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#3118445 05/17/21 04:29 AM
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Why wouldn't just use cardboard? Plastic? Whatever, but make your own? Presumably you need a number of sets as sizes of pin, mortice and felt differ from make to make. I saw a smart guy 3D printing his own YT - that sounds like the thing to do. Anyone use something other than commercially available?

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One can certainly make their own. They should be pretty accurate though (within .001") to do the job well. 3D printing would be one good way to do it.

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I used 3d printer and also cnc machined from polyethylene, I used two step method like spurlock system, it is the way to go if you are not a professional and doping just one job. For 3d printed ones it is better to print them such that printing lines are perpendicular to insertion direction and to round all edges in design.

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I suppose if one already has a 3D printer or a CNC machine, or access to the use of either, making your own cauls would be the way to go.

I rebushed the keys on my Yamaha C7 a couple of years ago, and bought a set of 5 cauls (for both front and center) from Howards piano industries for about $7, along with the a couple of thicknesses of bushing cloth. It took a while, because I could only do 5 keys at a time, but the job went very well, with minimal key easing needed.

Again, if you want to make you own, and can estimate the proper size, or close, it would part of the fun. smile

If I had it to do over again, I believe I would have tried the "Profelt" procedure. But the cost would have been close to the same, and cauls would still be needed.

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Yes, but I'm speaking more in context of very old pianos, they may need more attention and need different size for each key (for 2 step method), making it yourselve on the go can give very good results even if mortises are in bad shape. I didn't use profelt yet but I think it is good for not very old bushings, if bushing is 100 years old it needs replacement.

Last edited by ambrozy; 05/17/21 12:35 PM.
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Mine are more than 130 years old.

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What kind of piano?

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If you are REALLY GOOD with a table saw you can make them fairly close (within .002" - .003"), then hand plane or sand to closer tolerance. Then wax them so the glue doesn't stick.

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It's an Ibach baby grand. Would these work as sprung cauls if shaped? What I don't want to do is 1 or 2 keys a day because I only have x number of cauls. [Linked Image]

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You do not want springs. You want cauls sized properly for the keypins. If they are sprung, they will push the cloth in and the result will be loose.


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Ok. I was thinking of these: [Linked Image]

Anyway, fingers crossed I may have found the only tech in the Southwest who uses hide glue smile

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Don't use those Springs! Especially on old keys. You are focusing on not that important thing like glue, instead of focusing on properly sized cauls and cloth. You are missing the point!

Last edited by ambrozy; 05/18/21 09:29 AM.
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Point taken. I've now had a reply from another tech who uses liquid hide glue so problem could be solved.

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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Ok. I was thinking of these: [Linked Image]

Anyway, fingers crossed I may have found the only tech in the Southwest who uses hide glue smile
I was brought up using those. They are not great, not even good really. Lots of sizing to do. Throw 'em away.
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Not only are they "not great" they are TOTALLY WRONG. Whoever thought them up did not understand key bushing principles.

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I once contemplated doing trigger finger surgery on my own hand after watching a video on it. You don't know what you don't know.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Thankfully I'm now booked in to have my action worked on in July. What a relief! I can get back to playing. Thanks all for some most enlightening posts. I'll still be learning to use hide glue though as I own 15 or so violins!

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Very good. Have you made your own supply of edge clamps for repairing your violins?

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No frown Can you advice on that?

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I'll post a pic when I'm in the shop.

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