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Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's #2920999 12/08/19 03:17 PM
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jkess114 Offline OP
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Question about removing the action from an early Bechstein upright grand. The action is attached to the back of the keys and its not clear how to free the linkage to the action from them. There are two screws running through a piece of wood, fixing it to the back of each key.

A piano with similar or identical action can be seen here: Bechstein early 20th C. upright . You can scroll through the pictures to see the action, which held in place by two rotating wood blocks and two butterfly-screws.

In this Old upright action diagram the sticker (item #42) is held fast to the key and hoping someone can shed some light in the correct way to pull the action from the piano.

Lastly, it appears this won't fit into a standard action cradle. What stand do you have that holds the action safely for working?

Many Thanks,
J


Last edited by jkess114; 12/08/19 03:19 PM.
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Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921006 12/08/19 03:43 PM
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It sounds like it has rocker capstans with stickers attached with center pins. The stickers usually just unsnap from the center pins if you lift them straight up, provided that there is no screw in the sticker that you need to loosen first.

If you are in doubt, unscrew both of the screws on one rocker, so you can pull it up and see how the sticker is fastened. If you cannot figure it out, you probably are not up to the task.


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Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921007 12/08/19 03:48 PM
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It's easier than you think.

The wood blocks with the two screws are called rocker capstans. The bottoms of the stickers are forked (bifurcated, if you prefer!) with the fork being lined with thin bushing cloth. They simply clip on to a center pin at the back of each rocker capstan. They unclip by simply pulling upward on the sticker. You can do it by pulling the wippen up, but I think it's safer to grip the sticker with some parallel-jaw pliers and pull up. They clip back in in much the same way (being careful of old brittle parts!).

As for supporting the action, you will just have to use ingenuity!

Some of those old Bechsteins are lovely. There are loads of them in the UK, but I know they are rarer in the USA.

The one in the link you sent, has a special Art Case, so if yours is the same, it is worth considerably more than usual because of that.

Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921008 12/08/19 03:49 PM
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Sorry BDB, I just repeated what you said! My Aunt phoned as I was typing, and it slowed me up!

Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921066 12/08/19 06:52 PM
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Thanks for the tip fellows. It's a lovely piano, very sweet sound and the action is quite light. It was gifted to the family but definitely it needs some love. Sound board has some cracks but are not buzzing and the tuning pins vary from not holding at all to mediocre - hammers are flat (shot), a lot of looseness in the action, etc.The family will not pay for a rebuild but are willing to spend a little up front to get it in playable condition and if that bears fruit, doing more to it down the line. An exciting project as good as it sounds in present shape.

Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921172 12/09/19 05:53 AM
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David Boyce Offline
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Yes, sweet sound and light action is typical. You might enjoy the Bechstein page of my website. It's interesting that the modern Bechsteins seem to be similar in tonal concept. My local arts centre ( www.beaconartscentre.co.uk got some funding a few years ago to replace old upright pianos, and they bought two Zimmerman and one Bechstein uprights (the Zimmerman factiory was taken over and improved by Bechstein). The new Bechstein is a lovely piano, and to my ear very similar in tonal concept to the old pre world war one Bechstien uprights that abound here (allowing for the difference made by a century of ageing and wear).

Physics tells us that there are four forces: the Weak force, the Strong force, Electromagnetism and Gravity, with Gravity being by far the weakest of these There has recently been some talk of a fifth force, but I have long proposed a fifth force, in my part of the world, called Piano Sentiment. Persons strongly claim sentimental attachment to an old piano. But that force is generally insufficient to open the wallet as far as ever getting it tuned, or having necessary work done.....

Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921226 12/09/19 09:38 AM
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jkess114 Offline OP
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Ha! I am intimate with the fifth force :), scarcely a piano tech that isn't, I'd feel confident betting on. Thank you for putting the work into giving it a name.

By any chance do you know what length tuning pins are used in these pianos? Its possible a glue up isn't going to cut it with a few of these pins.

Very Best from here....

Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921256 12/09/19 11:23 AM
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David Boyce Offline
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Certain models onf old Bechstein uprights seem more prone to the pinblock drying out and the pins getting loose. Marcus Roberts of Roberts Pianos in Oxford talks about this in a few of his YouTube videos.
You might find that CA works perfectly well. I'm afraid I don't know what length (or diameter) the pins are.

Re: Removing action from Bechstein V, early 1900's [Re: jkess114] #2921285 12/09/19 01:03 PM
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Thank you David. I've begun perusing your site. You are a wealth of experience and knowledge David and thank you for sharing (as are you BDB)

Thanks,
Josh


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