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Does anyone happen to know what UK import duty is payable on Levitan tuning levers bought from the USA via Howard Industries Ebay UK website? Or if there is a UK source?


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
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Ian, the UK agent for them is Fletcher & Newman, though they do not stock the full range. I got mind directly from Steve Fujan in May 2007, and I think it was probably the first in Scotland. I forget what the import duty was.

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Thank you David, I'll ask


Ian Russell
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I certainly don't regret my purchase of the Fujan lever. It gives a great feeling of control, and makes a difference in a full day of tunings.

Last edited by David Boyce; 12/26/20 07:43 PM.
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I can’t remember exactly what the duty+VAT came to on my lever (bought direct from Fujan in the USA), but it’s probably realistic to expect around 30% on whatever you pay for your lever. I’m pretty sure there’s a duty/VAT page on the .gov website.

What I do remember is the ridiculous situation with the post office; lever was supposed to have arrived, so Fujan contacted the post office and was told the recipient has to make enquiries. So I contacted the post office and was told the sender has to make enquires...! This meant my lever sat in a customs office 10 miles away from me for nearly 8 weeks while we took turns to find out what was going on. Turns out someone has stamped something but not moved the parcel to the appropriate new spot in the building, so it got lost... Very happy with the lever once it arrived though!😊


Started work at the Blüthner piano re-building workshop in Perivale, UK, in 1989. Self employed since 2000. Learning something new about pianos every day... smile

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Originally Posted by Adypiano
What I do remember is the ridiculous situation with the post office

After reading this tale, I saw Martin Shepherd's article on tuning hammers.

The piano industry in Continental Europe and Great Britain primarily utilized various species of beechwood for their piano wrestplanks which yielded significantly lower tuning pin torque than the hard rock maple sourced from America. European tuners and stringers did not need the extra leverage and robustly constructed tuning hammers that the Americans required.

By coincidence an old Merseburger stimmhammer in "brilliant condition" came up on Ebay. That seemed appropriate for my pianos. It has just arrived true to its description. Interestingly it has a small silver plaque with the initials LFB. I wonder if they belonged to a tuner or an owner.


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Martin Shepherd's website is very interesting, isn't it!

I'm glad that you've acquired a nice 'vintage' tuning lever and that you're pleased with it.

The apparently lower torque in English pinblocks (or wrest planks, in UK parlance) would also explain the past popularity of T-hammers. Even so, I can't imagine how tuners succeeded with those, unless they dragged the pins around, flagpoling to an outrageous degree. Or had wrists of immense strength and power!

I've picked up quite a few old levers over the years, both T-hammers and gooseneck levers, There are some photos on the About Tuning page of my website https://www.davidboyce.co.uk/about-tuning.php I have more than are shown in the photos.

Again, the popularity of gooseneck levers in the UK, generally decried in US discussions, could be a function of lower-torque pinblocks.


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