Wrote a bigger text yesterday but didn't post it. This is a small part:
Olek is sometimes constructing quite complicated phrases, but I discovered that if I just use my brain for a minute, I get it. But I suppose it's only because I can speak four languages, and understand a few more, so I see where it comes from.
Thank you Swebac (is it your name ?)
It is refreshing to read that.I know I go into quite complicated phrases often, it is mostly because I write what is going in my mind at the time, so of course digressions apply.
But I think I do so to give the reader more on the way I am thinking about the subject, ideas on it coming from different directions, hoping it can help to understand my writing better in the end.
Piano repair is not for anyone indeed, some may have some success I do not deny, others do not understand what is involved.
I very often offer the customer to come by and do some work on his piano in the workshop, that makes for them a pleasant experience, they also realize how many "small tasks" are involved for a quality result.
They also discover that any technical gesture need to be learned, understood for its physical bases, and that is not so simple.
I had to show how to use a simple hammer to the customer that helps actually. It took some time for him to agree he was not using the hammer correctly (anyone know how to hammer a nails is not it ?)
Being an engineer may certainly help to think more logically, but that will only work if basic concepts are good.
Alas, basic concepts on piano tuning and regulation are rarely available in books
What I call basic concepts is why we do things, not how .
due to the interactions in tuning and regulating/voicing, those jobs are prone to look simple to engineers, which is a mistake in my opinion.
Almost EVERYTIME a piano technician explain (with words) something to even another piano technician, what he say is only partially understood, sometime confused, sometime understood at reverse !
The best way to learn is still by imitation of technical gesture and technical gesture result (tone, touch)
Then it is time to think of the causes.
Doing the opposite only partially works.
I know a very good pianist that turned piano technician and restorer.
He is clearly at engineer level
He clearly cannot regulate letoff/drop by feel
He clearly cannot build tone while tuning
Not that he could not understand what is necessary or train to do it. But he was not showed and trained correctly, so he is obliged to use technical theoretical measures to verify his work (as it may happen with tuners that try to learn with an ETD, or regulate with a regulating bench and measured data.
Only at "real" speed most operations are efficient as tuning, letoff/drop regulation.
Yamaha developed their regulation principles (or copied on Steinway) where the tech is always actioning the keys and parts, which is how a sensible result is obtained.
(not to say a pre regulation on the bench is not useful, I am talking mostly of fine regulation in front of the piano, but, if you can do it with the action on your knees, you do not need a bench, in the end)
Many do not know how to glue hammers without a gig, and have a less good result in the end than if the hammers where always compared in motion with their neighbors, at gluing time.
to regulate, touch feedback, listening (action rubbing noises and piano tones), are used , with some sensitivity in the hands for the regulating tools, to obtain a professional result.
(A visual impaired friend can make a concert level regulation, touch wise, because he use his ears plus his hands to know what happen in the piano- this is exceptionally rare - he level keys, also !)
Gluing hammers one need a bench parallel to the walls of the place, so physically the sense of verticality is enhanced.
ABout repairs, I have seen vertical pianos where a good few thousands hours have been spend to repair correctly most of the parts. (by a professional place, without much cut corners)
BUT, the butt jack rest cushion was 0.5 mm thin, and whatever hammer travel distance used the touch was bad, (hence the tone...).
Sort of mistake that cannot be done when one knows the importance, comportement and the role of each part in the action function.
I think that at some point any technician must try to understand action parts placement and geometry in the deep.
WIth basic rules it is possible, but documentation is rare.
Most analysis use an action that is 100% stiff, while the action in play is a mechanism that accumulate then release energy, including some compression of parts, some flex, etc
When I begun to learn the rules where yet to use standard dimensions (for a brand/model) , those are of course useful but they mostly serve to "read" the functioning of a given action (the only really useful data is key height/attack angle)
The sense of achievement I read in Mr Paul writing make me suspect that there is some method of Dr Coue there, plus some of the bad habit of engineers to look at the world from a high standpoint, which is the opposed of the necessary state of mind in piano technology learning .
As said the OP, thinking it is simple is a mistake.
Thinking it is very complicated is one also.
Mostly, at some point, if the pianist in technician soul can take the advantage on the technician, the result can be good, but assuming rules have been followed first.
from basic rules, sometime a step aside allow a musically convenient effect, as somewhat smooth aftertouch and slightly damped tone providing "deepness sensation" with clearly too much aftertouch., or light letoff and faster acceleration when the jack is winked at the limit (a pianist told me "as if the tone gain a 3d dimension".)
BAck to OT, I have nothing about DIY, but they often do not cooperate with technicians because of some proud attitude of "I did it myself" or by fear.
I think they would gain in efficiency and obtain a mer rewarding result with a little help.
Then if in the end they take my job, I understand why it is not so easy to find the adequate tech that will spend some time helping.
But I assure you it exist, there is even a DIY shop near Paris, I dont know how is the job, but the iea is good, particularly with instruments that can be interesting but have low value.
The involvement of the tech is automatically large, however, so the thing is better done in the tech's place than in yours I think, for the most fundamental work anyway.