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My tech said he won't tune pianos that underwent CA treatment because he finds them too difficult to tune... He says he is able to do it, but that it would take him too much time and that he finds it to be an especially unpleasant task. Needless to say, he is a rather old-school type, and is offering to push the pins in deeper to stabilize future tunings, or to replace the current pins with bigger ones; basically anything but CA. Anyone here share this anti-CA view? I am seriously considering to give my old piano a CA treatment, but now I wonder if this will really make my instrument too difficult to tune afterwards? Many thanks in advance for your help.


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Greetings,
I am in wonderment. If your tech finds CA treated pianos too difficult to tune, he must have had a very different experience with these instruments than I and many other techs have had. One of the most important things about the feel of a tuning pin, other than the amount of torque it has, is the tactile sensation of the beginning movement of the pin. Specificlally, how clearly the beginning of movement can be felt through the tuning hammer. The older treatments such as Garfield's Restorer left a mushy feeling in the block that was definitely hard to read. The CA pianos I have done, (dozens) have all responded extremely well in terms of torque and feel. The CA treatment, in my experience, is head and shoulders above any of the previously used treatments.

I was trained at one of the country's oldest schools for piano technology, according to very traditional standards by a perfectionist technician and teacher. Driving pins farther down was taught, as well as repining with oversized pins but our headmaster also encouraged us to try every new idea that came down the pike. At the time (1975) CA had just appeared on the scene and nobody had yet thought of using it in a pinblock. I resisted the idea because it was not traditional, and seemed like a new-fangled scam. Snake-oil, if you will. Once the technique was known, many, many, pianos that otherwise would have been junked because they were not worth a new block were salvaged. I have several that are going on 10 years of steady, dependable tuning. There are mistakes that can be made, yes, but with the right viscosity, applied carefully and properly, it has proven to be closer to a bullet-proof approach than hammering pins deeper.

I don't recommend it as a DIY project as there is a slight learning curve. It is a proven treatment for a worn out block, and it is preferable to hammering pins in farther, or using bigger pins for an entire restringing.

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Thank you Ed for your helpful reply. I was under the same impression. Maybe my tech holds his peculiar view because he is not from North America.. Isn't the CA treatment an American invention? In any case, I may simply switch techs after this.


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I share Ed's experience and viewpoint. As with all things, some people have deeply held viewpoints on which they are just not going to budge...period. Doubtlessly these are based on certain experiences, and if they were all bad, that would strengthen their viewpoint even more. I have seen some pretty bad CA jobs, as well as those done so carefully that there was no evidence whatsoever of it (other than the slightly darkened tuning pin bushing). I therefore eventually learned that "more" is not necessarily better, and that it can be done very well and very effectively. If every experience I had with it was bad I might not have the viewpoint I do.

As with all things, there is a craftsmanlike way of doing it as well as an uncraftsmanlike way. Personally, if I come across a piano that has been re-pinned with 5/0 or greater pins, I'm probably going to refuse to tune it...it NEEDS a new pinblock...period, and gigantic tuning pins make it almost impossible to do a good tuning job that will last any period of time.

BTW I've seen "pin-pounders" who have totally destroyed otherwise salvageable pinblocks due to their STUPIDITY or lack not experience (don't know which for sure).

Well I'm rambling...

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I'm not sure what he finds difficult about tuning a CA treated piano. I have applied CA to individual pins on a piano and have returned at a later date and couldn't tell which pins I had treated.

I have tapped pins, I have installed oversized pins, and I have even epoxied pins (it does work), and CA is by far my favorite method to repair loose pins. When it works, it works very well.


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Thanks Doc!
I have contacted a tech that is familiar with CA treatments. He will do it and retune my piano.


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
As with all things, there is a craftsmanlike way of doing it as well as an uncraftsmanlike way.

Well, I'm sure this method of applying CA glue to a worn pin block on a 100 year old upright is uncraftsmanlike, but it worked. smile

After I did some refurbishment and had some fun with the piano for a while, I gave it to my sister, who still has it and loves it! They have it tuned about once a year, although it does start to get that "saloon piano sound" when it needs tuning.

This was/is my one and only CA project piano, but it did yield some positive results. However, we all have to start somewhere... smile

Rick

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To be very clear, I am not a tech.

I had a CA treatment done on my former C3 that I later traded in (there is a post on the Piano forum about this). In hindsight, I would not have done this on a piano that I ever intended to resell or even eventually have the pinblock replaced, as has now been done to my former piano.

I do intend to have a CA treatment done on a 1969 Yahama G3 in my workplace. I cannot see us ever spending the resources to have that piano restored or rebuilt. Therefore I'm willing to do this in the hopes it will buy some time and extend the useable life of the piano.

Last edited by RobAC; 01/29/22 12:37 PM.

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Originally Posted by RobAC
To be very clear, I am not a tech.

I had a CA treatment done on my former C3 that I later traded in (there is a post on the Piano forum about this). In hindsight, I would not have done this on a piano that I ever intended to resell or even eventually have the pinblock replaced, as has now been done to my former piano.

I do intend to have a CA treatment done on a 1969 Yahama G3 in my workplace. I cannot see us ever spending the resources to have that piano restored or rebuilt. Therefore I'm willing to do this in the hopes it will buy some time and extend the useable life of the piano.

Hi RobAC,

In your thread on the piano forum about trading in your Yamaha C3 at PianoWorks in Duluth Ga., Sam Bennet mentioned that there was CA glue(AKA Superglue) all over the plate near the tuning pins on the piano where the CA glue had been applied, and, hence, was one of the reasons they decided to replace the pin-block on that piano and clean/paint the plate.

That surprised me a bit, since the tech that did the CA glue treatment on your C3 was a professional technician, most likely.

I said that to say this, you might want to think about using a different technician to do the CA treatment on the older G3. As the other techs have said, if properly applied, there should be little evidence of the residual CA glue all over the plate near the pins.

Just a few thoughts...

All the best!

Rick


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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by RobAC
To be very clear, I am not a tech.

I had a CA treatment done on my former C3 that I later traded in (there is a post on the Piano forum about this). In hindsight, I would not have done this on a piano that I ever intended to resell or even eventually have the pinblock replaced, as has now been done to my former piano.

I do intend to have a CA treatment done on a 1969 Yahama G3 in my workplace. I cannot see us ever spending the resources to have that piano restored or rebuilt. Therefore I'm willing to do this in the hopes it will buy some time and extend the useable life of the piano.

Hi RobAC,

In your thread on the piano forum about trading in your Yamaha C3 at PianoWorks in Duluth Ga., Sam Bennet mentioned that there was CA glue(AKA Superglue) all over the plate near the tuning pins on the piano where the CA glue had been applied, and, hence, was one of the reasons they decided to replace the pin-block on that piano and clean/paint the plate.

That surprised me a bit, since the tech that did the CA glue treatment on your C3 was a professional technician, most likely.

I said that to say this, you might want to think about using a different technician to do the CA treatment on the older G3. As the other techs have said, if properly applied, there should be little evidence of the residual CA glue all over the plate near the pins.

Just a few thoughts...

All the best!

Rick
Thanks; I was a little surprised by that because the CA treatment was not visible to my naked eye after it was done. Maybe I just have bad sight -- though I just went back and looked at photos I took after it had been done. I can't see anything. Perhaps it was only visible after the pins were removed?

Last edited by RobAC; 01/29/22 02:29 PM.

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In fact I remember Sam saying he couldn't see any evidence of it in the photos either, as I sent them before they took the C3; so I'm assuming one had to look a little deeper. I don't have another explanation. I'm not a tech, but the job looks "clean" to me.


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Sorry for the triple post! I'm just thinking that there's likely no way a CA treatment could be done without leaving at least a tiny bit of "evidence". I can vouch that there wasn't glue dripped all over the place between pins.


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Originally Posted by Rickster
This was/is my one and only CA project piano, but it did yield some positive results. However, we all have to start somewhere... smile
Rick
I've done a lot of things with a boom pole but none of them involved a piano. Very resourceful and I love the old Ford. Did you make the ROPs yourself?


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I have a story about getting trapped under a big ol upright in just about that position. Brings back the memory...yikes!

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Originally Posted by RobAC
In fact I remember Sam saying he couldn't see any evidence of it in the photos either, as I sent them before they took the C3; so I'm assuming one had to look a little deeper. I don't have another explanation. I'm not a tech, but the job looks "clean" to me.

Hi RobAC,

In my earlier comments about Sam Bennet's comments about there being CA glue all over the plate of the C3, here is the quote by Sam in that thread...

Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Sometimes low-torque is addressed by tapping the pins lower to increase their contact with the pinblock. Sometimes pianos are re-strung with oversized pins. In this particular case, RobAC consulted with his technician to try a CA treatment. Upon reflection, that wasn't the best course of action. CA treatments have their place, but the appeal of a simple, inexpensive and lasting solution doesn't always take into the future expense.

We were not going to resell the piano with the plate covered in superglue and that removed our option to just restring, so a new pinblock was not only warranted, its beneficial for the long term health of the piano. And yes, we do this type of work all the time for universities, giving us an advantage over most piano stores.

(Here is the thread I'm referring to: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...r-three-pianos-terrific-opportunity.html )

Here is the comment by Sam I was referring to. In fact, to quote again, "We were not going to resell the piano with the plate covered in superglue and that removed our option to just restring, so a new pinblock was not only warranted, its beneficial for the long term health of the piano."

I suppose it is possible the "plate covered in superglue" was not visible until the restoration work began, I'm not sure.

Not trying to be contrary or point out a discrepancy anywhere, just trying to be helpful. smile

All the best!

Rick


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Originally Posted by MarkL
Originally Posted by Rickster
This was/is my one and only CA project piano, but it did yield some positive results. However, we all have to start somewhere... smile
Rick
I've done a lot of things with a boom pole but none of them involved a piano. Very resourceful and I love the old Ford. Did you make the ROPs yourself?

Hi, MarkL,

Well, my back is not as strong as it used to be, and in my research on the CA glue treatment, I read it is best to lay an upright piano on its back, or tilted backwards as much as possible, to properly get the CA glue where it needs to go. So, on a sunny day, I took my tractor and boom-pole attachment to gently lay the piano on its back to apply the CA glue.

The boom-pole worked well, although I know that pic makes me look like a hack. But at least I'm a hack on my own pianos, and not someone else's! smile

Actually, that procedure worked well, as did the CA glue treatment to tighten the tuning pins on that old Conover upright. As I said, it did help, a lot, and it was another learning experience for me.

As for the Ford Tractor, that was a 1986 model 2310. The ROPs was already on the tractor when I purchased it, pre-owned, but it looked professionally made, and installed.

All the best!

Rick


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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by RobAC
In fact I remember Sam saying he couldn't see any evidence of it in the photos either, as I sent them before they took the C3; so I'm assuming one had to look a little deeper. I don't have another explanation. I'm not a tech, but the job looks "clean" to me.

Hi RobAC,

In my earlier comments about Sam Bennet's comments about there being CA glue all over the plate of the C3, here is the quote by Sam in that thread...

Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Sometimes low-torque is addressed by tapping the pins lower to increase their contact with the pinblock. Sometimes pianos are re-strung with oversized pins. In this particular case, RobAC consulted with his technician to try a CA treatment. Upon reflection, that wasn't the best course of action. CA treatments have their place, but the appeal of a simple, inexpensive and lasting solution doesn't always take into the future expense.

We were not going to resell the piano with the plate covered in superglue and that removed our option to just restring, so a new pinblock was not only warranted, its beneficial for the long term health of the piano. And yes, we do this type of work all the time for universities, giving us an advantage over most piano stores.

(Here is the thread I'm referring to: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...r-three-pianos-terrific-opportunity.html )

Here is the comment by Sam I was referring to. In fact, to quote again, "We were not going to resell the piano with the plate covered in superglue and that removed our option to just restring, so a new pinblock was not only warranted, its beneficial for the long term health of the piano."

I suppose it is possible the "plate covered in superglue" was not visible until the restoration work began, I'm not sure.

Not trying to be contrary or point out a discrepancy anywhere, just trying to be helpful. smile

All the best!

Rick
Right, understood. Thank you.

As I did look back, and see that Sam remarked that based on the photos that it looked like a professional job, I'm pretty sure it was the case that one had to look very closely indeed to find evidence. At any rate, this tech is one of the leading techs in a major city, and in my experience does good work. I wouldn't let him or anyone else put CA glue on my home piano, but am not worried about the G3. If one can't see it without extra close examination, and if we're never going to rebuild or sell the G3 for any kind of profit, then I'll merely be happy if it increases pin torque.


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To answer an earlier question, the reason my (former) tech gave for refusing to tune CA'ed instruments is that it takes a lot of twisting before the pin starts to actually turn, and when it finally starts to turn, it turns too much! Basically sounds the way a newbie would describe their first tuning job on a regular piano, haha!


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My understanding is that CA glue is currently the go-to solution for breathing new life into an old pin block, especially if the piano doesn't warrant more costly repairs.

Some old dogs don't want to learn new tricks. Some dogs give self-serving advice (e.g. "I'm afraid to try it, or don't want to learn to do it right, so I'll just tell everyone it's a bad idea").

At the same time, if someone's experience is [ill]informed by bad examples, that leads to faulty conclusions too.


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My understanding is that CA glue is currently the go-to solution for breathing new life into an old pin block, especially if the piano doesn't warrant more costly repairs.

I strongly agree with this and with the other positive comments about the use of low-viscosity CA.

A lot of old uprights here have open-face pinblocks, and it can be relatively easy to apply the CA using a Zap Flexi-Tip on the bottle, and watch it wicking into the hole around the pin, without (if one is sufficiently careful) any dribbles and without putting the piano on its back (though I do have an upright piano tilter and have had my money's worth out of it). Particularly satisfying if the pinblock holes have nicely chamfered edges.

Last edited by David Boyce; 01/29/22 07:50 PM.
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