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#1125174 - 05/08/04 11:18 AM Hammer Hardness Measurement
Grotriman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 724
Loc: New York City
Well I used my durometer. It's scale says "Shore A-2" not just "Shore A". I am not yet sure of the difference.

In the base the hammer felt on the side (equator?)is 85, the felt near the striking point is 90. In the treble it is 80 and 85 at the tip.

I will report back on my buddies' 1935 M&H.

My tech says the old Steinways had brilliant tone yet the hammers were spongy when you squeezed them. This is certainly different from the Grotrian Abel's where they are really hard!

Anybody else have any hammer information?
_________________________
Regards,

Grotriman

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1125175 - 05/08/04 11:33 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
G
Ironic, but I checked a set of Abels just today.

This was a raw unmounted set and there were 94 hammers in the set and I just checked the strike point.

They ran a consistant increase from 84.3 on #1 to 98.0 on #94. There was one that was wild, #30 was 88.0, #40 was 90.6 but #35 was 83.9, other than this one immaculately consistant.

lb

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#1125176 - 05/08/04 01:21 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Grotriman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 724
Loc: New York City
lb,

Please regard your measurements as much more accurate than mine as my action was lying in my lap and I was struggling to balance everything and take the measurement.
_________________________
Regards,

Grotriman

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#1125177 - 05/08/04 01:35 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
G

You have to stroke with whatever tools you can.

This piano company lets me come in and piddle around in their R&D dept on Saturday mornings when I am in town.

I was curious about the consistancy of their hammer supply and pulled one set out of a batch and tested it. Their equipment is a little better than mine in my shop.

lb

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#1125178 - 05/08/04 01:59 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by lb:
G
Ironic, but I checked a set of Abels just today.

This was a raw unmounted set and there were 94 hammers in the set and I just checked the strike point.

They ran a consistant increase from 84.3 on #1 to 98.0 on #94. There was one that was wild, #30 was 88.0, #40 was 90.6 but #35 was 83.9, other than this one, immaculately consistant.

lb [/b]
Unfortunately these numbers tell us very little about the tonal performance of the hammer.

During my hammermaking experiments a few years back we tried to come up with a way to measure Shore hardness that would help us predict the tone quality and harmonic spectrum we could expect from a given set of hammers. But to no avail. The problem is that a Shore Durometer measures only surface hardness whereas the tonal characteristic of the hammer depends on a complex mix of characteristics that are most closely related to an elusive mass/resilience ratio. The closest we came to was with a modified Resiliometer. The hammer would be thrown at a taut string with a given velocity and we then attempted to measure the return, or rebound, velocity. The difference figure gave us what we called a ‘rebound factor.’ Unfortunately the project was terminated before we learned much of any real value from it. Well, we learned a lot but the elusive tone predictor remained elusive.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125179 - 05/08/04 02:04 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1967
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by lb:
[/b]
Unfortunately these numbers tell us very little about the tonal performance of the hammer.

During my hammermaking experiments a few years back we tried to come up with a way to measure Shore hardness that would help us predict the tone quality and harmonic spectrum we could expect from a given set of hammers. But to no avail. The problem is that a Shore Durometer measures only surface hardness whereas the tonal characteristic of the hammer depends on a complex mix of characteristics that are most closely related to an elusive mass/resilience ratio. The closest we came to was with a modified Resiliometer. The hammer would be thrown at a taut string with a given velocity and we then attempted to measure the return, or rebound, velocity. The difference figure gave us what we called a ‘rebound factor.’ Unfortunately the project was terminated before we learned much of any real value from it. Well, we learned a lot but the elusive tone predictor remained elusive.

Del [/b]
Del,

Wouldn't the amount of bearing, combined with the belly assemblies ability to distribute and maintain energy also play a critical role in the character of its sound?

I feel that the hammer plays an important but finite role in the tonal character of the instrument. Am I barking up the wrong tree?
_________________________


Blüthner USA, LLC

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#1125180 - 05/08/04 02:09 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alex Hernández:
Del,

Wouldn't the aount of bearing, combined with the belly assemblies ability to distribute and maintain energy also play a critical role in the character of sound?

I feel that the hammer plays an important but finite role in the tonal character of the instrument. Am I barking up the wrong tree? [/b]
Yes, of course. But the object of tests like these are to isolate the effect of just one component. In this case the hammer. It does little good to attempt any real understand the whole if we cannot understand the performance of the individual components.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125181 - 05/08/04 02:11 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
Well the almighty one has addressed me. I am in awe.

Del,I thought you said at one point that you wouldn't dignify my existence by addressing me, or words to that effect.

lb

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#1125182 - 05/08/04 02:22 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1967
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alex Hernández:
Del,

Wouldn't the amount of bearing, combined with the belly assemblies ability to distribute and maintain energy also play a critical role in the character of sound?

I feel that the hammer plays an important but finite role in the tonal character of the instrument. Am I barking up the wrong tree? [/b]
Yes, of course. But the object of tests like these are to isolate the effect of just one component. In this case the hammer. It does little good to attempt any real understand the whole if we cannot understand the performance of the individual components.

Del [/b]
Well that makes perfect sense. But why would one assume that a complete sense of tonal performance be achieved by isolating this component from the the other components that contribute to its overall character?

In the end doesn't the hammer introduce energy and establish the excursion of the string? It's elasticity and density determine how it does this. The rest of the story is written by the bridge/board/rim relationship.

I suppose the point I was making was that the harmonic spectrum of the hammer is also a reflection of these related components, is it not?
_________________________


Blüthner USA, LLC

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#1125183 - 05/08/04 03:17 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Rick Clark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/04/03
Posts: 1810
Loc: North County San Diego CA
Women laugh at you guys, you know.

;-)

Rick Clark
_________________________
Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician

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#1125184 - 05/08/04 03:37 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
Rick

Anything for a laugh, but are you sure just women?

Damn, I was just conducting a simple QC test to check the consistency of a supplier to the manufacturers specifications. I wasn't trying to part the Red Sea in the evolution of the piano.

lb

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#1125185 - 05/08/04 03:44 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Grotriman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 724
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alex Hernández:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Alex Hernández:
Del,

Wouldn't the amount of bearing, combined with the belly assemblies ability to distribute and maintain energy also play a critical role in the character of sound?

I feel that the hammer plays an important but finite role in the tonal character of the instrument. Am I barking up the wrong tree? [/b]
Yes, of course. But the object of tests like these are to isolate the effect of just one component. In this case the hammer. It does little good to attempt any real understand the whole if we cannot understand the performance of the individual components.

Del [/b]
Well that makes perfect sense. But why would one assume that a complete sense of tonal performance be achieved by isolating this component from the the other components that contribute to its overall character?

In the end doesn't the hammer introduce energy and establish the excursion of the string? It's elasticity and density determine how it does this. The rest of the story is written by the bridge/board/rim relationship.

I suppose the point I was making was that the harmonic spectrum of the hammer is also a reflection of these related components, is it not? [/b]
Alex,

In any multivariable system where one is trying to improve the overall result, you hold all variables constant save one and try to determine the improvement by varying that one. Then move to the next variable.

Is that what you are asking?

Of course where the variables interact, this approach may or may not work based on the level of interaction.
_________________________
Regards,

Grotriman

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#1125186 - 05/08/04 03:44 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by lb:
Well the almighty one has addressed me. I am in awe.

Del,I thought you said at one point that you wouldn't dignify my existence by addressing me, or words to that effect.

lb [/b]
No, I don't think so.

If memory serves you were making a real issue of certain manufacturers and/or distributors hiding behind names that have nothing to do with who it is actually building them.

I was simply trying to make the point that piano makers are not the only ones hiding behind misleading or meaningless names.

I think it is nice to know who one is dealing with whether that happens to be a pianomaker or someone on the internet. I think a lot of nastiness would be avoided if folks were required to sign their real names to the stuff they write.

Sorry if this offends you.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125187 - 05/08/04 03:45 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Grotriman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 724
Loc: New York City
Del,

The reason I posted the hardness was that someone in another thread asked for the numbers.

BTW are these numbers (85-90) typical in other hammers? Or are they unique to Abels?
_________________________
Regards,

Grotriman

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#1125188 - 05/08/04 03:53 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21657
Loc: Oakland
The hammer provides the all-important initial conditions of the excitation of the string. If not for that, everything would sound pretty much the same, if I remember my old differential equations class correctly.

If the hammer doesn't stay on the string long enough, if it is so hard that it bounces off the string before imparting its energy to the string, the sound will be thin, without much fundamental. If it is too soft, it damps more of the partials than is desirable.

One of the problems that we have understanding how strings works is that most people visualize them wrong. Even physics books will print these pictures of a string moving as the fundamental being this single arc in the string between the two endpoints, with the first overtone being an upward arc on one half of the string and a downward arc on the other half, and adding more up and down arcs for each overtone. The overall picture then looks like a number of little arcs superimposed on larger arcs.

Well, it ain't necessarily so. It turns out that when you actually add each of these overtones together, you actually get something that looks like the original fundamental, except that the high point of the arc is not in the center. Instead, it starts at the point of excitation (or where the hammer hits it), and moves to one of the endpoints of the string, flips over to the opposite side, and goes back the other way. Stretch a slinky or other big spring across a room, and you can see this.

The hammer provides the initial shape of that irregular arc. The qualities of the hammer determine the tone quality of the note.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1125189 - 05/08/04 04:01 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
Fascinating stuff.

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#1125190 - 05/08/04 04:02 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
[/qb][/QUOTE]Well that makes perfect sense. But why would one assume that a complete sense of tonal performance be achieved by isolating this component from the the other components that contribute to its overall character?

In the end doesn't the hammer introduce energy and establish the excursion of the string? It's elasticity and density determine how it does this. The rest of the story is written by the bridge/board/rim relationship.

I suppose the point I was making was that the harmonic spectrum of the hammer is also a reflection of these related components, is it not? [/QB][/QUOTE]


Again, yes, of course. But it is still necessary to understand, or at least try to understand, the characteristics of each individual part of the system. The failure to work toward this understanding has resulted in many pianos produced and shipped with mis-matched hammers.

If you have no idea what characteristics go into making a hammer with characteristics suitable for your particular overall scale how could you possibly decide which hammer to use? With any given scale some hammers will be too soft and/or light while others will be too hard and/or massive. It is useful to know and understand what is ‘hard’ and what is ‘soft.’ Until you know something about hammers how hammers work and how to predict their performance through testing and measuring how will you know where to start? Yamahas and Steinways require hammers of quite a different sort. Don't you think it will be advantageous for each manufacturer to understand how to measure and test for the physical characteristics of the hammers they specify and/or build?

Without some method of measuring and testing how will you be able to carry out even the most basic quality control? You can't just say, "Oh, well, it's all an interactive system and it will all work out in the end." Of course it is an interactive system but each component must function within certain design parameters and standards to form a unified whole.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125191 - 05/08/04 08:18 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 1731
Loc: Indiana
Delwin you said;
“If memory serves you were making a real issue of certain manufacturers and/or distributors hiding behind names that have nothing to do with who it is actually building them.”

Your memory is not any better than your perception was of the situation at that time. If you would have taken the time to read the whole thread that this occurred in you would see that it wasn't I taking issue. Oh, but it had nothing to do with taking the time to read it, it was a matter of perception.

You said;
“Unfortunately these numbers tell us very little about the tonal performance of the hammer.”

Again your perception of the situation was skewed, I was performing a simple QC test to determine the constancy of a supplier to a manufacturers specifications. Tonal performance was not a concern at that time.

You said;
“I think it is nice to know who one is dealing with whether that happens to be a pianomaker or someone on the internet.”

Look at my member number, I have been here from day one, and 2 years on the forum that preceded this one, a long time before you. I communicate daily with selected members here by, email, mail, and phone. I have been to some members homes and some have been to mine. I have not ever tried to sell or promote any product here.

It is nice to know who one is dealing with, but if you don't like it, don't deal. You addressed me remember.

You had a lot going for you, if you wouldn't have had that perception problem, you might have amounted to something besides a worn out technician writing pseudo scientific articles for the PTG journal

Keep Smiling
lb

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#1125192 - 05/08/04 09:09 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by lb:

You had a lot going for you, if you wouldn't have had that perception problem, you might have amounted to something besides a worn out technician writing pseudo scientific articles for the PTG journal

Keep Smiling
lb [/b]
I will.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125193 - 05/08/04 10:24 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
byebye Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/03
Posts: 1426

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#1125194 - 05/09/04 01:57 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21657
Loc: Oakland
There's another analysis here:
Five Lectures on the Acoustics of the Piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1125195 - 05/09/04 08:50 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
Thak you BDB for that excellent and informative link.

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#1125196 - 05/09/04 09:42 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3872
You can learn a lot by poking hammers with one voicing needle, determining which areas are harder than others and comparing it to the tone. Do this on different pianos, and get a better understanding of the piano hammer. Some things are just better done by hand.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1125197 - 05/09/04 05:57 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
del,
please pay no attention to the behind the curtain. you are a very highly valued member of this forum, and you deserve all of our respect and thanks.

i am personally very grateful for the piano education you have given all of us, and hope you realize that you are held in the highest esteem here, and your presence adds tremendous value to this site.
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


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#1125198 - 05/09/04 06:39 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Steve Ramirez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/01
Posts: 1097
Loc: El Cajon, California
Del, I didn't want to comment in this thread lest I give undeserved attention to your detractor.

However, I must say that I read all of your comments here and in other forums with great interest even when they pertain to things I find trivial or incomprehensible. Must be your writing style.

Thank you for contributing so generously.

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#1125199 - 05/09/04 10:35 PM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Grotriman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 724
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
There's another analysis here:
Five Lectures on the Acoustics of the Piano. [/b]
BDB,

Excellent! Thank you. Alot of info on hammer hardness. Also much else to look at. Thank you.

I also found MarkS's link as well when researching Estonia pianos... Very interesting as well, but will require my undivided attn when I can give it.
_________________________
Regards,

Grotriman

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#1125200 - 05/10/04 09:19 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
How quickly sides are picked and demarcation lines sketched in this forum.

I personally find worth in both members and would rather they both keep posting information, including occasional backyard rumbles, than try to pick my favourite and blast the other "detractor".
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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#1125201 - 05/10/04 10:19 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Grotriman:
Del,

The reason I posted the hardness was that someone in another thread asked for the numbers.

BTW are these numbers (85-90) typical in other hammers? Or are they unique to Abels? [/b]
My measuring of this type was done during the mid- to late- '80s and much may have changed among hammer makers since then. But, yes, the numbers you are getting are typical of many hammers. Most of them measured in the high 70s to mid 80s. The problem was that we couldn't come up with any consistent way to determine how hammers with some given Shore hardness readings were going actually sound once they ended up on a piano.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125202 - 05/10/04 10:32 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by MarkS:
Any opinions on this?

http://www.cs.ioc.ee/~stulov/smac03.pdf [/b]
This is the idea. This actually begins to define how the hammer works dynamically. It is a considerable extension beyond what we started to do. It gives an idea of how a specific hammer will actually work when it impacts a set of strings. Simply measuring surface hardness does not do that.

These folks, by the way, (in conjunction with Estonia) are doing some interesting work. While I take exception to some of their conclusions and application their basic investigations are coming up with some good basic information.
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125203 - 05/10/04 10:39 AM Re: Hammer Hardness Measurement
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5316
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
You can learn a lot by poking hammers with one voicing needle, determining which areas are harder than others and comparing it to the tone. Do this on different pianos, and get a better understanding of the piano hammer. Some things are just better done by hand. [/b]
Funny you should mention that. This was another technique we tried. Inserting a needle into the hammer at various points while measuring and plotting the force required to press it home. While this was somewhat more reliable than measuring the surface hardness it was still not completely reliable. While I and another individual (who also had some considerable voicing experience) could ‘feel’ the difference it proved to be hard to quantify with numbers. It was also destructive — that is, testing altered the character of the hammer — and we were looking for a completely non-destructive technique.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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