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CA glue pinblock treatment
#2891627 09/18/19 10:18 AM
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I want to treat a piano with CA glue. I've read everything I could find on PW on this topic, but found no information about any experiments that would show how deep the glue wicks in the hole. Mostly interested in upside down position, grand. So I tried to do an experiment myself.

I took a 28 mm thick plywood, 9 layers, drilled a hole with a 6 mm bit, took a 7,20 mm tuning pin and drove it in. 2 mm were left at the bottom of the pin so to form a little cup where the glue can pool. Then I poured 6 drops of the watery CA glue I bought on ebay. It is sold as 3 centipose or something. The liquid in the bottle moves like water so I think it is the right sort. It's called BondFix, I read that somebody on this forum uses this glue with good results.
I also took two pieces of wood, 2"x 5", 0,5" thick, and pressed them together in a vice. With an 8 mm drill I started a 1 mm deep hole centered on the line between the pieces. This for the same reason, a place for the glue to pool in the beginning. I also noted the holes with 1, 2, 3 and 5 which is the number of drops of glue I poured.

Results:

- after an hour I unscrewed the tuning pin. With a light from the other side I could look in the hole. The wicking was max 2 mm. I didn't cut through the middle of the hole to see even better how deep the glue penetrated, but I will next time.

- after an hour I hammered the two wood pieces apart. The wicking was very little, 1-2,5 mm. Of course, more where more drops were poured.



My conclusion is that either my glue doesn't have the right properties or in reality that's what happens in the pinblock also, and that it is enough to improve the friction.
The plywood I used is nothing like a real pinblock, but unless I'm missing something, in a real block it's even harder for the glue to penetrate deeper due to higher compression.

So how can CA glue poured from the bottom of the pin drip to the other side and get on the coils? Any evidence showing it wiicks in more than 2-3 mm?
I will post some links to photos that illustrate my experiment.





Last edited by jinorden; 09/18/19 10:20 AM.
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Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891631 09/18/19 10:36 AM
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Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891645 09/18/19 11:18 AM
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I think you want the glue at 2 centipose. Go to Bob Smith Industries on via Google.

I also think you need to give it 12 hours for full cure.

Last edited by Ed McMorrow, RPT; 09/18/19 11:19 AM. Reason: add additional point

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Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891793 09/18/19 05:31 PM
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Thats really great jinorden that you are conducting this testing experiment. Could you repeat the testing but also include torque measurements for the pins? What may then be the relationship between penetration and torque?

Also, maybe try another brand of glue. Also if possible, other pin block materials. And one other thing I can think of but may not be possible, is a colouring agent possible for the glue so that penetration is more easily observed.

I think that finding out more about the behaviour of ca glue as a pin block tightener is necessary. I have had successes and failures with this form of treatment. I think the failures may be due to penetration, pin block material and the type of glue used.


Chris Leslie
Piano technician
http://www.chrisleslie.com.au
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891803 09/18/19 05:59 PM
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Very interesting experiments; well done and thank you for trying it.

It occurs to me that in an open-face pinblock, flag-poling of the tuning pins over decades of tuning, might mean that there is more of a gap around the top end of the tuning pins, with the bottom end still being relatively tight.

Also, in driving a 7.2mm pin into a hole made with a 6mm drill bit, how tight was it? CA treatment is used when pins are pretty loose!

Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891832 09/18/19 07:49 PM
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FYI, addition of any colorant is highly likely to cause the glue to cure in the bottle...not good. The reason is that anything you add will have moisture in it. CA glue solidifies with moisture. I've already been down that road with the chemist at BSI.

At any rate, the goal of using CA on pinblock is to simply increase torque enough so the pins are tunable. We are are not attempting to "restore" the block. It should be viewed (IMO) as a final effort to keep things going when in reality a new pinblock is in order. I have never had "failure" (for intended purpose) by applying it at the base of the tuning pins (this is where the friction is compromised the most). I apply a 1-2 second stream (with very thin applicator tip), watching carefully as to the rate of absorption. I go through all of them once like that, then start again with a shorter stream, watching to see if the absorption rate has changed (I will also typically check some pins with my hammer to seeing the first application accomplished anything). The second run through is usually needed...on a rare occasion a third application. I really dont care how far it penetrates as long as I get a torque increase enough to tune. Final judgement should come After 12-24 hours cure time as Ed mentioned.

Be careful because it is possible to literally FREEZE the pin in the pinblock. If that happens you've gone too far. Too many people obsess over this issue of penetration. REPEAT: This is not pinblock "restoration"...it is "making the untuneable, tuneable for a while longer".

The glue you have should do the trick. Personally I use BSI products exclusively, and I prefer the flexible formula for this application (and almost any other wood application) as it seems to give a better feel in the end. It was also formulated specifically to mimic properties of wood. It us also slightly thicker (5 cp).

IMO turning a grand upside down and applying it that way is a HUGE amount of unnecessary work (fraught with danger). I would never do it, nor would I suggest that anyone do it.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891883 09/19/19 02:39 AM
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Great points, Peter.

CA has kept many a piano going that would otherwise be dumped because fitting a new pinblock would not be commercially viable. It's a rescue for THOSE pianos - decent quality when new, but not 'top brand' names that hold value. The top brands, financially worth a full restoration, can get new pinblocks!

Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891890 09/19/19 03:00 AM
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Chris, David, thanks for your kind words! Unfortunately I cannot get glue very easily, I live 40 miles from a larger city. Also, I don't have pinblock material yet. But I'll continue to try stuff before doing it to the piano. I have a torque measuring tool but I need an adapter that will arrive later.

Hammering in the pin was not hard, the wood is just ordinary construction type so it is very soft compared to pinblock material. My plan is to try again with more drops and wait longer, more applications, but results will not be very different, I believe.
As Peter says, I don't think the glue penetrates very deep, but it's enough to get better torque.

Peter, what do you consider a danger, the turning of the piano? I had three people to help and it was not very difficult.

I never did this before but intuitively it feels easier and less risky to apply glue in the holes than from the top of the piano. Also, if the results are unsatisfactory I can apply at the top later as a backup.

Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891956 09/19/19 07:55 AM
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As Peter Grey and David Boyce pointed out, CA glue is a stop-gap repair (admittedly a good one) that can keep old blocks functioning for a bit longer. I've found it to be a bit of a hit or miss repair. Worn-out pin blocks are all different and expecting the same results with each one is a bit unrealistic.

I have found it to be very useful for individual pins or problem sections of some pianos. On some I have had to remove the pin and swab the hole. No penetration worries there!


David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
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Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891966 09/19/19 08:29 AM
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I've sometimes removed the pin and swabbed the hole too, and found it extremely successful.

I see the attraction of flipping the (grand) piano so as to have a "well" to hold the CA. But as Peter pointed out, friction is probably most compromised where the pin enters the pinblock, below the string coils. It seems logical that that would be the best place to apply the CA. It is appreciated that in a full plate with tuning pin bushings, the situation is a bit more complex. But in an open-face pinblock it's quite easy to observe the rate of wicking in of the CA and to regulate the flow appropriately, using one of the fine-tip nozzles.

Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891968 09/19/19 08:47 AM
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Jinorden,

With plenty of help and lots of padding material it's not so bad, however I have "heard" of people doing this in a customer's home all by themselves. Then they claim to have "restored" the pinblock (and feel very satisfied with themselves fir doing so). I don't consider this to be wise...but I don't control what other people do.

In your case, you are experimenting to learn the capabilities and limitations of this stuff. No problem. In fact I am interested (as are others) in your results and findings.

I am pretty sure that BSI is available internationally, but the stuff you have will doubtlessly work.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2891970 09/19/19 09:18 AM
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I would never try to sell this to someone as a pinblock renovation. But I did explain the process to the technician back home. He never heard of it, he doesn't speak english either. So he tried it on an upright and it worked, he said. Thanks to this forum really!

Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892007 09/19/19 11:42 AM
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Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
David Boyce #2892061 09/19/19 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
Very interesting experiments; well done and thank you for trying it.

It occurs to me that in an open-face pinblock, flag-poling of the tuning pins over decades of tuning, might mean that there is more of a gap around the top end of the tuning pins, with the bottom end still being relatively tight.

Also, in driving a 7.2mm pin into a hole made with a 6mm drill bit, how tight was it? CA treatment is used when pins are pretty loose!



Brilliant idea to investigate but maybe the approach is backwards...
The thing to do would be to perform a treatment that was effective (increased rotational torque comparing before and after measurements) and THEN remove the pin to determine penetration level. (i.e. we really aren't interested in penetration levels of treatments that were not effective).


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892072 09/19/19 04:14 PM
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Whenever I have removed pins that had been treated with old fashioned pintite, penetration has never been more than 1/4inch.
Nick


Nick, ageing piano technician
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892124 09/19/19 07:44 PM
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I have thrown all my pin-tite in the trash. Never liked it anyway.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892131 09/19/19 08:17 PM
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One thing that's true about thin CA is that it will quickly wick into the grain of wood - if it is soft it will quickly disappear and get sucked up like a sponge. I'm wondering if your plywood, being much softer than pinblock material, is sucking it up before it can penetrate into the space between the pin and the wood.

With a maple pinblock it is the opposite situation: The wood is hard so glue is encouraged to follow the gaps between the pin and the block. This is just speculation and trying to imagine how the glue behaves.

I treated my own 1912 Steinway O by putting it on its side: A much easier proposition than flipping it completely over. It worked wonderfully and greatly improved the tuning feel. The block had been damaged from the piano being in front of a large west facing window for many many years. It faded the finish, baked the block, but kept the ivory sparkly white!

The pins were jumpy and hard to control. I first tried treating it from the top without much success. Treating from the bottom was very effective, even without it being completely flipped over. By using a lyre brace and tilting onto a skid on a dolly, it is more plausible for one person to do this.

Use a respirator, because the fumes are nasty!


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892158 09/19/19 10:37 PM
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Ryan,

I'm not sure I quite follow how you did that. Can you be more explicit? Did you simply put it down on its spine?

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892202 09/20/19 04:03 AM
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Keith, of course, the test is not very relevant but I did it only to check the glue I bought. The post is meant to ask questions rather than to give solutions.
I took apart an upright a few years ago but didn't keep the case with the soundboard and pinblock. It would have been perfect for an experiment now. I did keep a lot of wood parts, best wood you can find.
Thanks everybody for your input, I do understand better the whole thing.

Re: CA glue pinblock treatment
jinorden #2892205 09/20/19 04:27 AM
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Ryan, I thought the same thing, the material absorbs the glue very quickly not allowing it to wick along the pin. I will for sure find a way to try this on an actual pinblock bit but it will take some time, first to find an old piano for free and then to dismantle it, which is a lot of work. I love it though, a lot of good stuff for free, the black screws for instance, bolts, strings to practice making coils and loops, great wood!
Of course, the piano should be in a state that makes it not worth keeping.

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