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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Roy123] #2929929 01/03/20 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Roy123
Soundboard failure due to compression set is well documented. You don't have to look for crushed cells. Obviously, a number of factors determine the likelihood of compression-set failure in a particular soundboard design, but to deny its existence is to deny reality. Anyone can search and read about what percentage of cross-grain compression will lead to failure.


Well Documented?? And you don't cite any sources???

And there is compression set without any crushed cells??? Perhaps an explanation?

No one denies the existence of compression set, just it's applicability and proof of causation.

-chris


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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2930014 01/04/20 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Originally Posted by Roy123
Soundboard failure due to compression set is well documented. You don't have to look for crushed cells. Obviously, a number of factors determine the likelihood of compression-set failure in a particular soundboard design, but to deny its existence is to deny reality. Anyone can search and read about what percentage of cross-grain compression will lead to failure.


Well Documented?? And you don't cite any sources???

And there is compression set without any crushed cells??? Perhaps an explanation?

No one denies the existence of compression set, just it's applicability and proof of causation.

-chris



I previously cited sources, cross-grain compression set in wood is a well-known phenomenon, and I have neither the time nor the will to spend my time documenting what's already been well documented. If compression set effectively reduces the cross-grain width of the panel in a compression-crowned board by a small percentage*, it would largely eliminate the stress between the board and the ribs, which created the additional stiffness touted by advocates of compression-crowned boards. However, would a wood cell whose width was reduced by a few percent be called crushed? Would anyone identify it as such? The word crushed usually connotes severe deformation. That's why I think the idea of finding crushed cells makes no sense at all.

*The way one would have to measure this would be to measure the cross-grain dimension of the soundboard panel at normal moisture content before ribs were installed, and then remeasure the panel at some point in time when compression set was suspected, after the ribs were carefully removed, and at the same moisture content.

Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2930024 01/04/20 08:39 AM
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OK--I relented a bit and send these 2 posts, both from Del Frandich. I think the key takeaway is, how much cross-grain compression does a particular soundboard have? 1% or more may well lead to premature failure.

One difficulty with wood – especially a softwood such as
spruce – as a soundboard material is that it is not at all
good at resisting compression across-grain. Wood fibers,
regardless of species, are only capable of withstanding even
short-term compression levels up to approximately one
percent without sustaining some damage. Even at this
relatively low level of compression, damage in the form of
compression set will occur if the compression level is
maintained over a long period of time. In the compression-
crowned soundboard panel the compression level
frequently goes well above two percent (assuming the
relative humidity in the air surrounding the piano gets high
enough – and it often does) so it shouldn't surprise us that
the wood fibers in soundboard panels inevitably end up
exhibiting various signs of compression damage. Once
wood fibers have been damaged by compression there is
nothing we can do to reverse that damage.1Sometimes soundboard compression damage is visible
to the naked eye in the form of compression ridges and the
resulting visible cracks. Often, though, fiber compression
damage is not itself readily visible but its effect can easily be
seen. Wood fibers that have been deformed by compression
no longer have the capability of developing the stress
interface against the ribs required to form and/or sustain
soundboard crown, especially crown that must work against
string downforce.



This question always seems to bring out absolute answers. Reality is somewhat less than absolute.

The problem is that there are several distinctly different ways to design and construct soundboard systems. One system, what I call compression-crowning, depends of a relatively high amount of perpendicular-to-grain compression within the spruce panel both to initially form and subsequently maintain crown. The other depends on a curve machined (or otherwise formed) along the surface of the rib to form and maintain crown. I call these soundboard systems , rib-crowned., Both systems have their fans and supporters.

To complicate matters many pianos have been (and are being) built using what I call hybrid-crowning. That is, the ribs are crowned a little bit, usually not as much as they would be for a pure rib-crowned system, and the soundboard panel is dried a little bit, usually not as much as it would be for a pure compression-crowned system.

Neither the pure rib-crowned soundboard systems nor the hybrid-crowned systems present much of a problem. Yes, they do develop cracks on occasion, but they do not generally deteriorate in ways that cause acoustical, or tone performance, problems.

If the original soundboard system was built using the compression-crowning technique it will be particularly susceptible to compression damage. These boards are quite prone to cracking and the cracks are prima fascia of catastrophic soundboard failure. By this, I mean that the cracks are strong evidence that the musical potential of the soundboard system has been fatally impaired. Tonal evidence will usually be present in the form of a relatively percussive tone having a rapid drop-off and short sustain times particularly through the upper third of the scale. It is pianos with these soundboard systems that gave meaning to the phrase, killer octave. This refers to a span of roughly an octave or an octave and a half usually centered somewhere around the fifth or sixth octave.

So, when a piano that was built with a compression-crowned starts to develop cracks, and sooner or later they almost all will, is this really the kiss of death? The answer is definitely, absolutely maybe, or maybe not! The proof will be in the performance of the piano. If the piano has developed the dreaded killer octave syndrome then yes, the wood in the soundboard panel has been irreversibly damaged.

Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2930052 01/04/20 10:15 AM
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Well, Hmmmmm, then I guess I should just give up and send the last 30 pianos we did out for new boards. Because of what most say.

Ok, Roy, Take a good look at our atwood O No. 73 or SB walk around 1&2 U tube videos. and pleas ask some questions.
I f we had problems with the killer spot we would have stopped long ago.
There is some distortion on these real old sb's but not to the extreme everyone seems to think, we discovered!.
By taking them out and putting them back in we leaned much.
Here's something, after ribs and bridges are off, the panel is heated past the melting point of the resin content, and this allows the wood to re dimension, "gets smaller", after which it stays put. otherwise it cannot be worked with.

R.Blais.


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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2930073 01/04/20 10:52 AM
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Invoking the "Killer Octave" to claim SB death is a risky diagnosis. I have worked on many a piano that has been declared "treble dead" by Technicians under the severe influence of compression set syndrome.

Upon solving existing problems like V-bar shape, strike point, and especially applying LightHammer Tone Regulation; the "Killer Octave" suddenly has life!

I am not contesting compression set existence or dangers, just tonal significance.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Craig Hair] #2930085 01/04/20 11:19 AM
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Here's something, after ribs and bridges are off, the panel is heated past the melting point of the resin content, and this allows the wood to re dimension, "gets smaller", after which it stays put. otherwise it cannot be worked with.

R.Blais.
[/quote]

A friend of my partner has been talking about an idea that would remove these resins from new wood prior to assembly using some sort of chemical bath.
Got to find out more about this.
You ever heard of such a process??


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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Craig Hair] #2930088 01/04/20 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Craig Hair
Well, Hmmmmm, then I guess I should just give up and send the last 30 pianos we did out for new boards. Because of what most say.

Ok, Roy, Take a good look at our atwood O No. 73 or SB walk around 1&2 U tube videos. and pleas ask some questions.
I f we had problems with the killer spot we would have stopped long ago.
There is some distortion on these real old sb's but not to the extreme everyone seems to think, we discovered!.
By taking them out and putting them back in we leaned much.
Here's something, after ribs and bridges are off, the panel is heated past the melting point of the resin content, and this allows the wood to re dimension, "gets smaller", after which it stays put. otherwise it cannot be worked with.

R.Blais.

I can find no references to heating wood to "melt the resin content," and, in fact, don't even know what that really means. Which of the wood's constituent components are melting? Wood is largely cellulose, but there are a fair number of other chemicals in wood, of course. To what temperature do you heat the wood? Can you provide any links, references, or other information? Your Youtube videos were perhaps made shortly after you remanufactured the soundboards. Is that the case? If so, they may not be predictive of the soundboards' condition 10 years later. I keep thinking back to the fact that 1% or higher cross-grain compression of wood will often, or perhaps most often, lead to compression set. Perhaps your methodology does not exceed that value. Perhaps you use some kind of hybrid method of crowning. Without that information, I can't really intelligently comment on your claims.

Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2930160 01/04/20 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Invoking the "Killer Octave" to claim SB death is a risky diagnosis. I have worked on many a piano that has been declared "treble dead" by Technicians under the severe influence of compression set syndrome.

Upon solving existing problems like V-bar shape, strike point, and especially applying LightHammer Tone Regulation; the "Killer Octave" suddenly has life!

I am not contesting compression set existence or dangers, just tonal significance.


This is interesting and Ill relate my experience:
In June of 2008 I took classes at the PTG convention in Anaheim Ca - from you Ed as well as Steve Brady.
At the end of each class I purchsede your books.
I still have them today and refer to them regularly and they are most valuable to me.
When the opportunity opened up for me to get into concert work in 2011, if I did not have these books there is no way that I would have survived very long doing concert level work. Not taking anything away from my partners help too.
That said, there still exists a question of weather all of the things that can be done to make the killed killer octave sound great are compensations for a failed soundboard or work that should have been done before the piano left the showroom or factory???
Ill stick with the failed soundboard.
But I believe there will remain a dichotomy.


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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Gene Nelson] #2930255 01/04/20 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Invoking the "Killer Octave" to claim SB death is a risky diagnosis. I have worked on many a piano that has been declared "treble dead" by Technicians under the severe influence of compression set syndrome.

Upon solving existing problems like V-bar shape, strike point, and especially applying LightHammer Tone Regulation; the "Killer Octave" suddenly has life!

I am not contesting compression set existence or dangers, just tonal significance.


This is interesting and Ill relate my experience:
In June of 2008 I took classes at the PTG convention in Anaheim Ca - from you Ed as well as Steve Brady.
At the end of each class I purchsede your books.
I still have them today and refer to them regularly and they are most valuable to me.
When the opportunity opened up for me to get into concert work in 2011, if I did not have these books there is no way that I would have survived very long doing concert level work. Not taking anything away from my partners help too.
That said, there still exists a question of weather all of the things that can be done to make the killed killer octave sound great are compensations for a failed soundboard or work that should have been done before the piano left the showroom or factory???
Ill stick with the failed soundboard.
But I believe there will remain a dichotomy.


I’ll add that the majority of concert pianos I’ve encountered have this sort of problem. It includes not just the typical New York piano that graces most venues but a couple very expensive hand made German pianos as well. All have compression crowning in common.
Dead areas especially but not limited to the killer octave that coincide with zero string bearing.
We had our resident principal pianist go to New York and select a 7 ft piano. Good even tone and power were easy to develop by simple voicing and regulation.
It lasted about 3 years. Bearing disappears and tone sustain deadens from about A-4 to A-6


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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2930281 01/04/20 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT


Upon solving existing problems like V-bar shape, strike point, and especially applying LightHammer Tone Regulation; the "Killer Octave" suddenly has life!


This.

Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2930425 01/05/20 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Invoking the "Killer Octave" to claim SB death is a risky diagnosis. I have worked on many a piano that has been declared "treble dead" by Technicians under the severe influence of compression set syndrome.

Upon solving existing problems like V-bar shape, strike point, and especially applying LightHammer Tone Regulation; the "Killer Octave" suddenly has life!

I am not contesting compression set existence or dangers, just tonal significance.


I think it's fair to say that Ed is suggesting a number of possible reasons for the so-called killer octave problem, or "treble death" as he described it. I think we could all agree with that. Pianos are subtle and complex instruments and no doubt many tonal problems could have multiply causes.

Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Gene Nelson] #2930446 01/05/20 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson


Here's something, after ribs and bridges are off, the panel is heated past the melting point of the resin content, and this allows the wood to re dimension, "gets smaller", after which it stays put. otherwise it cannot be worked with.

R.Blais.


A friend of my partner has been talking about an idea that would remove these resins from new wood prior to assembly using some sort of chemical bath.
Got to find out more about this.
You ever heard of such a process??[/quote]


Stated like this is a new idea??
I would refer you way back to 1871, in which John B. Dunham invented a process that does that very thing except chemicals are not needed. He called his process hydro-carbonization. I've been playing with this on and off as it is claimed to make wood no longer susceptible to humidity changes. A bold claim but Dunham was a very respected piano builder.


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2930453 01/05/20 10:59 AM
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Hello Roy, Well one example would be when a maple hammer shank is heated hot, and can be twisted straight, and can actually go too far. Now what is happening?
We did an 1895 Model B, in 1989, it is in a local venue, SB is still good.
R. Blais


Craig Hair
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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2930456 01/05/20 11:13 AM
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Roy123,

I was expecting like a botany expert, maybe a USFS document (since there are thousands), or wood species experts, mechanical engineer lab reports. You know, something scientific. Instead you cite (in this case) a biased piano technician who's perhaps the strongest proponent of RC&S? That's hardly convincing. I was hoping for a real article that explains the compression set process? And how it was tested? BTW, Hoadley would also be a poor reference to cite because when he was later shown how compression soundboards were made. His reply -" I didn't know wood could do that."

Also, I don't get your 1% standard. My understanding is that the difference between Compression crowning and RC&S crowning is 1%. The compression method install EMC% is 4%, and the RC&S install EMC% is 5% (according to RC&S authors i have come across). For the average room RH% (70F, 50%RH which equates to 9%Emc) that is a 4 and 5 % difference. So both according to your standard would fail.

A large error in assumption you are making is the belief that the compression crowning method is at fault for the Killer Octave problem. Am I mistaken when I say that I only hear Techs talk of a Steinway Killer octave problem? What about MH or Baldwin? I have studied the soundboards of all three in detail. The MH and Baldwins have thicker panels and taller ribs than SS. The Steinway diaphragmatic boards have severe weaknesses in the treble due to a panel being 1/4" in the treble and often ribs that are 5/8"- 1/2" tall in the treble. And they are often coupled with a steep downbearing angle of 2 degrees in the treble. This is not a good combination.

Plus, the position of your argument is weak and unnatural. It is equivalent to saying " rubber is bad for tires because they only last 50,000 miles" "Concrete is bad for buildings because it weakens and crumbles in a 100 years" It's actually quite an amazing feat that compression boards last the decades they do when compared to other items that fatigue and disintegrate over time.
What matters is how they perform during that time, and that is were the CC boards have excelled, when you go by the top piano brands that use them, and the top elite pianists that pick them.

-chris


Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 01/05/20 11:16 AM.

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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Chernobieff Piano] #2930652 01/05/20 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
Roy123,

I was expecting like a botany expert, maybe a USFS document (since there are thousands), or wood species experts, mechanical engineer lab reports. You know, something scientific. Instead you cite (in this case) a biased piano technician who's perhaps the strongest proponent of RC&S? That's hardly convincing. I was hoping for a real article that explains the compression set process? And how it was tested? BTW, Hoadley would also be a poor reference to cite because when he was later shown how compression soundboards were made. His reply -" I didn't know wood could do that."

Also, I don't get your 1% standard. My understanding is that the difference between Compression crowning and RC&S crowning is 1%. The compression method install EMC% is 4%, and the RC&S install EMC% is 5% (according to RC&S authors i have come across). For the average room RH% (70F, 50%RH which equates to 9%Emc) that is a 4 and 5 % difference. So both according to your standard would fail.

A large error in assumption you are making is the belief that the compression crowning method is at fault for the Killer Octave problem. Am I mistaken when I say that I only hear Techs talk of a Steinway Killer octave problem? What about MH or Baldwin? I have studied the soundboards of all three in detail. The MH and Baldwins have thicker panels and taller ribs than SS. The Steinway diaphragmatic boards have severe weaknesses in the treble due to a panel being 1/4" in the treble and often ribs that are 5/8"- 1/2" tall in the treble. And they are often coupled with a steep downbearing angle of 2 degrees in the treble. This is not a good combination.

Plus, the position of your argument is weak and unnatural. It is equivalent to saying " rubber is bad for tires because they only last 50,000 miles" "Concrete is bad for buildings because it weakens and crumbles in a 100 years" It's actually quite an amazing feat that compression boards last the decades they do when compared to other items that fatigue and disintegrate over time.
What matters is how they perform during that time, and that is were the CC boards have excelled, when you go by the top piano brands that use them, and the top elite pianists that pick them.

-chris

Good grief--where to begin. As I previously said, I really don't need to spend my time doing a research project. If I had free access to Hoadley, then I might convince myself to crack it open.
First, the idea that Hoadley would be a poor reference over something he supposedly said is ridiculous. Who knows if the quote is apocryphal, and who knows to what he was referring. Maybe he hadn't been exposed to compression-crowned SBs, and was making an off-hand comment about the curvature. What matters is his research and testing. In terms of Del's posts being convincing, what matters is what testing he has done, and what the results were of his tests. The evidence he has written about, I have found quite convincing. Secondly, rib-crowned boards don't require any difference in moisture content between ribs and panel. Perhaps, the information you cited was for hybrid boards. You shouldn't make the assumption that RC boards are universally made according to the information you mentioned. Thirdly, I was making the point that failures of CC boards due to compression set have been observed many times, and tests have shown why such a failure could heppen. I was not making any specific claim about the killer octave, and, in fact, I made a specific statement in response to one of Ed's posts that killer octave failure probably has any number possible causes. Fifth, your comment, "Plus, the position of your argument is weak and unnatural. It is equivalent to saying " rubber is bad for tires because they only last 50,000 miles" " is so strange I'm not sure how to respond to it. From my reading, some CC boards fail rapidly, and some last quite a long time, for reasons that may be somewhat poorly understood.
Finally, the use of CC boards by top brands and especially Steinway is a poor example. Steinway, as a company, is loath to change its designs, in part because of its marketing hype. It was reported that one of the owners once said something along the line of, "We perfected the piano in the 1930s, and now all we need to do is to make them as good as possible." I think everyone will acknowledge that when a CC board works well, it can function very well, indeed. The only point I have been trying to make is that history, theory, and testing show that cross-grain compression set in CC boards can cause premature failure, and the possibility of such failure is supported by evidence and the analysis of wood. I am not trying to make an absolute point, saying that ALL CC boards will experience premature failure, but as far as I can tell, it is you making the absolute claim that CC boards NEVER experience failure due to cross-grain compression set in the panel.
I have no more to say.


Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2930676 01/05/20 09:17 PM
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Don’t know the difference between elite or performing artists but they choose Steinway for several reasons.
The main reason in my experience is availability coupled with the Steinway Artist signed contract.
Performers will not perform on a different piano because of the consequence of losing that availability.
It has nothing to do with the quality of the instrument being performed on.
Talk to them and watch them perform and you find that their technique must be adaptable to the very problems highlighted in this thread in regard to compression boards. They never know what to expect as not all pianos have had a professional tech apply the fixes and adaptations that help the dead areas of the board.
They complain about the same things, lack of sustain and power in the killer octave.
Some pianos have been made more presentable.
And this is only half of the complaints.
We haven’t even addressed action problems.



Last edited by Gene Nelson; 01/05/20 09:19 PM.

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Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: Gene Nelson] #2939975 01/28/20 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
I recently removed a board from a small SS
Prior to removal with strings on and up to pitch there was very slight (almost not measurable) bearing in the treble, everywhere else zero.
There was zero crown on the board - used straight edge to detect.
The board was not inverted, it was as flat as my straight edge.
Now after sitting for a couple months (out of the piano) the board is very inverted - or oil caned.
Scratches head wondering why it didn’t revert and give some positive crown?? Why negative???
My assumption is the board suffered compression set, failed, lost any support capability it may have had and the ribs now dominate the shape of the assembly.
Why flat sawn ribs would move in the opposite direction I could only guess but it does suggest that this sort of design has an undesired effect of working against crown.


Well here’s more oil can stuff:
Mild weather here and rainy, relative humidity around 90% and this board now has positive crown.
This change compares with a lower humidity higher temp in early December when this all started and the board was inverted.
It confirms my idea that the board has been previously destroyed by compression set but the ribs have not and the ribs now dominate the shape of the board because of the damage.
Also, thinking back to when it was in the piano and strings were on and up to pitch and the board was dead flat. Then it’s reasonable that the strings dominated the shape of the dead structure.


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Posts: 2,898
I could agree with that.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2940022 01/28/20 10:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 648
Chernobieff Piano Offline
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 648
I don't. All of Gene's reasoning is based on assumptions. He hasn't proven the cause to attribute the correct effect.
For example- How about a photo of the compression set cell structure? On first removal and then later at positive crown. Did the Cells actually restore themselves or were they ruptured. You know, so that compression set is actually established. What was the install procedure? What was the install humidity and temp? Maybe some real scientific evidence. Instead of assumptions would be nice.
-chris

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 01/28/20 10:50 PM.

Chernobieff Piano Restorations
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: "Oilcanning" Soundboard Skeptic [Re: UnrightTooner] #2940043 01/29/20 12:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,464
G
Gene Nelson Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
Online Content
2000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,464
Chris, your funny.
The board moves the way I said it moves.
Compression set is the reason.
If I gave you what you demand it would not be enough and you know it.
Compression boards tend to be failures right out of the shop.
By the way, I did put some sand on the thing, pounded it and got a circle pattern in the middle.
Confirmation of failure.


RPT
PTG Member
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