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#2875692 08/03/19 01:44 PM
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toyboy Offline OP
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I have an older piano that I have had to put in an enclosed in porch. It's walled in, with windows, but not heated or cooled. The piano was put there about a year ago, so it's gone through a full four seasons. The result is that the felt is peeling off of some of the hammers. I seem to vaguely recall one of them had started doing this before the move. But either way, now there are 15 of them, and probably more soon enough.

Since it's my second piano, I"m not wanting to sink a bunch of money in it, but I don't want to ruin it either. The question is, can I glue these back down myself? Maybe using Elmers and a small spring clamp? Or some other recommended way? I'd like to consider that first before I ask my technician to do it.

This is the link to a couple of pictures. Only 12 out of the 15 hammers are shown. Oddly all in the same range. None are peeling above middle C whatever that might mean.

https://imgur.com/a/D6Edsue

Last edited by toyboy; 08/03/19 01:45 PM.
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My late wife inherited an older Howard Miller spinet from her mother, which was in my late MIL's house for years, which does not have central HVAC. When I finally got it a few months ago, when my late wife's relatives finally decided to sell their mother's house about 3 years after she passed away, and asked me if I still wanted it. Since it was my late wife's (who passed away this past December) I decided to take it.

Many/most of the hammers had come unlaminated, just as you describe, due to lack of humidity control. Not wanting to put a lot of effort or money in the old spinet, although it has some sentimental value to me, I just reglued and clamped the hammer felts back on to the hammer core using a small, needle-nose type vice grip. It worked well, and the piano plays about like it did before the hammer felts come unlaminated, and maybe even better, more mellow.

I used regular titebond yellow wood glue, which worked fine. I've played it a lot and the hammers are holding on their core. The only thing is, I had to do one hammer at a time, clamp it with the vice-grip and let it dry at least 30 minutes, maybe longer. It just took a couple of days to do it due to being a slow process.

Replacing the hammers would be best, but the hammer felts can be reglued back on to your wood hammer core. Probably not the best method of repair, but if it works, it works. The old Howard Miller spinet still sound pretty good, and I think of my late wife when I play it. Of course, I think of her often without playing her spinet piano.

Good luck!

Rick


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toyboy Offline OP
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Thanks Rick. I posted this mainly wanting to hear if someone else has done this. And you have! I have tite bond glue as well, that is probably better than Elmers. And yes I figured I would have to do one at a time. I do want to replace all the hammers at some point if I can. It's a very nice Baldwin Concert Vertical. I should really try to find a way to bring it inside, but I have a very small house.

Thanks for the encouragement.

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I've seen some of the techs do this by glueing the felt down and then wrapping strong cotton thread around the hammer to hold it together - even after the glue dries, they still left the cotton in place to strengthen the glued join. The cotton had a sort of criss-cross pattern to it to get good purchase on the felt, and was tied with a tight knot to keep tension on the felt. I think some techs don't even use glue, just the cotton.

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If you try Ando's thread solution look carefully at a constrictor knot for tying down the felt. It's easy to tie, and has enough self-friction that it doesn't need any additional "finishing off" to make it hold tightly for a good long time

Kurt


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Originally Posted by ando
I've seen some of the techs do this by glueing the felt down and then wrapping strong cotton thread around the hammer to hold it together - even after the glue dries, they still left the cotton in place to strengthen the glued join. The cotton had a sort of criss-cross pattern to it to get good purchase on the felt, and was tied with a tight knot to keep tension on the felt. I think some techs don't even use glue, just the cotton.

Didn't think of this, but it sounds like a great repair. Hammer felt stitches... smile

Rick


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toyboy Offline OP
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Thank you everyone. The stitiching sounds like it would help keep them from peeling again for sure, but I think I'll try just gluing first and see how it goes.


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