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If heavy flagpoling has distorted the tip of a pin is there any useful way to get it straight again ?
This is in a batch of very tight pins . When the pin jumps past the note I want , does the pin mainly jump in that exact spot due to some distortion in the wood or metal ----or both ? Is the pin settling itself into a comfortable groove regardless of what I want ?
Would a short cut be to reduce the 440 to 432 ? Then the familiar groove will be out of reach and we can start again .
More drastic would be perhaps to fit new strings and ensure the pins were in a different orientation (rotationwise ) ? What an awkward question .

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What brand? Grand or upright? Age?


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Are you sure the pins are bent? Some manufacturers don't always do the best job of drilling the holes perfectly parallel to each other.

When I encounter a pinblock that was sloppily drilled, I try to rotate the pins as they sit. If they're at the incorrect angle, I rotate the tuning hammer at that same incorrect angle as well. I rotate the pin as I find it, rather than trying to force all the pins to be parallel. This avoids bending the pins and leaves the tuning more stable.

Also, make sure to bring your thin-walled tuning tip with you.

If a pin actually is bent, what can you do? I would try to disturb the shape of the pin as little as possible while rotating it. Go with the flow. But understand that if there is some tuning instability, it was the person who bent the pin that caused the problem. I wouldn't try to bend it back to its correct shape for fear of breaking the tuning pin at the becket hole, or, possibly damaging the tuning pin hole..

Jumping pins can be caused by contamination of the pinblock. Also, an overheated drill bit or reamer that burns the wood can cause jumpy pins.

A good way to avoid jumpy pins is to use powdered rosin on the tuning pin threads, even if the tuning pins are advertised as being pre-rosined.


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In addition to Joe's comments, what may appear to be jumpy pins can often turn out to be friction at the counter bearing bar/felt just before the tuning pin. This can become very problematic with time.

What kind of piano are we discussing here, and about how old?

Pwg


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The piano is an upright Hohner made in Finland. Very nice mellow tone .At least 25 years old. Some years not used very much .Only tuned by proper tuners . I just did my first tuning with an impact hammer type lever. The star socket fits very closely on all the pins except the very tight ones in the treble section . Those pins will not allow the socket to fit properly as they always feel unstable . There must be some connection between those wonky pins and the pins always sticking and cracking when moved .
Looking at the humidity where I live near Liverpool the annual average is a whopping 85%. A radiator under the window is at the other end of the room . We don`t have the heat switched on all that much and never hot .I can`t imagine any dehumidifier making much impression on the pin block .It`s only tight at one end . But I have half a dozen notes that are very difficult to get in tune . I was picturing some piano testers making a sample block sliced in two and then bolt the two halves together . Drill the divided block with an extra fast bit to begin . Then hammer in a tight pin and get it really tight. Twist it to and fro and then unbolt it all and see what is really happening inside the hole . It`s like the research departments don`t function in piano factories .
But do sticking pins prefer certain spots and avoid others? At one time brake disc makers did not include copper particles to draw heat away fro the disc. This is a friction problem surely .
Obviously the person who worked on the pins previously did not cure the sticking .

Last edited by Jt2nd; 01/15/19 11:20 AM. Reason: Afterthoughts
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If the tip fits well on all the pins except for some in the treble, the closely examine those pins to see if they are rounded off (Edit:) or damaged.

Professional tuners become comfortable over the years working under less than ideal conditions on less than ideal pianos. A tuning pin that is difficult to render is a common problem. Their tuning technique develops to such a level that a jumpy pin is only a momentary problem and nothing to get stuck on, except for the most extreme cases. Did the professional tuners that worked on this piano make any comments about jumpy pins?

Last edited by daniokeeper; 01/15/19 12:16 PM.

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My gut feeling is that you just have tight, jumpy pins and are having trouble getting the strings at the pitch you want. It may seem like there is a certain place they must be and and refuse to be where you need them. So it would seem that such a drastic condition needs drastic measures. That is very, very unlikely. It has never happened to me anyway. Not to say that tight, jumpy pins are easy to deal with... But sorry, I really don't have advise for you. I try to stay away from DIYs here.


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Btw, learning how to deal with jumpy pins by tuning hammer technique alone is a valuable and necessary skill if you are to become a professional tuner, or a skilled amateur.

You are using an impact hammer. So, you are probably using an impact method. Learn and master other methods as well.

Few clients are going to be willing to pay you to do major work on their pianos because you cannot get them to stand in tune..... especially when they can just call another tuner and get good results.

This is an opportunity for you to develop your skills to the next level.

Last edited by daniokeeper; 01/15/19 02:07 PM.

Joe Gumbosky
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Sorry if I gave a wrong impression of myself. I won`t be doing this for a living . Next week it`s Trombone time I will be 76 . But today I made some real progress with a notchy little problem. I had sidestepped the issue by getting some single strings tuned and made some tiny silicone mutes between the 2 worst strings in each case. The mutes are right up at the top end so the dampers won`t be messed up .
So todays effort was to take one person`s advice and warm up the pin with a soldering iron .The shaft of the iron is 12mm thick . I took out the bit which leaves a cirular hole. The iron was held end on against the end of the pin. About 2 minutes on the watch gets it warm enough . Then instead of a loud crack when I turn the pin it gives smaller clicks. I was able to get the three strings in a nice unison which was a major plus .
When I use this impact hammer the impact action is nearly all used to raise the pitch to a useful level to come down with .It`s never going to break a string as it just raises the note where you can gently close in to the final note. None of the other notes has shifted since I did this tuning . I check it with a Korg ocasionally and the notes are still spot on .
Tuning down to the note is done holding the slider weight and using mostly a gentle patting action . The socket is always fully onto the pin .The pivot action is a nice bonus .
So that was todays experiment . I don`t know if it will return to loud cracking next time I tune it . If any techs have a spare tuning pin they could hold a soldering iron on one end for 2 minutes and get some idea of the temperature change inside the hole. I doubt it has burned the wood at all . Make sure you switch the iron off at the end .
The tuning of each string needs to be done while it`s still warm.Just in case it solidifies before you get to it .

Last edited by Jt2nd; 01/15/19 07:45 PM. Reason: Final touches .
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Quote
The tuning of each string needs to be done while it`s still warm.Just in case it solidifies before you get to it .


I'm not sure I understand what you are doing. Are you trying to heat the glue between the pinblock laminations so that it softens? Then, move the tuning pin before it hardens as it cools?

Did a professional tuner advise you to do this?

What, if any, effect will this have on the glue over time? Especially after repeated treatments?


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Joe, my opinion of why some tuning pins are tight and jumpy is due to a "glaze" being created in the hole when it is drilled due to heat from a dull bit or drilling too fast (either rpm or one after the other). So I could see that heat could soften this "glaze" and make the pin more manageable. Not very practical, but could be used as an argument as to why they are tight and jumpy. I put "glaze" in quotes because I am not sure if that is the correct word. Maybe somebody knows more about how wood reacts to being drilled too fast and too hot.


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Jeff, I'm in total agreement. A bit that's either overheated, or dull and overheated. That, or contamination.


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Drilling too hot happens when the drill is dull and the feed too slow. Heat expands the material being drilled, so it tends to push inward into the hole, which would result in an oversized hole if that material were removed by the drill. But the drill, being dull, tends not to cut, but merely to rub, causing more heat due to friction, and an undersized hole. The solution is to drill undersized holes to remove the bulk of material, and then with the workpiece at room temperature drill or ream to the final size with a sharp tool.


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The soldering iron heat does not make a very long change . On a few pins I did this today and one started off stiff and jumpy . Then I heated it for 2 minutes and there was a definite smoothness in the movement. When I tried to move it a bit later on , the stiffness had returned . So it is useful to get the pin where I want it , as a jumpy pin will never settle accurately .
Today I got the unison as a single note with a nice long glow .
It would not be hard for a piano technician to test what happens with some sample blocks . None of this needs any belief in a mystery . Physical objects have their own rules to follow . Thinking through what objects ought to do is never 100 % successful .
My impression is that something gets softer for a while then sets hard again .I like that it does not get loose . One other thought about heating metal is that it expands. But this does not make the pin tighter while it`s warmed up . Could that be a clue ? I have stuck floor tiles down with a hot air gun . Is there a hard line between dry friction and something actually stuck ? What do pins look like when they are taken out? Is the metal clean or does it have resin stuck to it ?

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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
On a few pins I did this today and one started off stiff and jumpy . Then I heated it for 2 minutes and there was a definite smoothness in the movement. When I tried to move it a bit later on , the stiffness had returned .


So the heat is definitely softening something in the block, perhaps the glue that holds the laminations together? It would also expand the metal, but the pin is small enough for that not to matter.


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I looked for this topic yesterday and could not find it .Quite a difficult forum to navigate . I had no idea there was a separate section for technical /tuner topics .
So bottom line is the soldering iron that worked very well was a 25 watt model .
I did a quick sum to estimate what a Badwin piano with all tight jumpy pins would cost in time .
88 notes x 3 pins (mostly ) x 2 minutes solder heating per pin.
= (528minutes divide by 60) Hours
Call it 10 hours with short tea breaks . Anyway it works very well .
Tell the customers "Happy Thursday , Friday , See you Saturday ".

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The previous post would be a very extreme case but for such a nuisance as jumping pins the soldering iron is the best way to get in tune.
Mixed up with this subject is the previous attempts to improve these sticking pins. I took the advice of technicians who said the pin should be rotated down pitch and then up again a number of times. I tried that first and it seems to cause a different problem.
Where I rotated the tight pins the notes are now in tune but the sound comes and goes in very odd way . I am thinking the loop at the hitch pins has been disturbed and allowed the string to become out of line. Not perfectly straight perhaps and stressed in some way . Is there any cure for this intermitent sound ? Maybe the line over the bridge has been altered .
When I rotated the pins I used the impact hammer in a smooth movement as if it was a normal standard tuning lever .
This part of the topic may help anyone making a choice between the two methods .

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Originally Posted by daniokeeper
Quote
The tuning of each string needs to be done while it`s still warm.Just in case it solidifies before you get to it .


I'm not sure I understand what you are doing. Are you trying to heat the glue between the pinblock laminations so that it softens? Then, move the tuning pin before it hardens as it cools?

Did a professional tuner advise you to do this?

What, if any, effect will this have on the glue over time? Especially after repeated treatments?

If to be consistent, it would be necessary not to heat a pin but rather to cool it, I'm think.
Is it procedure possible? I do not know. But heating is always not good for wood parts of a pinblock

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Yes max .Normally you would expect the heat to be a negative but it gives a short window of time to get the string in tune. The big negative is to be stuck with a lot of tight jumping pins.
One other negative is waiting two minutes for the pin to warm up . Only one pin on A5 resisted heating. It worked every other time.
I ought to mention this was tuned to Kirnberger III and using a Korg Orchestral tuner. The first attempt to tune by ear after the centre octave seemed to go haywire. (That`s an English word for "Wrong" Max ) .The problem became more complicated when I decided to tune it all from the Korg Tuner. That was wrong too . Mainly because the 5th octave on the machine was different to the 4th octave. Notes agreed with the machine on the two octaves but the second octave sounded completely wrong. So today I tuned the outer octaves by ear and it worked perfectly .
Tuning by ear using the centre octave became possible when I kept the sustain pedal down and sounded the octave below the note being tuned. Then I could hear the fight (interference beats ) between the two notes . Apart from the octave tuning , I had to play short groups of notes in different octaves , for comparison , to make sure it sounded right .
This tuning by ear was purely getting the octaves right. I can`t count beats as in ET .
Some strings that seemed smooth to tune still had a trace of stifness which the soldering iron corrected .That made the final unison sound properly . I thought the strings were faulty before that .
I suspected the strings had been disturbed by levering down and up to loosen the pins so I took out the action and had a close look at the bridges and hitch pins . Nothing was disturbed or out of place. Where I had worked on loosening the pins the 3 coils on the pins were slightly separated .
Not a problem . I`ve learned a lot these past few weeks .
Max ---Get yourself a 25 watt soldering iron .

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Originally Posted by Jt2nd
Yes max .Normally you would expect the heat to be a negative but it gives a short window of time to get the string in tune. The big negative is to be stuck with a lot of tight jumping pins.
One other negative is waiting two minutes for the pin to warm up . Only one pin on A5 resisted heating. It worked every other time.
I ought to mention this was tuned to Kirnberger III and using a Korg Orchestral tuner. The first attempt to tune by ear after the centre octave seemed to go haywire. (That`s an English word for "Wrong" Max ) .The problem became more complicated when I decided to tune it all from the Korg Tuner. That was wrong too . Mainly because the 5th octave on the machine was different to the 4th octave. Notes agreed with the machine on the two octaves but the second octave sounded completely wrong. So today I tuned the outer octaves by ear and it worked perfectly .
Tuning by ear using the centre octave became possible when I kept the sustain pedal down and sounded the octave below the note being tuned. Then I could hear the fight (interference beats ) between the two notes . Apart from the octave tuning , I had to play short groups of notes in different octaves , for comparison , to make sure it sounded right .
This tuning by ear was purely getting the octaves right. I can`t count beats as in ET .
Some strings that seemed smooth to tune still had a trace of stifness which the soldering iron corrected .That made the final unison sound properly . I thought the strings were faulty before that .
I suspected the strings had been disturbed by levering down and up to loosen the pins so I took out the action and had a close look at the bridges and hitch pins . Nothing was disturbed or out of place. Where I had worked on loosening the pins the 3 coils on the pins were slightly separated .
Not a problem . I`ve learned a lot these past few weeks .
Max ---Get yourself a 25 watt soldering iron .

thanks, Jt2nd
I am glad that you can do this "unusual hot tuning" for english grands now.
good luck

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