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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2971030 04/24/20 03:01 PM
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Emery,
Here's another update.

I am now using

1:4:1 (All, Alcohol, Water) on very hard hammers only in which the sustain is poor. The 1-4-1 isn't used very much.

When I want to soften, so far 1:4 (All, Alcohol) is working very well.

The B-72 1:2 is working quite nicely.


As you may be able to tell, i have diluted the fabric softener since starting, and increased the strength of the B-72.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2971033 04/24/20 03:05 PM
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Thanks Chris. Are you only putting B72 into the shoulders? I'm wary about hardening the crowns at all because I think it's too easy to get a metallic-sounding ping that way.


Daily driver: Kawai MP11SE
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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2971035 04/24/20 03:12 PM
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Its not so easy to get a ping with the B-72 as its not a brittle plastic like lacquer. I apply it in two ways on old hammers. In the volume area, a little at a time until i get the tone i want. And i spray on top with a spot sprayer (2oz bottle) Apply the 1:2 wait an hour to listen. If you do get a ping, sugar coating can fix it.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2973332 04/30/20 01:03 PM
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Chris,

Do you find that the B-72 does not remain fully in suspension in the ethanol and must be agitated frequently for this purpose? Or have I done something wrong?

Pwg


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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2973724 05/01/20 01:12 PM
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The main jar of the last batch i made didn't seem to have any sediment worthy of note. It certainly doesn't hurt to give it a shake either. I make it at a 1-4 ratio, are you going thicker? I also used 190 proof alcohol to minimize water content. I did not use acetone to dissolve the crystals, i don't mind that it takes longer to dissolve in the alcohol.

Hope that helps.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2973881 05/01/20 09:01 PM
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I think I made it about 2 parts vodka (190 proof but over a year old so it may have absorbed a bit more water than it had originally) to 1 part plastic. All approximate done by eye in a squirt bottle. Seems a bit thick to me, though I haven't actually tried it on anything yet. I may thin it out some more.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974086 05/02/20 12:33 PM
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So earlier in this post the presence of lanolin in hammer felt was deemed significant to tone. I don't understand how. Could someone please give a deterministic mechanistic explanation of what or how lanolin affects tone?

Last edited by Ed McMorrow, RPT; 05/02/20 12:34 PM. Reason: ty

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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974121 05/02/20 02:29 PM
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Peter,

I think you are making it too thick.

This should help:

Erwin Mixing Protocol
The formulas below replicate the approximate strength of a comparable lacquer solution. Voicing is a result driven process, so you can obviously mix thinner or thicker solutions as you wish. These solutions will get you headed in the right direction.

Thick: Mix 8-10 grams B 72 with 4 oz. of acetone. Comparable to 3-1 lacquer solution
Medium: Mix 4-5 grams with 4 oz. of acetone. Comparable to 6-1 lacquer solution
Thin: Mix 2-2.5 grams with 4 oz. of acetone. Comparable to 12 -1 lacquer solution


The only difference is i do not use acetone.


-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974127 05/02/20 02:48 PM
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McMorrow,

Lanolin is important so the fibers have resilience. Abel natural felt has 10 times the lanolin. I must say that they have a somewhat sweeter sound than the Ronsens.

Here's a link to an interview with Norbert.

https://pianopricepoint.com/interview-with-norbert-abel/


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974179 05/02/20 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
McMorrow,

Lanolin is important so the fibers have resilience. Abel natural felt has 10 times the lanolin. I must say that they have a somewhat sweeter sound than the Ronsens.

Here's a link to an interview with Norbert.

https://pianopricepoint.com/interview-with-norbert-abel/

So Abel jumps through hoops and loops to remove any aggressive chemicals in the process of producing a felt that has a high Lanolin contents to keep it as clean, but unprocessed as possible, with the result that "Abel's hammers are resilient and sound sweeter than others." (Your words).

Only to then treat them with aggressive chemicals to remove Lanolin, harden them with lacquer, hair spray and plastic. And soften them with fabric softener.

This does not make sense.

You got a natural felt hammer which is hard and resilient in the beginning and in order to produce a beautiful sound out of it in a concert grand, you'll need to put in quite some effort to voice it, i.e. shape it, file an even strike surface, needle it in a consistent way. Once you're done with that, the piano can be played hard on a daily basis for 4-5 months at least. And what you do then is to re-shape the hammers as before, losing maybe 1mm of felt substance, file the strike surface and needle the shoulders to regain the resilience that has been lost by constant compression on the strike line.

Tell me how that does not make more sense than experimenting with chemicals for a hammer that has not been designed to be treated with chemicals in the first place. Which. by the way, goes for the Renner Blue Points as well. And our own Bechstein hammers.

Disclaimer: I work for Bechstein, but not in Marketing, R&D, Sales, Production and my postings are that of an individual and may not be taken as official statement of my employer. I've been here before starting to work for the company.

Last edited by OE1FEU; 05/02/20 05:04 PM.
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974258 05/02/20 08:57 PM
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You say it doesn't make sense, but everyone who tries it, hears the results immediately.

Maybe you should try it. If not, good for you. Keep doing it your way.

Maybe start a voicing with needles post and show everyone how great your system is. Instead you choose to go onto a post that you disagree with and undermine.

I don't get it.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
OE1FEU #2974277 05/02/20 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
So Abel jumps through hoops and loops to remove any aggressive chemicals in the process of producing a felt that has a high Lanolin contents to keep it as clean, but unprocessed as possible, with the result that "Abel's hammers are resilient and sound sweeter than others." (Your words).

Only to then treat them with aggressive chemicals to remove Lanolin, harden them with lacquer, hair spray and plastic. And soften them with fabric softener.

This does not make sense.

Hi OE1FEU. I think the idea behind the fabric softener is to add something like lanolin back into the hammers. Likely this would not be needed on the Abel naturals because they already have lanolin. However, if most hammers are acid washed like the article says, reintroducing something that acts like lanolin would help achieve after the fact what Abel is trying to do beforehand.

As for the hairspray and plastic, they are used to stiffen up parts of the hammer, like Steinway has been doing to their hammers with lacquer.

So, there is no witches brew of chemicals being added here. Just fabric softener to replace the lanolin, and plastic, hairspray, or lacquer to voice up when needed, like Steinway has been doing with their hammers.

Personally I didn't like the effect of hairspray on the crowns, and I didn't feel the need to increase the loudness on my hammers. Therefore my Kawai hammers only have fabric softener in them.
The result for me has been good. Everything sounds richer with more sustain. And some overly harsh treble hammers that I could not mellow out with any amount of needle voicing are now smooth and even.

I think the question here is whether fabric softener really acts like lanolin in a hammer. That may be a question for a chemist, but the actual result of doing so has made my hammers sound better.


Daily driver: Kawai MP11SE
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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974303 05/02/20 11:18 PM
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Chris:
What evidence do you have that lanolin provides resilience to wool felt?


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.
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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2974312 05/03/20 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
What evidence do you have that lanolin provides resilience to wool felt?

Your own body will give you the answer. A human's head has glands producing lanolin and thus coats your hair, which consists of keratin. Both materials are pretty much identical to unprocessed sheep wool. Fibres coated with lanolin are "springy", which is why your hair and sheep wool pretty much go back into its original form after you compress it.

Keratin itself is a brittle material that has only very little resilience and is prone to breaking at a certain point. Look at your fingernails and toenails: both are made from keratin, but they are not coated with lanolin, because there are no glands producing lanolin anywhere near your fingernails/toenails. If you had a heap of hair with lanolin in it and a heap without, compressing both heaps at the same time will make the first heap spring back into its original form and the second one remain in the form it was compressed to, because you actually irreparably broke the fibres.

I'd say that pretty much describes resilience.

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974728 05/04/20 09:07 AM
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I read up on lanolin. It is a mix of compounds including 97% long chain, waxy esters with the remainder alcohols, waxy esters, acids and hydrocarbons. So it is a type of natural skin cream that also enhances water repelling.

So it would act to reduce friction between hairs.

Given how compressed hammer felt is, I doubt it plays much of a role in spring rate.

The modern piano hammer is way out of step with the traditional way hammers were made and voiced into a piano. A hammer that requires massive needle work in the bass and mid section to bring it down to warm tone is an absurd exercise.

Use less dense felt, design the piano to make is easier to have the hammer light enough in the first place by choosing dimensions carefully, and stiffen the treble felt with the proper chemical agents and application methods will produce the most stable tone over time. It will also produce a faster more controllable action that requires way less maintenance, can tolerate changes in humidity better, and will last many times longer in use.

THAT IS A SELLING POINT that pianists understand! Our wonderful industry is besotted with sales spiels that list brand X or Y components that pianists have no way of relating to.

If our, (PW enthusiasts) "Grand Obsession" is to continue as a viable business opportunity: we must give pianists a reason to replace their old instruments with MODERN ones.


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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974740 05/04/20 09:46 AM
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Hmm... you can buy 100% lanolin on Amazon. The question is how to get it into piano hammers. I wonder if thinning with a solvent (acetone? alcohol?) then spraying onto the hammers would work. I'm sure an intrepid piano rebuilder has tried this at some point. Anybody know of results?

Last edited by Emery Wang; 05/04/20 09:46 AM.

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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Emery Wang #2974745 05/04/20 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Hmm... you can buy 100% lanolin on Amazon. The question is how to get it into piano hammers. I wonder if thinning with a solvent (acetone? alcohol?) then spraying onto the hammers would work. I'm sure an intrepid piano rebuilder has tried this at some point. Anybody know of results?

I came across this: " Lanolin is soluble in organic solvents like diethyl ether, chloroform and chloroform/methanol mixtures, but poorly soluble in ethanol. It does not dissolve in (but is mixable with) water, forming stable oil-water emulsions."

The best way of getting it into hammers is probably to leave it on the wool before making your felt :-)

Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974764 05/04/20 10:38 AM
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Spray it quick before you pass out!


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Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974904 05/04/20 03:36 PM
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Hi Emery,

I just went over the Baldwin that Todd did. Its going back to the owner Wednesday. I only had to touch up a couple notes at the break. But I just tuned it and i believe the customer will love it. I want to go over the ratios again as there has been some typos and changing of them in the experiments. But i seem to have settled (by process of elimination) on these ratios.

The B-72:
I buy the pellets from Talas. I mix 1 Tablespoon to 2 oz. of alcohol. The batch i made last week I used Denatured alcohol from Home Depot. As a spray this one seems about right. It makes a change, but not a drastic one. If i do get a ping, sugar coating or brushing will work.
If the volume is too low still (even after a ping) I spray again until i get the volume i want. Then remove the ping. BTW, the B-72 will not ping as easily lacquer or Hairspray will. That's because of B-72's flexible properties.

All Softener:
I have settled on two formulations.

Without water:
1 part All, 2 parts alcohol. Has a predictable behavior, so it becomes easy to know how much to apply.

With water:
1 part ALL, 4 part Alcohol, 1 part water (1-4-1). Only to be used when there is excessive hardness. So its not used often, but i needed it on some overlacquered hammers i was working on. When using it, i prefer to let it sit a day and check it the next. On some hammers you may have to add more alcohol until its absorbing correctly.

The key to Todds system is getting that sustain first, volume second (FF)(F), color last (p)(pp).
Enjoy playing with it.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: Dissecting the Tone of Piano Hammers
Chernobieff Piano #2974933 05/04/20 04:36 PM
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Thanks Chris. Are you spraying the B72 on the crowns only? Or are you spraying it on the shoulders to stiffen them, and then spraying the crown in a 3rd step to adjust the tone?

Also for the fabric softener: Todd recommended 4 passes on each shoulder. Is that what you're doing too?

-Emery


Daily driver: Kawai MP11SE
First crush: Kawai GL10
Current fling: Petrof III
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