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Creative pinblock repair?
#3030074 09/28/20 09:42 PM
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Looks like large holes were drilled into the pinblock, plugs were put in and then new holes were made for the tuning pins.

I’ve never heard of this repair before? Is it acceptable? Felt okay while I was tuning. I took this picture from the underside of the pinblock.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by TimM_980; 09/28/20 09:43 PM.
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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030088 09/28/20 10:25 PM
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I am not an expert on this matter but I would say that is a very bad idea.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030092 09/28/20 10:53 PM
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It's not necessarily a bad idea if you use actual pinblock material for the plugs.

First of all, this may be a perfectly legitimate repair for situations where individual tuning pins are loose and oversize pins have already been tried. It can be particularly effective to repair a block that has a failure in a localized area (a split) because it is putting new wood contacting the tuning pin.

If the pinblock is more-or-less intact (not delaminating or otherwise turning back into lumber) and it is a complicated replacement (multi-level or built into the case), then plugging with new pinblock material is a legitimate approach.

Three additional comments:
1) use the largest plug possible -- even if it means plugging some holes and then drilling and plugging adjacent holes that impinge on the first plugs.
2) I wouldn't use anything but Falconwood material for a full pinblock plugging. I only use Falconwood for pinblock replacement, anyway. I recognize that other people do well with their favorite materials for block replacement but I would suggest that for this approach, the extra strength and density of Falconwood is essential to be fully assured that it is a quality end result.
3) It's important to be able to think critically. Rather than just saying that it doesn't seem like a good idea, one should be able to list the reasons why: mechanically unreliable, inferior material, prevents execution of some other essential process, etc. etc. But just saying it looks scary because one hasn't encountered it before really isn't authoritative. The OP's comment that it felt OK when tuning (after how many years since the repair???) is pretty definitive that the process can work.

One additional thing, though. It's not a way to save money. The labor cost exceeds the material cost by a wide margin except in instances of complex pinblocks that will also be labor intensive to replace.


Keith Akins, RPT
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USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030096 09/28/20 11:03 PM
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You'd be surprised what can work as there are a lot of creative technicians out there. I've seen a lot of soft metal pin wraps used that seem to hold for awhile. Most of these types of repairs have been replaced with CA glue. Wood plugs can work and its best to use a very hard wood species or pinblock material as a plug.
-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030099 09/28/20 11:16 PM
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For that repair I’d say that cutting proper plugs is important. Not to use dowels.
Grain angle helps the glue joint and the grip on the pin.
Ideally cutting plugs from a pin block.


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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
Gene Nelson #3030109 09/29/20 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
Ideally cutting plugs from a pin block.
thumb

Which is one of the reasons why it's not an approach to save money (unless by a DIY who values their time at zero). Because the diameter of the hole from which the plug is cut is significantly bigger than the plug, plug cutting is quite wasteful and is going to chew up most of a standard-sized pinblock plank, anyway. So, you've invested in the cost of a block and the labor of drilling the block and then you still have to bore the old block and install the plugs and then finally bore the block with the new plugs.

As I said earlier, other materials "might" work but I would only recommend Falconwood for this procedure. FYI the Falconwood suppliers also sell Falconwood plugs. (I have no financial interest in the company)

Last edited by kpembrook; 09/29/20 12:44 AM.

Keith Akins, RPT
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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030111 09/29/20 01:12 AM
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Well, if you have some scraps of pinblock lying about, you can cut plugs from them, if you only have a few holes that need to be plugged.

The idea is same as what you do when you have a stripped 1/4" agraffe hole: drill and tap it bigger, screw in a plug, and drill and tap the plug for an agraffe.


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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030297 09/29/20 03:29 PM
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A concert grand that I used to routinely tune had one tuning pin in the low bass (unichord) that was repaired like that. The previous tech drilled a 1/2 inch hole through the plate, plugged the hole with a pinblock plug, and then drilled a new hole for the pin and installed it. That was an easy 35 years ago and the pin was still fine as of last year.


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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3030755 09/30/20 11:30 PM
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Yes

I've even seen one pinblock repaired with linen filled phenolic tubing. You'd never know it wasn't wood.

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Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3031060 10/01/20 05:46 PM
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Looking through Steinway’s current parts catalog last night I saw that they offer pin block plugs. So I guess it’s a thing.


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: Creative pinblock repair?
TimM_980 #3031065 10/01/20 06:13 PM
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If you can make some profit off your waste material, why not?


Semipro Tech

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