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Re: WNG capstan sizes
piano411 #3037745 10/20/20 12:37 PM
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piano411 writes

>>I use hide glue because it is the traditional glue to use with pianos. <<

Traditions change. Steinway no longer uses hide to build their rims. There are a number of applications where hide is inferior to aliphatic resin glues, (soudboard shims, for one)

>>CA works differently. We honestly don’t know how it holds up over time in the piano. Not very many people use it in the piano, and not enough time has passed. <<

I tune a number of pianos that have had a CA treatment in the pin block, which was an alternative to scrapping a piano that was not worth enough to justify a new block and strings. Years of solid tuning has resulted. Hide will not do this. There are many techs that have been using CA in various applications for years.


>>In contrast, the traditional method of using hide glue to size the hole will actually swell the hole (the wood). It is not a film on the wood like the CA. This is why it can be done again many times. <<

I have never heard of a capstan hole that needed to be sized "many times". The ones I have done have remained the same for a number of years. The CA does not create a film when it is applied to end-grain, but, rather, is absorbed via capillary action. Its major action is increasing the surface area that the metal bears against

I treated my parents quite old Hallet & Davis with CA in 1977. The capstans were loose. When, after 35 years of my brother's heavy handed playing, the piano was beyond saving, he took out all the brass and other materials for recycling. He had to use a nail to turn out the capstans, if the treatment is stable for many decades, I don't rule it out. perhaps a hide glue sizing will need to be repeated, but CA has not shown the need. The repair is as long lasting as anything else I have seen used, (and longer than the Garfield's that I have seen others use).

I have used more than several pounds of hide glue in the last 45 years. It is the only choice for non-durable parts in the piano, (bushings, hammers, keyframe felt, damper felt, etc). I have used Tite-bond for numerous permanent repairs,(wood joints, etc.) I have used CA in pin blocks, getting better results than anything else I have seen used. I have eliminated many false beats by wicking it into bridge pin holes. Never found anything else that would do that. Sizing the threads in a hole has shown CA to outperform anything else I have tried. It holds as well or longer than hide, (never had to redo one), at a fraction of the cost in time.

No serious technician would use CA on a museum piano, but the criteria is quite different in the field. A Winter Bros. spinet doesn't justify the time and effort to use hide glue when there is a faster, equally durable, approach. A Steinway with dozens of false beating strings is better addressed with CA than anything else I have seen. It works, it is fast, and it has proven to be durable, so disparaging it on the basis of "not knowing" seems to be rather short-sighted.
Regards,

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Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3037776 10/20/20 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Do you thin the hide glue down a lot so it flows into the threads, rather than pool into the bottom of the hole?
Yes, it is the water that swells up the wood. So a runnier hide glue mixture is used compared to what we use to hang hammers, install key bushings, put on damper felts, or replace kayframe felts. Just a quick reminder, hide glue remains the standard, traditional glue to use in the piano for wooden, felt, and leather parts. Can you use other glues? Sure. Technicians try to do it all the time. Is it advisable or the right thing to do? It depends on the situation, and how you value the instrument and your time. If you are working with a junk piano, or doing a repair that is not worth your time and effort, then CA is quick, easy, and cheap option. Emery_Wang if that describes you and your piano, then by all means, CA is a wonder last ditch approach to cheap piano repair.

With all that said, another option might be to put a drop of CA on the capstan when it is out of the piano, so that it does not contaminate the wood. Again, I don't know how much of a difference in size that you have to overcome. It may be so large that neither the glue sizing nor CA approach would work. Just putting it out there. The right approach may be to get a larger screws, or plug and re-drill the holes if those are the capstans that you really want to use.

If it were me, I would probably just stick to the original parts. But, that is just me.

I wish you all best with your project. If you go with the CA method, and you regularly regulate your piano (if you touch up blow distance regularly), I'd love to know how that holds up over time.


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3037967 10/21/20 10:07 AM
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Are you really going to supper glue brand new capstans in the wood?


I tune and repair pianos. Let's have fun!
Re: WNG capstan sizes
LemonColor #3037982 10/21/20 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by LemonColor
Are you really going to supper glue brand new capstans in the wood?

I think he is looking to size the overly loose threads in the key before installing WNG capstans. I will also add that the WNG capstans are anodized with a virtually impervious and low friction compound, so there is little friction on the threads to begin with. I have wicked CA into a loose capstan when installing the WNG capstans, and the glue doesn't bond with the threads. Actually, nothing bonds with the anodized coating as far as I have seen. I am not sure what it is, but it is slick stuff.
Regards,

Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038022 10/21/20 12:15 PM
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I see. But for your parents piano you glued them in place without removing them?


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038024 10/21/20 12:20 PM
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I don't think CA glue can actually glue metal to wood with any sort of strength because they are dissimilar materials. It's like applying thin CA glue to a loose tuning pin. You can still turn the tuning pin, so it's not stuck to the pinblock. However, the added material should decrease the hole diameter and make the pin harder to turn. Therefore, I could probably do the same with my capstans, but I have to remove them to get rid of the bits of kleenex I stuck in the holes crazy Plus, I think adding the CA with the capstans out will coat the threads more evenly.

Last edited by Emery Wang; 10/21/20 12:23 PM.

Daily driver: Kawai MP11SE
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Re: WNG capstan sizes
LemonColor #3038040 10/21/20 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by LemonColor
I see. But for your parents piano you glued them in place without removing them?

I sure did. It worked like a charm, and that was old brass capstans, not aluminum capstans anodized with a modern miracle, non-stick, material. The repair was exactly what I had wanted; fast, permanent, neat, and inexpensive. The hide glue sizing, which we became familiar with at North Bennett, will never wick down the threads like CA, so to use it would have required a total removal of the capstans, (a lot of wear on the threads doing that), and a total re-regulation afterwards.

As to a previous poster's touting of tradition being a guiding principle, I would suggest a second look, as the first tradition of piano tuning was mean-tone, restrictive tuning. We got over that. Another tradition was wooden frames, we left that behind in the name of progress. A pre-eminent maker once used tallow in the bushing cloth, bad tradition. To more topical focus, the tradition of brass capstans has now run into the WNG alternative, and there is scant value I can find to use brass, with its weight and corrosion values, instead of the WNG.

I was trained in a very traditional approach to piano technology, and our teacher, (B. Garlick) ALWAYS encouraged us to try everything new that developed. Much tradition is worth keeping, but I have left quite a bit behind in pursuit of better performance. The composite WNG action parts are a great example, as the felt-bushed, wooden parts, while traditional, simply do not compare with the composite parts in terms of accuracy, consistency, or durability.

Observing tradition to the exclusion of modern materials would have us using wooden tennis rackets, skis, surf-boards,golf clubs, hunting bows, and many other things. Carbon fiber has shown itself to be far superior in situations where humans are trying to control flex. I like wood, and felt, but after nearly 4 decades of watching these "traditional" parts wear out in heavily used pianos in university practice rooms, when I saw how the WNG parts performed, I could not continue building the wooden actions. They are not as consistent, they are not dimensionally stable, and they wear out too quickly.
Regards,

Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038047 10/21/20 01:29 PM
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I would replace a tuning pin when it gets loose. I would not put CA down in there for any reason.

A drop or two of thin CA glue in the capstan hole is probably not enough material to change the size. Especially if the CA glue wicks into the wood. I think it has more to do with a change in friction between the parts. Without the kleenex do you have enough contact with the wood that you could increase the friction? If the CA glue doesn't stick to the anodized threads, then you might not be able to increase the friction in the same way as Foote's brother.


I tune and repair pianos. Let's have fun!
Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038050 10/21/20 01:34 PM
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I'll find out this weekend. The old capstans were 5mm, the WNG ones are about 4.85mm. So .1 to .2mm change is all I need.


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038100 10/21/20 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
As to a previous poster's touting of tradition being a guiding principle, I would suggest a second look, as the first tradition of piano tuning was mean-tone, restrictive tuning. We got over that. Another tradition was wooden frames, we left that behind in the name of progress. A pre-eminent maker once used tallow in the bushing cloth, bad tradition.
Hide glue has been used throughout history for many reasons. People don't seem to care to discuss why that is, but tradition is not being used as a guiding principle without reason. It is pretty simple. CA is not a replacement for hide glue. It is not "better." Hide glue and CA have different properties and function differently. Suggesting that one is a replacement for another is madness.

Is hide glue better than CA? Is a screwdriver better than peanut butter? No, they're different. Can CA be used in the piano where hide glue can't be used? Sure. These are different glues used for different purposes. For example, Ed_Foote's parent's piano was one step from the grave. So using CA to glue the capstans in place was a good option. Was there another option? For a junk piano like that? No, not really. You would have to take the capstans out, and reregulate in order to use hide glue. That was a cheap throw away piano without significant merit. It just needed to work. It makes more sense to glue them in place and be done with it.

For a quality built piano, or any piano that has value, then CA is not a good way to deal with a situation like that. But, everyone knows that, as no one in their right mind would use CA for preservation purposes. It will wick into the wood and seal it off. If you don't get it right the first time, you are stuck with that waterproof barrier for the rest of the piano's life. Hence the destructive nature of that particular glue.


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
piano411 #3038109 10/21/20 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by piano411
Ed_Foote's parent's piano was one step from the grave. So using CA to glue the capstans in place was a good option. Was there another option? For a junk piano like that? No, not really. You would have to take the capstans out, and reregulate in order to use hide glue. That was a cheap throw away piano without significant merit. It just needed to work. It makes more sense to glue them in place and be done with it. .

you are making assumptions. my parents piano was a very high quality 1873 Hallet Davis upright made with solid maple body, no veneer. It was my first total restoration after North Bennet. When I was done, it went another three decades of hard use. It was quite old, but by no means a "junker". Even after 100 years, the pin block held very well with 3/0 pins and the repinned action handled a ham-fisted pounder for decades after the work I did. The CA treatment was just as durable as the rest of my work.
I have seen the results of CA glue for a long time, so I am not speaking from theory, here.

Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038111 10/21/20 05:55 PM
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In the apparent antipathy to CA glue of both piano411 and LemonColor, who both seem to have joined this Forum this month, one senses echoes of Rick Parks......

Re: WNG capstan sizes
Ed Foote #3038112 10/21/20 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed Foote
you are making assumptions.
In the end, according to you, it was worthy of being torn apart, recycled, and junked. That is not my definition of quality work or piano. It's a temporary solution. That is what happens when someone tries to use CA to restore a piano. With CA, you are creating a one-off. Not something that can be done over and over again.


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
David Boyce #3038122 10/21/20 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by David Boyce
In the apparent antipathy to CA glue of both piano411 and LemonColor, who both seem to have joined this Forum this month, one senses echoes of Rick Parks......

Neither seems to grasp that acetone will dissolve CA, that hide is brittle and friable, or that sizing is quite a different process than adhesion. I have doubts that either of these two have used as much hot hide or CA glue as I have. I also doubt that either of them had the level of training I was fortunate to receive in Boston at NBSS or at Bill Dowd's workshop working with Bill Garlick.
Neither can I help the anonymous Don Quixote's of the world.

Last edited by Ed Foote; 10/21/20 06:59 PM.
Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038130 10/21/20 07:49 PM
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It comes down to CA not being a preservative method for piano restoration. Hide glue is. It is traditional well-known method. It has a long history, and it is still used.

CA is something that is used as a last ditch effort to extent life. It is not a "quality" repair. I am not saying that it can't be used. It can. I use CA, but it is not a competition.

I don't know about the names dropped, but that doesn't change that CA and hide glue function differently. One is not better than the other. They don't act as replacements for each other. They are different. One creates a waterproof barrier, the other doesn't. One changes the quality of the wood, the other doesn't. One is something that conservators and instrument builders use, the other one isn't.


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038231 10/22/20 08:20 AM
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Hi Emery,
I was thinking about potential problems you might run into with your capstans. If they are loose enough to have moved off-axis with the tissue shims, they may be loose enough be crooked after individual sizing so you want to take special care so that the end result is consistent. You might consider doing the following, since the capstans are already out:

make sure all the tissue is removed and with the capstans out, size with a very thin hide glue. When I use hot water and glue sizing, the mix is very close to water thin,( just enough that a drop on a fingertip will get sticky when you touch your fingers together three or four times). You don't want to clog threads with this mix. A wetting of the threads with a pipe cleaner first, then installing the capstans immediately. With all the keys clamped down in position on the frame, press a straightedge firmly against the capstans so they are in very straight line and allow to dry. you may need to push some distally or proximally to bring all of them into alignment.
After they have dried, you can then wick CA into any that didn't tighten up and be assured that the the "new" threads will form in such a way that the consistent axes are permanent. One beauty of the anodized WNG parts is that there is no metal for the glues to contact, and very little adhesion or corrosion from the water or CA.
let us know how it turns out,
regards,

Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038255 10/22/20 09:52 AM
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Just to belabor the point, it is very likely that you will run into problems by using CA in a situation where there is so much space that your capstans are out of alignment. A drop or two of thin CA is not a gap filling. If you try the CA first, you then create a waterproof barrier that makes the well-known and traditional approach of hide glue sizing difficult or impossible.

When glue sizing, I wouldn't install the capstans immediately. I would give it 15 mins or so for the water to swell the wood fibers. If that doesn't work, then I would try the process again and allow 1-2 hours before reinstalling the capstans. After that point is when I would apply CA to fix anything that didn't cooperate.

CA glue has a different function and purpose. It is important to use it in the right order.

If you choose hide glue sizing, I would avoid the hide glue in a bottle. Either mix it from the dry pellets or powder, or make it yourself. If you are making it yourself from hide scraps, use the 4th extraction for this kind of work.


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038288 10/22/20 11:11 AM
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One could always plug and redrill the capstan holes


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: WNG capstan sizes
Emery Wang #3038295 10/22/20 11:59 AM
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Thanks everyone. So the holes are not so loose that my capstans are out of alignment. It's just the kleenex I'm using as a spacer that's throwing the alignment off. Even so, the action plays fine as is, I don't detect any unevenness. However, I would like to do the job better and will redo per the suggestions here. Again, the original capstans were 5mm, but the WNGs are about 4.85mm, so not a huge gap. I just need the glue to build up the threads by about .07 mm. I'm thinking the hide glue should be able to do that.

Thanks again for all the detailed responses. This should become the go-to thread for sizing capstan holes!


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Re: WNG capstan sizes
WBLynch #3038297 10/22/20 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by WBLynch
One could always plug and redrill the capstan holes

Bill, my wife is already looking at me sideways for having the action out on the dinner table every other weekend "on a perfectly good piano." If I start plugging and drilling too, I'll be sleeping on the couch.


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