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Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console #2933823 01/14/20 04:43 PM
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Rob Harold Offline OP
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I engaged a tuner to tune my Sohmer 34 Console. We had neglected it for about 20 years. It is away from the window and the radiator, but NJ can have very humid summers and pretty dry winters. The piano is roughly a third of step flat. The A vibrates at 430 Hz. The tuner spotted some issues that seemed to support the expectation that a raising of the pitch and a tuning would make matters worse. The bass bridge was cracking and the treble strings had a fair amount of rust. We agreed not to do any work on it, but since then, I wonder if might be able to still enjoy the piano if I had the piano tuned down to a half step flat. I will have to check each string, but hopefully no string will need to be tightened to reach a half step flat. And lowering the tuning will ease the pressure on the bass bridge. I am including some images of the rusty treble strings and the cracking bridge.

[img]https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_/photo/AF1QipPlEwl-vBwIhcffas4CRF_WlvPAZiYcs-FaYZY6[img]
[img]https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_/photo/AF1QipPoxWqw-6qI4-yViAAPr07KpblY-WBlQZTll7dg[/img]

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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2934180 01/15/20 10:12 AM
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Bourniplus Offline
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I can't access your pictures.
It's your piano, if you want to have it tuned lower than 440, I say why not.


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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2934224 01/15/20 12:00 PM
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Rob Harold Offline OP
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I am very new to this forum, so I am not sure the best way to post photos. When I click the hypertext, I am able to view the photos. Is there a preferred site for posting photos? Is there a way to post photos directly to this forum?

Yeah, I read my posting, and I guess there really wasnt much of a question. The tuner made it seem like my piano was ready for the dump. But the more I look at my piano, I feel like he is mistaken. I know my piano is pretty humble compared to the Yamahas, Steinways and Petroffs that he works on, so he may feel like my piano wasnt worth much even if it didnt have the problems it has. But I think I should be able to get it playable, at least for my ears.

I am tempted also to fix the crack too. But not right away.

Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2934232 01/15/20 12:16 PM
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I would not bother since there are always similar free pianos available. Tuning a piano flat does not necessarily make the tuning more stable, and it introduces other problems, particularly in the bass.


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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2934694 01/16/20 09:19 AM
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Unless you give recitals - what's the worry ?
I doubt if many folk would recognise a piece played at100cents lower than A4 @ 440Hz.
I have a B.Brock 52" UK upright from about 1945 and I tune to what ever is closest to what a majority of the trichords are sounding . I have a Yamaha ET tuner and it will set down to A4@435 and up (should one wish, and I am not that expert to know why one would wish to) A4@446.
If you do not tune your own instrument do have a go it is very interesting !

Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2934724 01/16/20 10:11 AM
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A third of a step isn't much. Lots of strings have some rust and many bridges have small cracks. If it has been sitting there 20 years, you are probably kinda fond of it. Yeah, another piano might be a better piano, but this one is your piano.

I can't see the pictures either. I usually put them on this site's gallery forum and then link to there.

Last edited by UnrightTooner; 01/16/20 10:11 AM.

Jeff Deutschle
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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935089 01/17/20 12:21 AM
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Last edited by Rob Harold; 01/17/20 12:22 AM.
Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935097 01/17/20 12:41 AM
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That bridge is toast. The cracks are too big to be repaired, and the pins will keep moving and constantly change the tuning, so it will never be stable. You could replace the bridge, but it would be easier to replace the piano.


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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: BDB] #2935174 01/17/20 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
That bridge is toast. The cracks are too big to be repaired, and the pins will keep moving and constantly change the tuning, so it will never be stable. You could replace the bridge, but it would be easier to replace the piano.


Yep frown


Jeff Deutschle
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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935452 01/17/20 05:41 PM
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I can't blame the tuner for refusing to tune it.

Regarding humid summers / dry winters in your first post; this certainly didn't help, but we often see 100 year-old pianos which have been submitted to the same environment, that still have bridges in good condition.


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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935465 01/17/20 06:22 PM
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Rob Harold Offline OP
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We bought the piano for the price of moving it from the owner to my home. We never checked it out, so it is possible these problems were developing before I had it. It's only fifty or so years old.

I appreciate everyone's evaluation of the photo. I dont have the experience to discern repairable from "toast".

I also wonder if it is possible to loosen the strings, remove the pins from the lower row along the crack, flood the crack with epoxy and filler, clamp the crack closed and install the pins see if that will patch it. It wont be pretty. Seems like I cant make it much worse than it is.

If I had to remove the bass bridge, is it attached to the soundboard with hide glue? This is a 1967 or 1968 Sohmer. Dont know what the practice was in the late sixties. But moisture and heat will loosen hide glue.

I know, there may be less effort with a better result by getting a used "free" piano. But there is some sentimental value that I am trying to hold onto, perhaps ill advisedly.

Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935532 01/17/20 09:18 PM
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The crack at the bottom is so wide that the pins have moved considerably. You can see the grooves where the strings were earlier in the piano's life. You are not likely to be able to remove everything and get the wood back to where it was, especially since the pressure has undoubtedly deformed it. So if you try filling the crack, it will be the strength of the filler that holds the pins, not the wood. Also note that cracks have developed at the upper side of the bridge as well, and they should be dealt with.

So it would be better to replace the entire bridge. I do not know if you have the equipment or skills to do that; you will have to decide.

Sentiment can be a nice thing, but you probably do not have the same sentiment for say, your grandmother's clothes iron from the 1950s or whenever. (It could be from 100 years ago in my case.) So you will have to decide how much sentiment you have, as well as how much time, skill, persistence, and equipment you have. If you start, I would not want you to feel bad if you cannot finish. But ultimately the decision is yours.


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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935741 01/18/20 01:12 PM
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There may be screws hiding behind there that you would need to know about beforehand and figure out how to release them. Otherwise you remove the entire assembly (apron and all) for which there WILL be at least three screws from the back of the SB.

I have successfully "extended" the life of bridges worse than this. Yes you can do it, yes, it won't be pretty, but it can be done. I would not clamp it completely closed but just a little, and let the epoxy fill the void and do what epoxy does well (you must make sure the gap is filled from top to bottom). Do some re-alignment of the pins though (a little). Of course the piano must be on its back (preferably on a good tilter) for this, and the strings off and kept in order on a wire.

The rusty strings can be dealt with by lubing the bearing points. And, if any break while bringing it up to pitch, repair them.

It would not scare me.

Pwg


Last edited by P W Grey; 01/18/20 01:13 PM.

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Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2935916 01/18/20 09:34 PM
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Rob Harold Offline OP
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Looks like there are four screws from the back of the sound board that line up with the bass bridge. I wonder if it is better to try to remove the bridge which would facilitate pouring epoxy into the cracks and getting easy access to clamp around all its edges. Or should I leave the bridge joint to the soundboard undisturbed and make an upright tilter to allow me to pour the epoxy into the crack. Hard to know if I can remove the bridge without damaging the soundboard.

Last edited by Rob Harold; 01/18/20 09:36 PM.
Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2936026 01/19/20 03:57 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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Making a tilter would be more trouble than it's worth. If you can acquire LOTS of help you can simply put it on its back:

1) Remove any case parts that come off

2) Remove action

3) Possibly remove keys unless they are secured with a rail (I think they are)

4) Have a 2 x 4 or similar to lay it on in its fully prostrate position (you need to get your fingers under it to lift it back up)

5) With 3-4 strong people tilt it back and down to the floor (Remember this weighs in at 400-500 lbs and you'll be carrying nearly all of it once it gets past the balance point)

6) Remove bass strings from hitch pins and string them on a wire in order

7) Do your epoxy thing and let cure

8) Re-install strings with a full twist in the direction of the windings, pull to pitch, make your coils neat and tight, tap the loops down at the hitch pins

9) Put piano back up on casters and re-install action

10) Lube bearing points carefully and tune

Piece of cake

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2936028 01/19/20 04:16 PM
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Rob Harold Offline OP
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Thanks for the step by step. "Piece of cake" as in "easy peasy" or an actual last step where I reward myself with cake when it's all done!?

I will report back in a couple weeks.

Rob H.

Re: Can I Salvage a Sohmer 34 Console [Re: Rob Harold] #2936196 01/20/20 08:55 AM
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If it doesn't work you have not lost much...unless someone gets hurt moving the piano.

Pwg


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