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thyde Offline OP
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I am in the latter stages of rebuilding an Ibach grand, my own piano. Everything has gone remarkably well so far, but now regulating the backchecks is causing immense problems. Only about a half of them sit squarely behind the hammer tails. The rest are all over the place; some just catching the hammer on the edge. The wires are 4mm thick and none of my bending tools seem to make any impression. I am scared to apply too much force in case I split or distort the key end. Please help if you have experience of bending thick backcheck wires sideways.

Another question I have concerns pianissimo playing. The hammer hits the string, but does not recoil with sufficient force to take the repetition lever down far enough for the hammer to engage the backcheck. Strangely enough, repetition still works. Does anyone know of any rule of thumb that defines the threshold at which the backcheck has to operate? In other words, how softly must I be able to play before this loose hammer situation develops?

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thyde Offline OP
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The wires are 4mm thick
Sorry! I meant 3 mm

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So far to my knowledge, it should not check for a ppp hitting, just caught on rep. level, and that's the way how to adjust drop screw.


I use the following tool to bend backcheck wire for left/right direction, and we give it a nickname 'left right clamp'.

This tool, if is not strong enough, usually will result jag in the head, the tools is ruined after heave duty use, but nothing it cannot bend.

[Linked Image]


De BG4AWB
73!

Dr Hongzhi Mo
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Architecture Dept., FINE ART COLLEGE
SHANGHAI UNIVERSITY
99 Shang Da Road, 200436
Shanghai, China
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To bend the back checks safely, use a pair of pliers to support the key itself. The jaws of the pliers will be on either side of the rear of each key, so when you bend the back checks left or right with your other hand, the wood will not split.

As far as pianissimo playing is concerned, check your dip. Also make sure that the drop screw engages the repetition lever at the same time the jack hits the let off button. Finally, make sure your repetition springs aren't too strong.


Since 1975; Full-time piano tuner/tech in Nashville;
Lacquer and polyester specialist.

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I would be curious as to why the backcheck hammer tail alignment got so far off in the first place? Did you install new hammers and is the hammer string alignment good? Have you done all of the riquired hammer traveling and spacing? Are the hammers/checks that are misaligned all in one section or randomly scattered across the action? Have you changed the unachorda adjustment - especially while at rest? How do the key ends align to the damper lifter levers?
There is no reason for the hammer to go into check on ppp playing. The only precaution that you need to take is that the repetition spring tension is not so strong as to cause a double strike.


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The pliers that Hongzhi Mo described are the best. The jaws are like two parentheses ) ) so that the wire is bent without putting pressure on the key at all. These are sometimes called "smile" pliers.

You make a bend at the base of the wire near the key to space the backcheck left and right, then another bend at the top to align the backcheck to the tail.

Is there perhaps play in the front bushings causing the misalignment?

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
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I understand Thyde is working on his own piano. I am not sure if he is a DIY (Do-It-Yourselfer), but his questions seem to indicate so.
He has correctly identified a potential problem: that simple bending of stiff backcheck wires by hand or with normal pliers can cause keysticks to split.

Hongzhi shows the proper solution: wire bending pliers for bending wire left and right. And then there is the other type of pliers needed, for bending wire backwards and forwards.

There is the proper tool for every job, and herein lies one of the
many pitfalls for the DIY hobbyist: the tools, if they are available to him at all, are almost prohibitively expensive for use on only one or two pianos. Many quality tools (such as the wire bending pliers in question) cost more than $100 each, for one specific job. Not using the proper tool can really do a number on a piano action. That is one reason why we professionals come across so many butchered pianos.

Thyde, once you have taken care of all the points that Gene raises, perhaps you can find a piano technician willing to lend (or rent) you the tools you need to bend the backcheck wires correctly.


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If you are desperate, hold one side of the bend with one pair of pliers and twist the other with another.

Still, I wonder whether you are making too much work for yourself. Have you priced grand regulation in your area?


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Thanks to everyone for your invaluable help. This is a fantastic forum.
Quote
I would be curious as to why the backcheck hammer tail alignment got so far off in the first place?
It puzzled me too as to why this should be. I noticed it when I restrung the piano 15 years ago, but I was too lazy to do anything about it. Some of the wires are even bent the wrong way, and in the middle, as if someone had done it for a laugh. I am DIY technician, but I have quite a lot of experience, because I used to be very interested in restoring reproducng and player pianos.
I have done all the hammer spacing and aligning. The key bushings are new, the keyboard levelled. I have no damper problems. In fact I am very pleased with what I have done. It feels like a new piano. The backchecks work - it just that a number of them are not lined up with the hammers.
On the question of cost - I would much rather spend $100 on a tool than have my keys splitting. Rebuilding is a labour intensive job and investing in the right tools and materials costs little compared with the weeks of work one has to put in. Perhaps someone could tell me where I can buy the suggested tool.
The technicians around here know far less than I do - and have fewer tools. The last one I had tuned my piano in pianissimo, with the result that it was out of tune again after the first playing. I had to retune many of the unisons myself.

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For tools -
Check out:
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Closer to home you may try Fletcher & Newman
in Dartford Kent
Or Renner in Germany


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I am a DIYer either. As I recently got almost all tools I need and have a carefully regulation of my newly bought second-hand yamaha G2. The regulation cost me entire week for it. I do play piano well, and very interested in the piano tech stuffs. In order to learn the experiences, I spent 3 month in a rebuild warehouse...

Tools in US are so expensive to a diyer, and I buy around 40 pieces of various tools in China and all of then spend less than a fujan hammer.


De BG4AWB
73!

Dr Hongzhi Mo
Lecturer

Architecture Dept., FINE ART COLLEGE
SHANGHAI UNIVERSITY
99 Shang Da Road, 200436
Shanghai, China
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thyde Offline OP
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Quote
Closer to home you may try Fletcher & Newman
in Dartford Kent
Or Renner in Germany
Both Fletcher & Newman and Renner only supply through agents. I ordered the recommended bending tool through the Renner UK agent this morning.
Thanks again to everyone who responded to my post.


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