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1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
#2988568 06/06/20 06:35 PM
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I am posting this here largely for the benefit of the lay-people (technically speaking) who are interested in this project. Yes, having the opportunity to "produce" a total rebuild of a D is as enjoyable as it sounds.

So, COVID has slowed things to a crawl. However, my rebuilder de-furloughed his workers this week to do the soundboard installation.

Here is the Ciresa soundboard (showing its slightly augmented rib pattern, and suggesting its healthy 8mm crown) leaning on the frame for dry fitting:
[Linked Image] Some of the notching in the rim had to be adjusted somewhat.

Here is the soundboard dry installed: [Linked Image] The "rap" test results: deep with very long sustain, the best he has ever heard at this stage. Our ambitions for the piano to be the best concert instrument in the region remain alive.

Note also the beefy new bespoke legs made in Nicaragua of solid Honduran mahogany (https://www.libertycarvings.com/). They complement both the Edwardian case design (called "new model arm style") and the church's Georgian neoclassical architecture. They were scaled to accept big concert castors; see also the locking concert double castors with soft brown polyurethane treads to protect the marble floor. You cannot get these from Steinway so we sourced German-made Petilo castors (http://www.petilo.de/en/caster-assortment/) from Jahn Pianotiele.

Finally, here is the frame in the air: [Linked Image] Not a great picture, but I would have commented that, although a 1902 is included within the definitive Model D design that has remained until today, the frames have definitely changed in detail over the years. Anyhow, the frame has been prepped and sprayed a few times but will await final touches until it is ready to go in for good (they go in and out numerous times at this point).


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
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Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988574 06/06/20 07:00 PM
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Cool! Keep us posted. thumb

I like the new legs and finish.



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988580 06/06/20 07:10 PM
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Wow!!!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988587 06/06/20 07:29 PM
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Nice!!
Its possible after its glued in to use sand, a speaker, and sine wave app to check that the soundboard is working to its maximum potential. Known as Chladni testing. You want the sand to hug the edges except up in the treble area. You want that area to be stiff enough to keep the sand away. If the sand goes up there, the soundboard will benefit with a stiffener. This is a common problem with Steinways.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988592 06/06/20 07:57 PM
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Chris,

Excellent point. For context, I should say that this was actually the second attempt with the soundboard, the first had to go back to the factory. This is understandable--we knew going in that Ciresa is focused on Bosendorfer and Fazioli, with different philosophies on soundboard design than Steinway, but we took the risk to see what they very close grain/lighter material could do for us. Additionally, this NY D needs something different than the Hamburg instruments they would at least see relatively more often. Nonetheless, Ciresa, being the wonderful professionals they are, spend a lot of additional time and effort to remake the soundboard to the rebuilder's precise specifications with some ribbing added in the treble. They also altered their procedure a little (I forgot the details) in order to get us a higher, more stable crown.

Anyhow, I will suggest to him that we give the Chlandni testing a go. When you say "benefit from a stiffener," what do you mean? More ribbing, a button, or something else?


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988593 06/06/20 08:08 PM
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And to Retsacnal and ShiroKuro, thanks! Glad you like it, and I will try to post more pictures when things progress again. I am looking forward to seeing it strung.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988594 06/06/20 08:09 PM
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I have developed a software program for measuring rib stiffness. If you care to, I could run the rib dimensions of your board through and check the engineering. I can tell if the ribs are of sufficient mass or too much. All i need is each rib height, width and span length. Don't worry, i don't charge anything as i am collecting the data for creating a database.

Is your rebuilder copying the existing dimensions or are they changing them? If so, send both. In either case i'll send you back a spreadsheet and graph.

All the best.
-chris

Here's a sample.
[Linked Image]


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988596 06/06/20 08:21 PM
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Awesome! He did change the profile of the original a little. I will try to get those data points to you next week. Thanks!


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988615 06/07/20 12:51 AM
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What exactly was wrong with the original soundboard and bridges?

Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2988753 06/07/20 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Erchoukyrie
Nonetheless, Ciresa, being the wonderful professionals they are, spend a lot of additional time and effort to remake the soundboard to the rebuilder's precise specifications with some ribbing added in the treble. They also altered their procedure a little (I forgot the details) in order to get us a higher, more stable crown.

I see. The soundboard was built away from the piano and it is being installed by your rebuilder?


Rich Galassini
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Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990168 06/11/20 01:24 PM
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My apologies, everyone, for taking so much time to reply. I too many responsibilities!

Our honored friend in Wein asks what was wrong with the original soundboard. The answer is, almost nothing except age. We surmise that it was a great piano in 1902 and for many years thereafter. However, after 118 years in the NY/NJ area, the soundboard was in very poor condition and required total replacement (this judgment made by someone who tries to keep old soundboards as much as possible, having spent much time perfecting the techniques to restore compression crown systems.) I mentioned that there was one section at the very high treble that was unsupported and had evidently failed earlier than the rest; adding a rib here was the only substantive change. Anyhow, other than that, we simply sent the entire old soundboard to Ciresa for them to copy (sorry if I suggested otherwise; my memory is poor).

Rich, thanks so much for responding. I had mentioned my admiration for a certain piano on another thread, so I think it only fair to say that the lion's share of the links I sent to my rebuilder as "this is what I want" were from your shop. Sadly, VAT and import duty on finished products adds 24% to the cost of items brought to the UK, so we never had a conversation. To answer your question, yes, they built the soundboard in Italy and sent it to the shop in the UK to be fitted.

Someone asked in a PM about the choice for Ciresa. Obviously, the jury is still out until we hear hear the finished product. The preference was based merely on the idea that Fiemme is a little lighter and with a little finer grain, and at least in theory, a little more responsive a board. I happened across this paper given and the 2007 International Congress of Acoustics comparing measurable properties of three different tonewoods: https://www.researchgate.net/public...onance_wood_with_a_new_scientific_method
Their conclusion is that the Val de Fiemme spruce Ciresa uses should make for a slightly better piano soundboard, but perhaps they are a little biased.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990284 06/11/20 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Erchoukyrie
My apologies, everyone, for taking so much time to reply. I too many responsibilities!

Our honored friend in Wein asks what was wrong with the original soundboard. The answer is, almost nothing except age. We surmise that it was a great piano in 1902 and for many years thereafter. However, after 118 years in the NY/NJ area, the soundboard was in very poor condition and required total replacement

I'd love to have a precise definition of what a "poor condition" actually is and what the exact parameters of that definition are.

Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990293 06/11/20 06:41 PM
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That was a terrible article. There conclusion was an assumption. And based on that assumptionthey say Val Di fiemme is the best suited for soundboards,and therefore Sitka is not desirable??

As I have said before the species don't matter too much. Many species have been used with great success and just create a varied timbre. Its the installation process that matters most. Structurally, Sitka has the highest Strength to Weight ratio. Weight being the important part. For example, Steinway uses Pine for the ribs, because its one of many ways to make the board even lighter. The panel is Spruce under compression which adds more strength. Steinways way of enhancing the strength to weight ratio.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990328 06/11/20 08:11 PM
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Chris, I concur. For this already fairly unique rebuild, opting for that "varied timbre" that will be just slightly different from the typical D was a factor in what was admittedly a 51/49% decision.

And yes, that was indeed a very biased article--the researchers are from a university in northern Italy not too far away from the Ciresa workshop. I was waiting for someone to notice that they had relegated Sitka to rib duty! Starting with a subjectively-derived definition that Val di Fiemme spruce makes the ideal soundboard, and then trotting out data to "prove" others are inferior when they diverge in either direction from that ideal, is circular reasoning.

So OE1FEU, that is why I will not bother trying to offer objective data in support of the "poor condition" statement. Ultimately, it was a subjective judgment. I can only say that the experienced broker who sold me the core would only do so with the explicit understanding that the soundboard would have to be replaced. Likewise, the tech (who as I mentioned, is heavily invested in restoring soundboards and really hates discarding original material) was convinced at first sight that there was no hope of saving it.

Out of curiosity, what happens in terms of soundboards in Vienna when a concert grand of this vintage comes in for restoration? Are there any measurable specifications to determine what will be saved vs. what will be replaced?


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
OE1FEU #2990388 06/12/20 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I'd love to have a precise definition of what a "poor condition" actually is and what the exact parameters of that definition are.

Perhaps you could provide the gradations of soundboard condition, and the parameter values that distinguish them. Thanks in advance.



Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
~Mark Twain
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990490 06/12/20 09:50 AM
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The sample hammers Ray sent arrived today and I thought I would post a picture since I do not recall having seen pictures of what they looked like on this site. The ones marked Z are the Weickerts, and the one marked K are the Wurzens.
[Linked Image]
I immediately sent them on to the rebuilder's shop for the real comparison, but I can confirm that the Wurzens were noticeably firmer to the touch. One can even observe with the eye the compression of the largest Weickert sample (notice also the visible layers), but not the Wurzen.

Of course we can only test two of the three main variables together at a time: the soundboard/rim and the hammers, but not the venue. I say that only because this instrument is expected to spend its entire lifetime in one place.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990873 06/13/20 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Erchoukyrie
Out of curiosity, what happens in terms of soundboards in Vienna when a concert grand of this vintage comes in for restoration? Are there any measurable specifications to determine what will be saved vs. what will be replaced?

The soundboard would be left to dry as much as possible in order to widen cracks and then the repair would be done in a ways similar to this, even though every builder has its own approach in terms of tools.


Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
Erchoukyrie #2990953 06/13/20 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Erchoukyrie
The ones marked Z are the Weickerts, and the one marked K are the Wurzens.

Are you sure it's not the other way around? Because there is a letter "z" in Wurzen and a letter "k" in Weickert. If the hammers are labelled as you say, that would be counterintuitive and quite confusing...

Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
violarules #2991120 06/13/20 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by violarules
Are you sure it's not the other way around? Because there is a letter "z" in Wurzen and a letter "k" in Weickert. If the hammers are labelled as you say, that would be counterintuitive and quite confusing...

I thought the same and for the same reason. However, Ray sent a "key" on an index card and I am pretty sure I have it correct; I should have included it into the picture.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: 1902 Steinway D Rebuild progress
OE1FEU #2991152 06/13/20 05:44 PM
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[quote=OE1FEU] The soundboard would be left to dry as much as possible in order to widen cracks and then the repair would be done in a ways similar to this, even though every builder has its own approach in terms of tools. [quote]

Thanks for sending that video, I really enjoy watching craftsmen at work rebuilding old pianos. The work shown is what my rebuilder did on my 1926 R. Actually, in addition to merely repairing the cracks (which can often be more for cosmetic reasons than functional improvement) he also added a number of very thin, full length, full depth shims to restore the original dimension lost to shrinkage over time. The result was a very healthy compression crown that would otherwise have been impossible--the board had no compression crown left.

There are three aspects that differ with respect to the 1902 D:
a) The D spent its life in the eastern United States rather than in England. It is perhaps difficult to imagine the drastic extremes in temperature and humidity experienced over the course of a year, but it certainly has deleterious effects on soundboards.
b) it is a 9' concert grand; the greater string tension/down bearing is rather rougher on the sound board.
c) It is 24 years older.

I greatly respect your conservative approach--don't replace things that can be repaired to original specifications. Moreover, new soundboards are neither cheap nor are they sure things regarding the authenticity of the sound. However, we just did not think we could get an optimal outcome with repairing the soundboard in this case.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
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