit with the clamp pressure) but with the side view you can see that the right side of the break didn't quite make it all of the way up. It was lined up nicely when I first did it.

I'll give vinegar a try in the next few days.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Last edited by jsilva; 07/18/19 09:19 PM.
Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870475
07/18/19 10:14 PM
07/18/19 10:14 PM
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New Hampshire
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The amount of heat necessary to "melt" the glue is significant. You will need a good heat gun. All PVA type glues turn to "rubber" under heat. Then you will need to clean the glue residue off the joint before trying again.

If it was me I would alter my schedule to go and get the entire key set and do as described above. It definitely will need reinforcement sides and top. Veneer strips or business cards glued on those surfaces work very well.

Bummer isn't it? Bet you'll never make this mistake again though, eh?

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Single replacement key for Steinway D? [Re: jsilva] #2870480
07/18/19 10:26 PM
07/18/19 10:26 PM
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jsilva Offline OP
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Well ... I wouldn’t have expected to make that mistake this time smile

I’ll see if I can get there tomorrow or Sat. That’d ease my mind at a minimum. Thanks for the encouragement to do so.

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