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Cracked soundboard
#629235 01/29/08 11:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
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I have aquired a very old piano. I'd like to have it tuned and learn to play it, however, it has a cracked sound board. There are at least 10 cracks in it, maybe more. I know that the piano is just junk to a serious pianist, but I'd like to try and repair it and have it tuned.
The piano was given to me, so I don't have any money invested in it as yet. I don't want to invest any in it either, if I can't use it to learn to play.
I was thinking that it may be possible to use some of the new filling type wood glues, or possibly an epoxy type glue to fill the cracks and restore the integrity of the wood.
The piano may never sound wonderful, but if I could get it to hold a tune, I'd be satisfied until I could afford something better.
Please tell me if there is any way to revive this old piano and utilize it.
Thank you,
byjimnee


Jim
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Re: Cracked soundboard
#629236 01/30/08 12:55 PM
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Are you a tech? (for the purposes of the rest of my post I will assume that you are not)

Is this a grand or a vertical?

Do you hear any ill effects of the cracks when you play it? such as buzzing etc? If not - why do you want to repair the cracks?

Have you had the piano tuned? This is the FIRST step - if the piano is not tunable - then you need to assess its value based on the cost of needed repairs. But you have already stated:

"The piano was given to me, so I don't have any money invested in it as yet. I don't want to invest any in it either,"

as to this quote: you get what you pay for.... and besides - you have to put money into it just to keep it tuned!

I am not sure how you intend to repair the sound board without triggering other work that would then need to be done (restringing, repinning, bridges, etc etc) - thereby costing more money that you already don't want to spend.

The bottom line is that it is unrealistic to get something for nothing - especially a major repair like multiple cracks in a soundboard.

Call a tech and see if it is tunable, PAY to have it tuned, and have him/her assess other needed repairs and give you an estimate.


Jim
Re: Cracked soundboard
#629237 01/30/08 01:06 PM
Joined: May 2004
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Jimnee Cricket! Good Luck! Pretty much a piano like that is junk to the serious rebuilder unless the case is classy or gaudy.

Holding tune is the pin block, not the soundboard. Second more important is the bridge pins and the bridge cap. These all can be done like you say, with glues and various treatment techniques but I would encourage you to invest your money in finding a better free one. They are out there.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
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Re: Cracked soundboard
#629238 01/30/08 03:56 PM
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"Classy OR gaudy"!!! I love it!!

But, yes, if the soundboard isn't buzzing, wheezing, causing horrid sounds, you'll be better off investing in some regulation work...IF it'll hold a tuning.

And, although I really DO understand your motivation, would you really give your daughter a beat up old wreck to learn to drive in?


John Delmore
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"You don't have a Soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body."...C.S. Lewis
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Re: Cracked soundboard
#629239 01/31/08 10:41 PM
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Typically soundboards are shimmed using spruce wedges from the top (string)side. This nearly always involves unstringing the piano. That is why this function of restoration is done during a rebuild. The crack is prepared with a shimming knife (cuts a uniform V groove) and the glued wedge (shim) is driven into the crack. The top and bottom of the shim are planed smooth and the board is finished over. A lot of work and expense for any upright.


Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.
Re: Cracked soundboard
#629240 02/05/08 01:27 PM
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Soundboard cracks per se are not necessarily a big deal unless they are causing trouble. If they buzz they can be reattached to the ribs so they don't move by working from the back (or underneath). Few old uprights are worth the trouble of completely unstringing for soundboard repairs, but they can be made usable without vast efforts.

Tom Tuner


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