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Joined: May 2003
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Greetings,
I think we owe it to one another to recount how we survive worst case scenarios, so I thought this might be of some use, since it has kept me up nights, before.

I was called in to deal with a Steinway's agraffe repair gone wrong, and find the stud is way down there, upper plate threads a hammered and beaten memory. If this wasn't a call for the Pianotek insert protocol, I don't know what was. Using a big bit and tapping for a new thread is a really straightforward answer to this sort of situation, getting around all sorts of problems, usually.

I started that "Q" bit into the plate, eyeballing the fore and aft, side to side. It happily ground through about 3 mm of plate iron and then would go no farther. I vacuumed and viewed the excavation, finding amid the golden glow of the broken agraffe's stud, two bright spots. Just the sort of spots that pieces of hardened steel drill bits in brass might look like. Way down in there.

I took pause, as this looked like that most dangerous adversary, a wounded plate. Lawsuits swirl around these things and I had not considered that the insert approach would run into its own problems. I thought of micro-torches annealing, I thought of circular hole saws small enough to "core" the damage out, I thought of pin block jacks and big hammers pounding on punches. I thought of lawyers.. However, I also thought about what I had in the car that might help. I ended up spending 20 minutes I didn't' plan on, and walked out with the note at pitch.

I used a Dremel tool with the small stone grinding bit. Full speed with a very light feed in tight circular motions.The Q bit is quite a bit oversize and its initial plunge had left a larger well in which to center the bit, so I had only to keep the tool vertical and near the center of the hole to feel confident it would eat mostly brass. What I noticed was that with a light touch, I could feel the tip of the tool touch the steel, it has a different feel. I rested no more than the weight of the Dremel on the grinder and it took about eight minutes acting like a dentist before I felt the last remnant of the steel pop loose and twirl around in the metal scree filling the hole around the bit.

From there, it was a simple job to Easy-out the stub, finish drilling, tap and install the insert, and put the wires back on. total time was 1 3/4 hours.
Regards,

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Ed Foote RPT

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Note to self: Start packing my Dremel in the van...

Wow, Ed. Impressive.



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Yikes! 'Gonna look up that insert idea.


David L. Jenson
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Excellent improvising Ed! I especially liked the way you felt and heard your way along the job.

As an alternative, you can take a drift pin punch that is just smaller than the threaded shank and drive the broken bits and agraffe shank out of the plate. Then drill the 7/32 hole out to .250" and tap threads as needed to install new agraffe.

The worst one I had to do was an agraffe with a broken easy-out and two small drill bits in it.

For anyone faced with the first stab at removal of a broken agraffe-DO NOT use an easy-out!!! The soft brass of the agraffe will expand from the easy-out and seize in the threads.

Get a reverse direction, (from a machine tool supplier), drill bit around .20" diameter and use a variable speed, reversing drill in reverse to slowly drill into the brass and it will just thread out of the hole-easy as pie. The bit will "bite" into the soft brass and force it to turn with the motor.

Also do not use oil when you tap threads in grey iron. If you do, the tap may seize in the hole. The graphite form of carbon in grey iron affords a self-lubricating quality.


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Good information - Thanks - Rick


Learning to play the piano, very happy with my 1907 Ivers Pond uprights, and ready to part with my Yamha C7 - not the sound I like.

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