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Squeaky hammer rollers
#2998552 07/04/20 08:28 AM
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I am working on a Kemble Grand 1979 - it's seen hard usage and neglectful care, but we're getting there.

The action was quite stiff and heavy. Amongst other things I Winslipped (graphited) the jacks and repetition levers and that made a great difference. But I'm still getting too much friction and even squeak (not noticeable except on the bench), and I can feel the rollers are anything but smooth. The leather is quite a rough texture.

Is there anything I can put on the leather rollers to smooth them without hardening? Something that will not creep into the action?

Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

Adam

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Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2998562 07/04/20 08:51 AM
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Greetings,
Most of us would rub a dusting of powdered Teflon on the knuckles. If they have seen hard use, it may be that you would want to pull a strip of sandpaper,( I like the black, silicon oxide, grit 220) over them, first. While you are at it, you should pay attention to the jack's tenders, as they can also cause squeaks and friction. They should also be graphite and burnished, with some Teflon on the let-off buttons, as well.
Regards,

Last edited by Ed Foote; 07/04/20 08:52 AM.
Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2998572 07/04/20 09:12 AM
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Thanks Ed. Could I tax you to suggest what Teflon product would be best.
On a related point I note you say graphite AND burnish. I confess I often leave parts to burnish themselves. What do you say?

( I expect you’ll say I’m a lazy #(&* !)

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2998667 07/04/20 12:42 PM
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Greetings,
Bill Garlick, if I may invoke more weight than my experience carries, demonstrated many "old" techniques at North Bennett. We were led to restore old parts, and to our topic, the "proper" (sorry for the marks, but I can't carry off his accent in print), manner was to clean the whippen mortise with alcohol, rub stick graphite onto the freshly opened pores of the wood, and then, with a steel burnisher, impart an ebony sheen to the project. Hella lot work, but our naive and open minds did embrace such labor as more amour fou of the instrument than the long way to profit.

I was fortunate to remain with one school of Music for 38 years before my smoke and mirrors were discovered, an incumbency born shortly after I began my romance with the musical machine, and in an era when paucity of "proper" parts required the rookie to restore rather than replace. This called forth the graphite stick, foisted upon ancient repetitions, and burnished with ardor, if not love. The propriety of the repair was of small import to the students, who were more interested in impressing the opposite gender with their repertoires of wit and quints. However, I, the noble mechanic, took lessons from history, when, decades later, I observed that the mortisae were still well blackened and slick. It proved to be a technique as durable as historical. The burnishing presses carbon into the wood without erasing it as a rub of the knuckle, so I ascribe the long view to the tool. The same treatment, though more tedious in its application, is merited on the tips of the tender for careful work.

Modern approach is often a fast application of too much Teflon powder, a product of the Dupont family, and available from Piano-tek, at least. If only the rawhide is to be anointed, Teflon is superior to graphite, as the clay in the latter causes friction that isn't there with the former.
hope that is of some help,
Regards

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2998697 07/04/20 01:58 PM
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The friction occurs at the edges of the wood. I burnish them with the tip of a pencil, which leaves an iota of graphite and smoothes over the edges. This is pretty much what Ed Foote said.

You can refine the technique by using a harder or softer pencil. Harder is probably better.


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Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2998753 07/04/20 04:43 PM
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Dr. Adam, I am assuming that you are in the UK, since you mention Kemble, and speak of rollers rather than knuckles. Heckscher.co.uk will supply to the public and they stock Teflon Powder: http://www.heckscher.co.uk/ptfe-micro-fine-powder/

A Kemble grand of 1979? It must be a 'badged' Yamaha, because as far as I know, no-one was still making grand pianos in the UK by 1979

Something like an artists' stencil brush is quite good for applying the Teflon powder.

Mr. Foote - what a piece of prose! Magnificent!

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2998931 07/05/20 06:52 AM
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Many thanks for your wise advice. I am indeed in the UK. I confess I do not know what you mean by the whippen mortise. I better get burnishing!
As for the age and origin of the piano, I came across this:

... "leading to Kemble’s joint venture with The Yamaha Corporation of Japan in 1968. This joint venture would eventually be established as Yamaha-Kemble Music (UK) Ltd. In 1985 Kemble and Co. started making a range of acoustic pianos for Yamaha, to be sold in the UK market and, two years later, Yamaha chose Kemble to become its European manufacturing partner. In 2009 manufacturing of Kemble pianos moved to Yamaha’s factories in the Far East. This was highly significant as by that point Kemble were the only UK based piano manufacturers."


https://www.thepianoshopbath.co.uk/bath/a-history-of-kemble-pianos/

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2999147 07/05/20 03:58 PM
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Kemble were indeed, at the time of the factory closure in October 2009, the only manufacturer of pianos left in the UK. And as you discovered, they had been partly owned by Yamaha for years.

They were not making grand pianos at the time of their closure though. No grand pianos had been made in Britain for a long time before that.

I think by "whippen mortice", Ed means the slot in what is usually called the Repetition Lever, through which the jack tip protrudes, to engage with the roller on the hammer shank ("knuckle", not "roller" in USA piano parlance).

Your "Kemble" grand is a mystery. I was not aware that any grand pianos of the 70s 80s 80s or 2000s were badged as Kemble.

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2999254 07/05/20 10:23 PM
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Yes, the mortise is the slot. The weight of the hammer via the knuckle, is, ideally, supported by the jack and the mortise when the hammer is at rest. It is critical, both for control and durability, that the tip of the jack be in contact with the knuckle.
Regards,

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #2999932 07/07/20 02:29 PM
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Now I feel daft - of course it’s the ‘window’ in the fast repetition lever. Thanks!
I’m working on a Broadwood now and will burnish the graphite til I can see my face in it! The problem with that one is soft knuckles...

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #3000001 07/07/20 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr Adam
of course it’s the ‘window’ in the fast repetition lever. Thanks!
.

Greetings,
Nomenclature relavating to our particular favorite musical contrivance has alway offered an olla podrida of vocable pieces we use to confound each other. Found in the barrel of confusion we get supports for repetitions whippen up a storm while the jacks fly, and what with balanciers levering in for a mention, some of us find grub in the slots. Top posts on under levers, and butterflies springing for the rest. These contraptions are also lousy with pins of every ilk we can conjure , from front to center, tuning to balance, yet the needles have their own point.

Sometimes it flabbers my gast that we can even piano parley with each other, at all !
Regards,

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Dr Adam #3000011 07/07/20 07:24 PM
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Steinway in the UK call the Repetition Lever the Falk, as far as I recall. As far as English-language terminology goes, I think USA nomenclature has a greater right to primacy, as Britain has no piano manufacturing industry now.

"Wrest plank" has its charms - one thinks of slightly archaic English "To wrest from his grasp", and of course to wrestle with something or someone. But Pinblock is nicely descriptive, and Tuning Pins clearer in meaning than Wrest Pins.

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
Ed Foote #3000118 07/08/20 04:10 AM
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Excellent!
Erm... what did you say?

Re: Squeaky hammer rollers
David Boyce #3000120 07/08/20 04:20 AM
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David
I’ve looked at the key fall again, and it’s a nameplate not inset. So could have been ‘re-badged’. I didn’t pay that much attention (not knowing the piano’s origins might be in doubt) but next time I will see if the frame is badged. It’s a reasonably well-made baby grand which has seen hard usage. Another odd thing is that the name board felt is (was) some sort of dark brown canvas material, and various felts (eg the coverIng on the tray of the music stand) are a weird brown material, not felt but hard to identify. But those materials look original... a puzzle.

Did I mention that the client has badly painted the piano white? It sounds like a mess (is a mess) but the tone is good and the action now reasonable.


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