2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
40 members (brdwyguy, 36251, beeboss, cygnusdei, chopin_r_us, Animisha, bxrdad1, 12 invisible), 1,141 guests, and 705 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 2 1 2
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 67
F
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
F
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 67
I'm an experienced rebuilder who is competent at repairing loose ribs and properly shimming soundboard cracks. The results always look professional with cracks fully filled & finished, but it's still easy to see where the cracks are/were. And of course, in as little as a few months (in dry climates) or years, the cracks re-separate slightly, showing a new thin black line.

I'm asking other rebuilders what methods they have used, successfully, for a better hiding of these shimmed cracks. I know this is strictly cosmetic, and the customer can easily be convinced it has no 'bearing' laugh on the sound...but it's still unsightly.

One rebuilding shop I worked in decades ago would paint the stripped/shimmed/sanded board with a grey primer, followed by a semi-transparent golden-oak colored stain, producing faux grain lines with the brush bristles. I tended to shy away from this method, fearing all that extra paint on the board might compromise resonance. And of course, no matter how well this is done, a cursory examination shows the grain lines are painted, not real.

I'm restoring a beautiful 7' Mason Hamlin BB from the 20's. Rib repairs, excellent shimming and sanding have been completed. Before I proceed, as usual, with clear lacquer, I thought I'd ask this question.

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
Freelife,

Are you familiar with Del Fandrich's epoxy application protocol? Not only will it fill any and all micro-cracks, it will also strengthen the entire assembly and help prevent this problem in the first place.

I have been doing it on virtually all rebuilds for over 20 years now and to my knowledge not one crack has reappeared (I also strongly advise humidity control to a reasonable degree for all my rebuilt instruments so that helps too).

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 67
F
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
F
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 67
Thanks, Peter. I went to Del's website, and it sounds like a great approach...for the future. Sounds like using his colored epoxy system, the color match could be exact enough to virtually disappear the filled cracks.
As mentioned in my OP, this particular rebuild already has full spruce shimming/sanding completed, so still looking for some replies about the after-hiding/painting part

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,020
D
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,020
If I were the customer, I would not want my soundboard painted with faux grain lines!

Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
I don't think I have any suggestions now, after everything is done.

For next time, are you drying out the wooden shim before you install it? If you are having any problems with it shrinking, I would make sure to get that thing bone dry before you put it in there. If that is not enough, you can do the same thing with the board as well by heating it up with a light and making a makeshift heat box with covers.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
Of course, it is possible that your drying protocol is insufficient. When I use shims I lay them on the SB at the start of the drying process. That way everything gets to the same EMC. You can even take your shims one step further in an easily made hotbox.

If I am correct in reading your post you have no finish on it as yet. You could (if you are brave) still adapt the epoxy process to it at this time. The first coat will fill all voids (that you don't know about) and the second will give enough material to sand flat. Then you can finish as you normally would. Other than this I know of nothing that will help (at the moment).

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 67
F
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
F
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 67
Yes, piano411, doing full dry-out procedures prior to opening and shimming cracks. I mentioned the slight reopening of cracks as a 'down the road' consideration, but that was not my main concern.

Even with a well-dried-out board, and beautifully installed/sanded spruce shims (which match the unfinished board very well,) once clear finish is applied, differences in how the old board and the new shims absorb the finish, different amounts of "ambering,'' guarantee anyone who looks down through the strings can spot every filled crack. I'm asking if there is a way to make the shim color & lines flow so completely into the surrounding board & grain, they are invisible except to magnifying-glass scrutiny.

And I agree with David G that I wouldn't want my own soundboard painted. That said, I've seen it done so well that all shims/cracks are totally invisible and you really have to look twice or three times to catch that your looking at paint, not actual wood grain. I no longer know of anyone who is doing this, and doing it really well, but I'm pretty sure that rebuild shop I worked in, decades ago, was not the only one performing this procedure...so, just askin'.

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,278
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 1,278
As I was reading the OPs commentary regarding shims, paint, admitting the short duration of the repair, lying to customer about the tonal effect etc, i couldn't help wonder how long does all that take? I can install a brand new board in 3 days. Zero cracks and 100% satisfaction, and i can sleep at night.

Sorry to be so tough, but sometimes its just better to do it right. Especially the upper end pianos deserve that.

-chris


Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
Youtube https://tinyurl.com/5aw83b73


Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,290
K
Platinum Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Platinum Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
K
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,290
Again, this is after-the-fact info for next time, but if you do soundboard replacement -- or know someone who does -- you can use the old soundboard panel for shims. This is aged wood and tends to match in "better" than new wood.

I've recently done a couple of shimming jobs using a 3D-printing-in-place procedure. Match isn't bad and so far seems to be as good as solid wood shims.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
editor emeritus of Piano Technicians Journal
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
As I was reading the OPs commentary regarding shims, paint, admitting the short duration of the repair, lying to customer about the tonal effect etc, i couldn't help wonder how long does all that take? I can install a brand new board in 3 days. Zero cracks and 100% satisfaction, and i can sleep at night.

Sorry to be so tough, but sometimes its just better to do it right. Especially the upper end pianos deserve that.
This is not tough love, that is just rude. OP is seeking help. If you have none to offer, why would you go out of your way to insult someone like that?

Replacing the soundboard is not the right thing to do. It can be done, and it sometimes is necessary. But it is not the go to method. Soundboards should be preserved when possible. When Chernobieff Piano puts a new soundboard in his pianos, they no longer sound like the name on the fallboard. He may argue that he thinks they sound better, but everyone has their own opinion. Putting in a completely different style of board, just because he think it works/sounds better, is not the right thing to do. It is just his opinion. Replacing a Steinway soundboard with a Chernobieff Piano soundboard doesn't add value, in fact, it will notably decrease the instruments value and make it more difficult to be sold in the future. OP shimming the board will make the piano much more valuable. This is the reality of the situation.

With regards to the shimming, the issue is just cosmetic? Is it only a new vs. old look? I'm just trying to figure out what you are talking about. So, you do put a bone dry shim in there, much drier than the soundboard, so that it will expand and really compress itself later (i.e., so we are not talking about this opening up all...and you seeing that line)? You are talking about the shim not matching the grain lines that are in the board already? Are you splitting your own shims by hand, or buying pre-cut shims (ie the cuts go through the grain lines)?

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 267
N
N W Offline
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
N
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 267
Is it worth looking at the way you are shimming? The cracks shouldn't reopen.
Assuming you have sorted the relative humidity of the board and the shim material...
Do you jack up the soundboard so that the shim is compressed when the soundboard relaxes?
There must be something to focus on that will prevent the movement perhaps?

Nick

Last edited by N W; 01/10/21 06:54 AM.

Nick, ageing piano technician
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
I stopped "shimming" boards a long time ago. Shims NEVER fill the voids 100%, and the remainder is "maybe" filled with glue. I used to have thecsame problems that the OP has asked about. I fixed that by getting rid of shims almost entirely. Traditional "shimming" by opening the void with a wedge shaped hand tool is actually just "treating the symptom and not the problem". It is virtually guaranteed to open up again due simply to the nature of the repair.


In addition, anyone who makes a categorical statement such as "replacing the soundboard is not the right thing to do" is also simply stating an opinion (an opinion of one person only), however it goes deeper than that, because the person who states this is actually making a MORAL STATEMENT as to what is right and wrong. This has no place in a setting like this. They are setting their personal opinion up as the standard by which all others are to be JUDGED.

Chris and others are not "wrong" to be routinely replacing soundboards. If a piano is sent to the SS factory to be "restored", that piano's soundboard will be unceremoniously ripped out and discarded as a worn out, tired piece of junk, with no consideration whatsoever as to preservation, only to be replaced with a soundboard that bears little resemblance to what the original craftsmen carefully made and installed in that piano. It will have been run through automated machinery to taper parts of it without any regard for grain angle, direction, rising, falling, etc, completely disregarding any of the thought and care for the original design.

Every piano manufacturer on the planet understands that their products eventually wear out and need repair OR replacement. Anyway, one must also understand that these things are not sacred things...they are simply manufactured items sold for a profit...and nothing else.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P_W_Grey, you went out of your way to publicly state that you would use the ignore button for my comments, and you actively encouraged others to do the same. You have no business quoting me or responding to my posts. Honor your words, or continue pretending not to see what I write. You made your choice, now kindly stick to what apparently you felt so strongly about.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
Thank you, you just proved my point. 👍

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by P W Grey
I stopped "shimming" boards a long time ago. Shims NEVER fill the voids 100%, and the remainder is "maybe" filled with glue. [...] It is virtually guaranteed to open up again due simply to the nature of the repair.
Well, that is obviously untrue. If Peter had that problem, then clearly there was something he was doing wrong. I've personally never had a shim fail. So, I'm still not exactly sure what OP, or Peter, is talking about--maybe they are talking about the same thing, maybe not. OP if you happen to have a pic, then it might be easier.

Originally Posted by P W Grey
In addition, anyone who makes a categorical statement such as "replacing the soundboard is not the right thing to do" is also simply stating an opinion (an opinion of one person only), however it goes deeper than that, because the person who states this is actually making a MORAL STATEMENT as to what is right and wrong. This has no place in a setting like this. They are setting their personal opinion up as the standard by which all others are to be JUDGED.
No, categorical, you are, yet again, wrong. You failed to pay attention to the details, and that is where you confusion comes from. I have a moral objection to your friend Chernobieff Piano saying that OP lied to his customer by doing an inferior repair. He accused him of being a liar! Let that sink in for a moment. That is the moral statement that I am making. That fact that you would defend those statements is in itself indefensible.

I didn't state that replacing replacing the soundboard is not the right thing to do. I've replaced many soundboards. You have to pay closer attention. I clearly said that soundboard sometimes need to be replaced, but it is not the go to, first approach, as your friend seems to suggest. He is wrong with that stance in his business practice.

I'll spell it out for you even more clearly. If you replace the piano's soundboard and install YOUR version of what it right, then it is now a hybrid piano and should forevermore be labeled as such. If you want to copy the manufactures design, so that it is a historic restoration, that is something different. It can, obviously, be better than what was originally in there. But, if you change the design, because you think soundboards should be built differently, then the piano should be labeled that way and perhaps the name removed from the fallboard. This is not one person's opinion. In some countries, if you change the soundboard, by law you can no longer sell the piano without that disclosure. Guess what? When you replace the soundboard like that, the value drops! Again, not one person's opinion. This is a fact. That doesn't mean I agree with that approach, or I don't think the new soundboard isn't better, that is simply the situation.

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Chris and others are not "wrong" to be routinely replacing soundboards.
Sure they are. If they are routinely replacing soundboard that don't need to be replaced, when the traditional means of preservation will work, and they are just doing it because they think they can do it better than the manufacture, then they should just build their own pianos to satisfy their needs. Your friend was trying to say OP was "wrong" for not replacing the soundboard and taking shortcuts or something. If the soundboard needs to be replaced, that is one thing. But, to say soundboard replacement is the standard, or you couldn't live with yourself and sleep at night. No. That is too far! That is crazy talk.

Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Thank you, you just proved my point. 👍
That you lied about using the ignore button? Why would someone lie about using an ignore button, and then pretend to use it? Use it. Be a man of your word.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
Like I said, you just proved my point. Keep it up BB.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Like I said, you just proved my point. Keep it up BB.
That you are a liar? You said one thing, and you are doing something different? I'm confused, because you are the one that publicly made a huge fuss about your decision to use the ignore button.

Don't worry, I'll remind you every time you forget that it is not on. Men usually say what they mean and honor their words by following through with their intent. Integrity is important to you, right?

I'm going to assume you've turned it on now, so that you can be at peace. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. Really, it is the best thing that you could do for yourself.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,418
Nice job, and BTW...don't hold the cheese.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 01/10/21 04:35 PM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2020
Posts: 706
Originally Posted by N W
Do you jack up the soundboard so that the shim is compressed when the soundboard relaxes?
There must be something to focus on that will prevent the movement perhaps?
OP can also compress the shim before it is installed. The moisture in the hide glue will reverse the compression so that it perfectly fits in the groove. There are other things that can be done, but I think the main ones have been covered.

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
Our Fall 2021 Free Newsletter is Out , see it here!
---------------------
Selling my Hammond & Leslie!
---------------------
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Farewell Cassie, we hardly knew ye
by c++ - 10/23/21 08:49 PM
What is this piano?
by Gleb1 - 10/23/21 05:55 PM
Lesson cost in Worcester, MA area
by casualappraiser - 10/23/21 05:02 PM
What do you think of Alan Fraser?
by ranjit - 10/23/21 03:01 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics209,716
Posts3,141,676
Members103,092
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5