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I have been enjoying the forum here for several years. This is my first post. I am a modest player, as flute is my primary instrument. I have enjoyed the small baby grand I did have, but have sold it to move on to a more ambitious project.

I have a young friend who apprentices in two shops that deal with player pianos. He got me interested in the history and technology. When I learned more about the reproducing grands of the past, I decided that I would like to save one of these instruments.

The owner of one of the shops (out of his home) had a 1916 Weber FR 6' Duo Art grand that he had saved from destruction several years ago. When people learn what it costs to restore the complicated original pneumatic player systems these pianos are either gutted of the player, or end up in a land fill.

[Linked Image]

This piano had sat in storage somewhere in Kansas City for decades. It was going to be disposed of, so he bought it and had it shipped here to Denver. After learning about the history of Weber pianos, and how scarce these 6' pianos were (most Weber Duo Art pianos were 5'8" instruments) I decided to undertake the cost of restoration. In 1916 the base price of a Weber FR was $3,000, which in today's currency would purchase a home.

The 6' FR models were a different scale, and as opposed to the 5'8" Weber Duo Arts, were duplex.

[Linked Image]

The restoration is being done in 3 parts. The man I am purchasing the piano from will also be doing the restoration of the Duo Art system. This is an early one from 1916, but at some point in the 1920's, the piano was sent back to Aeolian for an update. At that time the Soft-Normal-Dance level control was added and the expression system updated to a current one with the crash valve.

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The piano itself need a lot of work. While the soundboard is, amazingly, in good shape, The strnigs are shot. Another shop here is doing the work on the instrument itself. They have already refinished the soundboard, re-gilded the plate, and installed a new set of strings. Unfortunately, while stored in Kansas City moths got into the piano. The bushings in the action are shot. The shop has now sent samples off to Renner, and the piano will be getting all new Renner whippens, shanks, flanges, and hammers.

[Linked Image]

The piano is veneered in African Mahogany (flame Mahogany). It is hard to tell as the old finish is so dark and crazed.

[Linked Image]

Another shop will be doing the refinishing (yes, I know that really would have been best to do while the plate was out, but there were reasons this was not possible). There is a protected back of one of the Duo Art access doors which shows how the original finish appeared:

[Linked Image]

When it is stripped and re-finished I want to go with a more red finissh as opposed to the original brown. Here are a few photos showing the current state of the piano (note the worn fallboard - someone enjoyed playing this for years):

[Linked Image]

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While all this work is going on I have accumulated 400 rolls for when it is completed. The man doing the player restoration has one of the 10 Steinway 9' concert grand Duo Art's produced, so I get the pleasure of trying out each new roll on this instrument.

I will provide updates as things progress, though as you may well imagine, this is not a fast process.





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Welcome on PW

Looks like a big project. Like you could have bought a new grand for less?

Didn't you want to work on the restoration too?



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Someone who takes on a project like this should have at least a couple of other pianos and other players under their belt before tackling it.


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That is why I have professionals doing the restoration work, I would never try this myself. The guys doing the piano and the reproducing mechanism have had lots of experience on these systems. I will help along the way, as I want to learn more, where I can. I was tempted to keep the baby grand while this was going on, but I have another money-pit restoration ongoing - a 1947 Cadillac club coupe.

[Linked Image]

As far as enough to buy a new grand, yes, I could have, but I actually prefer the sound of the old pneumatic reproducers to the modern solenoid players, and I like the feeling of rescuing something interesting from the past and bringing it back to life.



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Looking forward to the process and results. Keep us posted!


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I love this project. It's all about loving a beautiful and worthy instrument that somehow escaped a trip to the landfill. It's going to be lovely when the restoration is done.

Since this is the topic of another discussion, I'd love to know what's going to be done for the Weber decal. Are they purchasing one from Decals Unlimited? Have you ordered it yet? When it does arrive, can you post a side-by-side image of the new and old decals? That'd be fun to see.

Aside from crazing, is there any other damage to the furniture?

And now for a goofy question, but I have to ask: Does your piano have the original fallboard knobs? Can you share a photo?

Congratulations on adopting this piano. I'm very excited for you and can't wait to see it when it's finished.



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Hi Moose - yes, I need to order three decal sets from Decals Unlimited. If I can, I'll try to get some contrasting photos. The decals are the Weber Pianola decal, the Aeolian Company decal, and the Metrostyle Themodist Temponamic decal.

As far as the fallboard, it never used knobs, so I am afraid I can't help you there.


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Yep. No knobs on my early Conover upright either. Those knobs on your piano, MN, appear to be part of a fallboard re-engineering that took place in the era of your piano and on your type of piano. You won't find them on any grand piano that I have ever seen.


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Very good to know, Tuneless. Thank you! :o))

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Moose, I forgot to address your question about any other finish issues. You can see the finger gouges in the fallboard. There is one veneer chip on one of the double legs, and a 2" long gouge in one leg. The refinisher said that since the fallboard damage is not through the veneer he can sand it down and refinish it. He will do repairs on the other two small issues.


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Your piano must have been well cared for over the years and bundled up nicely while in storage. I'm glad you're documenting this process. I'm sure other Weber owners will find this discussion in the coming years and will appreciate it.

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Well, finally an update of sorts. Unfortunately Renner returned the samples and informed the piano rebuilder that they are unable to provide an equivalent whippen. So, samples have gone to Schaff to see if Tokiwa can provide whippens. If it turns out there is no viable modern whippen which can be used in the Weber, then I will likely move on. Rebuilding the old moth-eaten original whippens replacing everything that has worn on a bit-by-bit basis isn't a job either the rebuilder or I have a desire to pursue.


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That's strange about the whippens. I wonder if they're different because of its being a player piano.

I used to have a 1917 Weber, 7-foot, but I always thought the whippens were pretty standard. But I'm not a tech, so that's just supposition.

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Dave,

I love this project! But am sorry to hear your rebuilder is running into problems in having respected vendors producing equivalent wippens. Hopefully Tokiwa can. I am not an expert here, but have read on other forum posts that rebuilders working with Wessell, Nickel and Gross (WNG) out in Sacramento, CA have had pretty good success customizing their carbon-fiber/composite designs to older and rarer installations. Know they have supported other older M&H Ampico and Duo-Art player installations. Perhaps your rebuilder can contact Cecil Ramirez and he can put them in contact with an expert out there that could assess whether or not this could be another option for you in parallel before you move on. I'll ask around as well.


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Thanks Jason, that had occurred to me as well. I had mentioned the composite WNG action when we first learned that the whippens all needed to be replaced. The team involved are all rather traditionalists and that was not well received, but if it is that or abandoning the project, perhaps I can get them to reconsider.


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I have replaced the cloth in moth-eaten wippens. The trick is to line everything up and replace things in strips, and then cut them apart with a razor blade.
Actually, what can be difficult is replacing the springs. I was just discussing that this week with the operator of our local merry-go-round, giving him material and tricks to get the band organs playing again.


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Thanks guys, Tokiwa was able to provide a match. The rebuilder now has the whippens and heels in. He's waiting on the shanks and flanges, which should be here soon.


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Great News!
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Dear Dave in Denver, How is your Weber FR restoration going? The larger Weber Duo-Art "FR" model that you have is definitely rare compared to the "WR" model which is 5'8". The FR has a bigger sound. In the opinion of my player technician, the FR was just as good as Steinway, the FR's having duplex scaling were extremely well-built instruments. They usually came in dark flame-ribbon mahogany. I think the Weber FR models may be rare because customers back in the day (all well-to-do) went for the Steinway name and purchased the Steinway "XR" (6'1") model even though it sold for approximately $1,000 more (in plain case). It seems most of the Duo-Art pianos that I see on the current market are either Steinway XRs, most common, followed by Weber WRs. All the best with your FR project.

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Hi turrin150. It is slowly moving forward. Along with the strings, tuning pins, new whippens, shanks, flanges, and hammers being replaced, the keys all needed to be rebushed. The new repetitions are all in now and the only tasks left for the 1st shop are some hammer shaping and to install and regulate the dampers. The Duo Art player components have all been rebuilt. Once the instrument itself is complete the player system needs to be integrated, and the piano refinished. I am hopeful to have everything done sometime this fall. I have, all this while, also been collecting Duo Art rolls and have over 500 now.

I came close to taking on a 2nd project before this one has completed. There was word of a 1912 7'4" Weber at risk of being disposed of in New Hampshire. It was listed as a Duo Art, but officially the Duo Art did not exist until 1914 (though there may have been a few in late 1913). In discussions with the technician liquidating his collection, even though the (removed) spool box was a Duo Art box the piano seems to be a plain pianola. It is a pumper instrument, with the lyre box with fold down pedals. It is stored on its side, and the condition of the action, soundboard, etc. is largely unknown. With having spend over 100 years in a humid climate, there would be a long period of drying out once here in Colorado, and then a big restoration project again. I was prepared to take it on if it was a Duo Art, but not if it wasn't. Hopefully another collector in California who is interested will give it a home.


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Dave in Denver:

I know the rebuilder who is selling the Weber. He had emailed me some info on it and other pianos, It is listed as 7' 2", case figured mahogany, rare pedal player grand, Duo Art, needs full restoration, serial number 67241 $500.

I can find out more info if you like. Contact me privately if so.

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A 7"2" Weber Duo-Art sounds like a very rare piano. This particular grand may have started life as a Pianola then upgraded to an early Duo-Art, since the piano was manufactured one year before introduction of the Duo-Art. The very early Duo-Art grands (and likely Pianola grands before Duo-Art) had external pneumatic pumps housed in a cabinet of matching wood to the piano. Also, I have heard that Aeolian would sometimes upgrade/update the player system in its pianos in inventory. Reproducing piano technicians have written about seeing traces of Aeolian factory upgrades when doing re-builds.

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That is what I thought at first Turrin. It could have been an early conversion to a half-duo art (full duo art would require an electric pump). The owner/technician says there is no evidence of an upgrade. The fallboard states Pianola, yet the spool box, which is out of the piano, is a Duo Art spool box. Definitely a puzzling piano. My best guess is that the spool box was replaced at some point, but the piano is a straight themodist pianola powered by the fold down pumper peddles. Hopefully someone will take it on as a project.

My 1916 I am having restored was sent back to Aeolian in 1924 and upgraded to the current expression system, including the normal-soft-dance switch being added. I too have heard of pianos being sent in for upgrades, Given the cost of these instruments when new and the income of those who could afford them, I am not surprised.


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The latest on the restoration effort. The action is done, dampers are done. The key bushings all needed to be replaced. The restorer has done so, but needs to ease some tight bushings. Last year he inherited his father's piano business that includes rentals for venues, etc. Unfortunately he has been so busy with that effort he just hasn't been able to get to the bushings yet. The phrase so near, yet so far, comes to mind. The player components have been done for some time and ready to reinstall.


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Just a short update. The technician finished with the piano. It is now with the restorer doing the duo art player mechanism. I have been over and the piano sounds quite nice with the new Mapes strings. A beautiful tenor, a little growl in the bass, and good sustain. The new action (whippens, shanks, flanges, and Abel hammers) feels great. I would, on a scale of 1-10, put the touch at a 6. The installation of the restored player components is coming along well. While the project has been ongoing I have been accumulating rolls and am up to 600 of them now.


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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
I was tempted to keep the baby grand while this was going on, but I have another money-pit restoration ongoing - a 1947 Cadillac club coupe.

[Linked Image]



I can see why a 1947 Cadillac restoration would distract you. That is a lovely car. 1947 was the last Cadillac model year before tailfins were introduced, wasn't it?

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Yes, 1948 Cadillacs had the 1st little bumps on the fenders that would become fins. They were supposedly designed to be reminiscent of the twin tail on the P-38 fighter bomber. My 47 got some attention this year as well. I had the gas tank and sending unit replaced, and all the bushings in the rear suspension replaced (since they would be working back there anyway to do the gas tank).


Last edited by Dave in Denver; 01/05/18 11:30 AM.

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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
Just a short update. The technician finished with the piano. It is now with the restorer doing the duo art player mechanism. I have been over and the piano sounds quite nice with the new Mapes strings. A beautiful tenor, a little growl in the bass, and good sustain. The new action (whippens, shanks, flanges, and Abel hammers) feels great. I would, on a scale of 1-10, put the touch at a 6. The installation of the restored player components is coming along well. While the project has been ongoing I have been accumulating rolls and am up to 600 of them now.



Are you happy with the "touch at a 6"? Shouldn't it be a 10? Or will the player restorer do more with the action?


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Originally Posted by Eric Gloo

Are you happy with the "touch at a 6"? Shouldn't it be a 10? Or will the player restorer do more with the action?

I think what he means may be 6 on a scale of 1 = very light, 10 = very heavy.

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Eric, Joe is right, I meant a 6 as far as light to heavy touch. As far as being responsive and well regulated, I am quite happy with the action. There are still many months of work ahead, but I am looking forward to when the instrument finally makes it to my home.


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Glad to hear my confusion was just that...my confusion. smile


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Work is progressing on the player system. I was reading a thread in the forum on an article on the Steinway Spirio player system. Everything I have read has indicated this is the best of the electronic solenoid based systems available now. There was a comment that the system didn't seem to get as much out of a Steinway as live playing. It brought to mind this article on the old pneumatic reproducing systems and some of their advantages (and disadvantages) over the modern systems: The Truth About Reproducing Player Pianos


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Thanks for posting. I found the article very interesting since I work for a large international Pneumatics company based out of Japan. It's cool that my love for pianos and my professional life somewhat intersect.

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Yes, interesting, but it was written a number of years ago. In that time all of the solenoid players have improved a great deal. Today a Steinway Spirio has no problem playing as loud as anyone would want. What is still true is the changes in technology that constantly make older solenoid systems become out dated. I service player systems that may be 15 years old and have to tell customers that we can’t get some of the parts to service them anymore......but then try taking a 15 year cell phone to Verizon and tell them its not working and you want them to repair it. They will look at you like you are a crazy person.

I always thought I would love to see at NAMM or a PTG convention a side by side comparison. They could have a Steinway Spirio, a Mason Hamlin Pianodisc, a Pianomation on a good piano, and examples of really high quality Ampico, Duo/Art, and Welte rebuilds. Have a concert where each one gets to play a few of their best recordings. May be even get some judges from one of the piano competitions and see what happens. And the winner is ???????

Larry Hofer
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I doubt we'll ever see that happen, but I love the idea Larry!


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Originally Posted by Larry Hofer

I always thought I would love to see ... a side by side comparison. They could have a Steinway Spirio, a Mason Hamlin Pianodisc, a Pianomation on a good piano, and examples of really high quality Ampico, Duo/Art, and Welte rebuilds. Have a concert where each one gets to play a few of their best recordings. May be even get some judges from one of the piano competitions and see what happens. And the winner is ???????


Great idea! Add Disk Lavier, too!

As someone who purchased a player system about a year ago, I can say from personal experience that it's almost impossible to get an objective comparison of these products.

Even if you could find a show room installation of each product, you have the variables of the piano being played, its condition, quality of the player installation, acoustics of the show room, music selection...I could go on and on. And, show room floors are so inherently noisy that they hide product flaws and installation issues that become obvious once you have the player piano in the solitude of your home. I encountered both what I consider a product flaw and an installation issue, neither of which I could hear at their shop on the dealer's demo piano and eventually my own piano.

I ended up basing my decision on secondary issues, in other words, I made the optimistic assumption that all the modern products do a good job of playing piano. Then, it gets down to how much music content is available, its cost, how easy is it to play open source content, how good is the technical support, what is the prognosis for the company continuing to stay in business, etc. Dave-in-Denver opined that Spirio may be the best of the solenoid-based player systems, but if Spirio had been a choice for me, it would have taken a serious ding in my ratings due to Steinway's too-tightly-controlled access to non-Steinway curated content.

Buying a player piano that uses scrolls is no longer an off-the-shelf option, but I would love to hear a comparison between one of those and the best of of the modern systems.

John


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John - a modern system that can play MIDI files certainly makes content easier to come by. I have been accumulating rolls for 4 years now for the day the piano is completed. Most of those came from Ebay a roll at a time. I have accumulated a bit over 600 rolls, mostly Duo Art (and a few standard 88 note rolls) and mostly classical recordings. I would estimate I have spent somewhere around $7,000 on the rolls so far. Unlike MIDI files, they also take storage space. I bought 3 new bookcases to accommodate the rolls. At this point I have room for 4 more rolls before I have to find a spot for yet another bookcase.


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Another delay while a new spring is made for the sostenuto mechanism. Meanwhile I am making a big change to the house for this piano. My home has hot water heat, and is cooled by an evaporative cooler. When the weather gets humid I have noticed the cooler cause large humidity swings. I am biting the bullet and having a new mini-split air conditioning system put in to replace the evaporative cooler. Head units in four parts of the house. It will keep the house more comfortable and keep humidity levels much more stable for the piano. :-)


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The project hit a delay when it was found the leather for the valves was too porous. The restorer had to get new leather in and I helped him recover the valve faces. Sadly and unexpectedly, the man who I'd come to see as my friend, and restorer, passed away unexpectedly Dick Krockel obituary

As this was his last project, and it has become near and dear to my heart, I am not going to let the project die. Art Reblitz has agreed to take on the balance of the restoration. I am determined this piano will live again.


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Sorry to hear about your friend’s passing.
Life is fleeting.


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Thank you Retsacnal. We used to spend hours a week just talking, he was quite the colorful curmudgeon and will be missed by those who knew him.


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The Weber has made it to my home for a few months. I have a tuner coming in 2 weeks. Considering it hasn't been tuned (or on its legs) in over 2 years, it isn't too far out of tune. The refinisher will be taking it around April. He'll strip it completely, sand and stain it, and do the high gloss finish (as it had in 1916).

I will be making another search back at my friend's home Saturday, for a missing linkage used by the player system to engage the sustain and lift the dampers. Art tells me if it cannot be found, a new one can be made.

Once the refinisher is finished with the piano, it would, ideally, be going to Art for completion of the player work, but if he can't take it yet, it will move the 100 miles back to me, and make another 100 mile trip later to have the player work completed.


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Would love to see some updated pictures!

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Enjoy it while you have it! And good luck finding the missing pieces. thumb


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Here are a few photos while the Weber is here at the house. The lid is at the refinisher already, as is the matching bench. Under all that dark crackled varnish the wood is African Flame Mahogany. It should be nice once stripped and refinished.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
Under all that dark crackled varnish the wood is African Flame Mahogany. It should be nice once stripped and refinished.

Indeed!


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Awesome! Thanks for the pictures. I'm way excited to hear how this turns out!

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Just a quick update. While my friend who was working on it before he passed away was having a lot of challenges on this piano, he was definitely one of the 'good enough' persuasion. Now that Art Reblitz himself has taken on the piano, I know everything will be perfect. I received an invoice for January for work done on the stack. Art and his assistant sent me 3 pages of prose and 5 pages of pictures showing the issues they found and progress they made. In January they put in over 90 hours of labor on the stack restoration. While this will be more costly, I have a great deal of confidence on the quality of the end product.


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Interesting update! Art Reblitz is certainly renown!


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A status update. I do believe my friend who passed away was in over his head. The pneumatic stack (which contains the 88 bellows, one for each note, and all the associated pneumatic valves for each) was in bad condition. That said, I do not believe there is much that Art Reblitz cannot do. He and his assistant put in over 250 hours of labor on the stack, between January and February, and that part of the project is complete. It will be some time before Art has room in his shop for the piano as a whole to come in for the rest of the work.

The refinisher is running a bit behind, it looks like he can take the instrument in May now. My tuner likes the instrument, and brought it into tune (it had been on it's side for nearly 3 years with new strings, so you can imagine it needed a bit of tuning). He wants to do some regulation next visit. On these players, that takes a bit of work in preparation. I have the original factory instructions, and am working through all the steps so I can make it possible for him to pull the action. I need to be able to do this anyway, before the piano goes to the refinisher. I'll feel better with the action safely stored here at the house when the piano is being refinished.

While the piano has been here, I did some work myself. 23 of the original ivory keys were chipped. It took me about 20 hours of labor with AcryliKey to repair the chips. I got much better at it after the 1st 5 or 6. Now they keys look decent and feel good.


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Love hearing the update Dave, that things are seemingly moving along well.

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Interesting, put me down as one more follower to this story.

Good luck.


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What a cool project! Looking forward to seeing more smile


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I have a 1930's Weber Reproducing Grand. It was restored professionally about 30 years ago. Still looks perfect and the mechanism works but no music plays. Does anyone know a technician that can repair it in the NY Metropolitan area?


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Jeff, search for Mechanical Music Digest and try posting on their forum. You'll get a lot more visibility to people in the player piano community there. A quick look in the latest AMICA issue I see Ben's Player Piano Service in Richfield Springs. Google them for their website. Best wishes.


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I have the pneumatic stack that Art completed (the old player equivalent of a modern solenoid rail), but on my piano, the legs must be removed to install it. I have the movers coming in a week to turn it on its side for me. Meanwhile, my tuner wants to do some regulation work. This takes a LOT of prep work to be able to pull the action. I will need to pull and store the action before it goes to the refinisher, in any case. Here are the steps involved:

Remove lyre (temporarily) and drop the pneumatic junction blocks (32 spring loaded screws in this instance)
Remove the inner and outer key slip covers (15 screws)
Remove the brackets holding the front controls so they can be lowered (8 screws)
Remove the cheek blocks and fallboard
Disconnect the forward/reverse control linkage and tempo linkage to the spool box
Disconnect the vacuum lines to the wind motor and the tracker pneumatic

No wonder technicians don't care for this!

[Linked Image]


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Always happy to see another post in this thread.

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Originally Posted by tend to rush
Always happy to see another post in this thread.

Me too. Thanks for the update. I've enjoyed watching it steadily progress. thumb


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A quick update. The stack Art rebuilt works very well, as one would expect. There were still many issues beyond the stack. The next issue is that the pneumatic pump is not generating enough vacuum.. A friend helped me pull it and I dropped it off with Art Saturday. He opened it up and it is all original from the update the piano received in 1925. Art will be rebuilding the pump as the next step in restoration.


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Thanks for the update! BTW, I like that you're doing some of the work yourself. thumb


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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
A quick update. The stack Art rebuilt works very well, as one would expect. There were still many issues beyond the stack. The next issue is that the pneumatic pump is not generating enough vacuum.. A friend helped me pull it and I dropped it off with Art Saturday. He opened it up and it is all original from the update the piano received in 1925. Art will be rebuilding the pump as the next step in restoration.

Please tell Art I send my best. Also - WE WANT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS! (...please.)


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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Also - WE WANT PHOTOS AND VIDEOS! (...please.)

Definitely want to see video when it's done! thumb


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Art has finished rebuilding the pump bellows, but noted some uneven wear on the bearings. They might last for years yet, but eventually they start knocking. As much as is going into this project, this is no time to cut corners, so I agreed he should send it out to his machine shop for re-work with modern bearings. Just for fun, in the meantime, here is a photo of the piano in my home. The mid-century modern great room is a very live environment, yet the piano sounds good to me, and to my technician. [Linked Image]


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Nice!


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With the refinishing delayed a bit, I decided to get the lid out of storage and reattach it. It was missing the screws for one side of the piano hinge between the front and back parts, but I was able to size them off of the other side and get correct screws. This is the 1st time the lid has been on in 30+ years. It does make a noticeable difference to the sound (for the better).

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
With the refinishing delayed a bit, I decided to get the lid out of storage and reattach it. It was missing the screws for one side of the piano hinge between the front and back parts, but I was able to size them off of the other side and get correct screws. This is the 1st time the lid has been on in 30+ years. It does make a noticeable difference to the sound (for the better).

[

Cool. And fun. It reminds me of the recent trend of auto restorations that are called “derelict”, in which all the workings, engine etc are fully restored and more at great expense while the exterior is left untouched apart from I guess stabilizing the deterioration.


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Cool! Looks good.


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Hi folks. After Art Reblitz rebuilt the pneumatic stack, and the vacuum pump, everything came together last week. After many hours on adjustments, the Duo Art player system has come to life. Sorry, I don't have a YouTube channel yet, so can't link a video. I did post short cell phone one in the player piano group on Facebook. It is nice to hear the system work 105 years after it was built. I still need to get the refinishing done - waiting to hear back from that shop again on schedules (keeps slipping - but I am patient).


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Ha, wonderful. Where is the vacuum pump hidden away? Is that inside the case?

This is a good description of the Duo Art mechanism.

http://www.pianola.org/reproducing/reproducing_duo-art.cfm

I have a modern player piano, a Yamaha Disklavier, DYUS5. It is too much fun.

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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
Hi folks. After Art Reblitz rebuilt the pneumatic stack, and the vacuum pump, everything came together last week. After many hours on adjustments, the Duo Art player system has come to life. Sorry, I don't have a YouTube channel yet, so can't link a video. I did post short cell phone one in the player piano group on Facebook. It is nice to hear the system work 105 years after it was built. I still need to get the refinishing done - waiting to hear back from that shop again on schedules (keeps slipping - but I am patient).


Thanks for the update.


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Hopefully the refinisher will be ready for the piano soon (finally). Some gorgeous wood to be seen. Here is a shot of the inside of the original bench. [Linked Image]


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Love the updates Dave! I'm so excited for when the project is at a finished state!

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Fascinating!
I'm leaving this here to subscribe myself to this thread.
After having read Mr Reblitz's book from cover to cover several times, and still referring to it on occasions, it's wonderful to read that he is still working on player systems. Somehow I wasn't expecting that.


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I have tried opening up one of the Facebook videos I posted to the public. See if this works. Just a cell phone recording. Debusy Duo Art roll on 1916 Weber FR


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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
I have tried opening up one of the Facebook videos I posted to the public. See if this works. Just a cell phone recording. Debusy Duo Art roll on 1916 Weber FR

Cool! We often note that the piano has advanced relatively little in the last century, but I'm also sometimes amazed at what they accomplished then too. thumb


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Here is a link that talks about the Duo Art pianos and how the rolls were made. Amazing this performance in my post was made 100 years ago. Duo Art Pianos


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Larry K: I realize i never answered your question about where the pump is located. Originally it was in a separate case, connected by hoses. When this piano was sent back to Aeolian in 1925 to have the player system updated, that was removed, the original radial bracing in the piano was changed to the newer grid bracing, and a small 4 bellows pump was added under the piano, hidden from view. Art tells me the width and length of this pump are shorter than standard, but the depth is greater, so it still manages the same volume of air moved. At the same time the expression system got the latest updates, and a Normal-Soft-Dance lever was added.


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Here is a new video. Dame Myra Hess performing Bach, Scarlatti, and Paradies: Facebook video of performance


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Seeing your progress with this Weber has given me a lot of hope with my ‘21 Steck, although I’m DIYing practically everything on mine. It’s funny that you mention your piano being sent back for an update. I noticed a lot of old empty screw-holes under the keybed when I went to drop the levers and pull out the action (which I wound up not doing because the dang roll motor hose is stuck). That puzzled me for a bit until I learned that they occasionally got upgraded. Does yours have those same empty screw holes under the keybed?

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Hi JNevin. There are a few various open screw holes in places, but the biggest change from my update was when they took out the original radial bracing in the piano body and installed horizontal bracing, so they could install a pump in the piano (originally it had the pump in a separate enclosure). The pump is interesting - it is slightly smaller in length and width than the standard, but deeper in depth, so the volume of air displaced is about the same. Best wishes on the restoration of your Steck. My friend who got me into reproducing pianos had a small Steck in his living room (maybe 4'10 or so). It had a lovely sound.


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For the holiday season, a Robert Armbruster Christmas Roll.


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Originally Posted by Dave in Denver
For the holiday season, a Robert Armbruster Christmas Roll.

My daughters and I attended the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at a nearby church last night. It was nice to get into a festive mood. I hardly go out these days.

This music roll is nice too.


I was struck by how ornate the beginning of the roll was!

I haven't seen a player roll since I was a kid, so when it started playing I was struck immediately by how the "piano roll" metaphor used in so many computer programs and games is right on the money!

My first "professional" job was in a paper mill (they were computerizing), so it also struck me how accurate the paper needs to be! Producing lengthy rolls of paper accurately -- so they don't shift side-to-side or twist -- is not easy, not to mention getting the musical related holes punched just right (on top of keeping the mechanism working, not to mention a piano).

Amazing stuff to have been created so long ago...


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Here is a new recording Blue Danube . The piano will be going to the refinisher on February 18th (weather permitting).


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My refinisher sent some progress photos. I am very pleased. He has 2 to 3 more weeks of polishing yet to do, then the piano goes to Art Reblitz for more work on the player system.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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Very beautiful finish!


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Stunning! Can I ask what is the finish? Is it French polish?

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David-G: No, at my refinisher's recommendation, this is being done in a modern polyester finish, after stripping the old finish, sanding, grain filling, and staining.


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Looking good! thumb


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