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#627394 - 04/17/06 01:34 AM Cracked Steinway plate  
Joined: Apr 2006
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
Hi All,

I have a friend with a 5'8"(as I recall, I could be wrong) SS grand ~50 years old, with the stanchion in the middle of the high treble cracked all the way through, about midway in its length.

Is this piano repairable?


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#627395 - 04/17/06 01:38 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Casalborgone Offline
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San Francisco Area
In many cases, yes. You will need to consult a piano rebuilder who can examine the piano.


Mike
Registered Piano Technician
Member Piano Technicians Guild
Not currently working in the piano trade.
#627396 - 04/17/06 08:33 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 6
maestro88 Offline
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maestro88  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
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South Carolina
Hello OperaTenor,

I assume your talking about a model "M" (5'7")Steinway. If the cracked plate is cracked at the "Strut" I would recomend replacing the plate.
I have some suggestions about that. Your friend may want to look for an XR ("M" scaled Steinway player piano). They can ussually be purchased for a reasonable price. You can use the plate from the XR and discard the rest.
Pictures of this cracked plate will tell the story and if you would like to send me some, go to www.maestrosmusic.com and fire me some detailed photos.
Good luck!!!


maestro88
#627397 - 04/17/06 10:38 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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Cy Shuster, RPT  Offline
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Albuquerque, NM
I'm aware of two repair methods for plate crack repair, both done with the plate in the piano: a "brazing" method, and a "lock-stitch" method, where a succession of overlapping holes are drilled, tapped, and filled with screws. I don't know if either method is suitable for a crack that goes clean through. I've heard that neither method is warranteed.

Replacing the plate involves restringing and a lot of detailed custom refitting (i.e. $$$$$), like replacing a car's engine -- except that a plate is generally not designed to be replaced.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
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#627398 - 04/17/06 12:06 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
Hi All,

Thanks for the information. For some silly reason, I thought plate replacement wouldn't be viable(like, where on earth would we find one?!!).

Yes, it is an "M". I seemed to recall that, but it's been awhile since I did the research, and wasn't willing to stick my neck out that far on the forum without rechecking. It is the strut that's cracked. I'll take photos of it within the next couple of weeks and post them/-email them to you.

These folks are reasonably well-to-do, and the piano has sentimental value, so I think they'd be up for plate replacement, along with everything that would entail.

Given this information, I can counsel these folks to look into this.

Thanks again!

PS. I forgot they're called "struts".


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627399 - 04/17/06 12:19 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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curry Offline
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Hamilton Twp, NJ
S&S does sell replacement plates. It entails a lot of work to fit the new plate, and a new board, pinblock, and bridge caps will need to be made.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
#627400 - 04/18/06 03:14 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Rod Verhnjak Offline
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Vancouver B.C. Canada
Hi OT

I have another option that may work. We have been successful on 2 plate struts that has never had a reoccurring problem. The only 2 we have done. One piano was done 20 years ago. If the crack is in the appropriate place, we have used parachute fabric dipped in epoxy and wrapped the damaged area to build it up. When it is dry you can sand and repaint the plate. It will be as strong at the cast iron. Once again if it is the right kind of place that will not affect strings etc. If done right you would never know it was repaired. Contact me and I will send you some pictures of the before and after. smile

Regards,

Rod Verhnjak
Verhnjak Pianos
Surrey B.C. Canada


Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook

#627401 - 04/18/06 03:33 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Rod,

Thanks for the offer. I've sent you an e-mail.


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627402 - 04/18/06 02:22 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 10
fjohnsen@SBCGlobal.net Offline
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fjohnsen@SBCGlobal.net  Offline
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Paso Robles, California
Hi OT, When I was working at L.A. City School's Piano Repair shop in the mid 70's, we had a similar situation arise. Since the piano was due for a restring anyway, we pulled the plate, and had it welded. The welding proceedure was quite interesting. First, we notched out the crack; that is, cut a v-shaped notch on both sides, almost to the center of the strut, then welded it with nickle arc-welding rod. We would make a shallow weld on each side, at the base of the v. After letting it cool completely, we would make another pass, slowly building it up. After repeating this weld and cool proceedure, it finally filled up. We resprayed the plate, restrung it and the piano was just fine for 5 years that I know of. Good luck.

#627403 - 04/18/06 02:56 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
Thank you, F. Johnson. Mr. Verhnjak sent me some photos and a detailed explanation of the repair he does, and I think we're going to go with that, especially since this crack appeared shortly after a restringing some years ago, and the piano doens't need to be restrung.

Besides, I was rasied to think that if you weld cast iron, you end up with two extremely brittle zones, one on each side of the weld.

Of course, who knows? Once I discuss all of the options with the owners, they may decide to ship it off to SS for a new plate....


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627404 - 04/19/06 05:03 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
Joined: Jul 2005
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swingal Offline
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swingal  Offline
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England
Well I'm no technician when it comes to pianos but as far as cast iron goes welding it is 'not on' unless you can control the expansion and contraction. Any form of heat into a cast iron casting is a major source of further stresses that will show in time. The only way for such a complex item as a piano frame is to heat it all over in a special furnace then weld it a with a oxy-acetylene torch. Clearly this is impractical.

Tig welding will work but not on a stressed item as the piano frame is. Unless you can control the expansion and contraction process it is a no no.

I wonder what caused the crack in the first place.

Alan

#627405 - 04/19/06 05:38 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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If these folks have the money to even consider restoration or remanufacture of this piano, then the attempted "repair" of this plate seems like the least logical option. Either they seek a new plate and have the pinblock and bridge/soundboard changes done the right way, or they should resolve to finding a similar piano already rebuilt. The tens of tons of pressure that the plate is subjected to, along with the "expansion/contraction" factor make the "repair" option a poor choice. That would be my advice to them.


Piano Technician/Tuner
#627406 - 04/19/06 05:05 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
Hi swingal,

The usual cause of a crack is a flaw in the metal. It can be a bubble or impurity, causing the metal to respond to change counter to what the surrounding metal does, resulting in the crack to relieve stress.

Hi CC2,

I just got hold of the owners, confirmend the model and serial(it's actually a 1948 "M"), and am now going to go over the options as I see them. The mechanical reinforcement Cy mentions, however inelegant aesthetically, is probably functional, however the aspect of the crack going all the way through is still a question. To me, welding's out - too much embrittlement resulting. I think what I'll relay to them as their best bets are shipping it off to Steinway for plate replacement, or employing the very generous Rod's repair(he sent me photos and detailed instructions on doing it - quite impressive).

The piano has sentimental value, so I believe they'd prefer to restore it rather than replace it.

As for me, I always think it's a shame to junk an otherwise fine instrument if there's a reasonable chance of saving it.


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627407 - 04/21/06 11:46 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Rod Verhnjak Offline
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Rod Verhnjak  Offline
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Vancouver B.C. Canada
Hi OT,

Let me know if my idea works out for you. If you have any questions just let me know.
If you have some pictures of the strut in question please send the to me.

Do you think I/you should post the stuff I gave you.
I do not know how to post pictures.

Regards,

Rod Verhnjak


Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook

#627408 - 04/22/06 12:17 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
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Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Rod,

Thanks again, I will let you know how it all "plays" out(sorry, couldn't help it laugh ).

I'll take pictures of the strut and post them.

If you don't mind, I'll post the photos and your e-mail instructions to me verbatim. I have a site to park the photos at.

V/R

Jim


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627409 - 04/22/06 02:11 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
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Sandy Eggo, California
From Rod:

This plate was done in 1987 and I still maintain the piano. There are no problems or new cracks.
Parachute material is very strong and will not rip. With the added epoxy when dry it is very strong.
Welding with Titanium also works but the plate has to be removed.
As far as I know Steinway will not sell a plate unless they install it.
We do all the Steinway & Sons Warrantee work in out area and they would not sell us a plate for a Steinway 'D" the someone "Modified" to make it "Better"
So the piano was sent to New York for a new soundboard and plate.


[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

First we removed all the old paint right to the cast iron.
We loosened the tension.
Pre filled the crack with runny epoxy

[Linked Image]

Soaked the strips of parachute material in the epoxy
Wrapped it 5 times overlapping the fabric
We wrapped it in 5 stages waiting one day in-between each wrap for the epoxy to dry
We sanded in-between each wrap.

[Linked Image]

Before the primer we used a little Bondo to smooth everything out
We then repainted the area.
Tuned the piano.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627410 - 04/22/06 06:32 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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Cy Shuster, RPT  Offline
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Albuquerque, NM
Thanks for posting that, OperaTenor, and thanks to Rod for sharing that technique. That's a new one on me.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
#627411 - 04/22/06 11:11 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
You're welcome, Gramps. wink

I would never have conceived of something like this, either. It seems to me to be akin to putting a carbon fiber(in this case epoxy-nylon) cast around the crack, which functions primarily to keep the joint in alignment and therefore the stress bearing in the proper direction.

Sure looks clean when it's done.


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627412 - 04/26/06 08:15 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
Joined: Mar 2003
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Michael Kaufman Offline
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Michael Kaufman  Offline
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Posts: 17
Watkins Glen NY
Hello OperaTenor


I see that you have little dilemma concerning a cracked plate in your model "M" Steinway. I have a spare Steinway model "M" plate. The piano that it is from was exposed to some water damage and the only thing worth salvaging from the piano is some hardware, legs, and the HARP.

If you want I will see what year this Steinway M is that I have and we can compare notes to yours. More than likely it will fit just fine, if in fact your piano is a model "M" Steinway 5'7'' in length.


Get back to me if this interests you. We can take care of all shipping to your neck of the woods or we can install the harp, strings etc in your piano for you.


Thank you,

Michael Kaufman
Piano Restoration & Sales Expert
Country Piano
3942 Hillside Way
Burdett, NY 14818
607.546.2712 - Direct Line
607.546.7914 - Fax
www.countrypiano.com
Countrypiano@aol.com

#627413 - 04/27/06 08:31 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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donluis Offline
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donluis  Offline
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guayaquil ecuador
Waht happen when not repair the plate?

#627414 - 04/27/06 09:45 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
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Cy Shuster, RPT  Offline
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Albuquerque, NM
The plate can twist, so the strings are in the wrong place. Tuning can be unstable. It depends where the crack is.

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
#627415 - 04/28/06 01:03 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Rod Verhnjak Offline
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Rod Verhnjak  Offline
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Vancouver B.C. Canada
Hi OT.

One thing to consider on the great offer from Michael, regarding a salvaged plate he has, you mentioned you piano was made around 1950. If Michael's plate is from before 1940, the plate would be from a different foundry and even if it came from the same foundry, chances are it would not fit. You would still have to change your pinblock, and soundboard assembly. There are to many inconsistencies in manufacturing of the plates for it to be a perfect fit.

Making music last
Rod


Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook

#627416 - 04/28/06 04:06 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Rod,

I've been debating that aspect myself.

(I sent you a pm, JFYI)

Jim


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#627417 - 05/03/06 06:19 AM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Posts: 10,690
Rich Galassini Offline
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Rich Galassini  Offline
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Just a thought,

We have been doing metal braiding for years now. This is a technique that can be used in alot of places on a plate. The result is a very strong bond that loks very clean. We have done this several times and always had a good professional result.

I wish I had pictures available.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
http://www.cunninghampiano.com/how-its-made/
#627418 - 05/03/06 12:43 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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Roy123 Offline
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Roy123  Offline
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Massachusetts
Rich,

Don't leave us hanging! How about a verbal description of metal braiding.

#627419 - 05/03/06 05:29 PM Re: Cracked Steinway plate  
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OperaTenor Offline
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OperaTenor  Offline
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Sandy Eggo, California
"metal braiding"

Don't you have to comb it out first?

wink


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind

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