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#2350959 11/16/14 10:56 AM
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I am taking Ryan's last post on the other thread as a good starting point for this:

Originally Posted by rysowers
Two different thicknesses of felt on the same mortise, but not to space L/R. It's to get a more precise fit with the cauls. For example when dry fitting the caul into the mortise it may be too loose with .045 felt and too tight with .055 (or whatever your next size up is), but using .045 on one side and .55 on the other is just right.

The .010 difference has a negligible effect on key spacing.

When Jean and I taught the keybushing class at the 2013 WestPac PTG conference I spent quite a bit of time talking with Bill Spurlock. A couple of other tips are:

1. Thinner glue will make for a looser fit. Thicker glue will make a tighter fit (assuming you are using hot animal hide glue)
2. You can get a tighter fit by pulling the cauls out after 10-15 minutes
3. tapping down the caul firmly in the mortise with a small hammer can also tighten it up a small ammount - just don't overdue and crush the wood.


"Thicker glue will make a tighter fit (assuming you are using hot animal hide glue)"

I tested a variety of glue thickness's at first discovering this hot hide stinking weird glue with my arrival into the piano repair world. I had never seen anything like this stuff and prior to that loss of naiveté, had never considered changing the consistency of a glue. duh.

What became apparent is that the thicker glue migrates farther into the cloth under compression of the caul. This means it was more strongly attached for having more of the body of the cloth brought into the joint, and it means that there is less resilient body of the cloth to do the work of cushioning. This was brought home to me on a job that had the pins wearing through the felt and into the glue after two years of practice room use. It should have gone 8 years. I had, intentionally, used a very thick mix of the hide, I don't remember why I did it that way, but it stood out as the shortest-lived job I put up there.

I went to much thinner glue before this lack of longevity was apparent, these bushings lasted as should, and never had a bushing come out. I have slightly thickened my glue now that I am sizing down to dimension with Pro-felt. It feels safer when I am re-wetting the glue joint in the sizing process, and also, there is a correspondingly higher amount of felt in this compressed result than in my previous use of the untreated Steinway key bushing felt, (which has proven, in my experience, to be better than any other felt I have found, alas, it has recently been changed..).
Regards,

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I believe alterable viscosity is one of the virtues of hot hide glue over other adhesive types.


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On heavily used instruments, which may be rebushed several times throughout their lives, it is worth considering that hide-glue also allows easy removal of worn bushings for that new set going in. Steams and removes quite easily; the key mortises remain clean and sharp-edged over several changes.

Other glues? Not as reversible. Not flexible in viscosity.

Once I understood the superiority of hide-glue...never went back.

Ed; Pianotek's bushing cloth is my choice these days. High quality, good density, fits the mortises and my brass cauls quite well. Worth a try, sir. Somewhere in my files is a sheet from Bill Spurlock's class at the Golden Gate Chapter in the mid-80's. He had this set of precision routed wooden cauls that he thought we might be interested in learning how to make for ourselves. ;>)

While that became different materials over time, and developed into his two-caul system, I have had occasion, on an oddball piano or two, to custom create a set of custom hardwood cauls with my router table and saw. A far cry from the inaccurate C-spring bushing-clamp system we started with umpty years ago! Used to be you started too tight and had to use the pliers on every key to get a decent fit.

Thank goodness for precision cauls! Nowadays you can measure your pins, use the right glue, cauls and bushing cloth, and the keys require little or no easing at all. My last set, a Yamaha G5, took no easing at all, and I'd bet that the final result equaled or exceeded the original factory fit. Smooth!

Regards,


Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
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Originally Posted by TunerJeff
On heavily used instruments, which may be rebushed several times throughout their lives, it is worth considering that hide-glue also allows easy removal of worn bushings for that new set going in. Steams and removes quite easily; the key mortises remain clean and sharp-edged over several changes.

Other glues? Not as reversible. Not flexible in viscosity.

Once I understood the superiority of hide-glue...never went back.

Ed; Pianotek's bushing cloth is my choice these days. High quality, good density, fits the mortises and my brass cauls quite well. Worth a try, sir. Somewhere in my files is a sheet from Bill Spurlock's class at the Golden Gate Chapter in the mid-80's. He had this set of precision routed wooden cauls that he thought we might be interested in learning how to make for ourselves. ;>)

While that became different materials over time, and developed into his two-caul system, I have had occasion, on an oddball piano or two, to custom create a set of custom hardwood cauls with my router table and saw. A far cry from the inaccurate C-spring bushing-clamp system we started with umpty years ago! Used to be you started too tight and had to use the pliers on every key to get a decent fit.

Thank goodness for precision cauls! Nowadays you can measure your pins, use the right glue, cauls and bushing cloth, and the keys require little or no easing at all. My last set, a Yamaha G5, took no easing at all, and I'd bet that the final result equaled or exceeded the original factory fit. Smooth!

Regards,


+1 Hide glue and Spurlock two step cauls. You save cloth as well. Very efficient. Only system I have used for years now.

All the best.


Jean Poulin

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Ed, that is interesting about the thicker glue being pushed into the felt deeper. That's the opposite of what I have thought - I figured thicker glue would gel up on the surface more and that thinner AKA waterier glue would soak into the bushing cloth more. But what you say makes sense and I trust your experience. One problem I have had when the glue is too thick is that you can get a little squeeze out at the bottom of the bushing in the mortice, which will click, or drag on the pin. Usually I can break it loose with a small screwdriver or other sharp tool. (I know you're only suppose to use the screwdriver for screws, but sometimes I'm bad blush )

One of the best tips Bill has in his keybushing instructions is the use of a Rival hotpot with a hole drilled in the top as the water bath for a baby food jar of glue. The jar allows you to mix up just enough glue for a job without a lot of waste. The hole allows you to reach down into the pot with a stick, while the lid keeps a head of steam in the pot. The steam keeps the consistency of the glue more constant.

I think many people get frustrated with hide glue because they try to use a traditional glue pot, which is not so practical for this type of work.


Ryan Sowers,
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Greetings,
I have always had a baby food jar with glue in it that sits in a water bath in the Hold-Heat glue pot I have had for a long time. I have never needed so much glue at once that I used the full liner.


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