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Changing the punchings will throw your key level to the wind. Okay if you want to just try a few and then decide, but I would not change them all. If you like the effect, then chisel the existing ones. (Unless of course you enjoy leveling keys...its below the bottom of my list of enjoyable activities).

That's just my opinion though.

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ambrozy, just one word: amazed!

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Before you cut the punchings, just try removing a few punchings and putting a toothpick to the back of the balance rail pins.
This will show you the maximum improvement you can get by changing the balance point of the keys. (This is a test, not the final setup...but if it works and isn't too noisy...?)
When you understand the principle, you can get the result by cutting the cloth punching and gluing it to the key bottom, or cutting and gluing bits of cardboard to produce the desired balance point.
You could also run a string under the punchings to raise the front or back side...completely reversable.


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Originally Posted by Pooya
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
There is one other non invasive way to gain a bit more leverage and shave a little off that down weight while maintaining that great down/up ratio you now have:
It depends on how the keys fit in relation to key slip and fallboard.
Raising the key height will travel the capstan toward the whippen pivot point.
Gene, this sounds like an intriguing way of modifying the action ratio ever so slightly. How do you suggest achieving that?
Originally Posted by Pooya
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
There is one other non invasive way to gain a bit more leverage and shave a little off that down weight while maintaining that great down/up ratio you now have:
It depends on how the keys fit in relation to key slip and fallboard.
Raising the key height will travel the capstan toward the whippen pivot point.
Gene, this sounds like an intriguing way of modifying the action ratio ever so slightly. How do you suggest achieving that?

First check key fit at the key slip. If you raise a natural how far can you raise it before the bottom of the key is visable or a little less than that?
Next, how far will the fallboard allow the keys to be raised? How thick is that fallboard felt? Can a thinner felt be used?
Next: if you decide that the keys can be raised slightly use the same thickness balance rail punchings to keep keys level and the same thickness front rail punching to maintain key travel.


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Guys, what's up with "§ 14 BGB" and the online store requiring that the purchaser be an enterprise? Any idea how I can order these optimized balance washers (OBW)? They look very interesting.

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Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
Before you cut the punchings, just try removing a few punchings and putting a toothpick to the back of the balance rail pins.
This will show you the maximum improvement you can get by changing the balance point of the keys. (This is a test, not the final setup...but if it works and isn't too noisy...?)
When you understand the principle, you can get the result by cutting the cloth punching and gluing it to the key bottom, or cutting and gluing bits of cardboard to produce the desired balance point.
You could also run a string under the punchings to raise the front or back side...completely reversable.
Great ideas, especially re how to test the principle, thanks Ed!

Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
First check key fit at the key slip. If you raise a natural how far can you raise it before the bottom of the key is visable or a little less than that?
Next, how far will the fallboard allow the keys to be raised? How thick is that fallboard felt? Can a thinner felt be used?
Next: if you decide that the keys can be raised slightly use the same thickness balance rail punchings to keep keys level and the same thickness front rail punching to maintain key travel.
Understood, thanks for the clear explanation, Gene!

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Originally Posted by Ed Sutton
Before you cut the punchings, just try removing a few punchings and putting a toothpick to the back of the balance rail pins.
This will show you the maximum improvement you can get by changing the balance point of the keys. (This is a test, not the final setup...but if it works and isn't too noisy...?)
When you understand the principle, you can get the result by cutting the cloth punching and gluing it to the key bottom, or cutting and gluing bits of cardboard to produce the desired balance point.
You could also run a string under the punchings to raise the front or back side...completely reversable.

A nugget! Thanks, Ed!


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Just to go back to the original post I'm very surprised that the manufacturer says 62gm is within the specification. What other pianos have such a high downweight? None of my keys have a downweight above 50gm.
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The video showed one key with a down weight of 62g (or less) and another of 56g (or less). I wonder whether down weight is the main problem. Ed McMorrow's suggestion of getting another pianist to play the piano sounded like a good idea.


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Greetings,
Re-reading the original post, I see "However, I noticed that the balance rail holes understandably need some easing. This resulted in a dramatic improvement in touch and feel "

Brings up a question. Was the easing done on the balance rail hole, or was it done on the balance rail bushings? If the thickness of the sole, shoe, plate, or whatever we are calling the bottom of the balance hole, has been addressed, then it is on to other things. However, if only the bushings were eased, that still leaves the dimension of the shoe in question and if it is over 4 mm, that should be addressed before beginning to disassemble and re engineer a new Kawai action. I don't know why these sole plates are so often overly thick, but I have just finished an action on a 1923 Steinway and it was 6 mm. Big difference in the feel by making this one change.

I have also seen the same problem on a 1984 Steinway and a 1990 Yamaha S-400. The S-400 really surprised me, as that was supposed to be the hand-finished line of Yamaha. It was given to the school by a music producer who hated the piano, telling us that it "never loosened up" and was a thick, sluggish, feeling action after several years of use. The students and I agreed, nobody wanted to practice on that piano. I re-dimensioned the sole plates and the piano was a completely different animal. Fast, sensitive, easy to play.

??
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Changing the punchings will throw your key level to the wind.

Hi Peter. If the BR punching thickness remains uniform after cutting (or replacing), why would key level become uneven?


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Emery, experience, experience, experience.


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Hmm... I cut my punchings and I never noticed the keys became unlevel. Maybe I need to check again. But mechanically, what is happening? Isn't the thickness of BR punchings, and thus the distance each key is raised off the BR, what determines key level? Why would that change simply by cutting off the front 1/4 of each punching?


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I am in agreement with Ed on the shoes or plates being too thick. Even if the hole at the bottom of the balance rail is free enough for the pin to drop of its own weight, if the shoe is too thick, then the pin can bind against the back side of the hole higher up from the bottom. It's a weird feeling at the key for the pianist too. I have a cutting tool that I can insert from the top through the mortise to relieve the sides to set depth


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Emery,

I was referring to changing the punchings to pre cut ones. I advised cutting the existing ones which would not affect key level (if done correctly).

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Update: the recommended technician by my dealer visited and tuned my piano for the first time. They thought I had done a good job easing the keys. They did not weigh the keys (mentioned they are more of a voice guy), but after playing the piano a bit mentioned that they did not find anything amiss and that the action feels good (and I tend to agree). They explained the usual that some brands tip the scale more on the heavy side, especially concert Steinways, and Kawai and some tip to the lighter side, e.g. Yamaha and Bechstein. They also believed that new pianos will take a while to reach their peak performance and that I also need to get used to the piano (which I think I am, little by little).

Last edited by Pooya; 02/23/21 01:40 AM.
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I would look for a non dealer recommended tech who would take an interest in your concerns, take some measurements and let you know what can be done in order to give you the feel you desire as opposed to telling you to adapt.


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Ditto to what Gene said. Dealer tech is a non-starter.


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IMO, the recommended technician's assesment explains it well.

Kawai grands have been known for their heavier action. That is how they are.

Since you like the tone, and do not consider replacing your piano with a lighter action one such as a Yamaha, it is best that you get accustomed to this action as it is.

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