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Has anyone successfully created a fine regulation environment on the work table? Here is a setup from Chris Brown, but it's pricey. However, I like the idea of doing regulation work on the bench, as lighting and access are much better.

I think I can make something similar myself, including his vertical squaring jigs for hammer shank travel and squaring. But, I don't quite understand how he accurately reproduces the piano keybed surface.

As far as I can tell, what this thing does is let you adjust the height of the keybed where the glides on the keyframe touch. But I'm not sure what else is involved. Have any of you guys come up with an accurate (and maybe simpler) way of recreating a piano's keybed parameters on a worktable, so the action remains in the same configuration on a worktable as it does inside the piano?

Last edited by Emery Wang; 04/12/21 01:34 PM.

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You are overthinking this. Keybeds will vary.

I use a cheap Ikea Linnmon tabletop, which is lightweight, so I can carry it to the customer's site. I guess they have replaced it with this Lagkapten top.


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For a while I was really obsessive about dialing it in. I pretty much gave it up after a while, because tweaking it all the time is kind of wasteful as it's time I could be playing instead and not worry about it. It's kind of like, doing car maintenance for the sake of car maintenance. grin

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Originally Posted by BDB
You are overthinking this. Keybeds will vary.

I use a cheap Ikea Linnmon tabletop, which is lightweight, so I can carry it to the customer's site. I guess they have replaced it with this Lagkapten top.
Are you saying that simply a sturdy flat surface will do BDB?


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Unless you are trying to be more accurate than the piano will allow, yes.


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I cam across the youtube channel of Chris recently and the precision of his regulation was so great to watch.
I found a channel of a german rebuilder who does the similar work with the bench and other letoff/mating adjusting staff that he himself makes out of plywood.
Its in german, but you can pur subtitles on and the videos are so greately taken you do not even need to understand it.
The whole process of a Bluthner regulation he has in several videos was a joy to watch.

This one is a steinway regulation


He also has guides how to make this regulation benches.

As for the bench, i would also take a big plywood or other level surface.

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I also have this idea to make a precise regulation to my upright, using a laser leveller to adjust letoffs, backchecks, damper spoons smile

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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Has anyone successfully created a fine regulation environment on the work table? Here is a setup from Chris Brown, but it's pricey. However, I like the idea of doing regulation work on the bench, as lighting and access are much better.

I think I can make something similar myself, including his vertical squaring jigs for hammer shank travel and squaring. But, I don't quite understand how he accurately reproduces the piano keybed surface.

As far as I can tell, what this thing does is let you adjust the height of the keybed where the glides on the keyframe touch. But I'm not sure what else is involved. Have any of you guys come up with an accurate (and maybe simpler) way of recreating a piano's keybed parameters on a worktable, so the action remains in the same configuration on a worktable as it does inside the piano?

Mario Igrec in his book suggests to use shims under the keyframe to reproduce the keybed, and then to clamp the keyframe to the working table. In all his book he implies that it's an extremely important thing to do. To make sure you are shimming it correctly, he suggests you to measure keydip in the piano and on the working table, and shim until they are the same. I have not tried this technique myself (but even if I did, who am I to comment? :-) ) but given how much he stress how you should get 0.1mm or 0.2mm precisions on various keys regulation, it seems a must. Of course it depends who's the owner of the piano. A 6 yo will have very different needs than an accomplished concert artist.

If this is for your own piano, knowing how you play, I think you should give it a try (and report back). If you don't have Mario's book, you should rectify that immediately (even if for some other reasons you decide to give up on this aspect of the regulation).

Hope this helps.
Del

Last edited by Del Vento; 04/18/21 09:02 AM.
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I suspect that key height or dip could vary by 0.1 mm or so just from humidity.


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Originally Posted by BDB
I suspect that key height or dip could vary by 0.1 mm or so just from humidity.

That might be true, however with the 5x or 6x of action multiplication that would change the hammer motion by 0.5 or 0.6mm. At the drop, checking and letoff distance, this apparently tiny distance makes up for a whopping 35% of the total, so if what you are saying is correct and if there isn't any other effect of humidity going in the opposite direction, the action would seem to me to be thrown way out of regulation by that change.

Mario has a detail paragraph titled "why bother" explaining these (and many other) variations, and why it is important to regulate correctly even if there are these additional sources of variation.That particular section is not in the free excerpt available at http://www.pianosinsideout.com/Excerpts.html but you can still read many other parts (I don't think there is the "how to recreate keybed on work table" section either)

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Drop and letoff do not depend on the key height or dip, beyond the point of whether it happens at all, and that point has tolerances much greater than a fraction of a millimeter. Checking is a little bit of dependency, but it is not noticeable.

The biggest effect of such close tolerances is the amount of time that it takes, which in turn influences how often customers get it done. The closer the tolerances, the longer it takes, the more it costs, and the less likely customers will get their pianos regulated at all.

Regulation to reasonable tolerances at reasonable prices is better for the piano industry than wringing the last dollar from a few customers who are buffaloed by this nonsense.


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Originally Posted by BDB
Drop and letoff do not depend on the key height or dip, beyond the point of whether it happens at all, and that point has tolerances much greater than a fraction of a millimeter. Checking is a little bit of dependency, but it is not noticeable.

The biggest effect of such close tolerances is the amount of time that it takes, which in turn influences how often customers get it done. The closer the tolerances, the longer it takes, the more it costs, and the less likely customers will get their pianos regulated at all.

Regulation to reasonable tolerances at reasonable prices is better for the piano industry than wringing the last dollar from a few customers who are buffaloed by this nonsense.

I am not a piano technician by any stretch of the imagination, even though I enjoy studying the topic, reading this forum and "playing" that role with a spare action I have (not the actual one in my piano, for which I hire a proper technician). With my short summary, I may have well misrepresented what Mario wrote in his book. So thanks for correcting my nonsense (I take whole responsibility for that, I was not quoting the book on that sentence about drop and letoff).

So please let me rephrase my first message to this thread as follows, and please try to ignore anything else I wrote.

The topic of "How to recreate keybed on work table" which this thread is about is covered in Mario Igrec book. Mario is a great piano player, a fantastic technician and a great writer. Somebody may care to read some excerpts at http://www.pianosinsideout.com/Excerpts.html and perhaps buying the book which is highly acclaimed (check reviews and comments about by your fellow technicians, rather than wasting more time with me).

I apologize for the confusion I created.

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Thanks Del Vento, I do have the Mario Igrec book and agree it's quite comprehensive.

Here's a simple solution, looks like it's just a matter of having a way to raise the balance rail section of the action. Has anyone tried one of these, or built your own? Looks like it should be relatively simple to make. Probably could even make a cheap one out of pine, would just have to use thicker wood.

I also like his simple letoff checking jig, looks like it should work.



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Originally Posted by Walkman
I also have this idea to make a precise regulation to my upright, using a laser leveller to adjust letoffs, backchecks, damper spoons smile

I used laser leveler (BOSH GCL something) to check and set old bent wooden action rails, but I doubt it will be good for something like letoff regulation, laser line is quite thick, I think more than 1mm, it would probably work, but it won't be as precise as it seems.

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I find that mostly a flat level surface is sufficient. However a fine regulation should be done and checked in the piano however wherever possible.

The exception is with some very old actions. I have come across some that are completely out of regulation on a flat bench, but ok on the piano's keybed where they have been previously regulated.


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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
Thanks Del Vento, I do have the Mario Igrec book and agree it's quite comprehensive.

Here's a simple solution, looks like it's just a matter of having a way to raise the balance rail section of the action. Has anyone tried one of these, or built your own? Looks like it should be relatively simple to make. Probably could even make a cheap one out of pine, would just have to use thicker wood.

With the same caveat as before, in that I may spitting out nonsense, I believe this solution will work, but only approximately. My understanding from reading Igrec's (and Reblitz's) book(s) is that for precise work you need to balance correctly the whole keyframe, not just the balance rail. Hence Igrec suggests placing shims between the keyframe and the table. In my understanding, shims would make the table as close as possible in shape to the keybed.

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So are keybeds purposefully made to have a certain shape? If so, any reason just a flat level keybed would not work? I would think that a completely flat keybed would be much easier to make than one with a specific warp or bump in it.


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Just to add a quick thought from an amateur / autodidact / dilettante who's worked enough on pianos to know how little he knows.

Besides recreating a keybed, there is also the issue of recreating the string plane with one or other device. I haven't done much regulation on grands, but at least in uprights, I have seen string planes that deviate quite wildly from a flat plane (sometimes in the bearing bar or agraffe line, sometimes in the bridgework, sometimes both) - requiring pretty drastic shimming of the hammer rest rail to achieve an even remotely consistent hammer strike.

Removing the action and holding a straight-edge against the hammer strike line on the strings can be quite an eye opener. Highly recommended as food for thought for any aspiring tech. smile

So, while building all sorts of jigs may be very precise, if they don't reproduce what's actually in the piano, I submit that they're of little help. At worst, they may even be counterproductive. (DAMHIK)


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I greatly respect what Chris Brown does, but do not have the cash for one of his workstations

In a grand when I am rebuilding an action, I do a quick and dirty regulation from the bench because it can be very fast, and I will be redoing it several times before the piano goes out the door. I always level keys in the piano no matter what, after bedding the frame, etc.

All fine regulation done in the piano, except for what always must be done at the bench.


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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
So are keybeds purposefully made to have a certain shape? If so, any reason just a flat level keybed would not work? I would think that a completely flat keybed would be much easier to make than one with a specific warp or bump in it.

IIRC Mario says that most keybeds are designed to be flat, but then they change shape with time or life occurrences (one of them being using the lyre as a support post during assemble/disassemble, which I've seen happening with my eyes and shocked, but I digress...)
Mario says that Steinways are purposely designed to not be flat and has a few pictures of a straightedge on a Steinways keybed to demonstrate that.

Last edited by Del Vento; 04/28/21 08:25 AM. Reason: clarified meaning
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